Pontypool is a town on the Afon Lwyd River, in the county borough of Torfaen, but historically part of Monmouthshire.
Conveniently located halfway between Abergavenny and Newport, and a stone’s throw from the city delights of Cardiff and the natural sights of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
The iron industry was historically of great importance to the town, with the Hanbury family being responsible for much of its development since the 16th Century. Their former family seat was Pontypool Park, a grand manor house with grounds stretching over 150 acres. In 1920 the park entered public ownership, and since then has become a focal point for leisure activities in the town.
Rugby is a very popular sport here, as it is in the rest of Wales, and the town boasts several teams, most notably Pontypool RFC, established in 1870, who play at Pontypool Park.
Pontypool Park is an important hub for other sports and leisure in the town, and has swimming and gym facilities, tennis courts, netball courts, a bowling green, a pitch and putt course, and a children’s play area, as well as the oldest dry skiing slope in Wales.
The town also has its own golf club and other courses within easy reach in the surrounding area.
Pontypool offers a useful selection of shops, from small independent traders to large multinational chains. The recently refurbished Pontypool Indoor Market was built in 1894, and to this day remains a vibrant shopping area, with a wide selection of local traders selling everything from hot and cold meals and drinks to fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, flowers, books, clothes, and much more.
Pontypool has a good range of restaurants, cafes and pubs, including traditional fish and chip shops, takeaways, cafes, upmarket gastro pubs and restaurants serving fresh local produce.
Pontypool Museum is located in a Georgian stable block in Pontypool Park, and gives visitors an insight into the region’s industrial and cultural history. It also features regular exhibitions of local artists’ work, and is home to the Dobell-Moseley Library and Archive, a resource for those conducting research into the local area.
Blaenavon lies a short distance along the A465 from Pontypool, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring one of the best preserved 18th Century ironworks in the whole of Europe, and the Big Pit Mining Museum.