Welsh: Sir Fynwy
|Area:||530 square miles|
|County flower:||Foxglove |
The County of Monmouth is a shire in the southwest of Great Britain. The eastern part of the county is mainly agricultural, while rich mineral resources were discovered in the western valleys in the 18th century. This led to the western part of the county becoming highly industrialised with coal mining and iron working becoming major employers between the 18th and late 20th centuries.
Monmouth the county town, stands at the extreme northeast of the county, on the border with Herefordshire, while the largest settlement and only city, Newport lies in the southern coastal belt. The highest point is Chwarel y Fan at 2,228 feet.
Monmouthshire lies to the north of the Severn Estuary, which forms the county's southern boundary. Three other rivers form the majority of the county's other boundaries: The river Wye forms the eastern boundary with Gloucestershire, the river Rhymney forms the western boundary with Glamorgan and the river Monnow forms the northeastern border with Herefordshire. The Brecon Beacons form the northern boundary with Brecknockshire.
The parish of Welsh Bicknor is an exclave of Monmouthshire, sandwiched between Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. The Herefordshire hamlet of Fwthog adjoining the Honddu Valley is an exclave within Monmouthshire.
Monmouthshire is watered by four main rivers, fed from the county's verdant valleys, of which three are boundary rivers and the fourth runs through the green heart of the shire.
The River Monnow marks the boundary with Gloucestershire, flowing out of the Black Mountain range, it runs 26 miles down to Monmouth, which town takes its name from the river and thus so does the county of Monmouth itself.
The Wye is one of the great rivers of the kingdom; indeed only four rivers of Britain are longer. It is not specifically a Monmouthshire river, rising in the mountains between Brecknockshire and Radnorshire and swelling in the womb of Herefordshire, but its broad lower reach is Monmouthshire's eastern boundary, with Gloucestershire, and on this river stand the fine Monmouthshire towns of Monmouth and Chepstow and the picturesque valley side at Tintern.
The River Rhymney flows off the Brecon Beacons, down the Rhymney Valley amongst the mining villages which once turned is waters black. Its highest village is Rhymney and its lowest Rumney, and between these two namesakes and down to the Severn estuary its whole course marks the boundary between Monmouthshire and Glamorgan.
The River Usk is the river which waters Monmouthshire's heartland. It sees all the contrasting aspects of the county in its course. It enters the shire as a young river in the mountains in the northernmost parts, above Abergavenny, and meanders gently through the rolling farmland in middle of the shire, eventually coming to Caerleon of the county's historic heritage, and then on to the county's urban aspect, in the ancient and modern of Newport, disgorging its waters into the Severn Estuary at Uskmouth.
The county was divided into six hundreds in 1542:
- Newport (51.588° N -2.998° E)
- Abergavenny (51.824° N -3.017° E)
- Blackwood (51.67° N -3.19° E)
- Blaenavon (51.773° N -3.083° E)
- Caldicot (51.591° N -2.749° E)
- Chepstow (51.642° N -2.675° E)
- Cwmbran (51.653° N -3.021° E)
- Ebbw Vale (51.778° N -3.212° E)
- Monmouth (51.809° N -2.719° E)
- Newbridge (51.670° N -3.136° E)
- Pontypool (51.703° N -3.041° E)
- Rhymney (51.749° N -3.283° E)
- Risca (51.608° N -3.091° E)
- Tredegar (51.778° N -3.2401° E)
- Usk (51.704° N -2.902° E)
- Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen
- Cefn Fforest
- Cwmbran Central
- Ebbw Vale North
- Ebbw Vale South
- Goetre Fawr
- Gwehelog Fawr
- Llanfoist Fawr
- Llangattock Vibon Avel
- Llantilio Crossenny
- Llantilio Pertholey
- Llantrisant Fawr
- Magor with Undy
- Mitchel Troy
- Nantyglo and Blaina
- New Inn
- New Tredegar
- Old St Mellons
- Pen Tranch
- St Arvans
- St Julians
- Stow Hill
- Tredegar Park
- Trellech United
- Upper Cwmbran
The valley of the Rhymney River is extensively urbanised, such that many towns and other settlements straddle the border between Monmouthshire and Glamorgan:
- Cardiff lies in the extreme southeast of Glamorgan, such that its eastern suburbs of Rumney and St. Mellons lie across the Rhymney River in Monmouthshire.
- Caerphilly, also in Glamorgan, has its eastern suburb of Bedwas across the Rhymney River in Monmouthshire.
- Maesycwmmer in Monmouthshire and Ystrad Mynach in Glamorgan form a single conurbation.
- Blackwood in Monmouthshire has its western suburbs across the Rhymney River in Glamorgan.
- Bargoed in Glamorgan and Aberbargoed in Monmouthshire form a single town under the Bargoed Town Council.
- New Tredegar has western suburbs across the Rhymney River in Glamorgan.
Several settlements also straddle the river Wye, which forms the border between Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire:
- Chepstow lies in the extreme southeast of Monmouthshire, such that its eastern suburbs of Sedbury and Tutshill are in Gloucestershire.
- The village of Brockwier in Gloucestershire is situated on the eastern bank of the Wye such that the main access into the village is from the A466 in Monmouthshire. The former railway station on the Wye Valley line was also on the western (Monmouthshire) bank.
- The village of Redbrook straddles the border where it heads away from the river in a northeasterly direction.
Along the urbanised northern boundary with Brecknockshire is a further example of a cross-border conurbation:
- The Brynmawr-Beaufort-Nantyglo area forms a single conurbation, with the former lying in Brecknockshire and the other areas part of the industrialised Monmouthshire western valleys.
Monmouthshire lies at the junction of major routes from South Wales to London and the Midlands. Major roads include the M4 motorway from London to West Wales, the parallel A40 and A48 routes and the A465 and A449 routes to the Midlands.
Princiapal rail routes converge on Newport, including the South Wales Main Line via the Severn Tunnel, the Gloucester to Newport Line, Welsh Marches Line and Ebbw Valley Line.
The Monmouthshire canal and the Brecknockshire and Abergavenny canal converge at Pontymoile near Pontypool.
Things to see in Monmouthshire
|Accessible open space|
| ||Museum (free/not free)|
- Abergavenny Castle
- Caldicot Castle
- Chepstow Castle
- Grosmont Castle
- Isca Silurum (Isca Augusta), Caerleon
- Newport Castle
- Raglan Castle,
- Skenfrith Castle
- Venta Silurum, Caerwent
- White Castle
Other fine buildings and ruins
- Blaenavon (mining heritage)
- Llanthony Priory
- Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal
- Fourteen Locks
- National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon
- Newport Cathedral
- Newport Museum, Newport
- Roman Baths Museum, Caerleon
- Tintern Abbey
- Tredegar House
Landscape and walks
- Black Mountains
- Brecon Beacons National Park
- Caldicot and Wentloog Levels
- Chwarel y Fan
- The Kymin
- Marches Way
- Monnow Valley Walk
- Offa's Dyke
- Pontypool Park
- Three Castles Walk
- Usk Valley Walk
- Wye Valley
- ↑ John Bartholomew (1887). "Monmouthshire". Gazetteer of the British Isles. Vision of Britain. http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/place/place_page.jsp?p_id=17183. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
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