Cwmbran New Town Centre
Cwmbran is a new town in Monmouthshire, established in 1949. It is twinned with Bruchsal, Germany and Carbonne, France.
There is evidence that Neolithic and Bronze Age people used to live in the area, with the Iron Age Silures tribe also occupying the region before being subdued by the Roman legions based at nearby Usk and Caerleon.
Around 1179, Hywel, Lord of Caerleon gave a gift of money and land to found the Cistercian Abbey at Llantarnam. After the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII the Abbey was closed and was bought by a succession of wealthy landowners. By the 18th century the Abbey had passed into the ownership of the Blewitt family, who were to become key figures in the early industrialisation of Cwmbran. Brick making, lime kilns, iron ore mining, quarrying and coal mining were established during this period along with a canal to transport goods to the docks at Newport. In 1833 the Ordnance Survey map of Monmouthshire shows Cwmbran as a farm situated in the area now known as Upper Cwmbran, in the valley named Cwmbran. Cwmbran now covers approximately 3,000 acres and has a population of around 50,000.
Sitting as it does at the corner of the South Wales Coalfield, it has a hilly aspect to its western and northern edges, with the surrounding hills climbing to over 1,000 ft. The Afon Llwyd forms the major river valley, although the most significant water course is probably the Monmouthshire Canal. To the east of Cwmbran the land is less hilly, forming part of the Vale of Usk.
Cwmbran Shopping Centre
Originally built in the late 1950s, the New Town centre hosts a bus station, supermarkets, small commercial units and a cinema. In 1988, it was refurbished, building a new Congress theatre, more car parks, and a new access to the then-newly built Cwmbran Drive. In spring 2000, a new development was brought forward in the north-west corner of the shopping centre. A supermarket, two-storey car park, a health clinic, and another small commercial unit was built. Another re-development of the old Asda building in 2006 supplied more shops in the new vicinity called "Llewelyn Walk".
On 31 October 2008, Leisure @ Cwmbran, a 10,000 sq ft complex opened within the town centre hosting an eight-screen cinema, bowlplex, restaurants, and a children's crèche.
The town is home to three secondary education schools: Croesyceiliog School, Llantarnam School and Fairwater High School. There are numerous primary and nursery schools as well as the Welsh-medium school Ysgol Gymraeg Cwmbrân.
The town is perhaps most widely known for its international sports stadium, home to international athletics events in the 1970s and 1980s. British athletics coach Malcolm Arnold used to train some of his athletes at Cwmbran in the '80s and early '90s while he was the Welsh National Coach. Athletes who trained there regularly under Malcolm include former World 110m Hurdle Champion and World Record Holder, Colin Jackson; Commonwealth 110m Hurdle medallist, Paul Gray; and Nigel Walker who had two sporting careers, first as an Olympic hurdler and then later as a Welsh rugby union international player. The 1999 World Indoor 400m Champion Jamie Baulch also used the stadium as a regular training track under a different coach. James Veale One of Cwmbran's basketball players performed in the Great Britain Team.
Cwmbran railway station is served by trains on the line from Newport to Shrewsbury.
- Village Publishing (1985). 'The trains don't stop here anymore....' - A pictorial history of Cwmbrân from the 1930s to the present day. Village Publishing. ISBN 0-946043-07-8.
- Cwmbrân & District Writers (2004). Cwmbrân - And other Routes as the crow flies. ISBN 1-872730-34-5.
- Philip Riden (1988). Rebuilding a Valley. Cwmbran Development Corporation. ISBN 0-9510548-1-3.