It is situated in the Afan Valley at grid reference SS794940, at the confluence of the River Afan and the smaller Afon Pelenna, 1.8 miles (2.9 km) north of the larger village of Cwmafan and not far from the towns of Port Talbot and Neath.
History and amenities
This former coal mining community is distinguished by two large 19th-century bridges that span the valley: a railway viaduct (the red bridge) and a former aqueduct, known in the Welsh language as Y Bont Fawr ("The Big Bridge"). The latter, built by John Reynolds and completed in 1825, is 459 feet (140 m) long and over 75 feet (23 m) high. It supplied the water which powered the giant waterwheels of the nearby Cwmavon blast furnaces. It remains in use today as a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, the canal which it once carried having been filled in.
Pontrhydyfen was the birthplace of Hollywood actor Richard Burton, Broadway theatre and musical star Ivor Emmanuel who was also in Zulu, international opera singer Rebecca Evans, Welsh singer and songwriter Geraint Griffiths, and actor Mark Frankel. The Richard Burton Appreciation Society is based in the village.
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