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Glyn-Neath Gunpowder Works, Pontneddfechan

Glyn-Neath Gunpowder Works, Pontneddfechan

An engineering marvel in its heyday!

Nestled in the heart of this valley, 100 years ago, was a thriving Gunpowder works.  It was the first explosives factory in Wales and well placed to become a major player in the lucrative, and nationally important, blasting powder market for mines and quarries.

Today, the factory buildings are crumbling and the leats and tramways have all but vanished.  The stories of the men and women that spent their working day here, the friendships forged and families sustained will soon will be lost from living memory.

As part of our ‘Explosive Times Project’ funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund the most significant structures will be conserved, native woodland plants will be given a helping hand and stories of one of the most extraordinary workplaces told.

During this conservation work the tramway may be closed for short periods of time. We look forward to welcoming you back in Spring 2020 to see the conserved buildings and new interpretation.


An engineering marvel in its heyday!

Harnessing the fast flowing power of the river Mellte, the former Gunpowder works made and supplied Gunpowder to the quarries and mines of South Wales.   Transforming the lives and fortunes of those that lived and worked there it’s a story of innovation, ambition and success.

Today the site is a tranquil wooded valley, rich in lush ferns and mosses and home to an amazing variety of bat species.  A pleasant stroll along the former tramroad reveals the curious ruins of buildings, tunnels, leats, weirs and waterwheels.  These are all that remain after the purposeful destruction of the site when the works closed in 1931.

As many of these structures are in a perilous state of decay we are currently carrying out emergency consolidation and conservation works as part of our ‘Explosive Times Project’ funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.   The majority of the site will remain open for the duration of the project and you are welcome to get involved  and join us as we uncover more about the men and women who worked here, the intriguing ‘anti-explosion’ health and safety measures and the contribution the industry made to the industrialisation of South Wales.

Plan your visit to the Gunpowder works

Nearest town or village

Pontneddfechan, Glynneath

Maps and guides

The Gunpowder Trail is one of 11 walks in the Waterfall Country Walks Pack that can be purchased from our on line shop.

Explorer Map OL 12 or Landranger Map 160

Grid reference: SN 911079


The village of Pontneddfechan has several pubs and cafes.


A free car park at Craig y Ddinas / Dinas Rock is owned and managed by Natural Resources Wales.


Public toilets are located at the centre of Pontneddfechan village

The Powder Trail

This audio trail, produced by Natural Resources Wales, reveals what life was like working at the Gunpowder Works . Click here to download it as an mp3 file.

Learn more about the Gunpowder works story


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