Modern settlement patterns reflect the industrial history of the area, with urban development along the flatter areas of the valleys and some parts of the coast.
The county borough borders the other principal areas of Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taff to the east, Powys and Carmarthenshire to the north and Swansea to the west.
Its principal towns are Neath, Port Talbot and Pontardawe.
The whole of the Neath Port Talbot area was once part of the county of West Glamorgan, which in turn was part of the historic county of Glamorgan.
Since local government re-organisation in 1996, Neath Port Talbot is governed by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.
The local education authority operates 6 infant schools, 6 junior schools, 56 primary schools, 11 secondary schools and 3 special schools.
Further Education in Neath Port Talbot is provided by a range of institutions. Joseph’s Catholic School & Sixth Form Centre in Port Talbot and Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera have traditional sixth form settings.Cwmafan Walking Group Margam Marchers Gwaun Cae Gurwen- Happy Wanderers. Sandfields Steppers Walking Group Cwmllynfell- Sarn Helen Walking Group Melin Walking Group.For information on each individual club please select the Walking Group Cards section below.Port Talbot is also the site for Neath Port Talbot Hospital which is situated on Baglan Way, Port Talbot. The Switchboard is for the hospital is 01639862000.The local Neath Port Talbot Council is the education authority in the area which operates primary schools and secondary schools within the county.Neath Port Talbot was created from the former districts of Neath, Port Talbot and part of Lliw Valley on 1 April 1996 as Neath and Port Talbot; it changed its name on the following day, 2 April 1996.