National Showcaves Centre for Wales

Useful Information

Location: Brecon Rd, Pen-y-cae, Swansea SA9 1GJ.
M4 exit 45, A4067 North (Pontardawe) 32 km. Midway between Swansea and Brecon on A4067.
(51.831054, -3.686444)
Open: APR to OCT daily 10-15.
Longer open hours during season.
Fee: Adults GBP 16.50, Children (3-16) GBP 13, Children (0-2) free.
Groups (20+): special rates, pre-booking required.
Admission for 10 attractions including Dan-yr-Ogof cave, Bone Cave and Cathedral Cave.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=15,000m
Guided tours: self guided L=1,000 m, D=40 min. V=80,000/a [2000]
Photography: allowed, no tripods
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Martyn Farr (1999): Dan yr Ogof: The jewel of Welsh caves, paperback, Gwasg Gomer, 1999, 78 pp, 52 colour photos, B&W photos, maps, surveys etc, ISBN: 1859026451. Worldamazon.com
The upper Swansea Valley contains the foremost showcave complex in the British Islands. Beyond the show caves are ten miles of passages of unimaginable beauty. This is a classic account of exploration from 1812 which is still continuing today.
Sarah Symons (2003): The Wonders of Dan Yr Ogof, paperback, Y Lolfa, 2003, 128 pp, many photos, 4 in colour, ISBN: 0862436303.
An interesting monograph on a famous show cave. A good account of the discovery in 1912 and the history of exploration since then, including the major discoveries of 1966 which were published in the Observer colour supplement.
Llew E Morgan (1938): Dan yr Ogof Swansea Valley Caves Official guide, 29pp sb nd 19 photos, 2 surveys, 1st ed.
This author was a local school teacher and is not related to the Morgan bros who first explored the cave.
Address: The National Showcaves Centre for Wales, Abercrave, Swansea SA9 1GJ, Tel: +44-1639-730284. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1912 discovered by two brothers, Tommy and Jeff Morgan, of Abercrave.
1930s further exploration.
1939 opened to the public.
1960s further exploration.


Dan-yr-Ogof is, as they say, the largest show cave complex in western Europe with, as they say, award winning lighting and sound system.

In 1912 the two brothers, Tommy and Jeff Morgan, of Abercrave, entered Dan-yr-Ogof via a small passage, which can just be seen inside the short mined tunnel, now connecting the end of the dry passages with the outside world. They used candles and oil lamps and marked their route through the caves with arrows of sand or mud. They crossed Coracle Pool by coracle, which gave it its present name.

The cave has multiple formations. Outstanding is the huge, 5.5 m long hanging curtain at Cauldron Chamber. It is a river cave with numerous lakes, pools, waterfalls and bridges. A small part of the cave at the end called Jubilee Passage, is not accessible when the water rises. But this is only after long and heavy rains.

The cave is lit with electricity, which is produced from the cave river. The Morgan brothers installed a water turbine they got used from France. It is still working today and produces 20 kW, which is sufficient to light the show cave.

The fame of this cave draws tourists not only from all over Great Britain, but from all over the world. Its fascination is such that in 1966 it was awarded the 'Oscar' Festival of Wales Trophy for the most outstanding tourist attraction in Wales.

Situated in a beautiful valley, flanked by mountain ranges of 2300 feet and 2600 feet, amid delightful scenery, it provides a starting place for many beautiful walks, including the nearby Llynfell Falls and Craig-y-nos Castle, the home of the late prima donna Madame Patti, who lived there from 1879 to 1919.

The cave was first discovered in 1912 by the Morgan brothers, who entered by the river entrance and climbed up into what is now the show cave, some way in. On the journey visitors will be able to see the original crawl along which the Morgan brothers wormed their way into the cave.

The 2.4 km show cave, carved out of the limestone by the river, is very spacious, and over hundreds of thousands of years the deposit of stalagmite has led to the building up of many beautiful, startling and lurid formations. These are many noteworthy formations in these caves, not the least of which are 'The Nuns', a group of five stalagmites looking like cowled nuns in white habits, and the Alabaster Pillar, a thick, pure white pillar, stretching between the floor and the ceiling where, over hundreds of thousands of years a stalagmite and a stalactite have joined. Most impressive are the wonderful colourings in the formations caused by minerals in the soil above.

At the end of the show section the cave continues on in darkness over three lakes. Exploration is still continuing; in fact the known cave is now nearly 10 km (*) long. However, exploration is for the experts, the speleologists like the Morgan brothers, whose penetrations into the unknown have made it possible for visitors to view the beauties of Dan yr Ogof today. Whilst in the cave tourists may meet parties of cave explorers clad in wet suits, entering or leaving the cave after long periods in the further reaches.

Text from: Tony and Anne Oldham (1972): Discovering Caves - A guide to the Show Caves of Britain. With kind permission by Tony Oldham.

(*) Update: the cave is now explored 15.5 km.