Nick Smith MP Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent
About Blaenau Gwent
About Blaenau Gwent
Blaenau Gwent parliamentary constituency includes the main towns of Abertillery, Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar. The constituency borders Monmouthshire and Torfaen to the east, Caerphilly to the west and Powys to the north. Blaenau Gwent has an estimated population of 70,000.
Local history and politics
Anyone who comes from Blaenau Gwent knows how proud we are of local politicians such as Nye Bevan and Neil Kinnock the great Michael Foot.
The Bevan Stones on the mountain top between Tredegar and Ebbw Vale are a great reminder of Bevan and his work in establishing the NHS in 1948, based on his experiences in the 20s and 30s with the Tredegar Medical Aid Society. The Chartists are a strong feature of our political past too, with the caves above Trefil said to be where they stored pikes before the march on Newport, whilst their leader, Zephaniah Williams lived in Nantyglo.
Things to do, places to go
Blaenau Gwent is in my bones. These are some of the things I like to do in my time off, when I’m at home in the constituency. Any suggestions for other places to visit will be gratefully received.
Blaenau Gwent rambling I spend a lot of time in meetings so I like to walk when I get a chance, to blow away the cobwebs, and think through what I need to get on with next. Aneurin Bevan used to walk our hillsides to rehearse his speeches and it is easy to see why. The area has changed a lot since he last walked here, with coal tips transformed into beauty spots. My favourite places to get some fresh air in the constituency are:
•The Guardian – Located in the Six Bells area, this moving and spectacular tribute to the miners who lost their lives is almost impossible to miss and a must-see for visitors.
•Parc Bryn Bach – I used to walk this area a lot when younger – it was mostly scrappy hillside then, with lots of curlews nesting in the reeds. Now it’s a popular lakeside walk.
•Park Run – speaking of Parc Bryn Bach, I go running on the Saturdays I can at this club. Great for beginners looking to go from couch to 5K
•Parc Nant y Waun – This area behind my home, close to ASDA, is perfect for a 30 minute stroll with great views down the valley past Nantyglo. I often wonder how different it was when all the ironworks were in full production.
•Cwmtillery Lakes – Way up this side valley and tricky to find if you’re not a local, but well worth the trek. The more adventurous can walk right up on to the top ridge and look across to the Blaenafon World Heritage Site.
•Chartists Cave – Just above Trefil there is a fantastic place to visit and a great reminder of our radical past.
• Market Hall Cinema – this Brynmawr cinema has been fantastically run by a local group the past few years and it’s a real attraction for the area. It shows all the latest films as well, so you’re spoilt for choice.
If it’s a nice day then there are loads of great picnic places, in fact you just have to climb up the valley sides for space, tranquillity and amazing views. However, one I remember from my childhood is The Dukes Table just above Trefil, but I also love going to Cwmcelyn in Blaina.
You’re spoilt for choice for nice places to eat. West Mon Golf Club is great for lunches and The Mountain Air Inn at Nantybwch is a great place to stop off for dinner and if it’s a nice evening, you can round things off with a drive up to Trefil for an evening walk. On the subject of coffee, one of the best places to stop off, particularly on a Friday when there is a nice buzz from the market, is the Sidoli’s café in Ebbw Vale which also of course does great ice cream. Finally in Abertillery, I’m a fan of the Coffee Shop which always seems to do well in the Blaenau Gwent in bloom competition.