Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes &
Last updated 7.12.05
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ARTHUR'S STONE: Arthur's Stone or Maen Cetti is a Neolithic chambered cairn although no bodies have been found to confirm that it was used as a tomb. The capstone weighs around 25 tons and is of Old Red Sandstone, a rock local to the ridge. Nine uprights remain although the capstone perches on only four. The structure is surrounded by the remnants of a round cairn. It was first mentioned in a Triad of the 16th Century and is associated with many legends, for example King Arthur was in Carmarthenshire on his way to the battle of Camlann when he felt a pebble in his shoe. He removed it and threw it as far as he could - it fell here on Cefn Bryn, some 7 miles away. During the Bronze Age the area around Arthur's Stone was extensively used for funerary rites and burials. A short walk to the West and you will come across an extensive pile of stones, the remains of a round cairn. One estimate is that there are over 100 cairns on Cefn Bryn.
BLUE POOL: This sandy cove is only accessible on foot and when the tide is out. The Blue Pool itself is a circular rock pool measuring about 15 feet across. At the far end of the beach is an archway known as the Three Chimneys. In 1800, a fisherman, John Richard, found a quantity of gold moidores and doubloons among the rocks here. Other searchers have found coins as have divers on the sea bed. Just South West of the Three Chimneys is Culver Hole in which the remains of 30 bodies have been excavated, dating to the Middle Bronze Age, c. 1,450-1,000 BC.
BURRY HOLMS: Derives from the old Scandinavian 'holm' meaning island. This small island of limestone is accessible for around 2.5 hours either side of low water. There is an Iron Age earthwork and the ruins of a mediaeval monastic settlement. St Cenydd, Gower's own saint, is associated with the area. In July it is carpeted in Golden and Rock Samphire.
CIL IFOR TOP: The largest hillfort on Gower extending to almost 3 hectares. Nothing is known of its origins but 'cil' is Welsh for retreat and so it may have been a place in which to seek safety. There are indications of hut platforms but no artefacts have been recovered to help dating. The hill is Millstone Grit.
COCKLE GATHERERS: From Crofty, cockle-gatherers have been heading out for centuries with their donkeys along a spit of land to the biggest cockle beds in Britain. Dylan Thomas called them web-footed and Wynford Vaughan Thomas described them as looking like an Old Testament tribe marching out over the desert sands. Originally a female occupation, the women were a familiar sight in Swansea market wearing a dress of red and black stripes with black and white aprons, grey shawls and flat straw hats on which they would balance a pail of cockles and two large baskets under each arm. They would have walked barefoot, to save on leather, the 7 miles to Swansea, pausing at Olchfa (which means 'washing place') to wash their feet and put on their boots. Cockles were (and still are) gathered with a short rake and then sieved to ensure the smaller ones fall back into the sand. Cockle-gathering is now mostly male and aided by 4-wheel drive vehicles.
HARDINGS DOWN: This boasts three Iron Age hillforts which can be seen in this aerial photo. Excavation on the most complete one, towards the West, revealed a cobbled entrance with the remains of two round huts and some pottery dated to 100-50BC. The two smaller forts would have housed only a few families and it remains a mystery why they were built separately from the main fort.
KITCHEN CORNER: This is a small sheltered inlet where limestone used to be shipped to Somerset and Devon. There is a winch from a former quarry and the building is an early 20th Century boathouse.
LAGADRANTA: The tradition of a belief in fairies, known locally as Verry Volks, is widespread in the Celtic regions and countries, some arguing that they represent all that is left of the old pre-Christian gods. Lagadranta farm was one of the last places on Gower where they were seen. One day the farmer's wife was asked by an old woman if she could borrow a sieve. The farmer's wife claimed that she did not have one but the old woman said that she did have one straining the hops. Realising that she was one of the Verry Volk who often sieved for gold, the farmer's wife lent it to her. Weeks later the old woman returned the sieve and, in gratitude, promised the farmer's wife that her largest cask of ale would not run dry but she must tell no-one what happened. Sure enough the cask flowed unceasingly and a good time was had by all but ... could the farmer's wife keep the secret? You guessed ... and the supply of beer immediately dried up.
LLANGENNITH: The church was possibly founded in the 6th Century by St Cenydd but was destroyed by the Vikings in the 10th Century. The North Tower and some other parts date from the 13th Century. St Cenydd was one of the early celtic Christian Saints. Whereas the 'Roman' saints usually experienced martyrdom in unspeakable agony, the celtic saints often lived to a ripe old age contemplating nature and doing good deeds. St Cenydd's was an unnatural birth, as was that of Arthur and many other leading characters of this era. Cenydd's father, Dihocus, seduced his daughter and she gave birth whilst Arthur was holding court on the Gower. The baby was found to have one leg stuck to his thigh so, to hush up the scandal, Dihocus ordered the baby to be put in a wicker basket which was placed in the River Lliw. This floated out to sea but near Worms Head, seabirds picked up the craft, placed it on the headland and sheltered it from storm and tempest. An angel descended and placed a breast-shaped bell, known as the Titty Bell, in the mouth of Cenydd which kept him well-nourished and equally miraculously ensured that Cenydd's clothes grew as he did. The angel popped in regularly to complete his education and at 18 Cenydd moved to Llangennith (hence 'llan', or place of Cenydd) where he settled down and became famous for his miracles, living and dying peacefully.
LLANMADOC HILL: At 186 metres, (610 ft.) Llanmadoc Hill is one of highest points on Gower and is formed of old red sandstone. An Iron Age hillfort, the Bulwark, is located here although, unusually, not on the summit. It has an enclosure of around 0.9 hectares and is surrounded with a bank and ditch. It is likely that it was developed over several periods. The hill is also covered with Bronze Age cairns, no less than 14 according to a Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments report. The great cairn on the summit is 27 metres across. The hill looks down on the hamlet of Llanmadoc which used to have an old custom called the Pillory Hole. The hole was the opening in the church where the rood was located and those who had offended against the church were obliged to stand here, dressed in a white sheet, for the duration of the lengthy service. This continued up to the 19th Century. The church of St Madoc is the smallest in Gower. Whilst being extensively restored in 1865-6 the church is mediaeval in origin with a chancel arch of possibly 12th century form. An inscribed stone is datable to the 5th or 6th century with the words in Latin, 'Guan, son of Advectus, lies here'. With other stones of pre-Norman origin it can be assumed that this was an important early Christian site in South Wales. For more on the church with some good interior photographs, click here.
LOUGHOR CASTLE: This site has been of strategic significance for many years as it controls the lowest fordable spot across the estuary of the Loughor river. Excavations have revealed that this was at the South East angle of the Roman fort of Leucarum dating to around 70 AD. A castle ringwork was contsructed in the 12th Century by Henry de Viliers - at this stage all the buildings would have been of timber. There were four stages of rebuilding with stone gradually replacing timber. The small tower of Pennant Sandstone dates to the 13th century when Loughor belonged to the de Braose lords but it was probably John Iweyn, steward to William de Braose III, who built it. On the far side of the road bridge is the Loughor viaduct which carries the South Wales main line across the river. It was constructed by Brunel and K.E. Fletcher and was originally completely contructed of timber. Whilst much has been replaced by wrought iron and then steel plate, parts of the substructure are original.
MEWSLADE & FALL BAY: Mewslade Bay, possibly from 'mew', a seagull, has good sands but is covered for around 2 to 3 hours at high tide. Nearby is Mewslade cave, one of the many on Gower showing signs of human habitation. To the East is Thurba Head on top of which are the remains of an Iron Age fort. There are other forts close by at Paviland, the Knave and Horse Cliff. Fall Bay is a secluded sandy bay with some good fossils in limestone on the western end.
For more on Mumbles, click here.
OXWICH: The name is attributed to Scandinavian, with 'ax' meaning water and the 'wich' element deriving from words meaning creek, salt or farm. Some of the traditional Gower cottages are quite old and John Wesley stayed in one when he visited. Along the road past the Oxwich Bay Hotel, originally built as the Rectory in 1788, you will come to the church of St Illtyd. Parts date from the 12th Century, remodelled in the 14th Century. The chancel ceiling decoration was by Leslie Young, 1931, who was the scene painter of Sadlers Wells for Dame Lilian Bayliss. Take the lane heading uphill and you will find Oxwich Castle which is open to the public. It is an Elizabethan prodigy house dating back to the early part of the 16th Century with building first by Sir Rice Mansel and then in the second half of the century by Sir Edward Mansell. The large top story windows were typical of Richmond Palace and Hampton Court. A 'castle' is referred to at Oxwich as early as 1459. North of the castle is a ruined dovecote. The area of dunes behind the beach is a National Nature Reserve. Here you will find marram, sea couch, sand sedge, sea holly, sea rocket and sandwort. The Yellow Whitlow grass of the Alps, Draba Aizodes, grows here but apart from Worms Head, nowhere else in Britain. By Oxwich Green the calcicole round-mouth snail can be found.
OXWICH BAY: On the sands of Oxwich the first aeroplane flight in Wales took place, on January 19th. 1911 by a Mr E Sutton. To the East are a number of caves; Bacon Hole, Minchin Hole and Leathers Hole where remains have been found of soft-nosed rhinoceros, wild ox, bison and cave bear - also cooking pots, brooches and coins from the 1st Century AD through to Edward III. However a skeleton, believed to be of a Pterodactyl, turned out to be a crocodile from a travelling circus. Many ships have been wrecked off Oxwich Point including The Catherine Jenkins, 1856; the Duisberg, 1899 and the Tridonia, 1916. Fauna and fauna include live cockles, trough shells, carpet shells and tellins. You can see the exposed tubes of polychaete works and the empty tests of the heart urchin or sea-potato. The seaweed used for Welsh laverbread, Porphyra Umbilicalis, grows here. Feeding on the sands you might see curlew, ringed plover, oystercatcher and inland in the freshwater marshes, wigeon and sedge and reed warblers.
OYSTERMOUTH CASTLE: The castle grounds are open all year round, the castle from April. In the early 12th Century Henry Beaumont became the first Lord of Gower whilst his followers, the de Londres family, took Oystermouth. The de Londres also held Ogmore and financed the building of Ewenny Priory, (see Ogmore and Ewenny walks). The earliest part of the castle may date to William de Londres who died in 1126. Early in the 13th Century the Lords of Gower took over Oystermouth before passing it on to the de Breos family. The castle was periodically atacked during Welsh uprisings and would have been controlled by Owain Glyndwr between 1403 and 1405. By 1650 the castle was referred to as old and decayed. A booklet entitled 'Oystermouth Castle - a tour and short history' has been produced by the Friends of Oystermouth Castle and is available from the Mumbles Tourist Information Centre.
PENMAEN: Close to our walk is Penmaen Old Castle, 12th Century, and originally of Motte and Bailey construction. Near the cliffs is the old church of Penmaen which could have been abandoned after the Black Death in the 14th Century and was then covered by sand. It is reputed to be the church of the legendary village of Stedwarlango, possibly of Danish origin and also buried under the sand. Nearby is a megalithic tomb also known as Pen-y-Crug.
PENRICE CASTLE AND HOUSE: Penrice Castle - the oldest part, the circular keep on the North West side, dates back to the 12th Century whereas the curtain wall and semi-circular towers are 13th Century. There are later additions including a dovecot. The site is inaccessible and dangerous. Penrice House is the only large country house of any age on the Gower that is still used as a private residence. It was built between 1773 and 1777 by Thomas Mansel Talbot to a design by Anthony Keck, an architect from Gloucestershire. William Emes was the landscape gardener and from 1776 he created the lakes below the house and planted the trees. In 1998 a tree was planted by the Prince of Wales. The stables date to 1776-7.
PENRICE VILLAGE: This quiet little village with views over Oxwich Bay has changed little since the 18th Century. It was once the social centre of Gower on market and fair days. In the churchyard is a 'murder stone' with the inscription, "To the memory of Mary, wife of James Kavanagh of Penmaen, who was murdered by ... the 3rd October 1829, aged 75 years". These stones were erected in the hope of stimulating witnesses to come forward or murderers to confess. The church of St Andrew dates back to the 12th Century and was restored by F.W.Waller in 1893-4.
RHOSSILI: There are various theories for the origin of the name the most likely being 'rhos' - high land pushing into the sea - and the name Sulien. The Viel is an ancient strip field system extending to the headland and passed on the first walk. The complete arc of Rhossili Bay, one of the best beaches in Britain, is 5 miles. The wreck visible at the Rhossili end is the Helvetia, driven ashore in 1887 and at the opposite end part of the iron hulk of the City of Bristol is visible at low water. It ran aground in 1840. In the second half of the 17th Century a ship supposedly carrying the dowry of Catherine of Braganza was wrecked. In 1807 and 1833 quantities of silver coin were uncovered by the tide. Identified as Peruvian dollars some still exist in local museums. Rhossili is an area of exceptional interest for shells. Bi-valves predominate on the sandy shores and gastropods on the rocky ones. Rockpools have sea-slugs. There are also dog whelks, limpets, winkles, top shells and chitons. Snails outnumber bi-valves on most of the rocky shores. Plants include golden samphire, rock samphire and rock sea-lavender. Birds include gulls, kittiwakes, puffins, guillemots, razorbills, shags and fulmars. In winter you could see Manx shearwater, gannets, common scoters and purple sandpipers.
RHOSSILI RECTORY: The Old Rectory is in a lonely spot at the foot of the cliffs and is referred to in 1720. It was positioned where it is as it is roughly midway between Llangennith and Rhossili and the rector originally ministered at both churches. By the end of the 18th Century it was in disrepair. It was rebuilt in the 1850s and bought by the National Trust in 1995. It can be rented as a holiday cottage and has one of the highest occupancy rates for a National Trust property. Wynford Vaughan Thomas notes that the building is said to be haunted. In the depths of Winter something very unpleasant comes out of the sea and into the house and others have reported suddenly finding themselves in a pool of cold air in a corridor and hearing a voice whispering 'why don't you turn round and look at me?'.
SWEYN'S HOWES: These are two chambered cairns. The name derives from Sweyne, a Viking, after whom Swansea is supposed to be named and Howe is a mound in Nordic. Sweyne is reputed to be buried here. However, the cairns are much older, probably megalithic. They appear to have been made of local stone and are oval-shaped.
ST. CATTWG'S CHURCH, Cheriton. This dates from the 13th century and has been little altered. It was probably built by masons who had worked on Llandaff Cathedral, using local limestone. It has a mediaeval waggon roof. Nearby Glebe House is the oldest inhabited house on Gower being built for the Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John and is of 15th Century construction or earlier. North Hill Tor, visible from the coast path, is an isolated limestone outcrop overlooking the estuary which was converted into a fortress by a massive earth bank. It was probably 12th Century when this part of Gower was held by the Turbervilles.
ST. MARY'S PARISH CHURCH, Rhossili: The date it was built is uncertain but could be 1200. The doorway is a good example of the late Norman period. At the top of the left-hand pillar is a scratch dial in which a horizontal stick would be placed and the time told from the position of the shadow on the lines. In the nave is a memorial to Petty Officer Edgar Evans who died with Captain Scott in the Antarctic. There is a leper window - note also the 'coiled rope' lamp base designed by Helen Sinclair at the East gate. In the South West corner of the Churchyard is Sailors' Corner where many unknown seamen washed up on the local beaches are buried.
Helen Sinclair's coiled rope lamp
ST. RHYDIAN AND ILLTYD CHURCH, Llanrhidian: Christians have worshipped here for nearly 1500 years. The original Llan probably dates back to the 6th Century but the church is 13th Century. It has a leper stone in the porch, a possible variant of the 10th Century Viking hogback tombstone.
TALBOTS ROAD. The grassy track along the top of Cefn Bryn is marked on some maps as Talbots Road. This was named after Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot, squire of Penrice Castle, who was a keen huntsman and would lead his hounds back to Penrice after hunting in the Parc le Breos estate.
TANKEYLAKE MOOR. Oral tradition tells that this was the site of a bloody battle between those who occupied the fort on Hardings Down and those holding the Bulwark fort on Llanmadoc Hill. Tonkin, leader of the Bulwark contingent was killed and so much blood was spilled that it flowed over his boots, hence Tonkin's (Tankey) Lake. Just to the left of our path and along the route of a small stream, you will find Bog Asphodel growing quite abundantly in late June, early July.
THE CHURCH IN THE WARREN: There was an old church in the Warren, the area of sand dunes below the village of Rhossili and it is believed that the doorway of St Mary's church came from there. The church was eventually completely covered in sand along with the original village of Rhossili, probably in the 14th Century. Bits of walling began to appear after the wet winter of 1979/80 and the area has been excavated.
WEOBLEY CASTLE: This is the only stone castle on the North side of Gower. Much of it was built in the late 13th Century when defence was not quite the issue it had been earlier so it is less of a castle and more a comfortable manor house. It was owned originally by the de la Bere family with improvements added by Sir Rhys ap Thomas at the end of the 15th Century.
WHITEFORD LIGHTHOUSE: This cast-iron lighthouse, the only sea-washed cast-iron lighthouse in the UK, was built in 1865 with the increase in trade coming from Llanelli and Burry Port. It marks the South side of the channel to Llanelli harbour and is located just above low-water mark. The heavy cast-iron plates which make up the seven rings are bolted together with external flanges unlike other cast-iron towers which have them internal. There are copper glazing bars as befits Llanelli's copper-exporting prominence. Despite its presence, a major shipwreck took place nearby in 1868. 18 or 19 vessels had been towed out of Llanelli by steam tugs to proceed by sail. As they rounded Whiteford Point the wind died and a heavy swell lifted the boats up and down until their backs broke on the sands. Within an hour 16 of the boats were total wrecks. It was a quiet night and those ashore were oblivious to the drama at sea but the morning revealed a scene of devastation with broken boats and the bodies of sailors lying all the way from the point to Burry Holms. In 1764, John Wesley, crossed the estuary on horseback (with a guide!) from around this point and over to Pembrey. What looks like an old metal causeway out to the lighthouse is reputedly the remains of fish traps. A good source for information on the Whiteford Lighthouse is 'Gower', the journal of the Gower Society, vol 56, 2005, an article entitled 'The Second Whiteford Lighthouse' by Jack Hartley, pp 13-34.
WHITEFORD SSSI: There are several features here. At the tip of Whiteford Point is Berges Island - a popular spot with bird-watchers where egret and osprey have been spotted. Where the stream, the Burry Pill, which once provided power for 7 mills, flows out into the estuary is an area known as Cwm Ivy marsh with Landimore marsh upriver and, beyond that, Llanrhidian marsh. This is grazed salt marsh and a site of international importance for wading birds and wildfowl. You will see horses and sheep grazing here as they have done for hundreds of years - there is a reference to this from 1583. As you walk back from Whiteford Point you pass three rocky outcrops. The first is Cwm Ivy Tor and then, projecting into the beach are Hills Tor and Prissens Tor, the latter also known as Spritsail Tor. This has two caves linked by a small passage and the animal remains suggest they would have been the dens of hyenas.
WORMS HEAD: Derived from the Old English a 'wurm' being a serpent or dragon. This is a Nature Reserve with a rich variety of plants and sea-birds which should be disturbed as little as possible. Visitors are requested to keep away from the outer parts between March and July when nesting takes place. There is a blow hole where air is forced through a gap in the rock by wave action. Only accessible 2.5 hours either side of low tide.
PENLLE'R CASTELL. The information notice on the site suggests that this dates from the mediaeval period with small stone houses surrounded by a bank and a ditch. There are traces of two square masonry towers and the Royal Commission suggested that this was the 'new castle of Gower' belonging to the Lord of Gower and burnt by the Welsh in 1252. For more on the castle with several photographs see Jeffrey Thomas's site.
LLIW VALLEY. This covers 82 square miles of West Glamorgan and is bounded by the Rivers Tawe and Loughor. The scars of the coal and metal industries have largely disappeared and you are more likely to find tumbling waterfalls, quiet woods and open moorland. Bronze Age artifacts have been found at Mynydd March Hywel near Pontardawe and St David founded a monastery in the grounds of the village church at Llangyfelach which is only one of three in Wales to have a detached tower. There was a strong Roman presence here, based around Loughor (Leucarum) and the Rebecca Riots were centred on this area in the 1840s.
LLIW VALLEY RESERVOIRS. (From leaflet by Ioan Richard). 'Lliw' means colour and the red riverbed derives from iron oxide seeping from the iron-stone in the surrounding Pennant Sandstone. The need for Swansea to get a better supply of water in mid-Victorian times led to the construction of the Lower Reservoir between 1862 and 1867 but in 1873 it was found that a massive spring had ruptured the underlying rock and water was being lost at the rate of 500,000 gallons a day. Repairs led to some improvement but by 1883 there were problems with the mains, an earthenware pipe. It was decided to construct the Upper reservoir to top-up the limited capacity of the Lower one. The Lower reservoir was completely rebuilt in 1976. This reservoir is well stocked with fish but the Upper is too tainted by iron oxide to support fish.
Vale of Neath
An extensive set of photographs of the site can be found here. J.M.W. Turner painted a watercolour of Aberdulais Mill as did Henry Gastineau. Information on copper smelting can be found on G. Brian Wagstaffe's site. If you wish to visit the Falls check the National Trust site for opening times.
CILFREW COLLIERY The Cilfrew Colliery Company opened the Cilfrew level here in 1913 and by 1924 had 252 workers. The mine workings extend into Craig Gwladys mountain as far as the Cwmbach road (the road you walk down by the golf course). A dram road was constructed to join up with the old Torcefn dram road. The mine closed in 1932 because of rising water levels.
CRAIG GWLADYS COUNTRY PARK: The park is 1 mile long but rises 500 feet from 80 feet above sea level to 575 feet. The steep, rugged hillside was formed by glacial ice during the last Ice Age. The park has two series of high, vertical crags of massive Pennant limestone. The lower series runs SW from the new Penscynor housing development and the upper one runs the whole length of the park below the top boundary. The underlying rocks are part of the Upper Coal Measures of the Carboniferous system deposited around 300 million years ago. Two coal seams run roughly parallel to the central footpath or 'dram road', the Hughes or Wenallt seam and the thinner Garlant seam. The park has a mix of woodland from traditional sessile oak, rowan and birch to Japanese larch, the latter tending to thrive on colliery waste. Fauna and flora to be found in the park include purple hairstreak butterflies, great spotted and green woodpeckers, sparrowhawk, buzzard, raven, barn owl, pied flycatcher, wood warbler, meadow pipit, cuckoo, heron along with squirrels, badgers, foxes and the thin, acid soil supports heather, bilberry, tormentil, wood sorrel, herb robert and bluebell. (Local leaflet)
CRAIG GWLADYS HISTORY: The Pennant sandstone provided good building material and a disused quarry exists at the SW corner. The central footpath is a former dram road whereby coal won from the Hughes seam was transported away. The seam dips to the SW and was worked by drift mining. Levels were driven in to follow the seam upwards, ensuring the workings were well-drained. The colliery in the country park was the Gelliau colliery and you can see three collapsed adits in the hillside above the dram road. The stone structure in the photograph was connected with the screening and gravity loading of the coal. Further north from this point you come across stone abutments flanking the dram road. These supported a bridge whereby colliery waste from a drift in the slope above was taken to an extensive tip below the road. From the south end of the dram road a steep incline was constructed to allow the drams to be worked down to the Tennant canal by rope haulage. The weight of the filled drams descending was generally sufficient to haul the empty ones up, using a rope passing round a wheel at the top of the incline. A large embankment had to be constructed across the concave hillside to give the incline a steady gradient. The upper half of the incline has a gradient of 18% whilst the lower half eases to 11%. (Local leaflet).
GNOLL ESTATE: The name Gnoll derives from the wooded knoll which provides excellent views over Neath. Gnoll was the seat of the Evans family of Neath around the early 17th Century, David Evans being sheriff in 1632. His great grand-daughter married Sir Humphrey Mackworth, industrialist and MP, and brought the estate with her. Sir Herbert Mackworth had the main house built in 1776-8, the architect being John Johnson of Leicester. It had round corner towers in a Georgian castellated style and either replaced or was adapted from an earlier house in the classical style. The grounds were created in three phases, the first by Thomas Greening in the 1720s with bowling green, terrace and formal cascade, the second in the 1740s with a larger , more informal cascade and the third in the 1760s with the construction of the follies. For more on Gnoll click here.
On left, the original Gnoll House. On right, Gnoll House rebuilt.
IVY TOWER: A large two-storey stone summerhouse with a castellated effect. It was built around 1780 by John Johnson, architect of Gnoll House. Now partly ruined and unfortunately there is no public access to it.
MOSSHOUSE WOOD CASCADE: Constructed in the 1740s and created in the spirit of William Kent. The full height of the cascade is 180 ft. In the 18th Century special effects were created by letting the water build up at the top and then releasing it to create a noisy, dramatic torrent. The reservoir was built in 1889 to supply the increasing demand for water from Neath. It is now redundant.
PARSON'S FOLLY: This was the route of the Glyncorrwg Mineral Railway, more commonly known as Parson's Folly Tramroad. It was built by Charles Strange and Robert Parsons between 1839 and 1843, was 7.5 miles long and with 7 steep inclines. It linked the Blaen Cregan collieries near Glyncorrwg with the Neath Canal at the Aberdulais Basin. The line functioned from 1840 to 1861 but never recovered its costs and bankrupted Robert Parsons. More background on the railway can be found at G. Brian Wagstaffe's informative and pictorial site which also has other local information.