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Leisure at Cwmbran.jpg
Glyndŵr Road in Cwmbran, photographed in July 2018
Cwmbran is located in Torfaen
Location within Torfaen
OS grid referenceST295955
Principal area
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townCWMBRAN
Postcode districtNP44
Dialling code01633
FireSouth Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
51°39′11″N 3°01′16″W / 51.653°N 03.021°W / 51.653; -03.021Coordinates: 51°39′11″N 3°01′16″W / 51.653°N 03.021°W / 51.653; -03.021

Cwmbran (/kʊmˈbrɑːn, km-/ kuum-BRAHN, koom-; Welsh: Cwmbrân [kʊmˈbraːn], also in use as an alternative spelling in English) is a town in the county borough of Torfaen in South Wales.

Lying within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire, Cwmbran was designated as a New Town in 1949 to provide new employment opportunities in the south eastern portion of the South Wales Coalfield.


Comprising the villages of Old Cwmbran, Pontnewydd, Upper Cwmbran, Henllys, Croesyceiliog, Llantarnam and Llanyrafon, its population had grown to 48,535 by 2011.[2] This makes it the sixth largest urban area in Wales.

Sitting as it does at the corner of the South Wales Coalfield, it has a hilly aspect to its western and northern edges, with the surrounding hills climbing to over 1,000 feet (300 m). The Afon Llwyd forms the major river valley, although the most significant water course is probably the remains of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. To the east of Cwmbran the land is less hilly, forming part of the Usk valley.


The name of the town in Welsh means "valley (cwm) of the crow (brân)",[3]).

Cwmbran was the name of one of several villages located in the valley, which had grown up around the tinplate works of the Cwmbran Iron Company. As the new town of Cwmbran was formed in 1949, the area of the old village became known as Old Cwmbran.


Cwmbran was founded in 1949 as a new town,[4] to provide new employment opportunities in the south eastern portion of the South Wales Coalfield, but the area has a long history.

There is evidence that Neolithic and Bronze Age people used the area, with the Iron Age Silures tribe also occupying the region before being subdued by the Roman legions based at nearby Usk and Caerleon.

Around 1179, Hywel, Lord of Caerleon gave a gift of money and land to found the Cistercian abbey at Llantarnam. At the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII the abbey was closed and was bought by a succession of wealthy landowners. By the 18th century the abbey had passed into the ownership of the Blewitt family, who were to become key figures in the early industrialisation of Cwmbran. Brick making, lime kilns, iron ore mining, quarrying and coal mining were established during this period, along with a canal to transport goods to the docks at Newport.

In 1833 the Ordnance Survey map of Monmouthshire shows Cwmbran as a farm situated in the area now known as Upper Cwmbran, in the valley named Cwm Brân. Cwmbran now covers about 3,000 acres (12 km2) and has a population of around 50,000.

Following some investigation by local residents Richard Davies and Mike Price, the Ancient Cwmbran & The Cistercian project was created and a £48,000 grant has been provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore some previously unrecorded sites of interest in the Greenmeadow and Thornhill areas.[5]

The Cistercian Way also passes through Llantarnam, Old Cwmbran, Greenmeadow and Thornhill before reaching the ancient chapel of Llanderfel on Mynydd Maen, and then onwards to Twmbarlwm.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Cwmbran was the site of heavy industrial development. Coal and iron ore were extracted on Mynydd Maen, and moved by inclined planes and tramways into the Eastern Valley for use in factories such as the Patent Nut and Bolt Company (which became Guest Keen and Nettlefolds in 1900),[6] various tin plate works and brickworks. This industry drove the creation of the Monmouthshire Canal, the Newport and Pontypool Railway and the Pontypool, Caerleon and Newport Railway. Very little of this industrial heritage remains today, though many of today's light industrial or retail estates were created on the sites.

The Tower, a 23-storey housing block built in Cwmbran in the 1960s

Following the 1946 New Towns Act, ministries and county councils were asked to nominate sites for housing. For Wales, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government proposed Church Village and Cwmbran. The Church Village proposal was vetoed by the Ministry of Power as new housing there would have interfered with plans for the expansion of coal mining in the area; however, Cwmbran was passed in 1949.[7]

Cwmbran was a civil parish and, from 1974, a community in its own right, one of only five in the new district of Torfaen. In 1985 the Cwmbran community was abolished, replaced by Cwmbran Central, Fairwater, Llantarnam, Pontnewydd and Upper Cwmbran.[8]


The longest established employer in Cwmbran is biscuit maker Burton's Foods, who employ 1000 people to make its Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels biscuits.[9] As of 2005, the Cwmbran plant produces over 400 million Wagon Wheels a year.[10]

Safran Seats Great Britain (formerly Zodiac Aerospace)[11][12] is the current owner of a factory in Cwmbran which employs 1000 people for manufacturing aircraft seats.

Cwmbran Centre[edit]

Cwmbran Centre

Constructed from 1959 to 1981, the pedestrianised Centre hosts supermarkets, high street retailers, banks, theatre, cinema, bowling alley, restaurants, creche, trampoline park, gym, police station, magistrates court, youth centre, pub, library, arts centre and office space. The 170+ shops can be accessed by the bus station located in the Centre, a train station a few minutes walk north-east or with the 3000 free parking spaces located around the Centre's ring road.

SME-businesses include the Cwmbran Brewery in Upper Cwmbran, which opened in 1996 as Cottage Spring Brewery.[13]


The town has two secondary education schools: Croesyceiliog School and Cwmbran High School. There are numerous primary[14] and nursery schools including a Welsh medium primary school, Ysgol Gymraeg Cwmbrân.



Cwmbran Stadium[15] was home to international athletics events in the 1970s and 1980s. British athletics coach Malcolm Arnold used to train some of his athletes at Cwmbran in the 80s and early 90s while he was the Welsh National Coach.

Athletes who trained there regularly under Malcolm include former World 110m Hurdle Champion and World Record Holder, Colin Jackson; Commonwealth 110m Hurdle medallist, Paul Gray; and Nigel Walker who had two sporting careers, first as an Olympic hurdler and then later as a Welsh rugby union international player.

The 1999 World Indoor 400m Champion Jamie Baulch also used the stadium as a regular training track under a different coach. The stadium is also the home of Gwent Hockey Club (men's and ladies).

The town has three athletics clubs: Cwmbran Harriers,[16] Fairwater Runners[17] and Griffithstown Harriers.[18]


The three main football teams in Cwmbran are Cwmbran Town, Cwmbran Celtic and Croesyceilog who all compete in the Welsh Football League. Cwmbran Town and Celtic both play at Cwmbran Stadium. Also in Cwmbran was The Football Factory. Located near to the town centre, The Football Factory was an indoor sports complex consisting of two sports pitches. The building was destroyed by fire in February 2017.[19]

Rugby union[edit]

Separate grounds at Pontnewydd and Croesyceiliog house the town's two rugby union teams, Cwmbran RFC and Croesyceiliog RFC, although many more of the town's residents support the rugby teams of the older, adjacent town of Pontypool, the city of Newport and the Newport Gwent Dragons regional team.

Rugby league[edit]

Rugby league is represented in the town by Torfaen Tigers, who play in the fourth tier of the rugby league pyramid system, the Conference League South. They play their home matches at the Kings Head Ground, home of Cwmbran R.F.C.


The main newspaper in the region is the South Wales Argus and the semi-national Western Mail. The digital edition of the latter is published as Wales Online. The town is served by a local news service, Cwmbran Life,[20] while the BBC also serve the South East Wales region from their base in Cardiff.

A number of online and amateur radio stations operate in Cwmbran. Vitalize Radio operates as the community radio station for Torfaen, originally established in 2014 as Torfonix.[21] There are also the Cwmbran and District Amateur Radio Society, and Able Radio, who support adults with autism and learning disabilities.

Media depictions of Cwmbran[edit]

In July 2011, Cwmbran was the setting for Goldie Lookin Chain's satirical "Fresh Prince of Cwmbran", a song based on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme praising the town.[22]



Cwmbran railway station[23] is served by trains on the Welsh Marches Line,[24] with through trains south to Newport and Cardiff. Northbound local trains serve Pontypool and Abergavenny, and longer distance services run to Hereford, Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Crewe, Holyhead and Manchester. The station was not opened until 1986, as one of the last acts of the Cwmbran New Town Development Board.

Until then, Cwmbran had had no train service for 24 years. Historically Cwmbran was served by 2 lines and several local stations. The first line was built by the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company and opened in 1852. (Much of its route is now under Cwmbran Drive, the A 4051). The line that is still in use was opened by the Pontypool, Caerleon and Newport Railway in 1874.


The town has a comprehensive local bus service from Cwmbran bus station.

Newport Bus operate their 29B and 24X services from Newport bus station at Friars Walk shopping centre to Cwmbran bus station, with frequency varying from every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, and at off peak times every hour.

Stagecoach South Wales operate the majority of services at Cwmbran, including routes from the valleys including Blaenavon, Abergavenny, Paris, Pontypool, Blackwood, Varteg, and Hereford, travelling through to the South to Cardiff and Newport.

In early 2019 Stagecoach updated their fleet when they introduced newer model Gold Optare Solo buses for routes 1, 2, 5b/c, 6, 7 and 24. The X24 route to Newport Friars Walk and Blaenavon was upgraded to Stagecoach Gold in 2014.

Phil Anslow Coaches are a local coach company who also run services in the town. They operate the 63 service to Chepstow, the 24X route to Newport Friars Walk, the 6 service to Ty-Canol & Fairwater, the A3 service to Abergavenny via Pontypool, the 62 service to Coleg Gwent Ebbw Vale campus via Pontypool, and the 68 service to Usk College.

Partner Cities[edit]

Bruchsal in Baden-Württemberg, Germany[25]

Notable people[edit]

See also Category:People from Cwmbran


  • Village Publishing (1985). 'The trains don't stop here anymore....' – A pictorial history of Cwmbran from the 1930s to the present day. Village Publishing. ISBN 0-946043-07-8.
  • Cwmbran & District Writers (2004). Cwmbran – And other Routes as the crow flies. ISBN 1-872730-34-5.
  • Philip Riden (1988). Rebuilding a Valley. Cwmbran Development Corporation. ISBN 0-9510548-1-3.


  1. ^ "Cwmbran Community Council - Cyngor Cymuned Cwmbrân".
  2. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Cwmbran BUSD (W38000140)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  3. ^ "Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru".
  4. ^ "Cwmbran Regeneration". Torfaen County Borough Council. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  5. ^ "BBC – South East Wales – Uncovering history of a new town". 3 September 2009.
  6. ^ "History of Cwmbran Works 1800-1969". Archived from the original on 19 November 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Why Cwmbran". Archived from the original on 17 March 2012.
  8. ^ "The Torfaen (Communities) Order 1985" (PDF). The National Archives. 1 February 1985. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Burtons Foods Ltd, Cwmbran, Gwent on MacRAEs Blue Book UK Industrial Directory". Archived from the original on 6 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "EU clears merger of French aerospace suppliers Safran and Zodiac". Reuters. 21 December 2017 – via
  12. ^ "Cwmbran airline seat firm Contour sold to Zodiac". BBC News. 13 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Cwmbran Brewery". Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  14. ^ "Geograph:: Ysgol Gymraeg Cwmbrân (Primary School) © Roger Cornfoot".
  15. ^ "Geograph:: Cwmbran Stadium © David Luther Thomas".
  16. ^,
  17. ^ "Fairwater Runners Cwmbran".
  18. ^ "Griffithstown Harriers running club". Archived from the original on 22 August 2007. Retrieved 10 March 2008.
  19. ^ "Fire at Cwmbran's Football Factory 'devastates' locals". BBC News. 13 February 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  20. ^ "Cwmbran Life- Read news and features about Cwmbran". Cwmbran Life. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  21. ^ "Inside the Torfonix studio- a radio station being set up in Cwmbran". Cwmbran Life. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  22. ^ Sanders, Alison (29 July 2011). "GLC join our Buy Local campaign with rap in praise of Cwmbran". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  23. ^ "Geograph:: Railway station, Cwmbran © Roger Cornfoot cc-by-sa/2.0".
  24. ^ "Geograph:: Hereford train, near Cwmbran © Roger Cornfoot cc-by-sa/2.0".
  25. ^ "Stadt Bruchsal – Partnerstädte". Retrieved 27 February 2020.

External links[edit]