Welsh Icons - Rivers of Wales
River Tawe


 River Tawe




The River Tawe is a river in south Wales which meets the sea at Swansea (Abertawe in Welsh). The river flows from its source in the old red sandstone hills in a more or less south-westerly direction. The only large tributary is the River Clydach. The Tawe passes through a number of towns and villages including Ystradgynlais, Ystalyfera, Pontardawe and Clydach.

The lower part of the valley was intensely industrialised in the 18th and 19th centuries and was especially impacted by metal refining and working and to a much lesser extent by porcelain manufacture. Large areas of the lower valley remain contaminated by industrial spoil containing copper, lead, nickel and zinc. The only significant extant relic of those times is a major nickel refinery at Clydach which is part of the Canadian company INCO. The quality of the river has now greatly improved. Large salmon and trout swim up the river to spawn.

In 1992, a barrage was built at the mouth of the river.

Bridges and crossings
Bridges over the river Tawe from north to south:

  • Ffordd Cwm Tawe road bridge
  • Park Road bridge
  • M4 Motorway bridge
  • railway bridge (un-named)
  • Swansea Vale road bridge
  • Morriston road bridge - links Morriston Town centre to the Swansea Enterprise Park.
  • Mannesmann road Bridge - links Mannesmann Close in the Enterprise Park to Beaufort Road in Plasmarl. It is currently closed for safety reasons but there are plans to build a replacement bridge.
  • southern Beaufort Road bridge (unnamed)
  • Landore viaduct - railway crossing
  • Morfa footbridge - links the Morfa Retail Park to the Liberty Stadium
  • White Rock Bridge - road and pedestrian bridge linking the Landore district with the Bon-y-maen district.
  • Parc Tawe Bridge - road and pedestrian bridge linking Parc Tawe with St. Thomas
  • Quay Parade Bridge - road and pedestrian bridge linking Quay Parade with the Fabian Way
  • Old Swansea Bridge - a former railway bridge. The bridge deck no longer exists but the piers remain.
  • Sail Bridge - a pedestrian and cycle bridge linking the Maritime Quarter near Sainsbury's superstore to the SA1 Waterfront development area.
  • Lock Bridge - a pedestrian and cycle bridge located near the barrage. It cost £1.2 million to build and part of the bridge swings with the lock gates


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