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Landscape & wildlife Please note - A new body, Natural Resources Wales has taken over all functions and services previously carried out by Countryside Council for Wales. While the Natural Resources Wales website continues to be developed, some online services will continue to be provided on this web site.

Margam Mountain

Margam Mountain is a distinctive block of South Wales uplands on the south west fringe of the Glamorgan Blaenau, where they meet the Bro and overlook and visually dominate the narrow coastal plain near the modern port and industrial town of Port Talbot.


Crown copyright:RCAHMW

Reference number: HLW (WGl/MGl) 2

OS map: Landranger 170

Unitary authority: Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend

From the coastal plain just above sea level, the flanks of the mountain rise steeply to a series of more gentle slopes and plateaux between 200m and 300m, with local crests reaching over 300m, the highest of which is Margam Mountain itself, at 344m, in the centre of the area.

The whole mountain is dissected and indented by several ravines and small wooded valleys or cwmoedd, each with a small stream rising in peat bogs near the crest. On the north east, the area is bounded by the valley of the Llynfi, a tributary of the River Ogmore, and on the north west by the small wooded valley of Cwm Dyffryn. The southern limit is bounded by Cwm Cynffig at the head of the River Kenfig, while the western limit coincides with the modern M4 motorway which more or less follows the edge of the coastal plain.

The historic landscape identified here is dominated by the steep southern flanks of Margam Mountain, a strategic location which controlled early routes to West Wales, including the main Roman road linking the Roman forts of Cardiff and Neath. Much of the area is now afforested, though archaeologically it benefited from the early landscape studies undertaken in the 1930s.

A full published description for this landscape area is available as a pdf download within the Related Articles section below.

Principal area designations:

The area includes camp north of Ton Mawr, Margam Abbey, Mynydd y Castell camp, Roman camp, and Y Bwlwarcau Scheduled Ancient Monuments; Margam Conservation Area.

Criteria: 3

Contents and significance:

Margam Mountain is a discrete block of the South Wales uplands situated at the south west fringe of the historical Glamorgan Blaenau, displaying continuity, density and diversity of human occupation from the prehistoric period to the recent past.

The area includes:

Bronze Age ritual and funerary monuments; large Iron Age hillforts, settlements, enclosures and trackways; a Roman road, a large and important group of Early Christian Inscribed Stone monuments and associations; medieval defensive works; Margam Abbey, later a site for gentry residences, a landscaped park, pleasure gardens and a magnificent Georgian orangery; Second World War defensive installations.

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