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A rooftop view of Neath - - 1618067.jpg
View of Neath
Neath Port Talbot UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Neath Port Talbot
OS grid reference SS745975
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NEATH
Postcode district SA10-11
Dialling code 01639
Police South Wales
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
Neath Port Talbot
51°40′N3°49′W / 51.66°N 3.81°W / 51.66; -3.81 Coordinates: 51°40′N3°49′W / 51.66°N 3.81°W / 51.66; -3.81

Neath ( /nθ/ ; Welsh : Castell-nedd) is a town and community situated in the principal area of Neath Port Talbot, Wales with a population of 50,658 in 2011. [2] The community of the parish of Neath had a population of 19,258 in 2011. [3] Historically in Glamorgan, the town is located on the River Neath, 7 miles (11 km) east northeast of Swansea. [4]



The town's English name ultimately derives from " Nedd " the original Welsh name for the River Neath and is known to be Celtic or Pre-Celtic. A meaning of shining or brilliant has been suggested, as has a link to the older Indo-European root *-nedi (simply meaning river). [5] [6]

As such, the town may share its etymology with the town of Stratton, Cornwall and the River Nidd in Northern England. [7] [8]


Roman fort

The town is located at a ford of the River Neath and its strategic situation is evident by a number of Celtic hill forts, surrounding the town. The Romans also recognised the area's strategic importance and built an Auxiliary Fort on the river's Western bank around AD 74.

Much of the site is on the grounds of Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School but archaeological digs have also found gate-towers that extended out beyond the fort's walls (a feature unique in Roman Britain) and a large Roman marching camp which would have accommodated thousands of troops. [9] [10] These finds indicate some of the unusual measures taken by the Romans during the resistance of the native Silures and the fort at Neath was abandoned in around 125AD for fifteen years and again in around 170AD for a century before the final Roman withdrawal around 320AD. [11]

The Antonine Itinerary (c.2nd century) names Nido (or Nidum ) as one of nine places in Roman Wales. [12]

Medieval period

Neath Castle NeathCastleRemains.jpg
Neath Castle

St Illtyd visited the Neath area and established a settlement in what is now known as Llantwit on the northern edge of the town. The church of St Illtyd [13] was built at this settlement and was enlarged in Norman times. The Norman and pre-Norman church structure remains intact and active to day within the Church in Wales. [14] The Welsh language name for Neath is Castell-nedd, referring to the Norman Neath Castle, [15] which was visited by English kings Henry II, John and Edward I.

Industrial and modern Neath

Neath was a market town that expanded with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century with new manufacturing industries of iron, steel and tinplate. The Mackworth family, who owned the Gnoll Estate [16] were prominent in the town's industrial development. Coal was mined extensively in the surrounding valleys and the construction of canals and railways made Neath a major transportation centre and the Evans & Bevan families were major players in the local coal mining community as well as owning the Vale of Neath Brewery. [17] Silica was mined in the Craig-y-Dinas area of Pontneddfechan, after Quaker entrepreneur William Weston Young invented the blast furnace silica firebrick, later moving brick production from the works at Pontwalby to the Green in Neath. The town continued as a market trading centre with a municipal cattle market run by W.B.Trick. Industrial development continued throughout the 20th century with the construction by BP of a new petroleum refinery at Llandarcy .

Admiral Lord Nelson stayed at the Castle Hotel en route to Milford Haven when the fleet was at anchor there[ citation needed ]. Lt. Lewis Roatley, [18] the son of the landlord of the Castle Hotel, served as a Royal Marines officer with Nelson aboard HMS Victory in the Battle of Trafalgar.

The River Neath is a navigable estuary and Neath was a river port until recent times. The heavy industries are no more with the town being a commercial and tourism centre. Attractions for visitors are the ruins of the Cistercian Neath Abbey, the Gnoll Park and Neath Indoor Market. [19]

Neath hosted the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1918, 1934 and 1994. [20]

Notable people

See Category:People from Neath


The Gnoll Sportsground. Home to Neath RFC The Gnoll - Neath RFC - geograph-2277123.jpg
The Gnoll Sportsground. Home to Neath RFC

The Welsh Rugby Union was formed at a meeting held at the Castle Hotel in 1881. [23] Neath Rugby Football Club, the famous and successful "Welsh All Blacks", play at The Gnoll.

Motorcycle speedway was staged at the Abbey Stadium in Neath in 1962. The Welsh Dragons, led by New Zealander Trevor Redmond, raced with some success in the Provincial League but, because of local problems, a number of the "home" fixtures were raced at St Austell. The Dragons introduced the Australian rider Charlie Monk to British speedway. After a season at Long Eaton Archers, Monk went on to have considerable success at Glasgow. The team also featured South African Howdy Cornell. In the early 1960s there was also stock car racing held at Neath Abbey, opposite the monastery

Neath Athletic A.F.C. was the town's largest football team, playing at Neath RFC's ground, The Gnoll, and played in the top flight of Welsh football, the Welsh Premier League, until the club was wound up in 2012. In the 2006–07 season, Neath Athletic A.F.C. were promoted from the Welsh Football League First Division to the Welsh Premier League. Neath Athletic A.F.C. had an average of 300 supporters attending a domestic, Welsh Premier League game, which was typical of the Welsh Premier League.


The old Neath Town Hall The Old Town Hall - - 378257.jpg
The old Neath Town Hall

After Neath became a municipal borough in 1835, the borough council was based at Neath Town Hall in Church Place before relocating to Gwyn Hall in Orchard Street in 1888. [24] Neath District Council, which was formed in 1974, was absorbed into the larger unitary authority of Neath Port Talbot on 1 April 1996. The town encompasses the electoral wards of Neath East, Neath North, Neath South and Cimla.

Neath and the surrounding area is represented at Westminster by Christina Rees MP (Labour) and in the Senedd by Jeremy Miles (Labour) and by four MSs within the South Wales West electoral region.


As with the rest of the British Isles and Wales, Neath experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters, often high winds, and low sunshine levels.

Climate data for Neath 62m asl, 1961–1990
Average high °C (°F)7.6
Average low °C (°F)2.7
Average precipitation mm (inches)137
Mean monthly sunshine hours 49.667.8108.5159.0186.0183.0186.0173.6132.,460
Source: Met Office [25]


Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School is situated on the outskirts of the town, opposite a campus of NPTC Group (which was previously Neath Port Talbot College. The Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School is in the village of Cimla near the Crynallt Primary School. Two other comprehensive schools serve the town: Llangatwg Comprehensive School in Cadoxton and Ysgol Bae Baglan in Baglan, Neath Port Talbot.. Primary schools include St Joseph's R C Primary School in Hillside Neath, Crynallt Primary School in Cimla, Alderman Davies Church in Wales Primary School in Neath, Gnoll Primary School in Neath, Melin Infant and Junior schools, Ysgol Gynradd Castell Nedd, Mynachlog Nedd Junior School in Skewen, Tonnau Primary School in Tonna, Tonmawr Primary School in Tonmawr, Catwg Primary School in Cadoxton, Cilfrew Primary School in Cilfrew, Wauncierch primary school in Wauncierch and Ynysmaerdy Primary School in Briton Ferry


Railway Bridge over Dwr-y-Felin Road next to Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School. Railway Bridge over Dwr-y-Felin Road. - - 202261.jpg
Railway Bridge over Dwr-y-Felin Road next to Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School.

Neath railway station is on the South Wales Main Line. Great Western Railway and Transport for Wales serve the station with services westbound to Swansea, Carmarthen and the West Wales Line and eastbound to Port Talbot Parkway, Bridgend, Cardiff Central and London Paddington. Trains also run via Hereford and Shrewsbury to Crewe and Manchester Piccadilly.

Neath bus station is at Victoria Gardens, a five-minute walk from the railway station. National Express services call at the railway station. From Victoria Gardens, First Cymru provides direct inter-urban services to nearby Swansea and Port Talbot in addition to South Wales Transport who provide many similar local services.

The A465 skirts the town to the north east and provides a link to the M4.


There are plans to regenerate around 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land in and around Neath town centre in the near future. The site once occupied by the previous civic centre will be redeveloped as a new shopping centre. The area around the Milland Road Industrial Estate will be redeveloped along with the area around the Neath Canal. On 27 November 2008, proposals for an "iconic" golden rugby ball-shaped museum, a library, heritage centre and other new facilities were announced for consultation. The developer, Simons Estates, says that it plans to start construction when the economic climate improves. [26]

In March 2008, the county's new radio station, Afan FM, announced plans to turn on a new transmitter dedicated to the Neath area in the summer. This will transmit on 97.4 FM, and will give residents of Neath their first taste of the borough's new local radio station, which already transmits to the neighbouring area of Port Talbot on 107.9 FM. The new transmitter for the Neath area was commissioned by Government regulator Ofcom on Thursday 23 October 2008.

St David's Church, Church in Wales. St David's Church, Neath.jpg
St David's Church, Church in Wales.

Related Research Articles


Glamorgan, or sometimes Glamorganshire, is one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales and a former administrative county of Wales. Originally an early medieval petty kingdom of varying boundaries known as Glywysing. Then taken over by the Normans as a lordship. The area that became known as Glamorgan was both a rural, pastoral area, and a conflict point between the Norman lords and the Welsh princes. It was defined by a large concentration of castles.

Port Talbot Human settlement in Wales

Port Talbot is a town and community in the county borough of Neath Port Talbot, Wales, situated on the east side of Swansea Bay, approximately 8 miles (13 km) from Swansea. The Port Talbot Steelworks covers a large area of land which dominates the south east of the town and is one of the biggest steelworks in the world but has for many years been under threat of closure. The population was 37,276 in 2011.

Neath Port Talbot county borough and unitary authority areas

Neath Port Talbot is a county borough and one of the unitary authority areas of Wales. Its principal towns are Neath, Port Talbot and Pontardawe.

Bridgend Town in Wales

Bridgend is a town in Bridgend County Borough in Wales, 20 miles (32 km) west of the capital Cardiff and 20 miles (32 km) east of Swansea. The river crossed by the original bridge, which gave the town its name, is the River Ogmore, but the River Ewenny also passes to the south of the town.

Maesteg Human settlement in Wales

Maesteg is a town and community in Bridgend County Borough, Wales. Maesteg lies at the northernmost end of the Llynfi Valley, close to the border with Neath Port Talbot. In 2011, Maesteg had a population of 20,612. The English translation of Maesteg is 'fair field'.

Gorseinon Human settlement in Wales

Gorseinon is a town within the City and County of Swansea, Wales, near the Loughor estuary. It was a small village until the late 19th century when it grew around the coal mining and tinplate industries. It is situated in the north west of Swansea City Centre, around 6 miles (10 km) north west of the city centre. Gorseinon is a local government community with an elected town council.

Briton Ferry Human settlement in Wales

Briton Ferry is a town and community in the county borough of Neath Port Talbot, Wales. The Welsh name may indicate that the church, llan, is protected from the wind, awel. Alternatively, Sawel may be a derivative of Saul, St Paul's earlier name. He once landed at Briton Ferry. An alternative Welsh name unused today is Rhyd y Brython, a direct translation of Briton Ferry. The Normans referred to the River crossing as La Brittonne and Leland in 1540 as Britanne Fery.

Glynneath Human settlement in Wales

Glynneath, also spelt Glyn Neath, is a small town, community and electoral ward lying on the River Neath in the county borough of Neath Port Talbot, Wales. It was formerly in the historic county of Glamorgan. Glynneath ward covers only part of the community, with some 840 electors included in the neighbouring ward of Blaengwrach.

Pontardawe Human settlement in Wales

Pontardawe is both a town and a community in the Swansea Valley in Wales. With a population of 6,800, it comprises the electoral wards of Pontardawe and Trebanos. A town council is elected. Pontardawe forms part of the county borough of Neath Port Talbot. On the opposite bank of the River Tawe, the village of Alltwen, part of the community of Cilybebyll, is administered separately from Pontardawe, but has close ties to the town. Pontardawe is at the crossroads of the A474 road and the A4067 road. Pontardawe came into existence as a small settlement on the northwestern bank of the Tawe where the drovers' road from Neath and Llandeilo crossed the river to go up the valley to Brecon.

Aberavon Human settlement in Wales

Aberavon is a town and community in Neath Port Talbot county borough, Wales. The town derived its name from being near the mouth of the river Afan, which also gave its name to a medieval lordship. Today it is essentially a district of Port Talbot, covering the central and south western part of the town. Aberavon is also the name of the nearby Blue Flag beach and the parish covering the same area.

Neath RFC

Neath Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union club which plays in the WRU Championship. The club's home ground is The Gnoll, Neath. The team is known as the All Blacks because of the team colours: black with only a white cross pattée as an emblem. Neath RFC is the oldest rugby club in Wales, having been formed in 1871. They are feeder club to the Ospreys regional team.

River Neath

River Neath is a river in south Wales running south west from the point at which its headwaters arising in the Brecon Beacons National Park converge to its mouth at Baglan Bay below Briton Ferry on the east side of Swansea Bay.

Neath (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1918 onwards

Neath is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2015 by Christina Rees, a Labour and Co-operative MP.

Birchgrove, Swansea Human settlement in Wales

Birchgrove is a large village and community in the City and County of Swansea, Wales. It does not have a community council. The village is situated some 4.5 miles (7 km) north-east of Swansea city centre, between the flood plain of the River Tawe and Mynydd Drumau. Birchgrove also borders Neath Port Talbot. The community of Birchgrove, which includes the village of Birchgrove itself, Lon-las, and parts of Glais, had a population in 2008 of 5,807. and 7,392 in 2011.

Cimla Human settlement in Wales

Cimla is a suburb of the town of Neath in the county borough of Neath Port Talbot, Wales. It is set high up on a hill. It is pronounced Kim-la. The Welsh language spelling is Cymla, pronounced the same way. Its meaning is a place with common land, which it presumably was until industrial expansion led to its being covered with housing.

Neath F.C. Former association football club in Wales

Neath Football Club was a Welsh professional association football club based in Neath last playing in the Welsh Premier League.

Neath Castle

Neath Castle is a Norman castle located in the town centre of Neath, Wales. Its construction was begun by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, the nominal Lord of Glamorgan, at a date estimated between 1114 and 1130. It is also referred to as "Granville's Castle", after Richard I de Grenville, Lord of Neath, who has also been credited with its construction. The town of Neath takes its Welsh name, "Castell-nedd", from the castle.


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  9. Nidum Roman dig in playing fields BBC Wales, 21 February 2011
  11. coflein NPRN: 301350
  12. "The Antonine Itinerary – Iter Britanniarum – The British Section". Archived from the original on 27 July 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  13. Parish of Neath: St. Illtyd Archived 8 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Church in Wales
  15. Neath Castle
  16. Britton Manor
  17. Neath Brewery
  18. "HMS VICTORY. MAN~OF~WAR 1805 MUSTER LISTS". Archived from the original on 15 June 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2006.
  19. Gnoll Park
  20. "Eisteddfod Locations". The National Eisteddfod of Wales. Archived from the original on 23 May 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  21. Oxford DNB article: Pugh, Sir Arthur
  22. Oxford DNB article: Wallace, Alfred Russel
  23. "The History of The Castle Hotel". Neath SA11 1RB, Wales: The Castle Hotel. Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2009. The Castle Hotel was the meeting place for the founders of the Welsh Rugby Union. The inaugural meeting of the Welsh Rugby Union took place in the Nelson Room at the Castle Hotel on 12th March, 1881. There is a plaque outside the hotel commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Welsh Rugby Union, and at that time the Nelson Room name was changed to the Centenary Room. Still displayed in the room are the plaques of the original eleven members of the Welsh Rugby Union.CS1 maint: location (link)
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  26. BBC NEWS |'Iconic' museum planned for town
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