The name Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen is believed to be an alteration of what was originally gwaun cegerwen (i.e. "white hemlock heath" in Welsh, ceger being a dialect form of cegid). In local usage, the name is often shortened to "Y Waun" or simply "GCG".
Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Gwauncaegurwen (Gwaun-cae-Gurwen Welsh Primary School) used to be on Heol y Dŵr (Water Street) which is where the Pwll y Wrach estate is based. It has since been moved to Heol Newydd (New Road), overlooking the village, and the former school transformed into a wood workshop.
Secondary-age children in the area have the choice of going to Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera in Ystalyfera (for full Welsh-medium education), Ysgol Dyffryn Aman (for Welsh- and English-medium education), or Cwmtawe Community School (for English-medium education).
- In areas such as Gwaun Cae Gurwen (67.9%) and Brynaman Isaf (68%) [...] Welsh is a natural community language spoken in the street, in cafés and amongst third sector organisations. Perhaps the most notable fact is that the highest percentage of Welsh speakers is amongst 10–19 year olds.
The area is represented in the House of Commons by the Rt. Hon. Peter Hain MP and in the National Assembly for Wales by Gwenda Thomas AM, who lives in the village; they both represent the Neath constituency. Its South Wales West regional assembly members are, from the Welsh Conservatives, Suzy Davies AM and Henry Byron Davies AM, from Plaid Cymru, Bethan Jenkins AM, and from the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Peter Black AM.
Cwmgors RFC play their home games at Parc-y-werin, Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen. Their clubhouse is also situated at New Road, Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen.
- Former Wales and British and Irish Lions player Gareth Edwards; a street, Maes Gareth Edwards, is named after him.
- Siân Phillips, actress
- His Grace The Most Rev. Dr. Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Llandaff is originally from the village.
- Lizzie Woods national organiser of the Labour Representation Committee and leader of the dispute to award cleaners working in royal palaces the London Living Wage
Nicola Hemsley, Actress. Nicola Now runs a Youth Circus Company in the village called organised Kaos Youth circus, Under her leadership the company is renovating the old Cwmamman Church Hall on Heol Cae Gurwen
At one time, almost all of the land of The Waun was owned by the Jones Family who also owned the "Pwll-y-Wrach Estate". It was run by the Head and later by their sons (and spouses). They still own parts of the land of the village but most has been sold off. Both farmhouses connected to the Estate are still standing. They are: Pwll-y-Wrach and Glangwrach. Pwll y Wrach is the main house where the head of the family lived.
It is no longer a farming estate but remains to own much of the land in the village. The name means the Witch's Pool in English, because of an old Welsh myth that the witches lived in it because of the greeny-bluey colour and would sometimes come out to haunt the locals.
- Cwmgors a'r Waun local history website
- Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera website
- Ysgol Dyffryn Aman website
- Ysgol Gymunedol Cwmtawe website
- Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg / Welsh Language Board
- GCG and Cwmgors Genealogy Help Page by Gareth Hicks
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen and surrounding area