Blaenau Gwent (/ /; Welsh: [ˈbləi.nai]) is a county borough in the south-east of Wales. It borders the unitary authority areas of Monmouthshire and Torfaen to the east, Caerphilly to the west and Powys to the north. Its main towns are Abertillery, Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar. Its highest point is Coity Mountain at 1,896 feet (578 m).
Blaenau Gwent County Borough
Bwrdeistref Sirol Blaenau Gwent
|Admin HQ||Ebbw Vale|
|Largest town||Ebbw Vale|
Blaenau Gwent Council
|• MP||Nick Smith (Welsh Labour)|
|• MS||Alun Davies (Welsh Labour)|
|• Total||109 km2 (42 sq mi)|
|• Rank||Ranked 22nd|
|• Rank||Ranked 21st|
|• Density||615/km2 (1,590/sq mi)|
|• Rank||Ranked 6th|
|• Ethnicity||99.1% White|
|• Rank||Ranked 22nd of 22|
|• Any skills (speak, read, and write Welsh)||5.5%|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-BGW|
- Abertillery Urban District
- Brynmawr Urban District
- Ebbw Vale Urban District
- Llanelly parish from Crickhowell Rural District
- Nantyglo and Blaina Urban District
- Tredegar Urban District
Brynmawr and Llanelly had been in the administrative county of Brecknockshire prior to the reforms, whilst the other areas had all been in the administrative county of Monmouthshire. Gwent County Council provided county-level services for the new borough.
The new borough was named Blaenau Gwent, meaning uplands of Gwent. The name had previously been an alternative name for the ancient parish of Aberystruth which had covered a large part of the area and had its parish church at Blaina.
Blaenau Gwent was reconstituted in 1996 as a county borough, taking over the county-level functions from the abolished Gwent County Council. At the same time Llanelly was transferred to the reconstituted Monmouthshire. The area is now governed by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, which is a principal council.
Blaenau Gwent hit the headlines at the 2005 UK General Election when an independent candidate, Peter Law, won the Westminster seat. He had resigned from the Labour Party after an internal party row following the retirement of incumbent MP Llew Smith, and defeated the official Labour candidate, Maggie Jones, by a margin of 9,121 votes. The seat had previously been held by Aneurin Bevan and Michael Foot, and was considered one of Labour's safest. Law died on 25 April 2006 and in the by-election, a former supporter of his, Dai Davies won, running as an independent candidate. Peter Law's widow, Trish Law, won his former Welsh Assembly seat, also running as an independent candidate. In 2007 she retained her seat. Dai Davies held the Westminster seat for the People's Voice from 2006 – 2010 when he lost his seat in a huge majority to Labour's Nick Smith of 10,516 votes. Alun Davies recaptured the seat for Labour at the Assembly elections in 2011 and then Labour won a landslide victory in the 2012 local elections taking 33 seats out of 42. Plaid Cymru nearly won the seat in the 2016 Assembly election, and Labour lost the council in the 2017 local elections.
In February 2020, ancient cairns dated back to 4,500 year-old used to bury the leaders or chieftains of neolithic tribes people were revealed in the Cwmcelyn valley by the Aberystruth Archaeological Society.
"It is thousands of years old undoubtedly, and came at a time when people first started settling here in Wales, farming and working the land by clearing the heavily wooded mountain sides of the Gwent valleys. The site is also found opposite the huts, so there could be some connection, though we think this burial may even be from a slightly earlier period than that" said archaeologist Ian Fewings.
Freedom of the BoroughEdit
The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Borough of Blaenau Gwent.
- "Local Government Act 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 6 October 2022
- "The Districts in Wales (Names) Order 1973", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1973/34, retrieved 4 October 2022
- Kelly's Directory of Monmouthshire and South Wales. London. 1895. p. 30. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
- "Aberystruth Ancient Parish / Civil Parish". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
- "Local Government (Wales) Act 1994", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1994 c. 19, retrieved 9 October 2022
- Smith, Lewis (29 March 2020). "The new Neolithic site that's been discovered in Blaenau Gwent". WalesOnline. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- "Save the Children: Severe child poverty Wales highest". BBC News. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
- Welsh language skills by electoral division, 2011 Census Retrieved 13/12/21
- Welsh speakers by local authority, gender and detailed age groups, 2011 census Retrieved 13/12/21
- "Blaenau Gwent freedom for snooker champion Mark Williams". BBC News Wales. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
- Griffiths, Niall (14 March 2019). "'It's a great honour': World snooker champion Mark Williams receives freedom of Blaenau Gwent". The South Wales Argus. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
- "Photograph of Mark Williams Receiving the Freedom of the Borough of Blaenau Gwent". Twitter. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
- "Royal Welsh to get freedom of Blaenau Gwent". South Wales Argus.
- "Freedom honour for Royal Welsh Regiment". walesonline. 3 February 2011.
- "Soldiers given freedom of borough". BBC News. 19 February 2011.
- Hearn, Elgan (30 July 2021). "Row over plan to give ex-councillors Blaenau Gwent freedom". The South Wales Argus. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
- Hearn, Elgan (4 November 2021). "Royal British Legion awarded freedom of Blaenau Gwent". The South Wales Argus. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
- Blaenau Gwent at Curlie
- Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council Home
- Channel 4's Kirstie and Phil's Best & Worst Places to Live on Blaenau Gwent