An Explosive Gorge WalkJen Hill
Hidden within the Neath Valley of South Wales are a number of adventurous gems. One of which is our most popular activity, gorge walking. But if you join us on this exciting journey along the Sychryd and Mellte rivers you will discover more than just adventure.
Back in 1857 the Glynneath Gunpowder works were establish on the banks of the river Mellte. Gunpowder was in high demand during this period for the use in mining and quarrying. This large and remote site was ideal for the manufacture of gunpowder. It allowed the factory buildings to be spread far enough apart, preventing a chain reaction, should there be an explosion. The river Mellte was also a useful source of energy, powering waterwheels and turbines.
If you walk along the old tramroad, you will see the remains of each of the factory buildings and may notice that many of the structures only have three walls. The missing wall and roof would have been made of wood, so that in the event of an explosion the blast would move up and out, limiting the amount of damage.
The factory was closed in 1931 and completely abandoned by 1940.