Vale of Glamorgan
- % Water
129 sq mi (335 km²)
|ONS code||00PD (ONS)
- Total (2011)
960/sq mi (373/km²)
1.4% S. Asian
- Any skills
Vale of Glamorgan Council
The Vale of Glamorgan (Welsh: Bro Morgannwg [ˈbroː mɔrˈɡanʊɡ]) is a county borough in Wales. The Vale of Glamorgan has a successful agriculture industry and is the most southerly county in Wales. The Vale of Glamorgan, sometimes known locally as the 'Vale,' has a rich history and geography and has a large number of towns, villages and attractions.
The Vale also has a number of notable locations including Barry Island Pleasure Park, known worldwide for the BBC sitcom, Gavin & Stacey. Other attractions include the Barry Tourist Railway, Porthkerry Park, St Donat's Castle, Cosmeston Lakes Country Park and Cosmeston Medieval Village. It is also the location of Atlantic College, one of the United World Colleges.
The largest town is Barry. Other towns include Penarth, Llantwit Major and Cowbridge. There are many villages in the county borough. The Vale of Glamorgan was revealed to be the wealthiest area in Wales in a 2003 survey conducted by Barclays Bank that measured disposable income.
It has been a county borough (unitary authority) since 1996, previously being part of South Glamorgan county. The largest centre of population is Barry. Other towns include Cowbridge, Dinas Powys, Llantwit Major and Penarth which is the Vale's first Fairtrade town, but a large proportion of the population inhabits villages, hamlets and individual farms. The area is low-lying, with a greatest height of 137 metres (449 ft) above sea level.
The yellow-grey cliffs on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast (which stretches between Llantwit Major to Ogmore-by-Sea) are unique on the Celtic Sea coastline (i.e. Cornwall, Wales, Ireland and Brittany) as they are formed of a combination of liassic limestone, shale and carboniferous sandstone/limestone. They were formed 200 million years ago when Wales (as well as Cornwall, Brittany and Ireland) lay underneath a warm, shallow, equatorial sea during the beginning of the Jurassic age. Today the cliffs contain elements of Jurassic age sea-creatures (although not land dinosaurs – what is now the Celtic Sea coastline was underneath the sea), such as ammonites. The stratification of overlapping shale, sandstone and limestone was caused by a geological upheaval known as the Variscan orogeny, which literally pushed the cliffs out of the sea, contorting them as they did so. (This stratification can also be found on other parts of the Celtic seaboard, such as Bude in Cornwall, across the Bristol Channel). As the cliffs and land contain elements of calcium carbonate found in the limestone, it allows farmers in the vale to grow crops which would be difficult elsewhere in Wales or the West country, such as Devon and Cornwall (whose soil is predominantly acidic as most of the west country is made of poor quality Devonian soils). The liassic limestone and carboniferous sandstone is also used in the vale for building materials; in previous centuries it was taken by sloops across the Bristol Channel to north Cornish ports such as Bude, Boscastle and Port Isaac to fertilise Cornwall's poor slate soils for the farming communities; while the hard Devonian slate of Cornwall was brought back as a roofing material for houses in the Vale.
As the Glamorgan Heritage Coast faces westwards out to the Atlantic, it bears the brunt of brutal on-shore (west, south-westerly) winds; ideal for surfing, but a nightmare for ships trying to sail up the Bristol Channel into Cardiff. Just like North Cornwall or South-West Ireland, the fierce Atlantic gales created ideal conditions for pre-meditated shipwrecking, which up until 100 years was very common along the coast (although shipwrecking was common across all the Celtic Sea). Nash Point, Southerndown and Ogmore-by-Sea have some of the highest shipwreck victims on the coast of Wales; as recently as 1962 an oil tanker, the BP Driver crashed into Nash Point during a violent westerly storm, was torn to shreds by the brutal reefs and eventually sank, although thanks to a courageous effort by various Bristol Channel lifeboats and helicopters the crew were saved.
The region was governed by Tom Jones until May 2012. The Vale of Glamorgan parliamentary and assembly constituencies (which do not include Penarth and Sully which are in the constituency of Cardiff South and Penarth) sway between Labour control and Conservative Party control in both the National Assembly for Wales and in Westminster. This is supposedly because of the Labour supporters in the east of the constituency and in the town of Barry and then the Tory supporters in the west due to a large farming population. Since May 2012, the Labour Party leads a coalition with the Llantwit First independent group.
The Vale of Glamorgan is twinned with:
and has friendship agreements with:
Once every year, there is a twinning event in one of the Vale of Glamorgan's towns where representatives are invited from each of the twin cities. The event focuses on culture and economic regeneration.
- Dinas Powys
- Ogmore, Vale of Glamorgan
- St Athan
- St Brides Major
- St Hilary
- St Donat's
- St. Andrews Major
- St. Nicholas Village
- Wick, Vale of Glamorgan
The county is served by the Vale of Glamorgan Line with services to Bridgend and Cardiff, with stations in Barry, Penarth and Llantwit Major, although the stations serving Pontyclun and Bridgend may be closer to some residents.
New Adventure Travel run services through the Vale like places such as Llantwit Major and Barry with service 303 from Bridgend to Barry, service 304 is a continuation of service 303 and serves Dinas Powys and Cogan which terminates in Cardiff. NAT also run a rail-bus service which links Rhoose to Cardiff Airport. Cardiff Bus run a number of services from Llantwit Major and Barry to Cardiff like service X91 From Llantwit Major and service 95 from Barry. First Cymru operate the X2 which runs from Porthcawl to Cardiff via Bridgend and Cowbridge. Rural bus operators had to withdraw services due to financial pressures and the amount of fuel rebate received services like the village bus network which had services running from Cowbridge to Llantwit Major, Barry and Bridgend via rural villages like Colwinston and Fonmon. TrawsCymru have an express bus service T9 from Cardiff Airport to Cardiff.
- List of places in Vale of Glamorgan for all villages and towns.
- List of schools in the Vale of Glamorgan
- Bibliography of the Vale of Glamorgan -lists of books and reference material for further reading
Media related to Vale of Glamorgan at Wikimedia Commons