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Bedlinog is a small village (and larger community) located in the Taff Bargoed Valley 10 km north of Pontypridd, 10 km north 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, increasing to 3,277 at the 2011 census. 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 there are many commuter jobs in places like Cardiff.
Bedlinog 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 the only electoral ward within the Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council area which has its own Community Council.
Bedlinog Community Council consists of nine elected members, and its powers and responsibilities cover the two villages within its area. 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 local rugby union club is Bedlinog RFC, founded in 1971 and a member of the Welsh Rugby Union.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 and a rugby field at Coed-yr-Hendre at the top of the village. The site is also known as Pitwoods Valley and Nant Llwynog Park. The country park is based on a former colliery pit site, called Deep Navigation. This ran for 50 years from 1876. A later near-horizontal drift mine produced coal until closure in 1954. In 2016, a newly constituted group was founded called Friends of Nant Llwynog Park, with local naturalist, Jim Davies as President. It aims to revive and enhance the amenities and wildlife of the site. The first Chairman, Edward Dawson a newcomer to the village, has described it as a ‘dedicated grassroots initiative bringing all peoples together’.
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.
- Professional bowls player Daniel Hiscock was born in and currently resides in the village.
- Professional darts player and former PDC World Championship quarter-finalist Barrie Bates lives in the village.
- Actress Gwenllian Davies (died 2007) was born in Bedlinog.
Arts and entertainment
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) and a Meithrin (Welsh medium nursery). Bedlinog is home to the Bedroc festival, a major event in the Welsh language calendar which has been held over a weekend in June every year since 2008. It has played host to acts such as 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.
- "Community population 2011". Neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
- On the name 'Bedlinog', see Hywel Wyn Owen & Richard Morgan. 2007. Dictionary of the Place-names of Wales. Llandysul: Gomer, p. 26.
- Different types of elections: Local Council Elections, Merthry Tydfil County Borough Council; retrieved 18 January 2016.
- "News - Rock UK". Adventures.rockuk.org. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- "Beast at his best; Gwenllian Davies on why her role with Martin Clunes moved her to tears". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2017-08-25.
- "Success of Bedroc 09", Wales Online, 9 July 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bedlinog.|
- Old Merthyr Tydfil: Bedlinog - Historical photographs of Bedlinog
- Geograph.co.uk : photos of Bedlinog and surrounding area
- Friends of Nant Llwynog Park official website