You don’t need to look at a calendar to know it is autumn. Chilly evenings and rust-coloured leaves give it away. This time of year, we love nothing more than wrapping up warm and heading out on hikes around the country. One of Britain’s most glorious sights, Waterfall Country, is no more than a two-hour drive from Bristol (more likely an hour and a half).
Situated on the south-westerly edge of the Brecon Beacons (or Bannau Brycheiniog, as we should be calling it), the Vale of Neath in South Wales is well known for its unusually high number of waterfalls. Numerous rivers like the Mellte, Hepste, Nedd Fechan and Pyrddin flow through tree-lined gorges, cascading down breathtaking waterfalls near Bristol.
We won’t list all the waterfalls. There are far too many to even try. But many are probably deserving of their own write-up. You’ll find three of the grandest, most gorgeous and closest on the Afon Mellte. Sgwd Clun Gwyn (the ‘fall of the white meadow’), Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn (the ‘lower fall of the white meadow’) and Sgwd y Pannwr (the ‘fall of the woollen washer’) will keep you mesmerised for hours.
Meanwhile, Sgwd Yr Eira (‘falls of snow’) on the Afon Hepste is very famous as you can actually walk behind them! One of the best walks in the area, in fact, takes you around all four of these waterfalls. Start in Ystradfellte to take the Four Waterfalls Walk. If you want a Hollywood-level famous waterfall, however, you’ll have to visit Henrhyd Falls.
These falls were actually used in scenes for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises as Batman’s iconic hideout, the Batcave. Another stunning walk in Waterfall Country takes in the highest waterfall in South Wales and then leads you along the tranquil Nant Llech valley – starting at the National Trust car park near Coelbren.
One of our other favourite spots in Waterfall Country is Sgwd y Bedol on the Nedd Fechan. Translating to the ‘horseshoe falls’ (these names are amazing, right?), it is actually several falls flowing one into another. Then there’s Sgwd Einion Gam on the Afon Pyrddin arguably the most wonderful – but least accessible – waterfall in the area. Where the river drops 70 feet into a pool circled by moss.
You could honestly spend all day in Waterfall Country and barely scratch the surface of the astonishing waterfalls here. With over a hundred historic sites in the area – from hillforts to Roman roads and industrial buildings – there’s a neverending amount of things to discover. Repeat visits to Waterfall Country are a must, so feel blessed that it is so close to Bristol.
To learn more about visiting Waterfall Country head here.