Aberdulais Falls 2009

Hydroelectrics, industrial heritage, and waterfalls.

Aberdulais Falls seems to be mentioned quite a lot on various tourist sites, especially coupled with the names of artists who painted them (like I care). Plenty of people had published pictures of them, but the pictures all seemed to be of different waterfalls. I struggled (and failed) to find a map of the area in high enough detail to see how many waterfalls there are, and how to reach them.

The site of the falls was used for copper making around 420 years ago, and 200 years ago, the buildings that are now ruins were built as a tin works. A weir was made in the river above the falls, and tapped to provide a water source for the water wheel, ejecting the remaining water below the falls. Despite all the pictures, there is only one waterfall, just downstream of the weir. It can only be viewed from one side, as the other side is a cliff. The waterfall lies diagonally across the river, and its appearence is highly dependent on the flow of water, and how much is being tapped to drive the water wheel turbine, and a modern turbine hidden in the works. At low flow, the waterfall appears much taller than it is, making two waterfalls at either side of the river. In high flow, these combine as a single, wide waterfall. We went after rain, and there was a lot of water in the river.

The tin works and hydroelectric power station are maintained by the National Trust, and an entry fee is required, even if you only want to see the waterfall. It is not possible to see the waterfall properly without paying this entry fee, unless you happen to live in one of the clifftop houses. That sucks. The entry point is on the side of the A4109, just 100 metres from the A465 roundabout, where it crosses the river Dulais (sounds like dill-ice) - the river on which the waterfall is located.