Welsh: Ynys-y-bŵl

Llanwynno Forest in winter, as seen from St Gwynno's Church
 Ynysybwl shown within Rhondda Cynon Taf
Population 4,664 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceST054949
Principal areaRhondda Cynon Taf
Ceremonial countyMid Glamorgan
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town Pontypridd
Postcode district CF37
Dialling code 01443
Police South Wales
Fire South Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK ParliamentCynon Valley
Welsh AssemblyCynon Valley
List of places
Rhondda Cynon Taf

Coordinates: 51°38′24″N 3°22′03″W / 51.640°N 3.3675°W / 51.640; -3.3675

Ynysybwl (Welsh: Ynys-y-bŵl [ənɪsəˈbʊl]) is a village in Cwm Clydach in Wales. It is situated in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, roughly 15 miles (24 km) north-north-west of Cardiff, 5 miles (8 km) north of Pontypridd and 16 miles (26 km) south of Merthyr Tydfil, and forms part of the community of Ynysybwl and Coed-y-cwm.

Cwm Clydach is flanked by the Rhondda and Cynon Valleys. The market town of Pontypridd lies to the south at the meeting point of the three valleys; and to the north lies the large Llanwynno forestry. Before the local government reforms of 1996 Ynysybwl was in the Cynon Valley district of Morgannwg Ganol, and the area is historically a part of Glamorgan (Morgannwg).


There is uncertainty over the meaning of the name of the village.

Ynys means 'island' or 'river meadow' in Welsh and probably refers to such a meadow on the banks of the Clydach stream. The 'bŵl' element is more difficult. Some theories include 'bowl/ball' [see 'bŵl' GPC] possibly a reference to the shape of the river-meadow or to a handball game played locally).[2]

Locally, the village is often referred to as just "Bwl" or "The Bwl".

Early History

Ynysybwl is located in the centre of the Llanwynno parish, at the point where the stream known as Y Ffrwd flows into the Nant Clydach. Then a collection of small local farms and meadows in a quiet and completely rural valley, at the 1841 census around 200 people lived in the village and surrounding farms.[3]


Churches/Chapels in/serving Ynysybwl
Church/Chapel Denomination Language Founded Built Location Disbanded Notes
Saint Gwynno Church Church in Wales, Parish of Llanynno Llanwynno Forestry
Bethel Calvinistic Methodist Welsh 1876 Rock Terrace ~1970s
Christ Church Church in Wales, Parish of Llanynno Church Street
Jerusalem Calvinistic Methodist Welsh 1885 1888 Thompson Street 1976
Noddfa Originally Baptist, now United Welsh Language Church Welsh 1885 1890 High Street
Tabernacle Independent Welsh 1885 1887 Other Street
Zion Baptist English 1890 1905 Robert Street
Ebeneezer Wesleyan Welsh 1892 Robert Street
Crossroads Originally Wesleyan, then Penticostal English 1890 Thompson Street ~1970s
Glyn Street Presbyterian English 1896 Glyn Street
New Road Congregational Independent English 1896 1906 New Road
Gospel Hall English

Coal Industry

The rich seams of coal in the Mynachdy level that lie beneath the surface had thus far only been tapped to the amount required to supply these local farms. David Davies began test bores in the early 1880s at Graigddu ("Black Rock"), which proved positive, and the resultant sinking of Lady Windsor Colliery by the Ocean Coal Company on 16 June 1884 gave birth to new coal town.[3]

Lady Windsor Colliery

Main article: Lady Windsor Colliery

Lady Windsor Colliery opened in 1886, with 300 new miners' houses built on the opposite (western) side of the valley in typical terraced fashion by the mining company to house its workers and their families.

At its peak, the colliery employed around 1,500 people directly, although most of the 6,000-7,000 village community relied upon the pit in one way or another. The pit thrived throughout the first half of the 20th century, one of a number of very successful mines in South Wales.

However coal mining fell out of favour with many people, including politicians, and the Lady Windsor Colliery did not escape the troubles that plagued the industry during the miners' strikes of the early 1980s. The pit was finally closed in 1988.

Present day

Ynysybwl Census
- Total (29 April 2001)
- 0-17
- 18-60
- 61+

Welsh language:
- Any skills


Despite the pit closure, the village has survived, people finding work in the newly developing industries in nearby Pontypridd, Treforest, Aberdare, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff.

This, coupled with the replacement of the pit as the village focus by local churches, Nonconformist chapels, clubs and associations, has led to a renewed interest in regeneration of the village. This led to the formation of the Ynysybwl Regeneration Partnership, an umbrella group formed to help achieve funding and organisation for activities within the village.

Today, Ynysybwl has many clubs and associations for such a small village, boasting karate, rugby, football, netball, bowls, cricket, a pony club, a brass band (Lady Windsor Colliery Band) and sections of the Brownies. The village no longer has a male voice choir.

The nearby Llanwynno forestry also has the successful Cwm Clydach Outdoor Activity Group, an outdoor pursuits centre run by people from the village, and a newly developing cycle path that will form part of the local Taff Trail.

Places and events

As with many Industrial Revolution-born villages, Ynysybwl is a community based around a number of key places.

The local Trerobart and Glanffrwd schools cater for over 450 pupils. The Recreation Ground is the home to many of the village's sporting clubs, hosting rugby, football, cricket and bowls as well as incorporating a large playing area. Drinking establishments include the Roberttown, Constitutional Club and the Old Ynys-y-Bwl Inn.

The largest regular event around Ynysybwl is the regular passage of the Network Q Rally of Great Britain through the Llanwynno forestry.

A further traditional event is the running of the Nos Galan Races, in tribute to the legend of Guto Nyth Brân.


The Taff Vale Railway financed and operated the Ynysybwl railway, a branch line which left the main Taff Vale line. Initially the junction faced northwards;[4] later a chord was added to make a southwards connection at Clydach Court Junction.[5] The branch line opened a year after the Lady Windsor Colliery. The last passenger train from Ynysybwl Halt to Pontypridd was in 1953.[6]

Notable people

See also Category:People from Ynysybwl


  1. "Community population 2011". Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  2. Some Place Names in South Wales
  3. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
  4. Ordnance Survey County Series 1:10560 Glamorganshire 1st revn (1901) OS Grid ST09
  5. Ordnance Survey County Series 1:10560 Glamorganshire 2nd revn (1921) OS Grid ST09
  6. "Page 3". Web.archive.org. 2002-02-03. Retrieved 2016-10-09.

Location Grid

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