A Place in History: NarrowBoat, Winter 2007

Hugh Potter

Ian L. Wright

In the first of a new series, Ian L Wright and Hugh Potter guide you round an area famous for its falls, waterwheel, aqueduct and canal junction

Aberdulais in West Glamorgan is a settlement lying in the Vale of Neath some two miles northeast of Neath town centre. The name Aberdulais means ‘confluence of the River Dulais’ and this small river, which joins the River Neath here, can be a destructive torrent in winter. Just above the confluence, it has a notable waterfall which has attracted artists and tourists since the 18th century, including J.M.W. Turner who painted sketches here in 1795. The power of the falls has long been harnessed to drive industry; it is known that as early as 1584 Queen Elizabeth’s Mines Royal Society brought copper smelting to this place, and the tinplate industry was busy here in the 19th century. Today, with its impressive waterwheel (the largest currently used in Europe to generate electricity), the site still welcomes visitors and is in the active care of the National Trust. But there is more to see than just the falls. Aberdulais is a meeting place of routes; several roads, two c…

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Aberdulais featured image