Valley and Canal

Section from Town Centre to Aberdulais

 The Neath Canal  was commenced in 1791.
It initially ran from just below Neath Town centre ( Brickfield) to Abernant at Glynneath; a distance of about 10 miles.The work was contracted in sections; the Ynysarwed Section being given to Mr. Lewis Griffiths, the Agent to the Ynysarwed Estate.
This image is from near the Town centre. This area has been reconstructed. The bridge shown replaced the old bridge near Gold Street. 
Canal at Neath

This basin is a modern widening of the canal at the Town . 
The building centre picture is the "Society of Friends " Meeting House. It was constructed in 1799 on land which was part of the Neath Castle which can be seen behind. A small burial "garden" is attached to the Meeting House. The headstones which commemorate many of Neath`s famous Quakers have been positioned around the garden.
Quaker Meeting House
Neath River at the Town Centre looking NE up the valley. The Canal runs close to the East bank for about 5 miles before crossing the River at Ynysbwllog
In 1798 an extension was sanctioned to take the canal southwards to Giant`s Grave at Briton Ferry. The Canal was then about 13 miles long and included a total of 19 locks along its length. 
Neath was to decline as a Port from this time with Briton Ferry expanding.
River Neath from Town
Canal Towpath at Tonna

  Approaching lockhouse at Tonna. On the left bank opposite the house are the Tonna Workshops where canal boats were repaired. The last canalboat to be built here was completed in the 1940`s and was built on the bank to the left of picture.

Approaching Tonna Lock
Tonna Lockhouse

  This image looking back towards the house. The top gate of the lock has been bricked up so that water cannot pass this point. The lock is presently empty and clean water is being pumped into the lower canal from the river.

Tonna Lockhouse
In 1816/17 Mr George Tennant of Cadoxton Lodge extended and improved a  disused canal to join the Neath River at Briton Ferry to a new Dock at Swansea. Seven years later, despite Engineering difficulties and the opposition of landowners and the Neath Canal  Company, he had completed The Tennant Canal which joined the Neath Canal at Aberdulais to the docks at Swansea. This image shows the basin where the two canals join. The bridge "Pontgam " or crooked bridge carries the Neath Canal towpath coming in from the right. Aberdulais Basin
To connect with the Neath Canal an aquaduct was needed to carry the Tennant canal across the River Neath. Built by William Kirkhouse the aquaduct (front of picture) is now empty and in recent years has needed some "shoring up". It stands head on to the full force of the River Neath coming from the left and the Dulais River coming from behind camera position. This picture taken in 2002 also shows the Railway Viaduct built around 1850  Aberdualis Aquaduct
Tennant Canal Lockhouse
This is the only lock on the Tennant Canal (apart from the sea locks at Red Jacket and Swansea Docks). This section of canal leads into the Aquaduct and then on to the basin joining with the Neath Canal.
Alexander Cordell`s book - Song of the Earth -  is set around a Canal Boat family who travel around the coast from Cardiff before entering the Tennant canal at Red Jacket and then moving up to Resolven. At Aberdulais they meet the occupiers of Lockhouse , Mrs Mortymer and her daughter - " Welsh dark and beautiful , this pair, and with a fine dignity, their black hair flowing free as they ran the wheel ".
Tennant Canal Lockhouse
Canalside Aberdulais
Canalside Aberdulais

  Section 1   -    Up to Aberdulais

  Section 2   -    Aberdulais to Resolven Bankhouse

  Section 3   -    Crugau Lock to Aberclwyd
  Section  4 -     Ynys yr Allor to Glynneath