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Pontardawe
Population 5,035 (2001 census)
OS grid reference SN721040
Principal area Neath Port Talbot
Ceremonial county West Glamorgan
Constituent country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town NEATH
Postcode district SA8-SA9
Dialling code 01792
Police South Wales
Fire Mid and West Wales
Ambulance Welsh
European Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Neath
Welsh Assembly Neath
List of places: UKWalesNeath Port Talbot
Looking north over Pontardawe
Looking north over Pontardawe

Pontardawe (Welsh for "bridge on the River Tawe") is a town in the Swansea valley (Welsh: Cwmtawe) in the county borough of Neath Port Talbot, south Wales. It is also the name of a parish made up of the Trebanos and Pontardawe wards. Pontardawe has its own elected town council covering the parish.

Pontardawe first came into existence as a settlement at the crossroads of two drovers' tracks, one from Swansea to Brecon, and the other from Neath to Llandeilo.

Pontardawe's best known landmark is the tall spire of St Peter's church which sits on a high point of the valley floor overlooking the Swansea Canal close to the centre of the town.

Contents

[edit] Industry

During the latter part of the nineteenth century and up to the middle of the twentieth century the main industry in Pontardawe was steel and tinplate, with a number of steelworks and tinplate works exporting all over the world. None of the heavy industry remains; on the site of the Alloy works there is now a small industrial estate of a number of small engineering firms, motor maintenance, building supplies and a health centre for the area.

Attractions in the town include Swansea Canal and Pontardawe Arts Centre. The Cwmtawe rugby sevens competition attracts entries from far and wide. On a hill overlooking Pontardawe is the local golf course which has magnificent views of the Brecon Beacons and Bristol Channel from the 16th hole. The old stone bridge was built by William Edwards of Pontypridd, a famous bridge builder. He also built the bridge at Pontypridd, which was the longest single-span bridge in the world when it was constructed, and the bridge at Cenarth in west Wales. He was also responsible for the design of Morriston in the Swansea valley for Morris, a local industrialist.

Pontardawe has a Cricket team, a Rugby club - Pontardawe RFC, and a Soccer club. All three play on the recreation ground which was formerly owned by the steelworks and is now owned and maintained by the local authority. Pontardawe also has a very successful Karate/Kickboxing team who train at the arts centre who are members of the Welsh Contact Karate Association.

Music holds a very important part of Pontardawe with the Pontardawe Festival held in August each year and there is also regular music groups such as the Pontardawe Acoustic Music Club held every Wednesday at the Pontardawe Inn (Y Gwachel) and the long established Valley Folk Club held 1st & 3rd Friday of the month in the Ivy Bush Hotel. Many of the pubs in Pontardawe have live music on the weekends. The Pontardawe Arts Centre also have quality music acts with well known musicians of both national and international fame.

Recently it has been announced that a new retail park will be built in the area, and will be completed by May 2008. An Argos store and a Focus DIY store are be two of the stores which will occupy this park, which will be situated near the Cwmtawe Comprehensive School. Smaller chains such as ...instore (formerly known as 'Poundstretcher') will also be occupying the area and one 8,000 sq foot building is also available and no store currently is contracted to be in it.

The Tesco in Pontardawe will expand it's store to include a Cafe which will be on a first floor and will be accessible by an escalator and increase the shopping area the store has to offer. Tesco have decided for planning permission they have given £100,000 for the development of the town.

Pontardawe also has an active film society which shows about 20 films selected by its membership each year. Go to http://www.pontardawefilm.co.uk/

[edit] Celebrities

Notable people from Pontardawe include folk-singer Mary Hopkin, rugby player Gareth Edwards (voted by other international players as the greatest rugby player of all time) and actress Rachel Thomas, and Rhys Lewis. The singer Rosie Ribbons is from Ponty.

[edit] Twinning

Pontardawe is twinned with:

[edit] Politics

Prior to local government reorganisation in 1974, Pontardawe and district was served by Pontardawe Rural District Council, but this merged in 1974 to become part of Lliw Valley DC; which was subsequently reorganised again when the Pontardawe area became a part of the present Neath Port Talbot county borough.

The town is also the location of the Constituency office of Gwenda Thomas AM. The town is also part of the South Wales West regional constituency and is served by Peter Black AM, Alun Cairns AM, Dai Lloyd AM and Bethan Jenkins AM.

[edit] Sports and recreation

Pontardawe RFC at the Cwmtawe 7s 2006
Pontardawe RFC at the Cwmtawe 7s 2006

Pontardawe has a King George's Field, the Athletics Ground, in memorial to King George V at Parc Ynysderw. Pontardawe has a Cricket team, a Rugby club - Pontardawe RFC, and a football club. All three play on the recreation ground which was formerly owned by the steelworks and is now owned and maintained by the local authority. Pontardawe also has a very successful Karate/Kickboxing team who train at the arts centre who are members of the Welsh Contact Karate Association.

National Cycle Route 43 traverses through the centre of the town and part of the recreation ground.

[edit] Events

Every August Pontardawe hosts the famous Pontardawe Festival on the leisure centre playing fields at Parc Ynysderw it is a World Music event and has singing, dancing with artists and acts from all over the world it is a famous event across Wales.


[edit] Transport

Pontardawe has numerous bus services to Swansea and Neath and the surrounding area. Pontardawe used to have a railway station which closed in the 1960s due to the decline in industry in Pontardawe. Pontardawe has the A4067 road running through it which leads up and down the Swansea Valley.

[edit] Pubs

  • The Gwachel (The Pontardawe Inn)
  • The Ivy Bush
  • The Travellers Well (The Travellers Well)
  • The Pink Geranium
  • The Dynevor Arms
  • The Old Victoria
  • The Dillwyn Arms Hotel
  • The Other Place
  • Pontardawe RFC
  • The Castle

[edit] Schools

[edit] Primary Schools

[edit] Secondary School

  • Cwmtawe Comprehensive School Cwmtawe is a purpose-built 11-16 Comprehensive School serving Pontardawe and surrounding areas. In 2000, the school was placed 113th in Wales for its GCSE results. Since then exam results have improved dramatically and according to the latest inspection report by Estyn the school now has a pass rate of 73% which means it is in equal 17th place in Wales

[edit] Gallery

[edit] External links

[edit] References

Coordinates: 51°43'20?N 3°51'00?W? / ?51.72222, -3.85


(Source: Wikipedia)
 
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