Neath Abbey Ironworks is a place that changed our world for ever by making steam engines for many mines and works that powered the Industrial Revolution, and made Wales the first industrial society in the world. We stopped being peasants farming the land and became a proletariat labouring in works and mines. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument with two superb eighteenth century blast furnaces and an engine manufactory. Its 8,000 plans are registered on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.
In the morning from 10.30 am to midday, an illustrated guided tour will occur of the Ironworks; its achievements, products such as the first 1,000 ton iron sailing ship, associations and ironmasters will be highlighted. The work of the Friends and their future plans will be covered as well.
In the afternoon, a guided walk of approximately three miles will be taken up the beautiful Cwm Clydach valley. Here are the remains of the Ironworks' rolling mill, a water-fall, a medieval water mill, a copper works in existence some decades before copper smelting started in Swansea, and a dam built by the Ironworks to control its water wheels.
Preferably bring a packed lunch or there are shops nearby.
****NB With the option above, people can leave at lunchtime. For people who don't fancy walking, twelfth century Neath Abbey is a couple of hundred yards away, and entry is free. The ruins are in the care of Cadw. Tudor historian John Leland called Neath Abbey "the fairest abbey of all Wales."