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 A Tour of the GNOLL ESTATE
The Town of Neath looking SW from Tonna
Neath Abbey and Skewen on the far right. 
After passing the Town the River swings to the left of picture towards Briton Ferry
The Gnoll Estate is out of picture to the left. 
The towpath of the Neath Canal can be seen bottom right. 
The River is still tidal at this point making the marsh a saltmarsh.
Neath from Tonna
The Gnoll House stood on a terrace cut into the side of the hill overlooking the Town of Neath. 
Sadly neglected, it became dangerous and was demolished in 1957. In the 1980`s the lower walls were uncovered and restored. The extensive Cellars were cleared and parts roofed over. 
The remains in the foreground are those of the earlier parts of the house.
Gnoll House today
Evidence suggests that an early Elizabethan dwelling existed before a house was built for Thomas Evans in 1666. 
Parts Of the Evans house were converted into a Laundry when the House was successively extended by first Humphrey Mackworth, and then the two Herbert Mackworths in the 18th Century. 
Gnoll House early 1900`s
A steep path leads from the House down the hillside to the South. The view from this path looks towards Melincryddan and in the distance Jersey Marine and Swansea Bay. The houses in the foreground were built in the area in which the Mackworths operated coal mines and "Battery Mills" for the rolling of Brass.The stream which flows through the green area in the foreground comes from the Great Pond and flows down to Neath where it enters the River close to the Castle. Looking South from Gnoll
The Great Pond was created in the early 1700`s. It provided water power to drive Rolling Mills, Pumps and Lifting gear. Water was channelled from the surrounding hillsides to provide a storage system which gave power throughout the year.
In the 1900`s this pond became the Town Swimming Pool. It was replaced in the 1960`s by an indoor pool; the water levels were reduced and the pond has silted up.
The Great Pond
In the 1700`s Guestsof the Mackworths would walk from the House along this Vista..The Cascades in the distance were lined by LimeTrees and stretched even further up the hillside than they do today. The Vista
Built between 1724 and 1727, the Formal Cascades flow down into the Fishpond.
The original road to Pontrhydyfen ran through this pond and an Act of Parliament was required to build the pond. The water from this pond was fed down the valley to the Great Pond.
These Cascades fell out of fashion in the 1740`s and were allowed to decay. Nature having concealed them, they were not rediscovered until the 1980`s and have been beautifully restored. 
The Formal Cascades
Looking from the Vista with the Fishpond on the right. The new Visitor Centre is built at the side of the pond with a new car park  and a 9 hole Golf Course  behind it. Directly behind the Centre the Ivy Tower stands on the hillside. 
The main Neath Valley runs to the left in a NE direction.
The Visitor Centre
This view from the Golf Course. 
The Dulais Valley in the distance and the Neath Valley to the right of pictuure.The house in the foreground is Fairyland House, where my g.grandmother was born in 1861. It was built in about 1795 on land leased from Cefndon Farm which stands directly behind it. 
Fairyland Road which runs from Llantwit Church passes Fairyland House and climbs the hillside towards the Ivy Tower.
Fairyland House
The Third Pond (as I knew it in my youth) was originally known as the Guinea Pond. It also provided water storage for the Great Pond. 
It later (with the "Second Pond") became part of the Neath Town water supply system. It became redundant and was allowed to silt up, but was restored about six years ago. 
In the distance is Drymma Mountain overlooking Bryncoch.
The Guinea Pond
Fairyland Road climbs steeply past Lletty Guinea and levels out below Dan y Lan Farm and the Ivy Tower. The latter was built by Lady Molly Mackworth in the 1790`s. She would entertain guests here after they had been conducted around the Estate. The building is gradually deteriorating but plans are in hand to stabilise the parts left standing and to use it as a viewing platform. Ivy Tower
Mosshouse Reservoir was built in the 1890`s as part of Neath Town`s Water system. A footpath leads around the pond to the right and Fairyland Road continues upwards to the left. 
The footpath to the right leads to the Informal Cascades.
Mosshouse Reservoir
The Informal Cascades were constucted in the 1740`s when they became the current fashion. 
Their restoration has provided the Gnoll Estate with a unique double attraction. 
A stiff climb winds to the left up to the top of the cascades. There Lady Molly built a "Grotto" where she is thought to have placed items of historical interest collected from the area
The Informal Cascades
Back down below the Ivy Tower, this is the view looking North over the Neath Valley and Tonna towards the Dulais Valley. 
The small rise in the field marks the site of a small coal mine on Danylan Farm. In the 1850`s and 60`s this was mined by my ggg.grandfather Rees Jenkins, who lived in Fairyland House.
Looking towards the Dulais Valley
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