Risca

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Risca
Rhisga
Town
View of Risca
View of Risca
Location of Risca within Caerphilly County Borough
Location of Risca within Caerphilly County Borough
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country Wales
Region South Wales
Ceremonial county Gwent
Principal area Caerphilly
Government
 • Type Two community councils
Area
 • Town 3.05 sq mi (7.89 km2)
 • Urban 1.35 sq mi (3.49 km2)
Population (2011)
 • Town 11,693
 • Density 3,800/sq mi (1,500/km2)
 • Urban 14,958
 • Urban density 11,000/sq mi (4,300/km2)
Postcode district NP11
Area code(s) 01633
For alternate meanings: see Risca (disambiguation).

Risca [1] (Welsh: Rhisga) is a town of approximately 11,500 people in south-east Wales, within the Caerphilly County Borough and the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It is today part of the Newport conurbation (which as a whole has a population of 140,200), though it is not a Ward of Newport City Council. Risca has a railway station, opened on the Ebbw Valley Railway in February 2008, after a gap of 46 years.

The town lies at the south-eastern edge of the South Wales Coalfield and a coal mine used to operate in the town with terraced housing nearby for miners. On 1 December 1860 an explosion at the Black Vein Colliery at Risca killed more than 140 men and boys as well as 28 pit ponies.

Risca is home to Ty-Sign, which is a large housing estate built in the early 1960s as a satellite village for the then new Llanwern steelworks. Risca has a rural aspect and is surrounded to the east and west by several extensively wooded hills [2] including Mynydd Machen [3] (1,188 ft/362m) and Twmbarlwm [4] (1,375 ft/419m) which attract tourists for the hillwalking and mountain bikers to Cwmcarn Forest Drive.

Governance[edit]

In the UK Parliament, Risca is part of the constituency of Islwyn, a Labour Party stronghold represented since the 2010 general election by Chris Evans. Don Touhig previously represented the constituency following a by-election in 1995, but did not stand for re-election in 2010. The seat and its predecessor was formerly represented for 25 years by the former Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

In the National Assembly for Wales, Risca is part of the constituency of Islwyn, represented since 2003 by Labour's Irene James. At the first Assembly elections in 1999 Brian Hancock, Plaid Cymru, won the seat in a major upset and one of 17 seats in the National Assembly of Wales for Plaid Cymru. The constituency falls within the electoral region of South Wales East, whose four AMs are Conservatives Mohammad Asghar and William Graham, Plaid Cymru's Jocelyn Davies, and Liberal Democrat Veronica German.

Notable landmarks and buildings[edit]

Twmbarlwm, has the remains of an Iron Age hill fort near its summit,[1] and this is believed to have been built by the Silures, the Celtic tribe that inhabited the area before and during Roman times.

The Welsh Oak, a pub on the outskirts of Pontymister, was the meeting place for the Chartists before they marched on Newport during the Newport Rising of 1839.

The local Church in Wales church is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin [5]. The St Mary and St Mercurius Coptic Orthodox Church in St Mary Street is a grade II listed building and is the first Coptic Orthodox Church in Wales. It was a former Wesleyan Methodist church, founded in 1837, rebuilt on the same site in 1852 and was dedicated to St John. The architect is unknown. The church was designed to seat 600 people. It was later known as "Trinity Methodist Church".[2]

The park 'Tredegar Grounds' was donated to the people of Risca in 1897 by Lord Tredegar to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and in return the 'Jubilee' statue was erected by public subscription 'in recognition of Lord Tredegar's generosity to the neighbourhood.' A small bronze statuette of Samson, a bearded figure dressed in a loincloth, stands on a circular stone plinth on a square stepped base.

The town is served by Risca and Pontymister railway station which is served by direct trains between Cardiff Central and Ebbw Vale Parkway. The Monmouthshire canal passes through the town.[3]

Culture and education[edit]

Risca has an award-winning male voice choir. Risca Community Comprehensive School was opened by Elizabeth II in 1977. It is located on the same site as the town's leisure centre. There are approximately 500 pupils, most of whom have moved up from the local primaries, Risca and Ty Sign.

Sport and leisure[edit]

Risca United F.C. play in the Welsh Football League Division Three and are managed by Paul Michael. The club play their home games at Ty-Isaf Park.

Risca RFC (The Cuckoos) play in the Welsh Rugby Union Division 3 East, at Stores Field, Risca. An active mini-rugby & junior section with age groups from 6 to 16, provide a steady stream of players, some of them having progressed to the early stages of professional rugby with the Newport Gwent Dragons.

There are some extensive mountain bike trails on the wooded hills just to the north of the town, at Cwmcarn, which are receiving increasing popularity.

Notable people[edit]

See Category:People from Risca

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pg761 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
  2. ^ Jones, A. V. (1977) Risca, its Industrial and Social Development
  3. ^ http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/351898 Picture of the station

External links[edit]