Rhyslyn car park, Afan Forest Park, near Port Talbot
Gateway to walking trails, world class mountain biking and family cycle routes in the hidden valleys of Afan Forest Park
Walking trails, world class mountain biking and family cycle routes just a few miles from the M4
This site and trails are open - please see more details on this web page.
Some of the trails are diverted. Go to Closures and Diversions for more information.
The car park, toilets and all visitor facilities here are managed by Neath Port Talbot Council - see the Afan Forest Park website for the latest information about these facilities.
The Welsh Government is implementing a national coronavirus firebreak from 6pm on Friday 23 October until Monday 9 November.
The firebreak regulations replace the local restrictions which were in force in some parts of the country. They apply to everyone living or travelling in Wales.
Our sites and most visitor facilities remain open during this firebreak period but people are advised to stay at home and only visit sites in the local area to take exercise.
Visiting your local site safely
We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.
You need to wear a mask when going inside one of our buildings.
You can check-in via the NHS app when entering one of our buildings – scan the QR-code on the NHS Covid-19 poster on site.
Afan Forest Park lies just a few miles from Port Talbot within easy access of the M4.
The forest park nestles on the slopes of the Afan Valley which is one of the narrowest and most beautiful valleys in Wales.
The Afan Valley is rich in history. From early monastic estates, the landscape developed into a farming area and later a coal mining valley.
The last mine closed in 1970 and the area was designated as a forest park in 1972 because of its great walking potential.
Nowadays, waymarked trails criss-cross the valleys and hillsides through the forest, passing by abandoned mines, former tramways and disused railways.
You can explore Afan Forest Park by following forest tracks and roads on foot or by bicycle.
Natural Resources Wales manages a number of waymarked walking trails which start from Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre and from the car park at Rhyslyn.
Afan Forest Park is the fastest-growing mountain bike area in Britain. Natural Resources Wales manages a range of mountain bike trails that are suitable for everyone from beginners to expert mountain riders.
There is a network of bridleways in Afan Forest Park, some of which you need a permit to access. Please contact us to find out more about horse riding in Afan Forest Park or to apply for a permit.
Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre offers:
The South Wales Miners Museum is located within the visitor centre (there is an entry charge to the museum).
The Afan Valley Bike Shed is based in the visitor centre. It offers bike hire, a repair and servicing workshop and the sale of bikes and parts.
The car park, toilets and all visitor facilities here are managed by Neath Port Talbot Council - see the Afan Forest Park website for the latest information about the visitor facilities.
There are diversions on the following trails:
All of the walking trails are waymarked and start from the car park at Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre.
1¼ miles, 2 kilometres
The Old Parish Road Walk follows part of the ancient trackway that was the main means of transport in the valley until it fell into disuse in 1920. There are seats and tables along the way to enjoy the views. The walk returns to the visitor centre on the former railway line (which is now part of the Afan Valley Cycleway/Sustrans Route 887).
3 miles, 4.8 kilometres
The River and Railway Walk descends into the valley and crosses the River Afan before climbing steeply to the old railway line. It passes a sealed railway tunnel entrance, which was designed and built by Brunel, and then returns to the visitor centre via a picnic area by the river.
6 miles, 9.5 kilometres
The Gyfylchi Ridgetop Trail crosses the River Afan and climbs through woodlands to the hilltop. This is 1000 feet above sea level and there are panoramic views of the valley. The trail then goes past two sets of ruins – Nant y Bar Farm and the 18th century Gyfylchi Chapel, once a shrine to Welsh Methodism – before it descends to the car park.
There is a huge range of mountain bike trails in Afan Forest Park ranging from a family cycleway to black-graded (severe) trails for experienced riders.
All of the mountain biking trails are waymarked.
There is also a family skills area and the Afan Bike Park, an extreme graded bike park for more advanced riders to improve their skills.
For more information, see Mountain biking in Afan Forest Park.
Facilities at Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre include:
See the Afan Forest Park website for opening times.
Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre is six miles from junction 40 of the M4, near Port Talbot.
It is in the county of Neath Port Talbot.
Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 165 or 166.
The OS grid reference is SS 820 950.
Take junction 40 from the M4 onto the A4107.
After six miles, Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre is signposted, near the village of Cwmafan.
There is access to and from Sustrans Route 887 from Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre.
The nearest train station is in Port Talbot.
For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru
Neath Port Talbot Council manages the car park.
There is a charge for parking and a season ticket is available.
Natural Resources Wales
Tel: 0300 065 3000
Cedars Tearoom (privately run)
Tel: 01639 852420