Blaengwrach shown within Neath Port Talbot
|Population||1,989 (2011 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Principal area||Neath Port Talbot|
|Ceremonial county||West Glamorgan|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||PORT TALBOT|
|Fire||Mid and West Wales|
|Councillors||Alf Siddley (Labour)|
Blaengwrach (// blyn-GRAHKH) is a village near Glynneath and Resolven in the county borough of Neath Port Talbot, Wales. It is also the name of a community and an electoral ward of Neath Port Talbot county borough. There are, however, some differences between the boundaries of the community and the ward. The ward had a population of 1,985 in the 2001 census, but 837 of these were actually residents of the neighbouring community of Glynneath and so the population of the Blaengwrach community itself would have been 1,148.The ward population at the census 2011 was practically unchanged.
Blaengwrach is a predominantly upland area, and contains the highest points of three local hills or mountains, namely Mynydd Resolfen (383mt/1257 ft) and the rather more impressive Mynydd Pen-y-Cae (573mt/1880 ft) and Craig-y-Llyn (600mt/1970 ft), both of which offer spectacular views of the valley below and the Brecon Beacons in the distance. Craig-y-Llyn is the highest point in the old county of Glamorgan, and is home to a nature reserve containing Llyn Fach and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. West of the summit is Foel Chwern Round cairn.
The village of Blaengwrach is often confused with the settlement of Cwmgwrach. Traditionally, the two are settlements separated by a stream or brook running through the middle of them. However, the sign welcoming you to Cwmgwrach is actually in Blaengwrach, and in similar fashion, Blaengwrach school is actually in Cwmgwrach, although this could be explained by its being named after the wider ward. In reality the residents call the entire village Cwmgwrach, with Blaengwrach being best used as the name for the wider area in which the village is situated. A history of the village (Cwmgwrach: Valley of the Witch) was written by Ian Currie.
In May 2013, North Bank Entertainment announced that it would soon commence filming of a film called 'Valley of the Witch' which will be an 18 rated horror film based on a true story about events in Cwmgwrach. Filming is due to take place before the end of 2013 on location in Cwmgwrach.
The Neath and Tennant Canal has been restored and now has over four miles of walkable towpath between Resolven and Glynneath. The Vale of Neath Railway is still used for freight transport between Neath and Cwmgwrach.
Government and politics
The electoral ward of Blaengwrach includes part or all of the villages of Blaengwrach and Cwmgrach in the parliamentary constituency of Neath. The Blaengwrach ward is bounded by the wards of Glynneath to the north; Rhigos of Rhondda Cynon Taff to the east; Glyncorrwg to the south; and Resolven to the southwest. The ward consists of a built up settlement to the northwest. The central area is dominated by open cast coal mining, while the rest of the ward is ringed by woodlands and forests.
In the 2012 local council elections, the electorate turnout was 42.28%. The results were:
|Alf Siddley||Labour||363||Labour hold|
|Joan Bodman||Plaid Cymru||290|
- John Wells's Phonetics Blog
- G.M. Miller, BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (Oxford UP, 1971), p. 16; "Welsh speakers pronounce 'gwrach' as one syllable by treating the 'w' as a rounding of the lips to accompany the 'r'," which also occurs with English /r/.