Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes
& local information
Webmaster, Angus McDonald.
Last updated 18/03/02
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Circular Walk around the Gnoll Estate, Neath
This short circular walk of 4 miles, 6.5 kilometres, is around the little-known Gnoll Estate Country Park in Neath. The 200 acre Gnoll Estate dates from the Eighteenth Century and much of what you see derives from that time. The Visitor Centre has a cafe and toilets as well as a display showing the historical background. The going is easy with one short ascent by the cascades. Car parking and entry to the Country Park is free.
OS Explorer Map 165, Grid Ref. 766976
For a map to get you to the start of the walk click here.
Looking back to the start from, left, the end of the pond and, right, the centre of the park
From the Visitor Centre head along the path with the lake on your left. At the junction of paths turn right with views out over the Vale of Neath. Where paths diverge near the trees head right onto rough track and then left after 20 yards. Go between two stone uprights and after 15 yards drop down the steps to the right to view the old Ice House. Return to the path and turn right to resume your original direction passing a metal direction signpost. Beyond you will find the ruins of the original Gnoll House. Return to the metal signpost closest to the Ice House and turn left on the lower path that descends through the trees. (11 mins)
Left, crocuses and the steps down to the Ice House. Right, the foundations of the old house
Where the path forks, keep right down a narrow path. At the bottom, by a house and a junction of paths, turn left with a stream on your right. As you approach a small waterfall head left up some wooden steps onto a track - turn right to meet a road and then right along the road with a pond on your left. Head round the pond and take the track to the left that passes a metal barrier. The track widens and heads through beech trees. (20 mins).
Go over a stone bridge with the stream crossing underneath and at a junction of paths head left, going uphill with wooden bridges off to the right. Go to the left of a large metal tank, maintaining the high ground and taking care of the odd landslip. You will soon see a field just on your left. As you get to the end of the field take the path which goes to the left, a stony track which starts to descend gently with stream on left. (40 mins).
The track reaches a stone wall. Take the stile to the left of the wall and right of the path and head along another path with stream on right. On meeting a junction of streams the path bends to the left. Follow this but after 30 yards take the path dropping down through the trees to the right keeping close to the stream. Cross a stone bridge over this stream and head back up a path in the opposite direction to that which you have just taken, keeping to the right-hand path. At the top the path curves to the left. Head along this level path with stream on right. After a while steps to the right take you up to the Half House. When you see a bridge across the stream to the right take it along a narrow path which heads up into the trees. (1 hr 5 mins).
The Half House
The path winds through the trees with logs on the left of the path and crosses two wooden bridges. As you emerge with stone wall on right keep ahead with Mosshouse Wood Reservoir on your left following the path that skirts the pond. You soon pass a small waterfall on right but continue along the path until you see Mosshouse Wood Cascades - a series of artificial waterfalls. (1 hr 15 mins).
Left, the Cascades. Right, viewpoint from the top with the Ivy Tower in the distance. For a closer view of the Ivy Tower go to the Aberdulais walk route.
The path crosses a stream by a picnic table. Turn right and head up the path which zig-zags closest to the cascades on your right. At the top fork right to a viewing platform. Continue along the path to cross the stream. Before you start to descend look across to see the Ivy Tower. Follow the path downhill with the occasional yellow arrow painted on the trees. Keep left when you see a concrete bridge to the right. By the reservoir the path drops down via some wooden steps. Turn left to retrace your steps along the log-lined path, turning left at the bottom until you get back to the Half House, now on your left. Opposite this take the path that drops down through the trees to the right. At the bottom the path curves left skirting the Guinea Pond to your right. At the end of the pond take the path that goes straight ahead alongside a stream. Turn right over a concrete bridge, heading downhill through the trees to emerge by the car park and Visitor Centre. (1 hr 50 mins).
Map of Walk