Exploring Neath Port Talbot, Wales on foot

Neath Port Talbot.

Neath – Port Talbot ( Welsh : Castell-nedd Port Talbot ) is a county town and one of the unitary areas of government in Wales . Its main towns are Neath , Port Talbot and Pontardave .

Neath-Port Talbot is the eighth most populous area in Wales and the third most populous area in the county. The population at the 2011 census was 139,812. The population of the coastal areas is mostly English speaking, while the valleys to the north of the town have many Welsh speaking people.

The p – n area is bordered with main destinations in Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taf to the east, Powys and Carmarthenshire to the north and Swansea to the west.

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Geography

The local government area extends from the coast to the boundary of the Brecon Beacons National Park . Most of the land is upland or semi-highland, and 43% is forested with large conifer stands in the uplands. Much of the lowland plain is near the coast around Port Talbot. An extensive dune system stretches along much of the coast, punctuated by river mouths and development areas. Areas of highland cut through five valleys: Vale Nita , Dulais Valley , Afan Valley , Swansea Valley (or Tawe Valley), Upper Amman Valley .

Modern settlement patterns reflect the industrial history of the region with the development of cities in the flatter parts of the valleys and some parts of the coast. The largest town is Neath with a population of 47,020, followed by Port Talbot (35,633), Britton-Ferry (7,186), Pontardave (5,035) and Glynnite (4,368). Most of the population lives on the coastal plain around Port Talbot and on land around the Neath River around Neath. Many of the area’s major towns are in the Swansea Metropolitan Area .

Demographics

The region’s population peaked in the 1930s. Census data shows that in 1931 the population was 151,563. The population declined steadily throughout the rest of the 20th century. In 2001, the population was 134,471. In the 1990s, most areas of the region had declined or changed little, with the exception of Brinkoch South and Margam, where the population grew by 47.29% and 41.36%, respectively. Local councils estimate that the population increased in the 2000s.

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Government and Politics

As of April 1, 1996, Neath – Port – Talbot was created from the former districts in Neath , Port – Talbot and part of the Lliw Valley . The name change occurred the next day. During the reorganization, many locals expected Neath and Port Talbot districts to become separate unitary governments, and when the new government was announced, there were protests.

Local Government.

The entire Neath-Port Talbot area was once part of West Glamorgan County, which in turn was part of historic Glamorgan County . Since the 1996 reorganization of local government, Neath Port Talbot has been governed by the Neath Port Talbot County City Council.

Neath Port Talbot is a strong citadel of Labor, who have been in power since the formation of government in 1996.

Welsh politics.

The unitary authority consists of two whole districts :

  • Aberavon , current MS is David Reece , Labor since 2011.
  • Neath , current MS is Jeremy Miles , Labor since 2016.

United Kingdom Politics.

  • Aberavon , current MP – Stephen Kinnock , Labor since 2015.
  • Neath , current MP – Christine Rees , Labour Party since 2015.

Economy and Industry.

In 1991 Neath & Port Talbot was a separate commuting area (though with different boundaries compared to the current county area), but in the 2001 revision the area was merged into the broader commuting area of Swansea Bay .

In June 2008, economic activity and employment levels in Neath Port Talbot were below the Welsh average. However, earnings for full-time workers were higher than the Welsh or British average.

Manufacturing accounts for more than 22% of jobs in the county, compared to less than 14% in Wales as a whole; just under 70% of local jobs are service-related, compared to the Welsh average of nearly 80%. Tata is the largest employer, with about 3,000 employees (though its predecessor employed 12,600 in 1979); other major employers include General Electric , Hi-Lex Cable Systems Ltd (closing in 2021), the recently closed TRW Steering Systems, Envases (UK) Ltd, Crown Food UK & Ireland, Toyoda Koki, Sofidel , Cornelius Electronics, Excel Electronics Assemblies and Tedeco.

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Port Talbot is also the site for Nita Port Talbot Hospital, which is located on Baglan Way, Port Talbot.

Education

The Neath Port Talbot Local Council is the education authority in the area that manages the primary and secondary schools in the district. The local education authority runs 6 pre-schools, 6 elementary school, 56 elementary school, 11 secondary schools and 3 special schools.

Additional education in Neath Port Talbot is provided by a number of educational institutions. St. Joseph Catholic School and the Port Talbot Sixth Grade Center and Ysgol Gifun Istalifera have a traditional sixth grade setting. NPTC Group operates from several sites in the county. The largest sites are located in Neath, Port Talbot, and Pontardawe.

The first dedicated higher education site in Neath-Port Talbot opened in 2015 when Swansea University opened its science and innovation campus in Crimlin-Burrows .

The University of South Wales has a campus located at Baglan Energy Park in Port Talbot. The Baglan campus is home to the Center for Renewable Hydrogen Research and Development.

A separate daily edition of the South Wales Evening Post is published for the Neath Port Talbot area. The publisher, Reach plc, also publishes a free weekly newspaper, the Neath Port Talbot Courier, which is published in the Thursday edition of the South Wales Evening Post. The local council publishes a quarterly magazine, The Spirit of Community. published and co-funded with seven other public sector partners.

The community radio station is XS, broadcasting on both Neath (97.4) and Port Talbot (107.9). Nation Radio briefly broadcast to the broader South Wales region from studios in Neath, but is now based in Cardiff. The county area is within the local commercial radio license areas for CHR -formatted station 96.4 Waves , its soft Adult Contemporary sister station Greatest Hits Radio South Wales and Contemporary Adult -oriented Swansea Bay Radio . Neath Port Talbot is also within the Heart South Wales license area , available on 106FM Swansea.

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Twinning

Neath Port Talbot has been twinned :

Neath Port Talbot ended all twinning relationships in 2015 for financial reasons.

Exploring Neath Port Talbot, Wales on foot

Located between Cardiff and Swansea on the south coast of Wales, Neath Port Talbot is a great county for hiking. Discover leafy countryside, tranquil canals, rushing waterfalls and a fascinating industrial heritage.

Richard Burton Trail.

One of the most famous actors Richard Burton was born in Pontrhydiphen, in the Afan Valley. The Richard Burton Trail is an easy walk through this pretty village located at the confluence of two rushing rivers. It’s about 5.4 miles (8.8 km) long, and you’ll also walk along the huge Grade II-listed Bont Fawr Aqueduct.

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Richard Burton Trail

As you walk, you’ll find informational panels with information about the actor, his childhood and career, and the remains of former coal mines that are now a haven for wildlife.

Swansea Valley from Pontardau to Istalifer

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Swansea Valley from Pontardau to Istalifer

What could be more enjoyable than a walk by the river that follows the route of National Bike Route 43, which means it’s flat and smooth, so it’s wheelchair or wheelchair accessible. This is a distance of just over 4 miles (7 km) along the Tau River between Pontardau and Istalifera . Note the large birds sitting on the rocks on the riverbank, imperial dragonflies flying over the water. Both towns are perfectly located for a bite to eat in either town, and you can take the Cymru Clipper bus back.

Afan Forest Park

Afan Forest Park occupies a huge area of forest rugged with biking and hiking trails.

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Afan Forest Park

The Gyfylchi Ridgetop Trail is just under 7 miles (10.5 km) and is quite steep in places. It begins with an easy walk along the Afan River. A steep climb through forest and a babbling brook takes you to the ruins of Nant y Bar Farm . Then you’ll walk along the top of the ridge, which offers stunning views of Swansea Bay and Mumbles. There are also several shorter marked hiking trails – the smallest is only 1 mile (1.8 km).

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Melincourt Falls

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Melincourt Falls.

The splashing stream of water overflowing about 80 feet (24 m) is a breathtaking spectacle. So much so, in fact, that the famous painter J. M. W. Turner painted it to the 17th century. Turner painted it in 1794. The surrounding terrain is very unusual-a narrow gorge studded with gnarled oaks, birches, and alders, and ancient cliffs covered with lush ferns and mosses. In spring it is crumbled in a carpet of wild flowers. The creek walk to the falls is less than 2 miles (3 km) round trip . The best time to see the falls is during the winter months, when there is more rainfall.

Wales Coastal Trail from Swansea to Port Talbot

For a 14.5-mile (19.5 km) day hike, take the Welsh Coastal Trail between Swansea and Port Talbot.

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Wales Coastal Trail from Swansea to Port Talbot

Starting at Pilot House Wharf in Swansea’s Maritime Quarter, you’ll follow the Tennant Canal Trail. The walk takes you along wetlands and through woodlands. You’ll also see the Brunel Dock Battery Tower, built by famed engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel , the old Briton Ferry dock. From here you can walk down the estuary to the sand dunes at Baglan Burrows and the wide sands of Aberavon Beach.

From Resolve to Glynnith along the Neath Canal

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From Resolve to Glynnite on the Neath Canal

The Neath Canal runs right through Neath, you can walk the trail in both directions. There are information boards at key locations. For a longer walk, head north up the valley to Resolve. From here to Glynnite and back 5.4 miles (8.7 km) is a pleasant, flat walk along the fairway with several locks along the way and plenty of birdwatching opportunities. When you reach the old lime kilns, take a look around, then turn back and retrace your steps.

Monk’s Trail at Margham Country Park

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Monk’s Trail at Margham Country Park

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There’s plenty to do at Margam Country Park, including a historic mansion, playground, lakes and an urban farm. There are also designated trails through quiet woodlands. The Monastery Trail is 2.5 miles (4 km) and takes you around an Iron Age settlement, past the quiet waters of a pond and the ruins of Creek Mill, and then to the ruins of the medieval Hen Eglvis Church. The views reach Somerset and Devon on a clear day. The road down through the woods is quite steep, so be careful.

Sgvd Gwladus Falls

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Sgvd Gwladus Falls.

This beautiful stretch of shady forest and rocky ledges is full of birds flitting around ancient trees. The culmination of this 2.5-mile (4 km) walk is the spectacular Sgwd Gwladus Falls. The Sgwd Gwladus Trail follows a route that was once used by horse-drawn carts transporting flintstone from 19th-century mines. You can still see one near the trail. Other sights include a double mill used by farmers to grind corn. Note one of the mill stones on the bank above the trail.

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