Cwmbran ( ; cy|Cwmbrân , also in use as an alternative spelling in English) is a new town
Lying within the historic boundaries
, it forms part of the county borough
. Cwmbran was designated as a new town in 1949 to provide new employment opportunities in the south eastern portion of the South Wales Coalfield
Comprising the villages of Old Cwmbran
, Upper Cwmbran
, its population had grown to 48,535 by 2011. This makes it the sixth largest urban area in Wales
Sitting as it does at the corner of the South Wales Coalfield
, it has a hilly aspect to its western and northern edges, with the surrounding hills climbing to over . The Afon Llwyd
forms the major river valley, although the most significant water course is probably the remains of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal
. To the east of Cwmbran the land is less hilly, forming part of the Usk valley
Cwmbran is a new town
that was designated in 1949 to provide new employment opportunities in the south eastern portion of the South Wales Coalfield
. Cwmbran means ''Crow Valley''.
There is evidence that Neolithic
and Bronze Age
people used the area, with the Iron Age Silures
tribe also occupying the region before being subdued by the Roman legion
s based at nearby Usk
Around 1179, Hywel, Lord of Caerleon gave a gift of money and land to found the Cistercian abbey
. At the dissolution of the monasteries
by Henry VIII
the abbey was closed and was bought by a succession of wealthy landowners. By the 18th century the abbey had passed into the ownership of the Blewitt family, who were to become key figures in the early industrialisation of Cwmbran. Brick making, lime kiln
s, iron ore
mining, quarrying and coal mining
were established during this period, along with a canal
to transport goods to the docks at Newport
In 1833 the Ordnance Survey
map of Monmouthshire shows Cwmbran as a farm situated in the area now known as Upper Cwmbran, in the valley named Cwm Brân. Cwmbran now covers about and has a population of around 50,000.
Following some investigation by local residents Richard Davies and Mike Price, the Ancient Cwmbran & The Cistercian project was created and a £48,000 grant has been provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund
to explore some previously unrecorded sites of interest in the Greenmeadow
The Cistercian Way
also passes through Llantarnam
, Old Cwmbran, Greenmeadow
and Thornhill before reaching the ancient chapel of Llanderfel
on Mynydd Maen
, and then onwards to Twmbarlwm
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Cwmbran was the site of heavy industrial development. Coal and iron ore were extracted on Mynydd Maen, and moved by inclined planes and tramways into the Eastern Valley for use in factories such as the Patent Nut and Bolt Company
(which became Guest Keen and Nettlefolds
in 1900), various tin plate works and brickworks. This industry drove the creation of the Monmouthshire Canal
, the Newport and Pontypool Railway
and the Pontypool, Caerleon and Newport Railway
. Very little of this industrial heritage remains today, though many of today's light industrial or retail estates were created on the sites.
Following the 1946 New Towns Act, ministries and county councils were asked to nominate sites for housing. For Wales, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government proposed Church Village and Cwmbran. The Church Village proposal was vetoed by the Ministry of Power as new housing there would have interfered with plans for the expansion of coal mining in the area; however, Cwmbran was passed in 1949.
Cwmbran was a civil parish and, from 1974, a community
in its own right, one of only five in the new district of Torfaen. In 1985 the Cwmbran community was abolished, replaced by Cwmbran Central, Fairwater
and Upper Cwmbran
The name of the town derives from the Welsh "Cwm Brân", meaning "valley of the Crow", a reference to the large roosts of Jackdaws in the valley. Cwmbran was the name of one of several villages located in the valley, which had grown up around the tinplate works of the Cwmbran Iron Company. As the new town of Cwmbran was formed in 1949, the area of the old village became known as Old Cwmbran.
The longest established employer in Cwmbran is biscuit maker Burton's Foods
, who employ 1000 people to make its Jammie Dodgers
and Wagon Wheels
biscuits. As of 2005, the Cwmbran plant produces over 400 million Wagon Wheels a year.
Seats Great Britain (formerly Zodiac Aerospace
) is the current owner of a factory in Cwmbran which employs 1000 people for manufacturing aircraft seats.
Constructed from 1959 to 1981, the pedestrianised Centre hosts supermarkets, high street retailers, banks, theatre, cinema, bowling alley, restaurants, creche, trampoline park, gym, police station, magistrates court, youth centre, pub, library, arts centre and office space. The 170+ shops can be accessed by the bus station located in the Centre, a train station a few minutes walk north-east or with the 3000 free parking spaces located around the Centre's ring road.
SME-businesses include the Cwmbran Brewery in Upper Cwmbran, which opened in 1996 as Cottage Spring Brewery.
The town has two secondary education schools: Croesyceiliog School
and Cwmbran High School
. There are numerous primary and nursery schools including a Welsh medium primary schoolYsgol Gymraeg Cwmbrân
was home to international athletics events in the 1970s and 1980s. British athletics coach Malcolm Arnold used to train some of his athletes at Cwmbran in the 80s and early 90s while he was the Welsh National Coach.
Athletes who trained there regularly under Malcolm include former World 110m Hurdle Champion and World Record Holder, Colin Jackson
; Commonwealth 110m Hurdle medallist, Paul Gray; and Nigel Walker
who had two sporting careers, first as an Olympic hurdler and then later as a Welsh rugby union international player.
The 1999 World Indoor 400m Champion Jamie Baulch
also used the stadium as a regular training track under a different coach. The stadium is also the home of Gwent Hockey Club (men's and ladies).
The town has three athletics
clubs: Cwmbran Harriers, Fairwater Runners and Griffithstown Harriers.
The three main football
teams in Cwmbran are Cwmbran Town
, Cwmbran Celtic
who all compete in the Welsh Football League
. Cwmbran Town and Celtic both play at Cwmbran Stadium
. Also in Cwmbran was The Football Factory. Located near to the town centre, The Football Factory was an indoor sports complex consisting of two sports pitches. The building was destroyed by fire in February 2017.
Separate grounds at Pontnewydd
house the town's two rugby union
teams, Cwmbran RFC
and Croesyceiliog RFC
, although many more of the town's residents support the rugby teams of the older, adjacent town of Pontypool
, the city of Newport
and the Newport Gwent Dragons
is represented in the town by Torfaen Tigers
, who play in the fourth tier of the rugby league
pyramid system, the Conference League South
. They play their home matches at the Kings Head Ground
, home of Cwmbran R.F.C.
The main newspaper in the region is the South Wales Argus
and the semi-national Western Mail
. The digital edition of the latter is published as Wales Online
. The town is served by a local news service, Cwmbran Life, while the BBC also serve the South East Wales region from their base in Cardiff.
A number of online and amateur radio stations operate in Cwmbran. Vitalize Radio
operates as the community radio station for Torfaen, originally established in 2014 as Torfonix. There are also the Cwmbran and District Amateur Radio Society, and Able Radio, who support adults with autism and learning disabilities.
Media depictions of Cwmbran
In July 2011, Cwmbran was the setting for Goldie Lookin Chain
's satirical "Fresh Prince of Cwmbran", a song based on the ''Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'' theme
praising the town.
Cwmbran railway station
is served by trains on the Welsh Marches Line
, with through trains south to Newport
. Northbound local trains serve Pontypool
, and longer distance services run to Hereford
. The station was not opened until 1986, as one of the last acts of the Cwmbran New Town Development Board.
Until then, Cwmbran had had no train service for 24 years. Historically Cwmbran was served by 2 lines and several local stations. The first line was built by the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company
and opened in 1852. (Much of its route is now under Cwmbran Drive, the A 4051). The line that is still in use was opened by the Pontypool, Caerleon and Newport Railway
The town has a comprehensive local bus service from Cwmbran bus station
operate their 29B and 24X services from Newport bus station at Friars Walk shopping centre
to Cwmbran bus station, with frequency varying from every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, and at off peak times every hour.
Stagecoach South Wales
operate the majority of services at Cwmbran, including routes from the valleys including Blaenavon, Abergavenny, Pontypool, Blackwood, Varteg, and Hereford, travelling through to the South to Cardiff and Newport.
In early 2019 Stagecoach updated their fleet when they introduced newer model Gold Optare Solo buses for routes 1, 2, 5b/c, 6, 7 and 24. The X24 route to Newport Friars Walk and Blaenavon was upgraded to Stagecoach Gold in 2014.
Phil Anslow Coaches are a local coach company who also run services in the town. They operate the 63 service to Chepstow, the 24X route to Newport Friars Walk, the 6 service to Ty-Canol & Fairwater, the A3 service to Abergavenny via Pontypool, the 62 service to Coleg Gwent Ebbw Vale campus
via Pontypool, and the 68 service to Usk College.
:''See also :Category:People from Cwmbran
*John Williams (VC)
(born 1857, died 1932) - real name John Fielding, Zulu War
and Rorke's Drift
veteran, born in Abergavenny
, buried in Llantarnam
(born 1905, died 1993) - former Member of Parliament
and church preservation campaigner.
(born 1941, died 2011) - opera singer.
(born 1947) - Labour
life peer, personal injury, trade union and employment law solicitor, and business advisor.
(born 1955) - singer with Scritti Politti
(born 1965) - professional footballer.
(born 1973) - TV presenter, host of ''Dirty Sanchez
*Ceri Dallimore (born 1974) - Commonwealth Games
gold medal winning markswoman.
(born 1976) - Newport Gwent Dragons
and 64 cap Welsh Rugby Union international
(born 1976) - world title challenging boxer and TV/radio analyst.
(born 1978) - Big Brother contestant and TV presenter.
(born 1979) professional footballer for Cardiff City
*Ciara Bannon (born 1979) professional hairdresser
(born 1979) - Commonwealth Games
medal winning boxer.
(born 1984) - ''Big Brother'' winner.
*David Burns (born 1984) - gay rights advocate
and famous gynaecologist
(born 1992) - professional footballer for Hibernian
(born 1993) - darts player and Welsh international.
(born 1993) - professional footballer for Crewe Alexandra
(born 1994) - Cardiff City Academy
graduate and Wales youth international.
*Kim & Michael Davies
, ''Robot Wars UK''
competitors and champions with Panic Attack
Ancient Cwmbrân SocietyCwmbran's War DeadCwmbran Life
Category:Towns in Torfaen
Category:New towns in Wales
Category:New towns started in the 1940s
Category:Former communities of Wales
Category:Former civil parishes of Wales