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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°40′N 3°49′W / 51.66°N 3.81°W / 51.66; -3.81

Welsh: Castell-nedd
Neath is located in Wales2

 Neath shown within Wales
Population 47,020 
OS grid reference SS745975
Principal area Neath Port Talbot
Ceremonial county West Glamorgan
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
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Neath
Welsh Assembly Neath
List of places: UK • Wales • Neath Port Talbot

Neath (Welsh: Castell-nedd) is a town and community situated in the principal area of Neath Port Talbot, Wales, UK with a population of approximately 45,898 in 2001.[1] The town is located on the river of the same name, 7 miles (11 km) east north east of Swansea.[2]



Historically, Neath was the crossing place of the River Neath and has existed as a settlement since the Romans established the fort of Nido or Nidum in the AD 70s.[3] The Roman fort took its name from the river Nedd; the meaning is obscure but 'shining' or simply 'river' have been suggested. Neath is the anglicised form.[4] The Antonine Itinerary (c. 2nd century) names only nine places in Roman Wales, one of them being Neath.[5] There is evidence of undated prehistoric settlements on the hills surrounding the town, which were probably Celtic. The fort covered a large area which now lies under the playing fields of Dŵr-y-Felin Comprehensive School.[6] In the late 1960s, there were reports in the local media of a massive Roman marching camp being found above Llantwit which would have accommodated many thousands of troops.[7]

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[8] 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.[9] The Welsh language name for Neath is Castell-nedd, referring to the Norman Neath Castle,[10] which is close to the shopping centre.v

Neath Castle

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[11] 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 family were major in the local coal mining community as well as owning the Vale of Neath Brewery.[12] 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 British Petroleum 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,[13] the son of the landlord of the Castle Hotel, served as a Royal Marines officer with Lord Admiral 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.[14]

Neath hosted the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1918, 1934, and 1994[citation needed]. In April 1980, it was reported that thousands of fresh garden peas pelted down in Tonna (Neath) over a man called Trevor Williams in some freakish weather phenomenon[citation needed].

Neath is also home to The Trade Centre Wales which is known all over South Wales, and the Bridge FM and Bay Radio studios.

The Wales Yearbook (2000) states that 55,525 people live in Neath[citation needed].

Famous people from Neath


The Welsh Rugby Union was formed at a meeting held at the Castle Hotel in 1881.[15] Neath Rugby Football Club, the famous and very successive "Welsh All Blacks", play at The Gnoll who have managed to win 4 consecutive titles in the Semi Professional Principality Premiership and 3 Swalec Cup titles (Previously known as Schweppes and Konica Minolta Cups) and are now competing in a new competition The British and Irish Cup founded in 2009. Neath RFC still hold the World Records for most points scored in a season and most tries scored in a season which are unlikely to ever be beaten.[citation needed].

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. is the town's largest football team, playing at Neath RFC's ground, The Gnoll and play in the top-flight of Welsh football, the Welsh Premier League. In the 2006-07 season, Neath Athletic A.F.C. gained promotion from the Welsh Football League First Division, and to the Welsh Premier League. Neath Athletic A.F.C. get on average, 300 supporters attending a domestic, Welsh Premier League game, which is normal with the rest of the Welsh Premier League.

South Wales Scorpions are a newly formed rugby league team who will play their games at The Gnoll for the 2010 Championship 1.


The previous borough council was absorbed into the larger unitary authority of Neath Port Talbot on April 1, 1996. The town encompasses the electoral wards of Neath East, Neath North and Neath South.

Neath and the surrounding area is represented at Westminster by Peter Hain MP (Labour) and in the National Assembly for Wales by Gwenda Thomas AM (Labour).


Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive School is situated in the outskirts of the town as is a campus of Neath Port Talbot College (which was previously Neath College). There is also the Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School situated in the village of Cimla near the Crynallt Primary School. Two other comprehensive schools serve the town, Llangatwg Comprehensive School in Cadoxton and Cwrt Sart Comprehensive School in Briton Ferry. Primary schools include Crynallt Primary School in Cimla, ADS Primary School in Neath, Gnoll Primary School in Neath, Melin Infant and Junior schools, Tonnau Primary School in Tonna, Tonmawr Primary School in Tonmawr, Catwg Primary School in Cadoxton and Ynysmardey Primary School located in Briton Ferry. Also Neath College is located in the area of Neath (Opposite Dwr-Y-Felin)The College offers an exciting and varied programme of courses to suit most needs either on a part-time or full-time basis.


Neath is served by the South Wales Main Line at Neath railway station, on Windsor Road, in the heart of the town. Services operate to Port Talbot, Bridgend, Cardiff Central, Newport, Bristol Parkway and London Paddington to the east and Swansea, Carmarthen and West Wales to the west. Services also operate to Shrewsbury and Manchester Piccadilly.

Neath bus station is at Victoria Gardens, near the railway station. National Express services call at Neath at the railway station.

From Victoria Gardens, First Cymru provides direct inter-urban services to nearby Swansea and Port Talbot. The A465 skirts the town to the north east and provides a link to the M4.

Future plans

There are plans to regenerate around 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land in and around Neath town centre in the near future.[16] The site once occupied by the previous civic centre will be redeveloped as a new shopping centre. The Gwyn Hall will be re-built after having been gutted by a fire. The area around the Milland Road industrial estate will be re-developed 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.[17]

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.


  1. ^
  2. ^ John Paxton, ed (1999). The Penguin Encyclopedia of Places (Third ed.). London: Penguin. pp. 628. 
  3. ^ John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur I. Lynch, ed (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. pp. 603. 
  4. ^ Wyn Owen, Hywel; Richard Morgan (2008). Dictionary of the Place-names of Wales. Llandysul: Gomer Press. pp. 342. 
  5. ^ "The Antonine Itinerary - Iter Britanniarum - The British Section". Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  6. ^ Dwr y Felin School: History Department
  7. ^ Neath Guardian
  8. ^ Parish of Neath: St. Illtyd
  9. ^ Church in Wales
  10. ^ Neath Castle
  11. ^ Britton Manor
  12. ^ Neath Brewery
  14. ^ Gnoll Park
  15. ^ "The History of The Castle Hotel". Neath SA11 1RB, Wales: The Castle Hotel. Retrieved 2009-02-05. "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." 
  16. ^ News Wales > Community > Neath will be top shops town
  17. ^ BBC NEWS | Wales | South West Wales | 'Iconic' museum planned for town

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Neath is a town in Glamorgan in South Wales.


Originally a small market town, Neath grew into a large manufacturing base for iron, steel and tinplate during the industrial revolution. The town currently has a population of around 50,000, and although it lacks any specific tourist attractions, its location near the stunning Swansea and Neath Valleys make it a convenient, if not overly inspiring, base for touring these places.

  • Neath Castle. [1]. Insubstantial ruins, but worth a look if in the area.
  • Neath Abbey [2]. Built in 1130, it was once described as the fairest abbey in all of Wales, but now only ruins remain.
  • Victoria Gardens in the center of town - a traditional Victorian-style park.
  • Gnoll Country Park
  • South Wales Miners Museum, Afan Forest Park, Cynonville. Tel:+44 1639 850-564. [3]. This museum located in the country-side near Neath provides a look at life in a South Wales colliery. Exhibits include working machinery and records of lives of local miners. Open: April-Sep 9:30AM-5PM (until 6PM at weekends). Oct-March 10:30Am-4PM (9:30AM-5PM at weekends). Admission: Adult £1.20
  • Attend a rugby game. Neath are the most successful semi-professional team in Wales.

Get out

Neath is part of the Swansea Bay region of Wales. See the Swansea Bay entry for more highlights of the surrounding area.

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1911 encyclopedia

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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  1. A town in Wales, United Kingdom.


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