Under two hours away from Bristol is a stunningly beautiful area with a group of waterfalls. Located in the upper areas of the Neath Valley in South Wales, Waterfall Country is situated on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Despite high numbers of visitors in peak season, the area – which has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – has managed to keep its beauty and natural tranquility. Last year, Neath Port Talbot Council was awarded more than £17m to help the area reach its potential, with part of the funding going towards creating visitor accommodation, a visitor hub with a public toilet and a farm/village shop.

The rivers Mellte, Hepste, Pyrddin and Nedd-fechan wind their way down deep, tree-lined gorges, over a series of dramatic waterfalls, before joining to form the River Neath. The Four Falls Trail, an uninterrupted circular walk, is a good way to explore the area, reports WalesOnline.

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The footpaths meander down tree-lined gorges, around four immense cascades and emerald moss, and through ancient woodlands. The dog-friendly walk starts either at Gwaun Hepste or Cwm Porth car parks, with the latter being a slightly easier walk.

All paths are managed by the National Park Authority and by Natural Resources Wales, meaning there are numbered signposts, coloured arrows directing the different trails, gravelled footpaths and hurdle fences guiding the way to the falls. The route from Cwm Porth is roughly six miles, taking around 3-4 hours and following a rural landscape of farmlands, narrow bridges and the Mellte River.

Sgwd Clun Gwyn waterfall
Sgwd Clun Gwyn waterfall

The easiest waterfall to access is Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, which is only 15 – rather uneven – steps to get to the viewpoint. Towering at nine metres, this is the smallest of the four waterfalls but it is still impressive.

From Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, the path takes walkers to Sgwd y Pannwr, but you must pass over 90 steps, following moss-covered boulders and wooden boardwalks. WalesOnline describes this waterfall as “the most charming” one.

The rapids at Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn waterfall
The rapids at Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn waterfall

Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn – the most remote part of the Four Falls Walk – can be reached via a wooden boardwalk from Sgwd y Pannwr. The fourth waterfall- Sgwd yr Eira – is also the largest.

The path down has 170 zig-zag steps, but there are also several picnic tables making it the perfect spot to have a rest.

Also in the area, just south of the Neath village of Resolven, off the A465, lies a breathtaking 80ft waterfall surrounded by beautiful bluebell-covered woodlands. Situated just outside of Waterfall Country, Melincourt Waterfalls Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve is sometimes overshadowed by other nearby natural attractions.

But located south of the national park, this is a hidden gem with lots to offer. Accessing Melincourt Waterfalls is fairly easy making it perfect for all ages and for those who don’t fancy a huge trek to see spectacular Welsh scenery.