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Margam, Neath Port Talbot
Margam is a suburb of Port Talbot in Neath Port Talbot, South Wales. Once an ancient Welsh community dominated by Margam Abbey, the whole of the parish was eventually submerged by the town of Port Talbot and became part of the industrial landscape of the South Wales Coalfield.
Margam Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1147 by Robert, Earl of Gloucester and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, all that remains of the early building is the nave of the church, converted after the Dissolution to Margam Parish Church - which remains a fine building to this day.
At the dissolution of the monasteries the village came into the possession of the Mansel family who were eventually succeeded by their descendants, the Talbot family.
With the coming of the industrial revolution, the parish of Margam became important for two reasons. First, it had a good harbour, and second, it had coal deposits - and coal mining in the parish took off in the late 18th century.
In the 19th century, with the wealth from local industry, the Mansel Talbots built themselves Margam Castle - a large mansion house built in the Gothic Revival style. It was constructed over a ten-year period from 1830 to 1840 and the "castle" was actually a comfortable Victorian country house, however it was badly damaged by fire in the late 20th century and is now (2012) in the process of restoration.
The castle grounds contain the ruins of the former Abbey's Chapter House and a number of 17th century and 18th century monuments.
The Church Schoolroom is now home to the Margam Stones Museum, under the care of Cadw, and the museum contains a collection of early Christian Celtic crosses and inscribed stones, which the Talbot family had collected from the locality.
All the lands of the estate were sold out of the Talbot family in the mid 20th century and they have been preserved as Margam Country Park, some 850 acres (3.4 km2) owned and administered by the local council as a major local attraction.
Local attractions include Goape Treetop Adventure, Margam Stones Museum, Margam Country Park, and last but not least the Wales Coastal Path.
City of Swansea Museum
Go Ape could be described as a 'high-wire forest adventure'. That means giant obstacle courses up in the trees using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire. Take to the trees and speed down zip slides. They're part of an exciting course of rope bridges, Tarzan swings and crossings; all set high above the forest floor.
Margam Country Park is steeped in history, wildlife and natural beauty. There is something for everyone to do at Margam Country Park. Orienteering, cycling, fishing, watching the Deer, geocaching, archery , caravanning, BBQ-ing or just a walk to enjoy the wonderful environment the Park provides.
Walkers on the Wales Coastal Path have the opportunity to visit all the attractions of Margam, and those with an interest in Celtic history might well wish to pre-arrange a visit to the Margam Stones Museum.

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