We crossed the Severn Bridge and headed north into Wales. Aberdulais tinworks and waterfall is now managed by the National Trust. Aberdulais has a long industrial history thanks to the abundant supply of energy derived from the magnificent waterfall and the ready supply of local coal and timber.
The first industry here was copper smelting using ore delivered by boat from Cornwall. The site was also used as an ironworks, a corn mill and tinplate works. The works finally closed when the US government levied heavy duties on imported tinplate to protect their own industries, putting the Welsh miners out of business.
Today the waterwheel was sadly not working. Built by apprentices of British Steel at Port Talbot, this is the largest electricity generating wheel in Europe, with a diameter of 8.2m and 72 buckets! A great little video about the opening of the wheel by Countryfile presenter is here
Many artists visited this beautiful site to paint including Turner. There’s a fabulous painting by James Ward here
We arrived after heavy rain so the falls were indeed spectacular! The water thundered past, an immense power rushing through a beautiful valley, lush with vegetation and rich with wildlife.
Some mine buildings still survive including a waterwheel and the original schoolhouse (which is now a very welcome tearoom!) It’s an interesting place, well worth a visit.