A superb series of waterfalls at the scenic end of the Neath valley - March 2006
The Waterfalls Walk Walks with a Camera
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 Mellte. 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!
Tramway remains - near Pont Nedd Fechan Cascades on the Pyrddin Sgwd Gwladus Horseshoe Falls on the Nedd Fechan Horseshoe Falls on the Nedd Fechan Lower Ddwli falls Sgwd Ddwli Sgwd Ddwli Bracket fungus beside the Nedd Fechan Take care! The ridge - view back to the Vale of Neath On the ridge - view to the Black Mountain National Park sign - Sgwd Clun Gwyn Sgwd Clun Gwyn Sgwd Clun Gwyn Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn Sgwd yr Eira Sgwd yr Eira - a tentative approach... Sgwd yr Eira - a successful (damp) crossing Behind the fall Behind the fall Back to the car park - Dinas Rock Back to Walks with a Camera Contact Geoff