The Neath and Tennant Canals by Mike Davies
This week Mike looks at his local canals.
The Neath and Tennant Canals are two independent but linked canals in South Wales that are usually regarded as a single canal.
The Neath Canal was opened from Glynneath to Melincryddan, to the south of Neath, in 1795 and extended to Giant's Grave in 1799, in order to provide better shipping facilities.
With several small later extensions it reached its final destination at Briton Ferry. No traffic figures are available, but it was successful, as dividends of 16 per cent were paid on the shares.
The canal was 13.5 miles (21.7 km) long and included 19 locks.
Pont Gam skew bridge at Aberdulais canal basin - image Mike Davies
This beautifully elegant skew bridge at Aberdulais basin, is situated at the point where the Neath and Tennant canals divide to reach Briton Ferry and Port Tennant.
The Tennant Canal was a development of the Glan-y-wern Canal, which was built across Crymlyn Bog to transport coal from a colliery on its northern edge to a creek on the River Neath called Red Jacket Pill.
The restored locks at Clyne in the vale of Neath - image Mike Davies
Use of the canals for navigation ceased in the 1930s, but they were retained as water channels to supply water to local industries and to Swansea docks. The first attempts at restoration began in 1974 with the formation of the Neath and Tennant Canals Society. The section north of Resolven was restored in the late 1980s, and the canal from Neath to Abergarwed has been restored more recently.
This project involved the replacement of Ynysbwllog aqueduct, which carries the canal over the river Neath, with a new 35-yard (32 m) plate girder structure, believed to be the longest single-span aqueduct in Britain
Some obstacles remain to its complete restoration. In 2003 a feasibility study was published, suggesting that the canal could become part of a small network, if it was linked through Swansea docks to a restored Swansea Canal.
Take a short stroll through this lovely and peaceful location in the vale of Neath by viewing this link