Your route to adventure, heritage and natural beauty on the X1 and X4 bus, direct from Neath, Port Talbot, Swansea and Bridgend.
Margam Country Park is an outstanding natural resource, close to but greatly predating the massive steel plant along the coastal strip below the park. It has a long and fascinating history. The bus will take you right to the main Park entrance.
The Park has played an important part in the life of the area for close on a thousand years and many magniﬁcent reminders of its past remain to this day. You can book a guided tour in advance by contacting Friends of Margam Park.
If you wish to explore independently, here are the places to see with some historical detail included.
Public access to these buildings is not always available.
The centrepiece of the Park was built as the family home by local industrialist and landowner Christopher Rice Mansel-Talbot between 1830 and 1835. Built in Tudor-Gothic style on a grand scale at a cost of £50000, it replaced the former family seat of Penrice Castle in Gower and was decorated with fine tapestries, antiques and furnishings. Following Talbot’s death in 1890, it passed to his daughter Emily Charlotte who lived there until her death in 1918, after which it was left in trust to her nephew.
In 1941 the trustees auctioned the castle for £29000 and it was bought in 1942 by local entrepreneur David Evans-Bevan, mine and brewery owner who found it too large to live in. Requisitioned by troops in the Second World War, it suffered severe damage and not being able to subsequently attract a public sponsor, it fell into disrepair and restoration only started following a fire in 1977. Today the castle is a Grade I listed building in the care of the local council.
This unique Orangery, the largest in the British Isles was built between 1787 and 1790 by Thomas Mansel Talbot then owner of the massive Margam Estate to house his large collection of orange, lemon and other citrus fruit trees acquired during a Grand Tour of Europe (1768-1772) and salvage from a later shipwreck near Porthcawl.
As with the castle, it was requisitioned by US forces in the Second World War and the collection was abandoned, to be restored in an outside greenhouse many years later. Today, the Orangery is a venue for weddings, conferences and events and the greenhouse remains with its collection of citrus plants.
Margam Abbey and Stones Museum
Margam Abbey, founded as a daughter house for Robert, Earl of Gloucester dates from 1147 and took almost 50 years to build. It became the richest monastic house in Wales and stood on the site of an early Celtic monastic church. Two communities lived there – monks recruited from Anglo-Norman families – and lay brothers who worked the abbey farms. It administered estate in Glamorgan and further and was a great centre of culture. The monks provided lodging for travellers, including King John and his entire army in 1210 in the Guest House. At the dissolution by King Henry VIII in 1536 there were only nine monks remaining and the site was purchased by Sir Rice Mansel.
Current remains of the Abbey include part of the Abbey Church and Guest House and the ruins of the 13th century Chapter House. Adjacent to the front of the church is the Stones Museum housed in a former Victorian school house and contains a fine collection of sculptured and unscribed stones some dating back to Celtic times.
Perched on the top of a hillside at the western edge of the park is the grade 2 listed ruin of ‘Yr Hen Eglwys’ known commonly as the Chapel of St Mary or Capel Mair. Built as a place of worship, it was used by local peasants and yeomen who did not have the right to worship in the abbey.
Mynydd y Castell ancient hill fort
A massively defended promontory contains the earthworks of an ancient Silurian fort used to defend the tribes against the Romans between 48AD and 70AD. It is a D-shaped site and would have been topped by a wooden fence, a ditch and a lower, smaller bank. In its time, it would have held an important strategic position controlling the lowland route from Glamorgan to Gower.
The Deer Herds
Fallow deer have roamed Margam Park since before Norman times and the park now boasts a herd of around 300 of this species, prized for their grace and beauty and the quality of their venison. As far back as 1558, Sir Rice Mansel was granted a licence to fence in the park, since when deer have been continuously farmed on the estate. As well as the Fallow, Margam now hosts 64 Red Deer and 34 of the endangered Père David species, being part of a breeds programme jointly with Whipsnade Safari Park
A Walk in the Park
There are lots of opportunities for walking in the Park ranging from easy to strenuous trails. Walking packs can be purchased at the entrance cabin or gift shop or you can join one of the themed walks or request your own guided tour from Friends of Margam Park
A narrow gauge train can take the strain out of seeing the park running from the entrance cabin to the castle taking in views of the farm trail, castle, lakes, woodlands and wildlife. Runs in Spring and Summer only
To find out about more things to do in the Park or any other information, go on to the Margam Park website
Port Talbot – 4 km
Margam Park Main Gates
On-site parking is available (charged)
Port Talbot Parkway station (south side-charged)
The X1 & X4 buses connect Port Talbot and Margam
X1 or X4 Cymru Clipper routes Swansea/Neath-Port Talbot-Margam Park-Bridgend Mondays to Saturdays at hourly or half-hourly* daytime frequency; limited Sunday service.
*half-hourly Port Talbot-Margam-Bridgend