The Afan Valley is located in South Wales, UK, largely within the Neath Port Talbot County Borough.
The village of Cwmafan (Welsh for Afan Valley) sits in the lower part of the valley, 2 miles North of the town of Aberafan (or Port Talbot).
The valley is also home to other communities, including Pantdu (to the South) and, to the North, the villages of Pontrhydyfen, Cynonville, Duffryn, Cymmer, Blaengwynfi, Abergwynfi and Abercregan. Click the Afan map link above to view the locations of these communities.
The geography of the Afan Valley is delineated primarily by the surrounding mountains, with Y Foel dominating the west side of the lower valley, and Mynydd Dinas to the east, and by Afon Afan (the River Afan) that flows along its length.
A prominant landmark in the lower valley was Stac Y Foel, a chimney stack that ran from the Copperminers works to the top of the Foel mountain. The stack was demolished during WWII because of it’s prominence as a landmark for German bombers.
The Afan Valley and surrounding hillsides have been home to numerous farms and smallholdings. Some of the latter were known by quite descriptive names, such as ‘the piggery’. Similarly, many street names give a clue about the surrounding area in days gone by, e.g. Meadow Street, where I spent my first 8 years in Cwmafan.
Excellent reading material would be Place names of the Afan Valley by Alwyn B. Jones, ISBN 0 907117 48 1.