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Visiting the waterfall at Aberdulais

View of the Waterfall at Aberdulais Tin Works, South Wales 
View of the Waterfall at Aberdulais Tin Works | © Bethan Brooks

The torrent of water running through the Dulais Valley has been the driving force for over 400 years of industrial innovation. Visit the picturesque surroundings at Aberdulais’s waterfall, a haven for wildlife and native plants and anyone keen to explore.

History of the waterfall at Aberdulais

The River Dulais rises below the slopes of Mynydd y Drum in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. The waterway flows down the Dulais, south-west through the villages of Seven Sisters and Crynant before cascading over the Aberdulais waterfall. Here it joins the River Neath close to the tidal reaches near Tonna.

An ice age beginning

The gorge in which the river and waterfall now lie was formed about 20,000 years ago. As a glacier further up the valley melted, the resulting melt water slowly cut its way down through the 300-million-year-old rock. This can be seen on the west side of the gorge today.

Sandstone and coal

The rock is Pennant sandstone, which is a severely compressed bed of sand. Beneath it is a layer of coal, that’s been gradually eroded by the flowing water, allowing the rock above to collapse and form the Falls as we see them today.

Originally the Falls were further south, but over the centuries, with continued erosion, they've been slowly cut back to their present location.

A long-exposure photograph looking up from the bottom of Aberdulais Falls, Wales. The water is tumbling from a height over huge jagged rocks down to the river below and there are more large rocks in the foreground.
The cascading waters of Aberdulais Falls | © National Trust Images/John Millar

A wet weather spectacle

The Dulais is a flash flood river, which means it rises and falls very quickly. In wet weather, and in winter, when the river is in full spate, it's a truly awesome - and noisy - spectacle.

When it rains, the waterfall thunders. The awesome power of nature is all too apparent as gallons of water plunge over the rocks daily.

Wildlife to spot at Aberdulais

On quieter days, it becomes more benign, offering food and refreshment to the resident colony of Daubenton bats, not to mention a host of birds like Dippers, Wagtails and Herons.

Close up view of the Waterfall at Aberdulais Tin Works, South Wales 
Close up view of the waterfall at Aberdulais Tin Works | © National Trust Images / John Millar

Green energy

As the water of the Dulais river continues to flow, so too is the tradition of using the waterfall as a source of power - driving Europe's largest generating waterwheel and creating green energy.

Waterwheel and bastion, Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfall, South Wales

Discover more at Aberdulais

Find out when Aberdulais is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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Waterwheel and bastion, Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfall, South Wales

Visiting the waterwheel at Aberdulais 

When in operation, the waterwheel at Aberdulais generates green energy for the site as part of a ground-breaking hydro-electric scheme. A tradition dating back 400 years continues.

An elevated view of Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfall, Wales, with a large waterwheel in the foreground, and a group of visitors walking towards it.

History of Aberdulais 

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.