Swansea’s Mountain Country

Good walking and cycling routes.
Great views and hidden wonders.

Little known to many, this great city of Swansea has a big rural hinterland beyond its urban core. Gower is the best known but the rest is away to the north of the city. With one small town (Pontarddulais) and several villages, it is mostly open mountain country, often wild and very beautiful from its high ground affords great views of the city, sea and Gower peninsula.

Plan your journey to the locations below with the Traveline Cymru Journey Planner

Buses in north Swansea and Mawr

The X6C runs every hour from Clydach (Mond) to Craig Cefn Parc connecting with the X6 from Swansea.

Felindre and Mynydd y Gwair has an infrequent minibus service four days per week from Morriston (connections from Swansea) though travel beyond Felindre needs to be pre-booked (DANSA 01639 751067)

Pontarddulais is now served by a more frequent train service from Swansea to the Heart of Wales Line www.tfw.wales

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Walking in north Swansea and Mawr

The Gower Way long distance footpath was created by the Gower Society in association with Swansea Ramblers It runs from Rhossili on the western tip of Gower to Penlle’r Castell in the ancient Lordship of Gower north of Swansea

The Heart of Wales Line Trail 19.5km from Pontarddulais to Llanelli via Loughor is part of a developing 200km trail parallel to the Heart of Wales railway

There are other interesting walks in the Mawr area leading to wild and beautiful places

Craig Fawr Walk from Pontarddulais
Cwm Clydach Walk from Craig Cefn Parc
Country Walk Pontlliw to Craig Cefn Parc via Felindre

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Cycling in north Swansea and Mawr

National Cycle Route (NCN4) passes south of the area between Gowerton and Loughor and on to the Llanelli Millennium Coastal Path. There is a connecting cycle path between Gowerton, Gorseinon and Pontarddulais. NCN43 between Swansea, Morriston and Clydach is a good way to reach the Mawr via Craig Cefn Parc.

North of the M4 motorway, there is an extensive network of country roads bounded by Craig Cefn Parc to the east, Llangyfelach, Pontlliw and Pontarddulais to the south and west are quiet and very scenic (though steep in places) and good cycling country.

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Plan your journey to the locations below with the Traveline Cymru Journey Planner

History and Heritage

Pontarddulais is a small town with a fascinating history of which there is still some evidence. A centre of numerous steel and tinplate enterprises, it became infamous in 1843 as a hotbed of protest when the first Rebecca Riots laid siege to the Bolgoed turnpike gate (the gate was a place where tolls for the turnpike road were collected and was the source of unrest). That on the west of the town (opposite the Fountain Inn) is marked by a commemorative stone.

The town is in the parish of Llandeilo Talybont and the ancient church of St Teilo stood on the river bank to the south of the town. This church was moved complete to the Welsh Folk Musem at St Fagans but the site remains interesting with traces of its history.

The extensive Coedbach Park has an impressive stand of ancient oak trees.

  • Pontarddulais Heritage Trail

    • Pontarddulais town centre X13
    • Pontarddulais; Heart of Wales line (limited service)
    A four mile trail has been created which guides you through a small Welsh town packed with stories. It is not sign posted on the ground so you need to download a pdf to guide you.
    Download PDF
  • Gellionnen Chapel

    • New Inn, Craig Cefn Parc 14
    Amazing in its remoteness, this sits near the top of Mynydd Gellionen, was built in 1692 and is still in regular use today. Its genesis was a group of Protestant dissenters who had previously met clandestinely in local houses and farms. It lasted for many years as a haven for the dissenters, becoming a Unitarian Chapel in the late 18th century. It is a key landmark on the strenuous 14.5 km Cwm Clydach walk (see pdf) which starts and ends at the entrance to the RSPB reserve (New Inn), Craig Cefn Parc.

Parks and Reserves

North of Swansea there are some remarkable hidden treasures conserved for present and future generations and providing a great leisure day out.

  • The Lliw Reservoirs

    • Lower Lliw Reservoir
    • Lower Lliw Reservoir
    • Felindre (Lower reservoir access road - 1km) 142 (infrequent - 4 days a week service from Morriston Cross)
    • (alternative) Pontlliw Post Office X13 walk to Felindre – 5km
    The Upper & Lower Lliw reservoirs lie within an area of stunning mountain scenery and support a wide diversity of flora and fauna. For public transport users, its best incorporated in a local walk from Pontlliw or Craig Cefn Parc.
    Download PDF
  • Penllergare Valley Woods

    • Swansea Road, Penllergaer (0.5 km) X13
    This amazing parkland was created by the 19th century Victorian scientist and environmentalist John Dillwyn Llewelyn and is a picturesque, romantic paradise still in course of restoration with panoramic views, woodland, lakes and a spectacular waterfall.
    Visit Website
  • Cwm Clydach

    • Craig Cefn Parc New Inn (adjacent) 14
    This outstandingly beautiful area on the northern periphery of Swansea is excellent walking country with wild landscapes and is also home to the RSPB’s Cwm Clydach bird reserve, a linear park in a sylvan setting with a large variety of bird life.


  • Llangyfelach - Teamforce Paintball & Activity Centre

    • Llangyfelach Plough & Harrow (2 km) 35
    • From the A48 at Llangyfelach take the minor road north (signposted Felindre) for 2kms turning right on to a track signposted to Teamforce.
    Teamforce Paintball & Activity Centre - paintballing, archery, laser tag, rifle shooting, and team building
    Visit Website
  • Mynydd y Gwair

    • X13 Pontlliw or Pontarddulais
    This spectacular area of mountain and moorland at the northern periphery of the county boundary is a great place for walking and cycling. It is difficult of access by public transport. Long, often straight and sometimes steep, roads make for an excellent cycling experience. It is also a great place for the energetic walker though you should be prepared for a long trek if using public transport. Access from the bus at the south end is Pontlliw and Pontarddulais and at the north end, Ammanford in neighbouring Carmarthenshire; all are served by the X13 bus

Places to stay