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 an agricultural industry and is the southernmost unitary authority in Wales. The Vale of Glamorgan, sometimes known locally as "the Vale", has a rich history and geography[clarification needed].
The Vale has several notable attractions including Barry Island Pleasure Park (known for the BBC sitcom, Gavin & Stacey), 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.
The Vale of Glamorgan has been a county borough (unitary authority) since 1996: before that it was part of South Glamorgan county. The largest centre of population is Barry. Other towns include Cowbridge, Dinas Powys, Llantwit Major and Penarth, but much 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 and 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 the whole area lay underneath a warm, shallow, equatorial sea at the start of the Jurassic Era. Thus today the cliffs contain traces of Jurassic sea creatures, such as ammonites. The stratification of overlapping shale, sandstone and limestone was caused by a geological upheaval known as the Variscan orogeny, which 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. The calcium carbonate (limestone) in the soil allows crops to be grown which would be difficult elsewhere in Wales or the West Country: most of the West Country has poor quality and mainly acidic Devonian soils). The liassic limestone and carboniferous sandstone are also used in the Vale as 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; the hard Devonian slate was brought back from Cornwall 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 onshore (westerly and south-westerly) winds: ideal for surfing, but a nuisance for ships sailing up the Bristol Channel to Cardiff. As in North Cornwall and South-West Ireland, the fierce Atlantic gales created ideal conditions for deliberate shipwrecking, which until 100 years ago 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 reefs and eventually sank, although the crew were saved by various Bristol Channel lifeboats and helicopters.
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 Westminster. There is substantial Labour support in the east of the constituency and in the town of Barry, and substantial Conservative support in the agricultural area in the west. Since May 2012, the Labour Party leads a coalition in the County Borough council 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, when representatives are invited from each of the twin towns. 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
New Adventure Travel runs buses through the Vale to places such as Llantwit Major and Barry with service 303 from Bridgend to Barry. Service 304 is a continuation of route 303 and serves Dinas Powys and Cogan; it terminates in Cardiff. NAT also runs a rail-bus service which links Rhoose to Cardiff Airport. Cardiff Bus runs various services from Llantwit Major and Barry to Cardiff, such as route X91 from Llantwit Major and route 95 from Barry. First Cymru operates the X2 from Porthcawl to Cardiff via Bridgend and Cowbridge. Due to financial pressures some rural bus operators have withdrawn services, such as the village bus network with buses 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