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Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre, near Port Talbot

Walking trails, world class mountain biking and family cycle routes just a few miles from the M4

Visitor Centre at Afon Forest Park

Overview

Afan Forest Park lies just a few miles from Port Talbot within easy access of the M4.

The forest park nestles on the slopes of the Afan Valley which is one of the narrowest and most beautiful valleys in Wales.

A valley with an industrial past

The Afan Valley is rich in history. From early monastic estates, the landscape developed into a farming area and later a coal mining valley.

The last mine closed in 1970 and the area was designated as a forest park in 1972 because of its great walking potential.

Nowadays, waymarked trails criss-cross the valleys and hillsides through the forest, passing by abandoned mines, former tramways and disused railways.

Exploring Afan Forest Park

You can explore Afan Forest Park by following forest tracks and roads on foot or by bicycle.

Natural Resources Wales manages a number of waymarked walking trails which start from Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre (see below) and from the car park at Rhyslyn.

Afan Forest Park is the fastest-growing mountain bike area in Britain. Natural Resources Wales manages a range of mountain bike trails that are suitable for everyone from beginners to expert mountain riders.

There is a network of bridleways in Afan Forest Park, some of which you need a permit to access. Please contact us to find out more about horse riding in Afan Forest Park or to apply for a permit.

Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre

Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre is run by Neath Port Talbot Council.

The visitor centre offers:

  • café
  • picnic areas
  • camping pitches (tents only)

The South Wales Miners Museum is located within the visitor centre (there is an entry charge to the museum).

The Afan Valley Bike Shed is adjacent to the visitor centre and offers bike hire, a repair and servicing workshop and the sale of bikes and parts.  

See the Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre website for more information on facilities at the visitor centre and opening times.

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

Please see the Afan Forest Park walking updates for the latest information.

Our mountain bike ranger produces a regular update of any closures or diversions on the mountain bike trails. Please go to the Afan Forest Park mountain biking page to view or download the latest MTB trail update.

Walking trails

All of the walking trails are waymarked and start from Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre.

Old Parish Road Walk

One and a quarter miles, 2 kilometres

The Old Parish Road Walk follows part of the ancient trackway that was the main means of transport in the valley until it fell into disuse in 1920. There are seats and tables along the way to enjoy the views. The walk returns to the visitor centre on the former railway line (which is now part of the Afan Valley Cycleway/Sustrans Route 887).

River and Railway Walk

3 miles, 4.8 kilometres

The River and Railway Walk descends into the valley and crosses the River Afan before climbing steeply to the old railway line. It passes a sealed railway tunnel entrance, which was designed and built by Brunel, and then returns to the visitor centre via a picnic area by the river.

Gyfylchi Ridgetop Trail

6 miles, 9.5 kilometres

The Gyfylchi Ridgetop Trail crosses the River Afan and climbs through woodlands to the hilltop. This is 1000 feet above sea level and there are panoramic views of the valley. The trail then goes past two sets of ruins – Nant y Bar Farm and  the 18th century Gyfylchi Chapel, once a shrine to Welsh Methodism – before it descends to the car park.  

Mountain biking trails

There are six mountain biking trails from Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre, ranging from a family cycleway to a black-graded (severe) trail for experienced riders:

  • Family trail - Rheilffordd
  • Green (easy) trail - Rookie
  • Blue (moderate) trail – Blue Scar
  • Red (difficult) trails – Penhydd; Y Wal
  • Black (severe) trail –  W2

For more information, see Mountain biking in Afan Forest Park.

Accessibility information

Facilities at Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre include:

  • disabled parking
  • wheelchair access to the visitor centre and cafe
  • disabled toilets

Find out more

Opening times

Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre is run by Neath Port Talbot Council.

See their website for opening times. 

How to get here

Download the location map.

Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre is six miles from junction 40 of the M4, near Port Talbot.

The OS grid reference is SS 820 950.

There is access to and from Sustrans Route 887 from Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre.

Neath Port Talbot Council manages the car park. There is a charge for parking and a season ticket is available.

Directions

Take junction 40 from the M4 onto the A4107. After six miles, Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre is signposted, near the village of Cwmafan.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Port Talbot.

For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru

Contact details

Natural Resources Wales

Tel: 0300 065 3000

Email: enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk 

Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre - run by Neath Port Talbot Council

Tel: 01639 850564

Email: afanforestpark@npt.gov.uk

Related document downloads

Afan Forest Park Location map PDF [185.1 KB]
Afan Forest Park Walking Trails Update Issued: October 2017 PDF [746.2 KB]

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