Wales is known for it’s beautiful greenery and coastal walks. However, Port Talbot in South Wales is definitely not one of the places that springs to mind when you think of amazing Welsh scenery, in fact it is much better known for it’s the steel works, one of the largest in the world.
Growing up in South Wales and only a 20 minute drive from Port Talbot I have memories of the town, but to be totally honest I wouldn’t say they were particularly positive, my overriding memory is of driving past on the motorway after a school trip and at the sight of the steel works knowing that I should call my mum to tell her I was almost home – oh and it smells of farts.
So when I saw these beautiful pictures of the reservoir and found out it was only in Port Talbot, I consulted my family (who all live in Wales) and none of them could believe this was right on our door step either, how did we not know this was here! so I decided to write a little guide so others can discover it too!
How to get there
Brombil Reservoir is located in Margam, for directions you can simply google the reservoir or type in the following postcode ‘SA13 2SR‘ which will take you to the start of the walk.
- Brombil Reservoir is an 8 minute drive from Port Talbot centre, or 20 minutes from Swansea.
- From Port Talbot – you can get the 87 or X1 to Twelve Nights Hotel and then take a 20 minute walk up Ty-Fry road onto Morlais Road to the start of the reservoir walk.
- From Swansea – you can get the X1 bus all the way, or get the train to Port Talbot and then the bus for a quicker journey.
There is no formal parking for the reservoir, you will have to park on a residential street to begin the walk. With this in mind, please be respectful that people live here and make sure you are not parked too close to a house or blocking the road in any way.
The Walk to Brombil Reservoir
The start of the walk begins at the end of the residential road, although it isn’t obvious – you will need to walk past the cottage on your right and straight ahead to the pathway where you will pass through a gate – you’re on the right tracks!
Once through the gate the first section of the path is sheltered under the trees and you walk along the Arnallt river for around 900 metres, this section is pretty flat and easy. However due to it being sheltered under the trees can get quite muddy.
You will then reach a second gate, once you pass through you can either;
- Turn left to walk up the mountain and have views looking down on the reservoir (harder walk) approx 5km for the entire walk.
- Turn right to walk directly to the reservoir (easier walk) approx 2.5 km for the entire walk.
The Mountain route is much much steeper and more challenging than the reservoir route. However, it does offer the best views and you can just walk to the first viewpoint and turn back if you don’t fancy the entire walk!
You will walk around 250 meters uphill before reaching the first viewpoint.
In my opinion this is probably the best viewpoint of all, so you can always make the short hike up to here and then turn back and complete the reservoir walk.
If you fancy a little bit more of a challenge you can continue to zig zag up the mountain for another 500 metres, this is where the path starts to get steeper and a bit more taxing, but very manageable if you take your time. Once you reach the top of this section you get a pretty amazing view of the forest opposite, you can also see the steel works and sea in the distance.
Again you can turn back at this point or continue around the mountain to get to the final viewpoint of the reservoir to reach here you need to continue walking up the mountain, until you see another fork in the path, stick to the right hand side all the way to loop around the mountain, this is where it starts to level off and you reach a down hill section, you will be walking for around 1 km
If you fancy a longer walk, the path to the left takes you all the way to Margam!
Once you reach the final viewpoint, You can take a seat on the edge of the mountain and enjoy the views and a well deserved rest!
If you want an easier walk or simply want to walk directly to the reservoir you can take the reservoir route which is around a 300 metre walk.
After the second gate turn right, where you will need to walk over the river, there are stepping stones here so you should be able to get across without getting your shoes wet – just be careful!
Follow the path along until it splits into two, follow the left path to go over a small hill and arrive in the centre of the reservoir or take the right path for a short walk through the forestry to arrive at the right hand side of the reservoir.
Once you arrive you can take a walk all around the edge of the reservoir.
Useful Information on Brombil Reservoir
- Is it dog friendly? – Yes! Plenty of people walk dogs here on and off the leads, just be mindful that there are no dog bins so take your mess home.
- Is it child friendly? – The Mountain route may be quite challenging for young children, but the reservoir route should be fine. However, the walk is not suitable for prams.
- Can I swim in the reservoir? – Whilst there is not any clear signage or guidance about swimming in Brombil reservoir. Generally, Welsh water advice against any swimming in reservoirs because of the hidden dangers, so the short and safest answer would be ‘no swim in the reservoir’ .
- Accessibility – Unfortunately Brombil Reservoir is not wheel chair accessible.
- Clothing – Make sure you wear sensible shoes (walking boots or good trainers) the path can get very muddy, loose and dusty.
- Rubbish – There are no rubbish bins at the reservoir so please be prepared to carry your rubbish home.