Bridgend County Borough Council,Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB

Tel: 01656 643643
Text Relay:
18001 01656 643643
Fax: 01656 668126
Email: talktous@bridgend.gov.uk
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Monday - Thursday 8.30am - 5.00pm
Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm

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Bwlch

From lost villages to famous residents and local sand dunes doubling for Lawrence of Arabia filming locations, here are some fun facts about Bridgend County Borough. 

  • Habitation in Bridgend County Borough dates back 5,000 years to Neolithic times. By 500BC, local Celts were building Iron Age hill forts, and Romans ruled here for 400 years before leaving Britain in the 5th Century.

  • From the 9th to the 11th Century, Vikings plundered the coast from their base on the islands of Flatholm and Steepholm in the Bristol Channel. Later, the Normans built a string of Castles including Coity, Ogmore and Newcastle.

  • In medieval times, Pilgrims would stop off in the town of Bridgend on their way to the shrine of St. David's in West Wales. The town got its name from a bridge that was built in 1425 to link the north and south banks of the river Ogmore. Two of its arches were swept away in a flood in 1775 and the bridge had to be rebuilt.

  • The town once had a Victorian market hall. While this has been demolished, the original market bell still hangs in the Rhiw shopping centre.

  • The sand dunes at Merthyr Mawr were used as filming locations for the 1962 Oscar-winning film, Lawrence of Arabia. The 1999 Oscar nominated Solomon and Gaenor was also filmed in the Ogmore Valley.

  • The hilltop village of Llangynwyd near Maesteg has the oldest thatched inn in Wales boasting 350 types of whiskey. It was also the birthplace of the Celtic poet, Wil Hopcyn, whose tragic love for local girl Ann Thomas is remembered in the old Welsh legend, The Maid of Cefn Ydfa.

  • Coal and iron from the Garw, Ogmore and Llynfi valleys was exported throughout the world through the principal port of Porthcawl, which was founded in the early 18th Century.

  • Llangeinor in the Garw Valley was the birthplace of Dr. Richard Price whose ideas and writings were the inspiration for the American Constitution

  • In 1945, 70 German prisoners of war dug a tunnel and escaped from Camp 198 at Island Farm - the biggest escape attempt made by Germans during WWII. All were recaptured.

  • Bridgend County Borough attracts more than three and a half million visitors every year.

 

Last Updated: 05/02/2013
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