Don’t you just love it when you stumble across somewhere new to visit which is right on your doorstep? Especially when it is somewhere as beautiful as Brombil Reservoir in Margam, Port Talbot.
I know we are generally spoilt for choice in Wales for our luscious landscapes but I was still really surprised to find out that Brombil Reservoir had been tucked away all this time in Port Talbot. Being from Swansea I would have thought I’d have heard of it before. How did we not know this place existed?
As soon as I saw a couple of photos of it on Instagram I knew we had to visit. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how beautiful it was. It was like a scene in Canada with its turquoise waters surrounded by fir trees. Of course there is the view of the steel works in the background which gives away its location.
There are lots of walks there, but there isn’t much sign posting. There is a straight forward very short route, where you can walk for about 15 – 20 minutes, and this will take you straight to the reservoir. Or you can opt for a longer circular route which takes you high above the reservoir, rewarding you with the best views.
I’ve documented the circular route we took, as there are no guide maps when you get there.
Brombil Reservoir Circular Route
Once you’ve parked at Brombil Barns, you head up to the dead-end at the top of the street. The entrance to the walk is right at the top of the road (see picture below).
After going through the gate you come to the first section of the walk which is flat and sheltered by trees. Consequently it can get pretty boggy so walking boots are your best bet. We wore trainers and regretted it later. It is a pretty part of the walk which takes you along a babbling stream.
Along this section of the walk you will pass over two small wooden bridges. Just after the second bridge you will come to a gate.
Immediately after the gate you have the option of carrying straight ahead to the reservoir (very short walk) or heading up a steepish path on your left. This is the route we took. It is a longer walk but it is absolutely worth it for the views.
You will walk for around 250 metres on a narrow and steep incline before coming to your first viewpoint of the Brombil reservoir. If you don’t fancy going any further you could always turn back here. But if you can, it is worth heading on up the mountain.
When you’re almost at the top turn back round to have a view of the steel works in the distance.
Most of the steep work is now done and then you have quite a nice flat section of the walk. When you come to a fork in the path, stick to the right path to take you back to the reservoir and the final view point. The other route takes you into Margam.
You’ll see the final view point as there is erosion in the hill where people have clambered over to sit on the edge of the mountain. We chose not to with the kids, but we still paused here and peeked over to admire the view.
More sensible people would probably head back the way they came. But we chose to carry on and took the narrow path through ferns down to the river and then on to the reservoir. It is a narrow path and definitely one less trodden. It is also very boggy and even in warmer weather you will likely end up pretty muddy.
You have to cross a stream and then navigate on a slope through trees before eventually coming to the reservoir. But you will need to be very careful with your footing. As you can see from the picture it isn’t really a path, but people have and do walk it. It is quite steep, but ours really enjoyed it. Of course for the kids this felt like an adventure and was their favourite part of the walk.
This will then bring you down to the reservoir. You can sit along the edge and admire the water but there aren’t any picnic tables or anything.
After taking in the views of the reservoir, we carried on the path which came to a small opening area. We managed to pop a picnic blanket down here.
From here you carry on the path which brings you to a section where you can cross the river over some stepping stones. Again, you may well get a little wet.
This then brings you back to the gate (where you first took the steep walk up the mountain) and so you head back the same way you came, crossing the two wooden bridges until you arrive back at the entrance.
Have you been to Brombil reservoir? What routes have you taken? Do let me know in the comments below.
Distance – approx. 4 – 5 km
Duration – Approx 1 1/2 hours
Difficulty – Moderate. Stone stiles, stepping stones (slippery when wet), some steep sections and boggy in places. Not buggy or wheelchair friendly.
Facilities – There are no facilities at Brombil reservoir. Also please note there are no bins so you’ll need to take a rubbish bag if you’re taking a picnic.
Dog friendly – Yes. But there are no bins so you’ll have to bring those doggy bags back with you.
Getting there – Pop postcode SA13 2SR into your sat nav. This will bring you to Brombil Barns and you can park along the road. Please be respectful as you will be parking outside peoples homes.
Please note it is deemed very unsafe to swim in reservoirs. Welsh Water outline the risks which include cold water shock and lack of access to rescue teams.
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