Secondary schools in the area are: St Albans RC High School, Pontypool West Monmouth School, Pontypool Croesyceiliog School, Cwmbran Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, Pontypool (Welsh-language) Llantarnam School, Cwmbran Abersychan Comprehensive School, Pontypool Fairwater High School, Cwmbran TrevethinComprehensive, once on the site of Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, merged with The County School For Girls in the early 1990s and was relocated to the site of the latter. The building has since been demolished and the school closed. Further education, vocational training and some higher educationis provided at the Ponytpool Campus of Coleg Gwent, formerly Pontypool College.
The name "Torfaen" is corrupted
Welsh languagefor "rock breaker" and refers to the river that flows through the county boroughfrom its source in Blaenavon. The river in question is now known as the Afon Llwyd( _en. grey river).
The area has a
populationof around 91,000. Much of the southern parts of the county borough are now urbanised around the Cwmbran New Town conurbation. The north of the county borough is greener and retains vast acres of countryside, especially on the route to Blaenavon.
The administrative centre is
Pontypoolin the centre of the county borough. Most of the administration of Torfaen County Borough Councilis conducted from the Civic Centre here, although facilities at the County Hallin Cwmbran are shared with Monmouthshire County Council.
Torfaen, although a relatively small area, has a number of notable landmarks:
*Pontypool Park is the name given to the former principal residence of Pontypool (now a secondary school) and the convert|160|acre|km2|sing=on park that surrounds it. The park contains the town's
leisure centreand sports facilities and is the home of Pontypool RFC. The park includes a folly, shell grotto and ornamental ponds. Much of the area is given to woodlandbut there is extensive open grassland. The American Gardens were open to the public in 2008, after being closed to visitors for many years, and a restoration project is underway.
Cwmbran Shopping Centre
*Cwmbran Shopping Centre is advertised as the largest under-cover shopping centre in Wales. The centre includes many familiar high-street stores.
*The former mining town of Blaenavon in the northern part of the county borough is now a recognised
UNESCOWorld Heritage Site and booktown.
Torfaen is historically a safe Labour Party seat. At present the MP is Paul Murphy. Constituents in Croesyceiliog North, Croesyceiliog South, Llanyravon North and Llanyravon South wards are served by the Monmouth MP,
ConservativeDavid Davies. Torfaen is also a Welsh Assembly Governmentconstituency, presided over by Labour AM, Lynne Neagle.
In local elections on May 1st 2008, the Labour majority of Torfaen County Borough Council failed to win 16 of its 34 seats and lost overall control. However, an agreement was reached with Plaid Cymru and 2 independent members to maintain a stable regime with Labour control.
Torfaen resident and trainee teacher
Rachel Ricecame to national attention in 2008 when she won Big Brother 2008in the UK.
* [http://www.torfaen.gov.uk/Home.aspx Torfaen County Borough Council]
* [http://www.parksandgardens.ac.uk/index.php?option=com_parksandgardens&task=site&id=3703&Itemid=292 American Gardens, Pontypool Park]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/southeast/sites/cwmbran/pages/article_history.shtml Cwmbran, A Short History]
* [http://www.world-heritage-blaenavon.org.uk/ Blaenavon, World Heritage Site]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/vote2001/results_constituencies/constituencies/583.stm Torfaen constituency breakdown, 2001]
* [http://www.torfaen.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/CouncillorsDemocracyAndElections/Elections/Results/Home.aspx Council and Democracy in Torfaen]
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