Go for a walk

Whether you fancy a full-on hike or a gentle afternoon stroll, walking in Neath Port Talbot delivers very nicely. You can learn a little about one of our most celebrated actors and walk across a mighty aqueduct on the Richard Burton trail.

And there are several splendid country parks just made for leafy strolls through woodland and around lakes. Margam Country Park has waymarked trails through the estate and up to spectacular viewpoints. Keep your eyes peeled for sightings of the park's famous deer. The Gnoll Estate also has easy trails around ponds, past mysterious ruins and gushing cascades. Both parks have trail sections that are flat and ideal for buggies and wheelchairs.

cascade with people walking.
people stood on bridge over water.

Exploring the cascades and trails at Gnoll Estate

You can get up close to the natural world on a walk to one of the many waterfalls around the Neath valley. Or learn a little about the area's industrial history and see all sorts of birds and plants along the Neath, Tennant or Swansea canals.

Fancy a proper yomp? Head for the coast path to Swansea or along the Coed Morgannwg Way from Margam to Afan Forest Park with sparkling views out across Swansea Bay.

Read more: Walks around Neath Port Talbot

Hop on a bike

The epi-centre of mountain biking in NPT Afan Forest Park was created in the 1970s. With seven trails from 5 miles (7km) to 27 miles (40km) and a fun skills area it's ideal for bikers of all abilities.

The blue and red trails are great for improving skills, whilst black trail W2 has some of the most demanding descents in the UK. Younger riders will enjoy the Rheilffordd trail following the old railway route through the valley, whilst beginners can try the green rookie trail. Two visitor centres, Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre in Cynonville and the Mountain Bike Centre in Glyncorrwg, have cafés, parking, bike shops and toilets.

Family with two young children cycling along a forest trail.

Afan Forest Park is ideal for a family cycle

Nearby Margam Country Park has four marked biking trails. The green is a short gentle pedal around the pond and farm, perfect for kids so ideal for a family bike ride. The blue adds some climbs, bridges and rooty sections. The red and black trails, with zigzagging downhills through the forest, drop offs and severe descents are much more challenging, so you need to be an experienced rider to try them.

For road cyclists, the long distance Celtic Trail cycle route connects Aberavon beach to Swansea through Jersey Marine and the new Bay Campus of Swansea University, whilst the National Route 43 runs for 31 miles (51km) up the valleys from the coast to Coelbren following riverside paths, new purpose-built sections and old railway line. The 6.5 mile (10.5km) stretch along the canal towpath and old railway between Clydach and Ystalyfera is ideal for a family ride through peaceful woodland and beside the canal.

Explore the past

Neath Port Talbot's recent history is all about the Industrial Revolution with the coal dug from the valleys powering manufacturing both on the doorstep and across the globe.

The South Wales Miners' Museum, in Afan Forest Park digs deep into the story with volunteer ex-miners bringing the 'underground experience' to life and exhibits that include a blacksmith's shop, and engine house.

Exterior shot of museum with wheel and path and bench in foreground
Silhouette of a man looking inside and ancient stone walled dungeon

South Wales Miners' Museum and Neath Abbey

At the Neath Abbey Ironworks you can see two of the largest surviving 18th century blast furnaces and then walk along the nature trail to the waterfall. Right nearby, the moody ruins of Neath Abbey are some of the most impressive monastic remains in southeast Wales.

Read more: A perfect day out at Margam Country Park

Get active

Buckets and spades at the ready! Hit the beach at Aberavon and you'll find miles of golden sand sloping gently into the sea. It's great for sandcastles, Frisbees and of course a swim or surf. There are several nice cafés up on the promenade which is wide and flat, ideal for buggies, wheelchairs and younger cyclists. At the eastern end of the beach there's a dedicated section for surfers and kitesurfers. If you fancy learning to surf there are several surf schools here.

Boy running on a sandy beach with a big rainbow coloured kite
Boy climbing across net high in a tree wearing a safety harness
Two boys on paddleboards on a lake with an instructor

Having fun at Aberavon beach, Go Ape and Margam Country Park lakes.

Older kids who need to let off steam can head for Go Ape at Margam Country Park where the dizzying zipwires and tree canopy trails will keep them busy for hours. There are lots of watery actvities to try here on the lakes as well. Want to stretch their brains as well as their legs? Get them to try their map reading skills on an orienteering challenge at Gnoll Estate Country Park.

And if you're still not tired out, a number of outdoor adventure providers in NPT offer more full-on adrenaline thrills like careering through woodlands on quad bikes, canyoning and rock climbing and 4x4 rallying.

Read more: Top places for food and drink in Neath Port Talbot

More information

Visit the NPT tourism website The Dramatic Heart of Wales to find out more about the area. Or get involved on social media:

Distant rear view of cyclist riding on a track between large trees

Riding the trails in Afan Forest Park

Related stories