A superb series of waterfalls at the scenic end of the Neath valley - March 2006
Walks with a Camera © Geoff’s Pages 2011
Pont Nedd Fechan lies at the confluence of the
rivers Nedd Fechan and Mellte, these two being
augmented just a little way upstream by the
Pyrddin and the Hepste respectively. All four,
within a moderate radius of Pont
Nedd Fechan, offer spectacular
waterfalls, and can easily be visited
in a day by following the "Waterfalls
Walk". Do it clockwise, and the walking is easier -
the long descent from the moors above Sgwd yr
Eira would not be pleasant in reverse - and the real
highlight is left until last...
The path leaves Pont Nedd Fechan village along the route of an
old industrial tramway - the stone blocks which once acted as
sleepers are still in situ and visible in places. The line ran to a
gunpowder works and a silica mine, both long disused. Beyond
these, the Pyrddin joins the Nedd Fechan, and the exploration of
the waterfalls begins.
First real subject for our cameras was Sgwd
Gwladus, involving a short detour up the Pyrddin
and back. Time for lunch now - before heading on
up the Nedd Fechan valley, observing the many
signs warning of dangerous cliffs and and the perils
of falling into cold, deep, fast flowing rivers. Soon
we reached the Horseshoe falls, and above these
the Lower Ddwli falls, and finally Sgwd Ddwli, a
fine wide cascade at an angle across the river.
We're above the waterfalls now - the valley becomes altogether
gentler after the gorge, and soon we reached Pont Melin Fach,
where we left the Nedd Fechan to cross the ridge and descend to
The path joins the Mellte near the Sgwd Clun Gwyn, an interesting
fall with a shelf part-way down, along which the brave can
approach the fall (the rock was dry - I don't think I'd have tried it
in damp conditions...). The main route down the Mellte follows
the opposite bank, and the bridge is a little way upstream, so that
we had a second look at the fall before continuing on down to
Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn. The path up the Nedd Fechan would not be
beyond most walkers, however the route we followed now was
decidedly "interesting" - the lower falls are approached by a
narrow ledge path above the plunging water.
There are more falls on the Mellte - however the path to them
was not obvious, and time was ticking by, so we headed up from
the river towards the last fall, Sgwd yr Eira on the river Hepste.
The path descends steeply to the Hepste - the falls are
spectacular, but our route
onwards was not obvious. A
clear path rising steeply
from the foot of the fall on
the opposite bank offers a
clue - but I don't think my
colleagues were convinced until I'd successfully re-
emerged from behind the fall... (somewhat
damper, it must be said, due to the spray from the falling water).
I didn't think my camera would like the water, so it stayed in my
rucksack - so many thanks to Tim, who decided (on disappearing
behind the water) that it was worth the risk. The "behind" pictures
are his, not mine.
A very steep climb takes the path up to the
wooded, squelchy moorland - all that
remains is the 2-mile descent back to the
car park at Pont Nedd Fechan. What a great
walk - highly recommended!