GUIDE TO THE AFON NEDD FECHAN

NAME OF RIVER: Nedd Fechan.

WHERE IS IT?: South Wales, upper Neath Valley. Flows into the Neath at Pontneddfechan.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Drive from Swansea up the A465 and turn off for Onllwyn (or something like that). Turn right at the traffic lights, then second left to Pont Nedd Fechan. Stop at the Angel Hotel (not for beers yet!) check the level at the bridge SN 901 076. There is a big rock in the current flow, basically it should be at least half way up this...if it isn't then go and do the Mellte or something else. This is the get out.

From here follow the road steeply up the hill and out on to the hills once over the cattle grid take the first left over another cattle grid and then steeply down to the river and a car park SN 908105. You can allegedly get in higher up but not sure where!

APPROX LENGTH: 2 miles.

TIME NEEDED: Takes quite a while 3-4 hours maybe a bit less if you don't have any problems!

ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: See the put-in description above.

GRADING: This description is for high water 4 (increasing to 3) bricks from the start of the bridge arch. Can be paddled at lower than described. It becomes less frantic with more defined rapids inbetween the main features described. Grade 4/5 very continuous at higher level.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Big waterfalls needing portage. Trees.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: From the car park, best to follow the footpath down to the first drop before getting in and have a look, mainly for trees in the pool below. As with all the way the main problem is the multitude of trees the numbers and ferocity of these change with each high water. This first drop runs easily through the middle or chicken it a bit bumpy down the left.

Not that far below is the first portage (20ft waterfall - Sgwd Ddwli). At this level it looks runnable but is notorious as an ankle breaker so best left well alone. You can now either get in below and paddle the 500m down to the next portage with one step rapid or just walk around the two.

The second portage (Lower Ddwli Falls) is definite as the water lands again from 20-25ft on a flat slab. Get in below this as close to the fall as you can enjoy the slide down to the next stepped drop (Horseshoe Falls), which is best on the right. At the exit of the pool here is a stopper, which at this level looked pretty sticky (so we walked round) but at lower levels is friendly enough for playing in.

A couple of drops follow which are fast and shallow on the left and slower and stickier on the right; we ran both lines.

Then after another 500m is the last drop, a diagonal left to right, which needs inspecting at this level. It had a tree in the left so run right. The rest of the river provides wave trains and small holes but nothing too bad, just fast and fun finishing in a narrow little gorge. At the entrance to the gorge in slightly lower water a diagonal weir can provide a sticky river wide stopper. Get out above the bridge by the angel pub, there are steps up the bank. Inspection the whole way is not too difficult as there is a foot path along the right bank the whole way.

Pictures of the Nedd Fechan

OTHER NOTES: Other nearby classics are the Hepste and Mellte.

Owen Hayward...'Paddled the first portage (Sgwd Ddwli) on the Nedd today (29/7/03) at low flood level (indicator rock at take out nearly covered). This went fine over the centre of the fall - bit of a boof and flattish landing=no broken ankles - bonus! In fact there seemed to be reasonable depth in the middle of the pool.'

Nik Wilkinson, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Feb '02)...'The photos you have on the site show the triple drop (located about halfway along the river). The level looks about ideal, (I've only ever run this in low water) and it was a real rock bash, but having seen the undercut on the 1st and 2nd ledge of this drop it's not something I would like to run in high water.

It was about 1995 when I ran this I think and the Acrobat 270 had just arrived - an impressive involuntary cartwheel resulted on the second shelf, the final drop is only 2 ft but did hold a boat and swimmer (above the surface). Rescue is straight forward in the large pool. The run took the 5 of us about 4 hrs. Spent more time picking lines etc than in the boat. An excellent trip that really feels like an expedition.

Note: the mini gorge entered just prior to the get-out is also undercut, I swam in the eddy directly above the gorge and undercut wall; being tail end charlie I made the mistake of thinking my CORSICA (not a small boat) would fit in the remianing space and got trashed on the eddy line. Water quality good, loads of tree debris, potential for sumps above put-in at Pont-Melin Fach.'

CONTRIBUTED BY: Jago Snook, also Nik Williamson and Owen Hayward.

 

 

Community Forum Comments on this Article
Afon Nedd Fechan... horshoe falls tree cleared -- mike@cap
2015 Jan 20 12:24:57 AM
Pleased to advise that the two trees that have effectively been blocking Horseshoe Falls on The Nedd Fechan for the last three years or so have now been removed. A party from Croydon Active Paddlers (CAP), with approval from Natural Resources Wales, sent a work party to the blockage, back in November and managed to successfully remove the two offending trees.

Half a day's work, bow-saws, chainsaws, pulleys, sumo wrestling with the tree in the River etc; but successfully completed.

A big thank you to Rob, Gary, Darren and Will (from CAP) for their sterling work which effectively opens up the Nedd Fechan for paddling again.

As of November there were still two blockages further down, one about half way was a pair of trees one above the other, spanning the entire river, in Low to Medium flow you could probably drag boats and paddlers through between them,

we did ! but in High water could be dangerous. Finally, just after the last drop where the River bears right and the "get out" bridge can be seen ahead, there is a tree diagonally across the bend on river left, to which the current from the drop immediately propels the unwitting paddler. Perfectly passable if you paddle hard to river right, but needs overseeing by the paddlers in charge, just in case. Happy paddling guys, enjoy the beautiful Nedd Fechan once again.



Mike

Croydon Active Paddlers
Re: Afon Nedd Fechan -- mike@cap
2014 Nov 09 09:13:48 PM
Any update re clearance of the trees from Horsehoe Falls ?

Is there any reason why our Club can't try and remove the fallen trees

aware that this is in a protected area but if trees have fallen and are causing

a hazard could we remove them ? Any advice appreciated
Nedd Fechan tree blockages ? -- mike@cap
2014 Oct 25 03:37:33 PM
Any update or progress re the Trees on the Nedd Fechan please ?

Shame that such a brilliant River is / was pretty much out of bounds due to the trees down.

Presume no interest from local Clubs/ Kayakers to do a tree clearance operation ?

Thanks for an update

Mike
Re: Afon Nedd Fechan -- nokiamutt
2014 May 10 07:04:04 PM
Paddled this today , top section clear of trees , horseshoe falls still blocked and a few riverwide trees before pinball and one further down . Great little run /walk / climb with the boats .
Re: Trees in the Nedd Fechan? -- wonny j
2013 Aug 19 12:50:33 PM
I cycled up the side of the river a couple of weeks ago and the horseshoe is still blocked.
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