Local history

The Afan Valley has seen human occupation for thousands of years. Evidence of this can be seen in a number of standing stones and cairns high on the valley sides.

Blaengwynfi was built between 1892-93 following the building of the Swansea Bay Railway allowing coal to be transported down the valley to Port Talbot and Aberavon. These houses were built for workers of the companies who owned the railway or sunk coal pits in the district.

The Rhondda tunnel which is 1,340 metres long, was built in 1890, and it was the longest tunnel in Wales at the time and took three years to build. The tunnel was cut from both ends at the same time, resulting in a kink in the middle where they didnt quite match up.
In order to get into the Rhondda valley now you have to take the A4107 over the mountain towards Treorchy. On a clear day you can see down to the coast and up to the Brecon Beacons.
With closure of the Afan Colliery in the late 1960’s population and pollution started to decline and conversely, the natural environment started to recover.

The area is gradually regaining the natural beauty it enjoyed before the Industrial Revolution, a process helped by the cycle and walking trails along the Afan Valley and into forest and mountains on all sides.