National Trust Cymru announce reopening of Aberdulais in partnership with St Giles Cymru
- 01 February 2024
Aberdulais Tinworks and Waterfall in the heart of the Neath Valley will reopen today, Thursday 1 February, and entry will be free of charge for everyone. The reopening also marks the beginning of a new partnership with St Giles Cymru, who will use the historic location for a Green Community Training, Heritage & Wellbeing Hub for people facing the greatest adversity.
Aberdulais is one of Britain’s earliest industrial sites, and from February all visitors are welcomed back to explore over 400 years of history. Cared for by National Trust Cymru the waterfall, waterwheel and tinworks will be open to the public 10.30am to 3.30pm on Thursdays and Fridays initially. Additional opening days are planned for later in the year with the conservation charity also engaging with local schools, groups and community groups to give them beneficial access to Aberdulais outside of opening hours.
Throughout the centuries Aberdulais became a centre of industrial pioneering powered by water from the spectacular Aberdulais Falls, first with the creation of copper, textiles then iron and finally tin. Today, it is that tinplate era that is brought back to life, following over 30 years of restoration and conservation work by National Trust Cymru since becoming custodians in 1980.
Situated on the edge of Waterfall Country in the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park, the waterfall at Aberdulais is the only accessible one in the area. Flowing through a rocky gorge, the River Dulais is an awesome force when in full flow and a haven for wildlife and birds, with dippers and herons in regular sight.
After a temporary closure due to Covid 19 restrictions, followed by months of essential conservation works to stabilise the rockface and structural support of river-facing walls, staff and volunteers are now ready to open Aberdulais to the public again.
National Trust Cymru’s Director, Lhosa Daly said: “We are delighted to reopen Aberdulais in partnership with St Giles Cymru for everyone to experience and enjoy. The completed restoration works ensure that this gem of Welsh industrial history is here for generations to come. We look forward to welcoming people from the local community and further afield to enjoy Aberdulais, it’s green spaces and historic past.”
The reopening marks the start of a new chapter for Aberdulais as National Trust Cymru partner with St Giles Cymru, an award-winning social justice charity. St Giles Cymru will use some of the buildings and wider site at Aberdulais to enable their work in helping people facing the greatest adversity to realise a positive future.
Lhosa continues: “Together, National Trust Cymru and St Giles Cymru will reach more communities and benefit more people. We are honoured that this award willing organisation has partnered with us to reimagine this important and historic site.“
Over the next 12 months, St Giles will develop a plan for reaching more communities and people across Wales through Aberdulais. Their aim is to create an innovative Green Community Training, Heritage and Wellbeing Hub, providing a unique volunteering support network and training programme for young people and adults adversely affected by poverty, exploitation, abuse, mental health and crime.
Using their award-winning, lived experience peer led model to empower local people who are not getting the help they need, the project will create Green Community Champions, build community resilience, reduce barriers to employment, education and volunteering by working with local communities and employers to upskill local people, host work placements and organise community events.
Tracey Burley, CEO of St Giles adds: “We are delighted to enter into this partnership with National Trust Cymru, and hope this will be the start of a long-lasting relationship. We are looking forward to working together on this historic and beautiful site, to combine the power of green spaces, education, practical training and support to empower members of the local community who have faced the greatest adversity to build positive futures.”
Whilst offering their core services onsite St Giles Cymru are also planning to assist with the ongoing care and maintenance of Aberdulais, helping to ensure a sustainable future for the site.
With Aberdulais open again National Trust Cymru are looking for volunteers to join those who already help care for the site. Opportunities available include welcoming visitors, looking after the book shop, which will open a few hours each week, caring for the green spaces and engaging people in the many fascinating stories Aberdulais has to tell. To find out more, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/support-us/volunteer or email email@example.com
Before visiting Aberdulais please check the Trusts’ website as opening times and days may vary: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/aberdulais
To find out more about services offered by St Giles Cymru go to: www.stgilestrust.org.uk
Discover how Aberdulais Tinworks and Waterfall has been at the heart of Welsh industry when a German engineer chose it as a secret location for smelting copper.
The waterfall at Aberdulais truly is a force of nature. Whether it's a torrent or a trickle, it always looks beautiful. Discover more about its historic past and what to see during your visit.