Where is it? The Afan Valley flowing down to Port Talbot.

Summary: A wonderful stretch of grade 3 and 4 in the beautiful Afan Valley, marred only by access issues and friction with the local anglers.

Hazards: Two large pipes span the river, these need to be portaged.

The viaduct section of grade four should be inspected: trees and large branches often get snagged by rocks under the immense archways.

The drop after road bridge has a stopper which requires inspection.

Access Issues? The Afan Anglers’ club is extremely anti-canoeing there are many ‘no canoeing’ signs along the riverside and in trees at the take out and put in.

Park cars in residential areas and remove roof racks etc. A group of paddlers was recently threatened at the take out and it was suggested that their car would pay the price. Report any incidents to the police and WCA.

Time Needed 2-2 ½ hours.

Put In at grid reference 859963 Take out Grid Ref 793940 (OS Map 170)

Description: The river starts off with some good grade 2+ to get the heart rate up. Stretches of grade 2 and 3 bring the river to the first of the large pipes. Get out river left and portage. This portage is short but arduous. A barbed wire fence, thorn bushes and brambles make it a long 50 metre hike. This little walk claimed a mate’s brand new dry suit the first time I paddled. Caution required!

Follow the river down some more grade 2 and 3 to the second pipe. Again portage is required on river left. This is an easy portage as the left bank has a concrete section with a lovely eddy the other side to slide into.

The river begins to pick up with the first grade four section providing some lovely bumpy waves interspersed with boulders. The grade four section is short and things soon calm down to continuous grade 2-3 with some ledge drops.

Eventually the river goes under a road bridge easily identified by “NO CANOEING” kindly aerosoled onto the left hand wall. Get out here and walk over bridge to inspect drop.

River left the weir type drop has a nasty stopper at higher levels, the left hand side of this drop should particularly be avoided. Shoot on the right but beware a large rock on extreme right. Bank support can be set up easily on river right.

A series of drops follow, when the viaduct is in sight take out on river left and inspect.

The left hand archway is the usual route. This section of grade four leads to a fun section of grade 2/3 and then take out river right before the river goes over another drop!


The first pipe on the Afan

An easy eddy on river left is not to be missed!

Photo shows medium/low levels

Paddlers: Nige Braunton &Mike Gilbertson

Video of the Afan

Taken in low levels in 2007

Contributed by: Nige Braunton 

Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: Afon Afan - Cymer to Pontrhydyfen -- jmmoxon
2018 Jan 25 10:43:45 AM
Around 0.7 the pipes are not obvious from the water & eddies are a bit lacking (trees caught on pipe are main clue), higher & they would be covered.

The Corrwg is clear of trees below Glyncorrwg. The top bridge there has pipes underneath, so check clearance first if paddling above.

The other trib, Palenna has far more tree issues, but is okay from Efail-fach to confluence.

Re: Afon Afan - Cymer to Pontrhydyfen -- Kayak-Bloke
2015 Dec 29 03:49:02 PM
The tree has moved. It's now perpendicular to the flow and not a problem. Few trees down on rest of the river. None are currently a problem for getting by.
Re: Afon Afan - Cymer to Pontrhydyfen -- Kayak-Bloke
2015 Apr 04 07:56:15 AM
There's a tree down almost right across the flow at the bottom of the second rapid down from Cymmer.

Sometimes referred to as Magnetic Boulder rapid.

It was passable extreme left but in higher water would be a difficult to portage hazard.

Keep safe.
Re: Afon Afan - Cymer to Pontrhydyfen -- Kayak-Bloke
2012 Jul 12 06:38:44 PM
Not really a reply more of a helpful addition.If the river is well up (over 70cm on the EA guage at Cwmafan) consider warming up with a run down the Corrwg. This trib of the Afan is a really good fun run you can either put in by the fishponds next to the Mountain Bike Centre or get in further up (as described in New Welsh Rivers book). In high water it fairly continuous fun, boulders, stoppers, ledge drops, good fast stream paddling. Ideal for warming up for a high Afan....
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