Waterfalls of the Vale of Neath

15 October 2020

09:30 - 17:30

Vale of Neath
Opposite the Angel Inn
Pontneathvaughan Road
United Kingdom
SA11 5NR


Images (c) Sarah Howard




"I cannot call to mind a single valley that in the same extent of country comprises so much beautiful and picturesque scenery and so many interesting and special features as the Vale of Neath."

That’s what the famous 19th Century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace wrote when he first experienced the Vale of Neath. He summed it up pretty well. The ‘special features’ he refers to are the series of beautiful and dramatic waterfalls blessing this valley. There is nowhere in Wales with as many spectacular waterfalls in such a small area as this part of South Wales known as 'Waterfall Country'. Here, the rivers Mellte, Hepste and Neddfechan have worn away the soft rocks to create steep wooded gorges full of caves and waterfalls. These beautiful secluded woodlands on the southern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, contain a series of picturesque tumbling streams and falls. Each with their own unique character, these falls are some of the loveliest we have encountered and offer potential for some wonderful photography. Cool in summer, wreathed in myths and fringed with ferns, there’s something truly magical about them. Cascading down steep-sided gorges, they add a delightful extra dimension to the woodland. 

Together we will follow the Elidir Trail along the River Nedd Fechan, taking in the falls enroute. Sgwd Gwladus (Lady Falls), with its delicate cascade is one of the most beautiful. We will also take in Sgwd-y-Bedol (the Horseshoe Falls), shaped in several levels of semi-circular ledges. A little further upstream the water cascades over Sgwd Ddwli Isaf and Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf (the Lower and Upper Gushing Falls) which after heavy rain, truly live up to their name. We will also visit nearby Melincourt Falls; a spectacular 80 feet (24 m) high waterfall and known to have inspired J. M. W. Turner to paint them in 1794. 
This is the ideal workshop if you are looking to master the capture of water. 

Accessibility – there will be some uphill walking and possibly slippery surfaces, possibility of mud.

Lunch arrangements - bring a packed lunch, drinks and snacks.

Clothing and equipment - please bring / wear:

  • Waterproof walking boots, or wellies if wet/ you wish to walk in the river,
  • waterproof jacket, & trousers, fleece.
  • Camera, tripod, lenses,
  • remote/cable release, memory cards, charged batteries, polarising filter, ND filters - suggest 0.4 as a minimum, a Little Stopper may be useful but not essential, soft graduated filter - suggest 0.6 or 0.9 (not essential)

This will be a category C event with up to 6 participants.   Participants may be asked to provide information about their experience and equipment to the tutor prior to the event.

Parking is free of charge on the roadside - do not park in the pub car park else you will be clamped.

Mark Reeves
Email the event organiser

Region: South WalesGroup(s): Landscape