Torfaen ( _cy. Tor-faen) is a county borough in Wales. Formerly in the west of Monmouthshire, between 1974 and 1996 it was a district in the preserved county of Gwent.


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

Trevethin Comprehensive, 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 education is provided at the Ponytpool Campus of Coleg Gwent, formerly Pontypool College.


The name "Torfaen" is corrupted Welsh language for "rock breaker" and refers to the river that flows through the county borough from its source in Blaenavon. The river in question is now known as the Afon Llwyd ( _en. grey river).


Torfaen borders the city of Newport to the south, the county of Monmouthshire to the east and the county boroughs of Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent to the west and north-west.

Area characteristics

The area has a population of 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 Pontypool in the centre of the county borough. Most of the administration of Torfaen County Borough Council is conducted from the Civic Centre here, although facilities at the County Hall in Cwmbran are shared with Monmouthshire County Council.

Local landmarks

Torfaen, although a relatively small area, has a number of notable landmarks:

Pontypool Park

*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 centre and 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 woodland but 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.

Blaenavon Booktown

*The former mining town of Blaenavon in the northern part of the county borough is now a recognised UNESCO World 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, Conservative David Davies. Torfaen is also a Welsh Assembly Government constituency, 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.

Famous Residents

Torfaen resident and trainee teacher Rachel Rice came to national attention in 2008 when she won Big Brother 2008 in the UK.


* [ Torfaen County Borough Council]
* [ American Gardens, Pontypool Park]
* [ Cwmbran, A Short History]
* [ Blaenavon, World Heritage Site]
* [ Torfaen constituency breakdown, 2001]
* [ Council and Democracy in Torfaen]

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