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Bedlinog is a small village located in the Taff Bargoed Valley 10 km north of Pontypridd, 10 km west of Caerphilly and 10 km south east of Merthyr Tydfil in south-east Wales. It is currently in the south of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough, but until 1974 was part of Gelligaer Urban District Council in the county of Glamorgan.
It has a population of around 1,400 people. The combined population of Bedlinog and Trelewis has been recently recorded as approximately 3,140. Previously, it was surrounded by coal mines and nearly all jobs were related directly to this industry, but all the mines are now closed. Unemployment is high but the increasing prosperity and growth of Cardiff, only half an hour south by car, has created many commuter jobs and a feeling of optimism for the future.
The village is sometimes seen as being isolated, but it is only a 30 minute drive from Cardiff, 45 minutes from Swansea and 45 minutes from Newport. The village is surrounded by steep, rolling green hills, from the top of which the Severn Estuary and the coast of Devon can be clearly seen.
In the past, Bedlinog was also nicknamed "Little Moscow" owing to the relatively high concentration of communists in the village. During the 1930s communists from the village volunteered to travel to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. The Welsh socialist ethic still remains in the village, as well as in neighbouring Trelewis from where similar communist volunteers fought in the same civil war.
Bedlinog is the name of the village in both English and Welsh. The meaning of the name is somewhat unclear, but the usual suggestion is that it means the 'house near (the stream) Llwynog'. If so, the first element is a variant of the Welsh 'bod' ('dwelling'), and the second a variant of the name of a stream ('Llwynog') which literally means 'fox'. However, all forms of the name are relatively late (seventeenth century onwards) and show significant variation. During the nineteenth century the name was thought by some to have been formed from the elements 'bedd' ('grave') and 'llwynog' ('fox'), and the form 'Beddllwynog' ('fox's grave') is used by some Welsh speakers today. But it is not the standard Welsh form, and it is clear that 'Bedlinog' was the predominant form used by the area's Welsh-speakers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Bedlinog village is in the Merthyr Tydfil County Borough, which covers the villages of Trelewis and Bedlinog, but is governed by a separate local authority, Bedlinog Community Council, which consists of nine elected members, and whose powers and responsibilities cover the two villages within its area. The Bedlinog & Trelewis Ward is the only electoral area within the Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council area with its own Council. The Council was created in 1974 by the former Gelligaer Urban District Council prior to its abolition and the subsequent transfer of Trelewis and Bedlinog into the Merthyr administrative area upon local government reorganisation in that year, to which most people in Bedlinog and Trelewis were opposed.
Sport and leisure
The village is home to professional darts player Barrie Bates
There is a public tennis court, a bowling green, a large games field for rugby union and cricket, two pubs and three working men's clubs. There is also a football field at Coed-yr-Hendre at the top of the village.
One of the largest climbing centres in Europe less than a mile down the valley was closed briefly in 2008, but re-opened in October 2010.
Former PDC World Championship Quarter-finalist Barrie Bates lives in the village.
Arts and Entertainment
In 1973 Cult BBC TV series Porridge was filmed at the mountains of Bedlinog where the prison van breaks down after Fletcher Ronnie Barker urinated in the van's petrol tank.
Welsh language culture
Bedlinog has a thriving Welsh language community which since the establishment of Cymdeithas Gymraeg Beddllwynog in 2005 has seen over 150 local people learn Welsh. There are six Welsh classes held in the village, a Ti a Fi (parent and toddler group), a Meithrin (Welsh medium nursery) and Bedlinog is home to the Bedroc festival, a major event in the Welsh language calendar which is held over a weekend in June every year, which has played host to acts like Dafydd Iwan, Meic Stevens, Tebot Piws, Sibrydion, Al Lewis Band, Gwyneth Glyn, Y Bandana, Gai Toms, Frizbee, Heather Jones, Bryn Fôn, Jess and many more.
- On the name 'Bedlinog', see Hywel Wyn Owen & Richard Morgan. 2007. Dictionary of the Place-names of Wales. Llandysul: Gomer, p. 26.
- Old Merthyr Tydfil: Bedlinog - Historical Photographs of Bedlinog.
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Bedlinog and surrounding area