Garnant from Cwm to Cwm
A Black Mountain landscape shaped by ancient forces and human settlement.
A reasonably easy walk through the western part of Fforest Fawr Geopark, offering some fascinating glimpses of the area’s geological history.
Need to know
Length: 5 miles (8km)
Time: 2 to 3 hours
Start and finish: Car park in Garnant, near Brynamman
OS map ref: SO 686134
OS map: Explorer OL12 (1:25 000 series)
Facilities: Parking, pub and shop in Garnant
Along the way
Ruined buildings and settlements
The southern slopes of the Black Mountain are littered with the remains of former dwellings. Keep your eyes peeled as you walk and you’ll see traces of structures dating from as far back as the Bronze Age through to medieval times and beyond.
The 393m peak of Drysgol is one of the area’s more instantly noticeable geological and landscape features. Its slopes are formed from sandstone sometimes known as Farewell Rock, an unusual name that derives from this part of the National Park’s industrial past. If a miner encountered this type of sandstone in the course of his work, it meant that he could say goodbye to finding any more workable coal deposits beyond that particular strata.
As the path descends into Cwm Berach it follows the line of the Tŷ Llwyd Fault, along which rocks have been displaced downwards to the west. The movement of the rocks on either side of the fault would once have generated earthquakes. Don’t expect the ground to shake these days though – the fault has not been active for thousands of years.
Hen Bethel Chapel
Built in 1773, Hen Bethel Chapel was once a focal point for the people of the Amman valley. Perched on the side of the mountain, the chapel’s location seems somewhat remote today – but this was not always the case. The road between Neath and Llandeilo originally went past its front door, making it easily accessible to local worshippers. However, when the new turnpike road through Cwmaman was opened in 1817 congregations began to dwindle, with services ceasing in 1864.
For a full route description, please click here.