Ferndale, Rhondda Cynon Taf

Coordinates: 51°39′40″N 3°26′53″W / 51.661°N 3.448°W / 51.661; -3.448
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ferndale is located in Rhondda Cynon Taf
Location within Rhondda Cynon Taf
Population4,178 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceST000964
Principal area
Preserved county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townFerndale
Postcode districtCF43
Dialling code01443
PoliceSouth Wales
FireSouth Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
Rhondda Cynon Taf
51°39′40″N 3°26′53″W / 51.661°N 3.448°W / 51.661; -3.448

Ferndale (Welsh: Glynrhedynog) is a town and community located in the Rhondda Valley in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. Neighbouring villages are Blaenllechau, Maerdy and Tylorstown. Ferndale was industrialised in the mid-19th century. The first coal mine shaft was sunk in 1857 and Ferndale was the first community to be intensively industrialised in the Rhondda Valley.[2]


In Welsh, Ferndale is known as Glynrhedynog, the name of one of the old farms on which the town is built. In its infancy Glynrhedynog was also known as Trerhondda, after the name of the first large chapel to be built in the town. The naming of settlements after chapels was widespread in Wales at the time, but neither Glynrhedynog nor Trerhondda was used for long. Glynrhedynog is made from the words glyn (valley) and rhedynog (ferny), so coal from the Glynrhedynog pits was marketed as Ferndale coal, a much easier name for English buyers to assimilate.

The Ferndale pits drew workers and their families to the area, and by the 1880s Ferndale was well established as a thriving town. With the phasing in of bilingual road signs from the late 1980s onwards, the name Glynrhedynog gradually reappeared and is now the officially designated Welsh language name for Ferndale. The village adopted the English language during the Industrial Revolution, but the Welsh language is now on the increase in Ferndale. A Welsh language school is situated near the park and is named after the park's lake, Llyn-y-Forwyn (the Maiden's Lake).


The pioneer of coal mining at Ferndale was David Davis of Blaengwawr, Aberdare who already had an extensive colliery business in the neighbouring Aberdare Valley. His wealth enabled him to engage in costly but unsuccessful singings in the Rhondda Fach in the 1860s until he finally struck a good seam at Ferndale.

Ferndale Colliery disasters[edit]

Two large coal mining disasters occurred in Ferndale during the 19th century. The first took place on 8 November 1867, when an underground explosion killed 178 miners at the Ferndale Colliery owned by David Davis and Sons Ltd. The second disaster happened on 10 June 1869 when a further explosion resulted in the death of 53 miners.[3]


A Ferndale electoral ward was coterminous with the borders of the Ferndale community and elected two county councillors to Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council. Since 1995, representation was mainly by the Labour Party, but the ward also had a Plaid Cymru councillor from 1999 to 2004 and an Independent councillor from 2012 to 2017.[4] At the May 2017 election, Labour and Plaid Cymru won a councillor each.[5]

Following a 2018 review of electoral arrangements by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales, it was proposed to merge Ferndale with neighbouring Maerdy into the Ferndale and Maerdy ward.[6] The proposals took effect from the 2022 council elections, which saw Susan Morgans and Jayne Smith elected for Labour.[7]

Modern Ferndale[edit]

Ferndale has developed over recent years. Some new features have been added such as an AstroTurf field, car park and an all-weather cricket training enclosure. The Sky TV comedy series Stella is largely filmed on location in Ferndale.[8]


Between 1849 and 1856, the Taff Vale Railway opened the Maerdy Branch from Porth, including a station at Ferndale. Passenger services were withdrawn in 1964, but coal trains continued until August 1986 when the line closed completely. Coal from Mardy Colliery was then raised through Tower Colliery. The track was lifted in 1996. Since 2005, the southern section of the line from Porth to Pontygwaith has been used for the A4223 Porth and Lower Rhondda Fach Relief Road (Porth Bypass).[9] The upper section, including the section passing Ferndale, has become a branch of the Taff Trail cycleway.


There are several chapels and churches in or near Ferndale:

  • St Dunstan's Church (Church in Wales)
  • Bethel Baptist Church
  • Rhondda Fach Methodist Church (also called Ferndale Methodist Church)
  • Capel Penuel (Calvinistic Methodist)
  • Trerhondda Welsh Independent Chapel


Ferndale is home to rugby union club Ferndale RFC, whose first XV team play in the Welsh Rugby Union leagues.

Adjacent to Llyn y Forwyn is an AstroTurf football field that, during the summer, annually becomes the ground of sports days for many of the local junior schools. Also within the confines of Darran Park can be found a tennis court and bowling green.

In December 2006, the Ferndale Skate Park was opened with indoor ramps and other equipment available to BMX riders, rollerbladers and skateboarders. The skate park began with the aim of improving the prospects of school leavers in the area, providing a 'safe haven' from the influences of drugs and alcohol, and encouraging sports and healthy living. It has since received National Lottery continuation funding as well as a Rhondda Trust grant to secure the future for an additional 3-year period[citation needed]. It closed in 2014.[10]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Community population 2011". Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  2. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pg749 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
  3. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pg280 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
  4. ^ Rhondda Cyon Taff County Borough Council Election Results 1995–2012, The Election Centre. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  5. ^ County Borough Council Elections 2017, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  6. ^ Anthony Lewis (30 August 2018). "The number of electoral council wards in Rhondda Cynon Taf could be cut for 2022 election". Wales Online. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  7. ^ "County Borough Council Election Results 2022 | Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council". www.rctcbc.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  8. ^ Grice, Natalie (17 March 2012). "Will TV hit Stella give 'Gavin and Stacey factor' to Ferndale?". BBC News.
  9. ^ http://demos.constructingexcellence.org.uk/userimages/Image322.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  10. ^ Smith, Mark (17 June 2014). "Skate park closes just days after being given top award by Britain's Got Talent judge Simon Cowell". WalesOnline. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  11. ^ Smith, Mark (17 June 2014). "Skate park closes just days after being given top award by Britain's Got Talent judge Simon Cowell". WalesOnline. Retrieved 31 July 2021.

External links[edit]