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The River Ely (Welsh: Afon Elái) is in South Wales flowing generally southeast, from Tonyrefail to Cardiff.

River Ely (Afon Elái)
River
The River Ely - Peterston-super-Ely - geograph.org.uk - 1276154.jpg
The river flowing through Peterston-super-Ely
Countries United Kingdom, Wales
Region South Wales
County Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf
Tributaries
 - left Nant Muchud, Afon Clun
 - right Nant y Drope
Cities Tonyrefail, Llantrisant, Pontyclun, Peterston-super-Ely, Ely, Cardiff, Penarth
Source
 - location Northwest of Tonyrefail, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales
 - elevation 580 m (1,903 ft)
 - coordinates 51°36′12″N 3°27′36″W / 51.6034°N 3.460°W / 51.6034; -3.460
Mouth
 - location Cardiff Bay
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 51°27′22″N 3°10′26″W / 51.456°N 3.174°W / 51.456; -3.174Coordinates: 51°27′22″N 3°10′26″W / 51.456°N 3.174°W / 51.456; -3.174
Length 39.6 km (25 mi)

The river is about 24 miles (39 km) long. The Ely's numerous sources lie in the mountains to the south of Tonypandy, near the town of Tonyrefail, rising in the eastern slopes of Mynydd Penygraig (Penygraig) and Mynydd y Gilfach (Penrhiwfer) and the western slopes of Mynydd Dinas (Williamstown), whose eastern slopes feed the Rhondda by Porth. The source of the Ogwr Fach lies just to the west.

The River Ely at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital (2009)

After flowing through Tonyrefail and through the grounds of the Royal Glamorgan Hospital at Ynysmaerdy, it follows the A4119 road through the valley pass formed between Mynydd Garthmaelwg (Llantrisant Forest), to the west and Llantrisant, to the east. Flowing through Talbot Green, the Ely is joined by the Afon Clun at Pontyclun. Although numerous smaller streams join the river, the Clun is its only large tributary.

The Ely turns to the southeast on reaching the Vale of Glamorgan alongside the South Wales Main Line immediately south of Miskin and after being traversed by the M4 motorway, it flows through farmland. It passes the St Fagans National History Museum and continues towards Cardiff and Ely (Welsh: Trelái) before flowing under the Vale of Glamorgan Line and into Cardiff Bay at Penarth Marina.

The River Ely, Cardiff

Contents

QualityEdit

The Ely has had a long history of moderate to severe pollution from which it is now recovering. Prior to the 1980s it had received large volumes of poorly treated or untreated sewage from the urban areas in the valleys. Even after the construction of sewage treatment works at Miskin and Rhiwsaeson, the quality of the effluent continued to cause pollution until the late 1980s.

These problems were exacerbated by the highly polluting discharge from Coedely coke ovens. At the mouth of the river, the effluent a large paper mill rendered large parts of the estuary anoxic for most of the tidal cycle preventing the passage of migratory fish. The recovery of the river since that time owes much to the regulatory effort of the NRA, and more lately the Environment Agency Wales, and to the massive capital investment made by Dŵr Cymru / Welsh Water.

EcologyEdit

As the pollution of the river abated, so fish populations slowly returned to the river from the many small tributaries. Roach, Brown trout, perch, chub, eel, grayling, sea trout and salmon and more recently some barbel.

Ely Valley TrailEdit

The Countryside Council for Wales and Cardiff Council are developing a cycleway beside the river known as the Ely Trail. The intended benefits are to allow people from urban western Cardiff easier access to the countryside, and for people in rural areas to have another commuting option into the city centre. Parts of this trail are now open.

Ely ValleyEdit

See alsoEdit