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Town Guide 2014-2016
Compliments of Maesteg Town Council
Working for Business in Maesteg
Serving Maesteg and
the surrounding areas
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Registered Office: 29 Llynfi Road, Maesteg, Mid Glamorgan CF34 9DS. Reg. No. 6071946 2 MAESTEG TOWN GUIDE 2014-2016 Contents Mayor’s Message.................. 5 Transport....................... 12 Deputy Mayor’s Message............ 5 Rights of Way Network............ 13 History.......................... 6 Maesteg Town Council............. 14 Industrial History................ 6 Places of Interest................ 8 Maesteg Town Map............. 16/17 Town Hall...................... 8 Maesteg Market & Shopping Centre. 8 Maesteg Festival.................. 20 Public Library................... 9 Maesteg Community Hospital...... 9 Town Councillors................. 21 Maesteg Welfare Park............ 9 Maesteg Town Celebrations....... 10 Useful Numbers.................. 24 Education..................... 10 Music & Art................... 10 Notes.......................... 30
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BETTER IN ALL SUBJECTS INCLUDING ENGLISH4 MAESTEG TOWN GUIDE 2014-2016 Mayor’s Message/ Neges Y Faer It has been an honour to serve Maesteg as Mayor for the year 2013/14, a valley steeped in cultural history and still showcasing that all-important ingredient: a strong sense of community spirit. During my term of office, I have been privileged to meet many local people who give so freely of their time and efforts by working in a wide variety of community groups and organisations to help make Maesteg a better place to live. I am proud of Maesteg Town Council’s work in the local community, and am confident that it will continue to play its part in creating a brighter future for our area and its people.
Cllr. Ross Thomas - Mayor of Maesteg 2013/14 Mae wedi bod yn fraint i wasanaethu Maesteg yn Faer am y flwyddyn 2013/14, cwm sydd yn llawn hanes diwylliannol ac yn dal i arddangos y cynhwysyn holl bwysig: ymdeimlad cryf o ysbryd cymunedol. Yn ystod fy nghyfnod yn y swydd, yr wyf wedi cael y fraint i gwrdd â llawer o bobl leol sy’n rhoi mor hael o’u hamser a’u hymdrechion trwy weithio mewn amrywiaeth eang o grwpiau a sefydliadau cymunedol i helpu wneud Maesteg yn lle gwell i fyw. Yr wyf yn falch o waith Cyngor Tref Maesteg yn y gymuned leol, ac rwy’n hyderus y bydd yn parhau i chwarae ei rhan mewn creu dyfodol mwy disglair ar gyfer ein hardal a’i phobl.
Cynghorydd Ross Thomas - Maer Maesteg 2013/14 Deputy Mayor’s Message/ Neges Y Dirprwy Faer As Mayor Elect of Maesteg Town Council I know I am biased but Maesteg is a great community town which offers Welsh ‘hiraeth’ with qualities of a much larger town serving a wide area with its transport links.
The Council acknowledge the tremendous support provided by the residents of the Valley as well as that given by the varied community organisations, particularly during the Christmas Season and its Annual Festival.
Please accept my good wishes to you, along with the promise that when I am inaugurated officially as Mayor on 20th May 2014 I will do my utmost to represent you all to the best of my ability.
Cllr. P W Jenkins Fel Maer Etholedig Cyngor Tref Maesteg rwy’n gwybod fy mod yn rhagfarnllyd, ond mae Maesteg yn dref cymunedol gwych sy’n cynnig ‘hiraeth’ Cymreig gyda rhinweddau o dref llawer mwy sy’n gwasanaethu ardal eang gyda’i chysylltiadau trafnidiaeth. Mae’r Cyngor yn cydnabod y gefnogaeth aruthrol a ddarperir gan drigolion y cwm, yn ogystal â hwnnw a roddir gan y sefydliadau cymunedol amrywiol, yn enwedig yn ystod Tymor y Nadolig a’i G yl Flynyddol. Fyddech cystal â derbyn fy nymuniadau da i chi, ynghyd â addewid pan fyddaf yn sefydledig yn swyddogol fel Maer ar 20 Mai, 2014 y byddaf yn gwneud fy ngorau glas i’ch gynrychioli chi i gyd hyd eithaf fy ngallu.
Cynghorydd P W JENKINS DEPUTY MAYOR ELECT 2014/2015 - CLLR M J HARPUR DIRPRWY MAER ETHOLEDIG 2014/15 – Cynghorydd M J HARPUR 5 MAESTEG TOWN GUIDE 2014-2016 History Maesteg, meaning “Fair Field” is a town and community in Bridgend County Borough, Wales, which lies at the northernmost end of the Llynfi Valley, close to the border with Neath Port Talbot. It is nestled in the heart of the Llynfi Valley encompassing the neighbouring villages of Nantyffyllon, Caerau, Garth, Cwmfelin and Llangynwyd. According to the latest Census statistics 2014, Maesteg has a population of some 21,920 inhabitants.
Historically a part of Glamorgan, the growth of the Town started with the opening of ironworks in the 1820s and 1830s. Once a coal mining area, the last pit closed in 1985. With the decline of the coal industry and, more recently, the closure of one large factory producing cosmetics and another manufacturing vehicle components, the valley has become a residential/dormitory area for the Port Talbot, Bridgend and Cardiff journey-to-work areas.
Before the development of industry in the 1820s, the Llynfi Valley was a sparsely populated area of scattered farms. The nearest settlement was the village of Llangynwyd located on the hillside about two miles south of the present-day town centre of Maesteg. Close to Llangynwyd is an extensive earthwork known as Y Bwlwarcau (“the bulwarks”), an Iron Age enclosure that is probably a remnant of the earliest settlement in the Llynfi district.
During the Middle Ages the valley was part of Tir Iarll (the Earl’s Land), an area “famous for its game coverts, its woods and sparkling streams” that was set aside as a hunting reserve by Robert Fitzhammon, Earl of Gloucester, the Norman conqueror of Glamorgan. Up to the 18th century many of the farms of the Llynfi Valley were centres of local culture. For example Llwydarth, the home of the influential Powell family, was a centre for writers and poets in Glamorgan in the 17th century.
INDUSTRIAL HISTORYThe origins of the present-day community in the Llynfi Valley date from the late 1820s when the area’s considerable coal and iron ore resources were developed on an industrial scale for the first time. The establishment of the Maesteg Ironworks and the Dyffryn Llynfi and Porthcawl Railway (horse drawn) which was constructed between Maesteg and a dock at Porthcawl, providing the essential means of transport for materials. Some ten years later the Cambrian Iron and Spelter Company set up a second ironworks at Maesteg which, after changes of ownership, became known as the Llynfi works. To local inhabitants the two iron manufacturers were always the “old” and new” respectively. The necessary coal and ironstone were obtained mainly from levels in the hills surrounding the town. Despite fluctuation between prosperity and periods of inactivity, iron remained the stable local industry for 50 years. The long years of depression after 1875, and other factors, brought about the demise of ironmaking at Maesteg, the last furnace being blown out in 1886.
6 MAESTEG TOWN GUIDE 2014-2016 Fortunately, the rise of the coal industry was at hand, and world markets opened up for deep-mined steam coal. This was anticipated by the sinking of the Coegnant pits in 1882. All the assets of the iron companies were taken over 1889 by North’s navigation Collieries, the company sank Caerau and St John’s Collieries, and remained the major employers in the area for more than 50 years. At its height, coal produced from local mines reached well over one million tons annually. Steam railways handled the coal traffic to the docks and elsewhere: the Llynfi Valley railway (later the Great Western) opened in 1861 and the Port Talbot Railway in 1897.
For many years after the Second World War the local coal industry employed well over 2,000 workers and new jobs were created in local Government-built factories and in new industries in the Port Talbot and Bridgend journey-to-work areas. Due to the buoyant coal industry and the success of the new factories during the years 1950-75, the population of Maesteg and district stabilised at about 20,000, roughly the figure today. With the creation of more jobs in the Bridgend and Port Talbot districts, the Llynfi Valley gradually became a residential area, a process which speeded up with the terminal decline of the coal industry during the period 1977 to 1985.
Today, the valley faces another employment crisis, just as it did in the 1880s and the 1930s, with the closure of two local factories in 2007-08 which were the largest employers in the district.
Employment opportunities within the Valley are currently provided by the Bridgend Paper Mills established near Llangynwyd, small industrial estates and commercial enterprises within the Town;
but many of the working population now commute elsewhere.
7 MAESTEG TOWN GUIDE 2014-2016
PLACES OF INTEREST AROUND MAESTEGMaesteg has a number of ‘claims to fame’: the surrounding mountains pay tribute to the valley’s historical past, from early burial mounds and the earthworks of a Roman camp to the last remaining signs of the once great and powerful iron mining industry which sustained the people of the valley.
Nearby in the historical village of Llangynwyd (though not under the jurisdiction of Maesteg Town Council) is the ancient Church, founded in the sixth century by St Cynwyd, a Chieftain of North Britain; the Old House Pub, dating back to the year 1147, where it is said that Wil Hopkin wrote the song ‘Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn’ (Watching the White Wheat) at this pub and here, you can still witness the famous ‘Mari Llwyd’ tradition on New Year’s Eve. The Old House, together with The Corner House pub (the home of Wil Hopkin) both feature in the legend of The Maid of Cefn Ydfa.
In addition to Llangynwyd Village one can explore the area to find the Bodvic Stone, the Twmpath Diwlith, Bwlwarcan, and the Roman camps on the Margam mountains. Also worth a look are the many ancient farm dwellings scattered throughout the valley, Brynllywarch farm – the first college in Wales – and the ruins of Castell Coch near Llangynwyd. The restoration of Celfn Ydfa manor is also interesting. View the valley from the mountain road at Caerau, and the top of Pwll yr lwrch for the best vantage points. As a contrast to these dizzy heights, find the peaceful beauty of the lovely Sychpant Valley, nestling below Margam mountains, and the exquisite Darren, with its picturesque viaduct. Enjoy the many walks throughout the Valley with the magnificent views and varying antiquities.
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of my Father’s, the Welsh National Anthem) was first publicly performed at the Calvinistic Methodist Chapel of Tabor on 1st March, 1856. Composed by James James and his father, Evan James, of Pontypridd, it was sung by 16-year-old Elizabeth John - also from Pontypridd - as part of a St David’s Day concert under its original title, ‘Glan Rhondda’. The commemorative plaque can be viewed at the Maesteg Workingmen’s Club, Temple Street, Maesteg.
TOWN HALL Dominating the Town Centre is the fine Town Hall and Clock Tower, built initially by the people of the Valley and presently run by a management committee, supported by the Town Council, Bridgend County Borough Council and several other organisations. The hall offers excellent facilities for a variety of performing arts, dinners and wedding receptions.
The Maesteg Town Hall and indoor Market were opened by David Chadwick, Chairman of the Llynfi and Tondu Company Ltd on 22nd October Inside the Town Hall 1881.
Artist Christopher Williams was born in Maesteg in 1873. Six of his paintings are on display in Maesteg Town Hall.
MAESTEG MARKET AND SHOPPING CENTREMaesteg proudly boast of the large free car park inviting visitors to the Town.
Maesteg Town has benefitted over recent years from a regeneration programme which has enhanced a varied and pleasant shopping centre which includes traditional outlets, restaurants and cafes.
10 MAESTEG TOWN GUIDE 2014-2016 SPORT Maesteg Town benefits from varied sporting facilities including an 18 hole golf course, an excellent Leisure Centre (offering a wide range of exciting activities), Rugby and Football Clubs, Boxing Club, Cricket Clubs, Indoor Swimming Pool, tennis courts and bowling greens. Several “all-weather” surface pitches are available at Celtic Welfare Park, Maesteg Comprehensive School and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Comprehensive School. A cycle track runs through most of the Town which now links into the 70 km of Rights of Way Network BMX Cycle Track and Heritage trails, along with a BMX cycle track which meets national standard requirements. Approximately 3 miles from Maesteg community is the established mountain bike trail at Afan Argoed which is proclaimed to be of Olympic standard.