Canton is an inner-city district and community in the west of Cardiff, capital of Wales, lying 2 miles west of the city's civic centre. Canton is one of the most ethnically diverse of Cardiff's suburbs, with a significant Pakistani and Indian population; the total population of Canton increased to 14,304 at the 2011 census. It is the most Welsh-speaking district of central Cardiff, with 19.1% of the population speaking Welsh. The name refers to the 6th century female saint after whom Pontcanna is named. Canton known as Treganna, was a 13th-century manor in Llandaff, it became part of Victorian era Cardiff in 1875. Canton, or Treganna in the Welsh language, was formed around a 13th-century Manor in Cardiff and assumed lands from nearby Llandaff and Leckwith parishes under the stewardship of an Earl de Kanetune, although today the manor comes under the jurisdiction of the Manor of Llandaff, it is believed that Canton is named after St Canna, the holy matron in the Celtic age of Saints, Canna herself is reputed to have been a relative of King Arthur In 1215 a parishioner called Lucia de Kanetune is recorded as occupying a field ‘near the Earl's wall’.
In 1230 a man named as Walter de Canetune is named in the Cardiff charter, signed the charter as a resident of quite high status. In 1262 a doctor or ‘Physicus’ called Nicholas de Kanetone gave evidence in a legal dispute between the Abbeys of Margam and St. Peter's, Gloucester. In 1290 Richard de Canetone is recorded as a witness on the new Cardiff charter. In 1290 records: “John, son of Robert de Landaf, granting to Milo de Regny a rent of sixpence arising out of three acres of land with the appurtenances, which John de Lake bailiff of la Lekwiffe, had of my fee under Kanetone, in Sudcrofte; as one penny rent from John, son of John Godman of Kaerdif, for three other acres in the same Sudcrofte under Kanetone.". From around 1250 for several hundred years Canton Cross was the site of the largest and most significant trading market in the South Wales area; the market was open daily except Sundays on the extensive Canton common lands at the junction where Llandaff Road and Leckwith Road now cross Cowbridge Road East, opposite where the Canton Cross Vaults public house still stands.
Goods, including all manner of fresh food stuffs, live animals and household items were brought from all over Cardiff and the South Wales Valleys to be traded at the market. Items that were to be exported were transported or herded to the docks at Cardiff and Swanbridge. Imports of fresh foods and tradeable goods were brought to the market from those ports. In the year 1450 stewardship of the Manor of Caneton is recorded as having been granted to Sir David ap Mathew, Lord of Llandaff manor but a resident of Radyr. In 1853 St. Johns, Canton was completed and opened as a local chapel annexe of nearby Llandaff Cathedral. From around 1840, Halket Street, became home to a large number of Irish families, indeed Canton was the recognised centre of Cardiff’s increasing Irish community, most of whom were fleeing the potato famines in their own country and seeking work and housing in the ports of Liverpool and Cardiff. In 1870 the large Atlas Engineering works was built in Canton and opened its doors, creating a large number of new skilled jobs in the area.
The independent hamlet of Canton was incorporated as a district of the City of Cardiff by charter in 1875. Included in Canton was Pwll-coch, considered part of Ely. In 1899 the Manor House was recorded as still standing, on the west side of Canton Common but it was in a poor condition and in danger of falling down. At that time it was under the occupation of a Mr. Richard Williams, but there is no record of when the Manor House was demolished; the extensive common lands at Ely Common were in the process of being converted into a municipal recreation ground called Victoria Park and new housing by the city council in 1899. The market near Canton Cross, which by had wound down to a weekly cattle market, had been relocated to lands that now house Cantonian High School in adjacent Fairwater; the market yard and rows of stables would be full of the farmers’ carts and traps from all over the Vale of Glamorgan. The market dealt with sheep and pigs as well as cattle and the market buildings included a slaughterhouse, so the animals could be butchered on site ready for transporting to the many butchers shops all over Cardiff.
The market’s tram depot and stabling was next to Severn Road Council School, trams ran on rails with overhead electric power from the depot and Victoria Park to the city centre and on to other locations in Cardiff from 1902 until they were replaced by Cardiff's electric trolleybuses in 1950. The traditional Canton Cross common land now has Cardiff City FC's Cardiff City Stadium football ground and Cardiff International Sports Stadium built on it, with the last remnant of the medieval market represented only by Bessemer Road fruit market. In recent years a large number of commercial car dealerships have moved into the area. Canton has long been recognised as one of the most multi-cultural areas of Cardiff since the vast influx of Irish immigrants in the mid 19th century and today houses a significant and thriving Asian population such as Pakistanis and Indians; the main road through the district is Cowbridge Road East, a busy thoroughfare with many shops as well as pubs and restaurants and independent retailers.
Canton is home to Thompson's Park and Victoria Park, to the education centre Llanover Hall, to the Chapter Arts Centre, housed in the former buildings of Canton High School. Though
Cardiff Tramways Company
Cardiff Tramways Company operated an horse tramway service in Cardiff between 1872 and 1902. The Provincial Tramways Company was floated in July 1872 by means of a prospectus inviting public subscription for shares in a new company; the published prospectus stated an intention to set up horse tramway companies in various towns including Cardiff. Within a year those in Plymouth and Cardiff were in operation as reported to the half yearly meeting of the company in 1873. Cardiff Tramways Company was a wholly owned subsidiary company of The Provincial Tramways Company and its first horse tramways were in operation by July 1872 from High Street in the city center to the Docks, 6 miles of route were operated. On 10 December 1877, the Council approved the operation of services on Christmas Day, subject to some improvements in the operation of the service in general and to the removal of the smell arising from the bad oil used in lighting the cars. In 1887 after a protracted trading war with the horse bus operations of Solomon Andrews in Cardiff and Portsmouth a settlement was reached whereby The Provincial Tramways Company bought the operations of Solomon Andrews in those towns, full details of the settlement were reported at the companies 30th AGM.1889 was a year marked by several industrial disputes between the tramway company and its staff reaching a climax at the end of June with serious disorder on the streets as strikers stopped the trams operating.
In 1898, Cardiff County Borough Council obtained Parliamentary powers to take over all the tramways in the area and go ahead with the new electric trams, owning them from 1902, under the revised name Cardiff Corporation Tramways. The company was operating 52 horse tramcars at the beginning of 1902 when most of the tramways was purchased by the council. From 1902 the Cardiff Tramways Company continued to operate its horse buses in Cardiff until 1908, from 1907 it had started to operate motor buses and developed a motor bus fleet of various types; this operation ended on 1 October 1922 when the business and assets of the company were sold to Cardiff Corporation. The company was put into voluntary liquidation and wound up in 1936; the first route opened in 1872 was from Bute Docks Pier Head northwards to the High Street. That year another route was opened from the High Street eastwards via The Hayes and Queen Street to Roath in 1879 extended a further half mile eastwards. In 1879 a route westwards from the High Street to Canton was constructed.
Another route was built from the High Street southwards to Clarence Road terminating near to the Pier Head line and a route was opened from the High Street north to Cathays via Salisbury Road. The complete network was operated by 52 open top double deck horse trams using 3 depots; the 1887 takeover of the operations of Solomon Andrews included the operating contract for the Cardiff District and Penarth Harbour Tramways which ran east to west across the city from Roath to Lower Grangetown but it never reached Penarth Harbour. This tramway remained with the Cardiff Tramways Company than the rest and was only taken over by the council in 1903
Penarth is a town and community in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales 4 miles southwest of Cardiff city centre on the north shore of the Severn Estuary at the southern end of Cardiff Bay. Penarth is the wealthiest seaside resort in the Cardiff Urban Area, the second largest town in the Vale of Glamorgan, next only to the administrative centre of Barry. During the Victorian era Penarth was a popular holiday destination, promoted nationally as "The Garden by the Sea" and was packed by visitors from the Midlands and the West Country as well as day trippers from the South Wales valleys arriving by train. Today, the town, with its traditional seafront, continues to be a regular summer holiday destination, but their numbers are much lower than was common from Victorian times until the 1960s, when cheap overseas package holidays were introduced. Although the number of holiday visitors has declined, the town retains a substantial retired population, representing over 25% of residents, but Penarth is now predominantly a dormitory town for Cardiff commuters.
The town's population was recorded as 20,396 in the United Kingdom Census 2001. The town retains extensive surviving Victorian and Edwardian architecture in many traditional parts of the town. Penarth is a Welsh placename and could be a combination of pen meaning head and arth meaning bear, hence'Head of the Bear' or'Bear's Head'; this was the accepted translation for several hundred years and is still reflected in the town's crest which depicts bears. Modern scholars have suggested that the name is shortened from an original “Pen-y-garth”, where garth means cliff, hence'Head of the cliff' or'Clifftops'. and the Welsh-English dictionary Y Geiriadur Mawr reveals that penardd/penarth eb means'promontory'. The civic town crest was drawn by the town's architect in 1875 from a detailed brief prepared by the Town Board, it features a bear's head above a shield supported by two further bears standing. The shield contains a Draig Goch to denote that the town is in Wales and a sailing vessel recognising Penarth's long association with sea commerce.
The Penarth area has a history of human inhabitation dating back at least 5000 years. In 1956 several Neolithic stone axe heads were found in the town. A large hoard of Roman rings and coins were discovered at nearby Sully. From the 12th century until 1543 the lands of Penarth were owned by the canons of St Augustine, Bristol; the Norman church of St Augustine dates from this period. After the dissolution of the monasteries the ownership transferred to the dean and chapter of Bristol Cathedral; the manor lands were leased to the Earls of Plymouth of St. Fagans Castle. In 1853 the family purchased the manor outright; because the surrounding land was owned by religious institutions from an early date, there was no need for a large family house in Penarth. The oldest building in the area is a Tudor mansion, owned by the Herbert family, on the hillside at Cogan Pill; this has since been converted into a chain restaurant. Piracy was prevalent on the coast near Penarth and, in the 1570s, a Special Commission being set up to investigate and suppress it.
Leading family members in Penarth were believed to be implicated. Penarth's medieval walled Sheriff's Pound, an early form of multi-purpose gaol, remained in use until the late 18th century, as a place to retain stray sheep and pigs or to imprison thieves and vagabonds, it was located where the car park now stands, at the rear of the NatWest Bank in Plymouth Road. In 1803, Penarth is recorded as having between 800 - 900 acres of land under cultivation as several farms. In the 1801 census, there were just 72 people living in the Manor; as late as 1851, Penarth was still little more than a small rural farming and fishing village since medieval times, with just 24 houses and 105 residents, being one of five parishes contained within the Hundred of Dinas Powys, with a combined population of just over 300. Before the pier and dock were built, there was a tiny fleet of local sail-powered fishing vessels based on the main town beach that tied up on the seafront quayside; the Plymouth estate office retained control over the planning and development of the new town, offering 99-year leases and remaining the ground landlord.
All householders in Penarth were tenants of the Plymouth Estates, paying an annual ground rent. The situation would not change until the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, that gave householders the choice of purchasing their freehold or negotiating 999 year extensions on their short leases; the earliest homes built in the town were streets of terraced houses with busy corner shops and public houses on every corner, following the contours of the headland and in the expanding Cogan area near the docks. Local grey limestone, quarried from what is now Cwrt-y-vil playing fields, gave a particular character to the surviving older buildings of the town. To the south of the town centre, imposing detached villa residences along the cliff tops looked across the Channel to the Somerset coast and the islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm; the villas were built by wealthy shipping and dock owners from Cardiff who were moving out of the industrialised city for a more genteel and sophisticated lifestyle. By 1861, the number of people in the five parishes had increased to 1,898 and to 3,382 by 1871.
In 1875, three of the constituent parishes - Penarth and Llandough - were merged into the Penarth Local Board, giving a population of 6,228 persons by 1881. This figure had doubled by 1891 with the opening of the railway and had increased further by 1901 to 1
Caerphilly is a town and community in South Wales, at the southern end of the Rhymney Valley. It is the largest town in Caerphilly County Borough, within the historic borders of Glamorgan, on the border with Monmouthshire. At the 2001 Census, the town had a population of 30,388, it is a commuter town for Cardiff and Newport, 7.5 miles and 12 miles away and is separated from the Cardiff suburbs of Lisvane and Rhiwbina by Caerphilly mountain and gives its name to Caerphilly cheese. The town's site has long been of strategic significance. Around AD 75 a fort was built by the Romans during their conquest of Britain. An excavation of the site in 1963 showed that the fort was occupied by Roman forces until the middle of the 2nd century. Tradition states that a monastery was built in the area by St Cenydd. Nonetheless, the district was named Senghenydd after him, Cenydd's son, St Ffili, is said to have built a fort in the area and thus gave the town its name. Another explanation is that it is named after Philip de Braose.
Following the Norman invasion of Wales in the late 11th century, the area of Sengenhydd remained in Welsh hands. By the middle of the 12th century the area was under the control of the Welsh chieftain Ifor Bach, his grandson Gruffydd ap Rhys was the final Welsh lord of Sengenhydd, falling to the English nobleman Gilbert de Clare, the Red Earl, in 1266. In 1267 Henry III was forced to recognise Llywelyn ap Gruffudd as Prince of Wales, by September 1268 Llywelyn had secured northern Sengenhydd. Gilbert de Clare had begun to take steps to consolidate his own territorial gains, beginning the construction of Caerphilly Castle on 11 April 1268; the castle would act as a buffer against Llewelyn's own territorial ambitions and was attacked by the Prince of Wales' forces before construction was halted in 1270. Construction recommenced in 1271 and was continued under the Red Earl's son, Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Gloucester. With only interior remodelling carried out to the castle by Hugh le Despenser in the 1320s, Caerphilly Castle remains a pure example of 13th century military architecture and is the largest castle in Wales, the second largest in Britain.
The original town of Caerphilly grew up as a small settlement raised just south of the castle by De Clare. After the death of Gilbert de Clare at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Edward II became guardian of De Clare's three sisters and heiresses. In 1315 he replaced de Badlesmere with a new English administrator, Payn de Turberville of Coity, who persecuted the people of Glamorgan. Like many in northern Europe at the time, the region was in the throes of a serious famine. In coming to the defence of his people, Llywelyn Bren, the great grandson of Ifor Bach and Welsh Lord of Senghenydd incurred the wrath of de Turberville, who charged him with sedition. Llywelyn appealed to Edward II to call off or control his self-interested agent, but Edward ordered Llywelyn to appear before Parliament to face the charge of treason; the King promised Llywelyn. Llywelyn prepared for war. On 28 January 1316, Llywelyn began the revolt by a surprise attack on Caerphilly Castle, he captured the constable outside the castle and the outer ward but could not break into the inner defences.
They started a siege. The town was rebuilt but remained small throughout the Middle Ages; the first evidence of its emerging importance was the construction of a court house in the 14th century, the only pre-19th century building remaining in the town. At the beginning of the 15th century the castle was again attacked, this time by Owain Glyndŵr, who took control of the castle around 1403-05. Repairs to the castle continued until at least 1430, but just a century the antiquary John Leland recorded that the castle was a ruin set in marshland, with a single tower being used as a prison. In the mid-16th century the 2nd Earl of Pembroke used the castle as a manorial court, but in 1583 the castle was leased to Thomas Lewis, who accelerated the castle's dilapidation by removing stonework to build his nearby manor, The Van; the Lewis family, who claimed descent from Ifor Bach, left the manor in the mid-18th century when they purchased St Fagans Castle, The Van falling into decay. During the 1700s, Caerphilly began to grow into a market town, during the 19th century, as the South Wales valleys underwent massive growth through industrialisation, so too the town's population grew.
Caerphilly railway station was opened in 1871, in 1899 the Rhymney Railway built their Caerphilly railway works maintenance facilities. Caerphilly is featured in the Fury. Protests and a prayer meeting were held outside the Castle Cinema on the evening of 14 December 1976, when the Pistols were playing a concert there. However, at this point in time, Caerphilly was one of the few councils that would allow the group to perform; the castle of Caerphilly was used as a filming location for Merlin and the Doctor Who episodes The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People. Caerphilly hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1950. Caerphilly is the birthplace of comedian Tommy Cooper, Newport County midfielder David Pipe and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, it was home to Cardiff City F. C. and Wales footballer Robert Earnshaw, following his family's move from Zambia. The town has a rugby union club, Caerphilly RFC, who play in Division Three East of t
Transport in Cardiff
Transport in Cardiff and most populous city in Wales involves road, bus and air. It is a major city of the United Kingdom and a centre of employment, retail, culture, media and higher education. Welsh Government statistics for 2008/09 showed that Cardiff had the lowest percentage of the population who travelled to work by car, van or minibus, suggesting the highest public transport usage to work out of all 22 local authorities in Wales. Between 2008 and 2009, car and taxi usage dropped from 59.7% to 52.3%, while walking was up by 1.4% to 18.3%. For bus usage, the figure had risen by 3% to 15.5% and cycling use increased from 1.6% to 7.4%. Train usage rose from 3.8% to 4.7% over the same period. The M4 motorway connects other cities in Britain. To the east: Newport, Bath, Swindon and terminating at London. To the west: Bridgend, Swansea and terminating near Carmarthen, it is part of the unsigned European route E30. Cardiff can be accessed directly from junctions 29 – 34 inclusive: The A48 motorway connects Junction 29 to the city centre with exits for the Cardiff suburbs of St. Mellons, where it becomes the A48, Pentwyn, Rumney and for the University Hospital of Wales.
The A4232 connects M4 junction 33 with junction 30 by bypassing through the south of the city. From junction 33, exits are at Culverhouse Cross Interchange, Leckwith Interchange, Ferry Road Interchange and Butetown, the road ends at Queen's Gate Roundabout, where the long-awaited Eastern Bay Link Road will link with the Southern Way Link Road, it goes onto the M4 at junction 30 via the A48 and the Pentwyn Link Road. The A470 road is the main North – South Wales route running from Cardiff Bay to Llandudno via exits for the suburbs of Tongwynlais and Taff's Well; the A470 is a major road within the city that provides an important link with the Heads of the Valleys road and North Wales. As with many other cities car traffic has caused congestion problems and as such the council has designated bus lanes to improve transport into and out of the city centre; the Welsh Assembly Government is considering the introduction of variable congestion charging in the city centre, but only once there has been significant investment in the city's public transport network.
There are several rail bridges that cross the River Taff in Cardiff. These include a comparatively modern bridge which replaced a swing bridge; the original bridge was named after the Duke of Clarence. Much of Cardiff's central shopping zone is pedestrianised, further pedestrianisation is planned as part of the current St David's 2 regeneration scheme; the largest stations in Cardiff are Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street which over 10 million people use each year. They are both controlled by ticket barriers. Cardiff Central is the 10th busiest station in the United Kingdom outside London with eight platforms. Cardiff Central is situated on the South Wales Main Line providing national services while Cardiff Queen Street station is the hub of the Valley Lines suburban rail network. Central station provides regular services to London Paddington via Bristol Parkway, with other links to Swansea and West Wales on the South Wales Main Line while other national services connect Cardiff with Bristol Temple Meads, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Southampton Central and Portsmouth Harbour.
Improvements to the north-south Wales rail networkwere introduced in 2010 and there are now services every two hours that connect Wrexham General and Holyhead in North Wales to Cardiff in the south. Cardiff has an urban rail metro network operated by Transport for Wales known as Valley Lines. With Cardiff Central and Queen Street as the hubs, it connects Cardiff's northern and western suburbs to the city centre. There are eight lines that connect Central and Queen Street stations to 20 smaller stations in the city, 26 in the wider urban area and more than 60 in the South Wales valleys and the Vale of Glamorgan; the council is investigating converting the Cardiff City Line, Coryton Line and Butetown Branch Line into light rail lines and extending them in the near future. Cardiff has a comprehensive bus network, with council-owned Cardiff Bus providing the vast majority of routes in the city and as well as Newport, Barry, Cardiff Airport and Llantwit Major. Stagecoach South Wales, Edwards Coaches and EST Buses provide services in the city.
Stand B at Central station is used for services to destinations outside Cardiff and the Vale such as TrawsCambria X40 to Aberystwyth, Shuttle 100 to Swansea, Stagecoach services to the Valleys and all National Express services. The Megabus service to London, to Newcastle via Birmingham and Leeds stops outside Cardiff Castle on Castle Street. Cardiff Bus uses stands C, D, E, F and W at Central station and Wood Street. Other bus stops in the city are located in Westgate Street, St. Mary Street, Castle Street, Greyfriars Road, Dumfries Place and Queen Street Station. Cardiff Bus operates a comprehensive Overground network. Cardiff Bus has introduced articulated buses on the popular 17 and 18 Capital City Red routes to Canton and Caerau and on the Baycar route. Other notable routes include the Capital City Green, four park & ride services and the now-withdrawn Free b shuttle bus; the company's hub is Cardiff Central bus station. There are four Park and Ride services in the city: Cardiff West Pa
Alexander Dennis Enviro300
The Alexander Dennis Enviro300 is a light-weight full-size single-decker bus, built by Alexander Dennis and its predecessor TransBus International between 2001 and 2015. The design was the first of the new Enviro range of buses from TransBus and the first bus to be built as an integral bus by TransBus; the Enviro300 was introduced in order to fill a gap in the manufacturer's product range. At the beginning the Cummins ISBe220 5.9-litre Euro III engine was provided as standard, but for Euro IV and V, the engine was the 6.7-litre ISBe with 225 hp for Euro IV and 225 or 250 hp for Euro V. There was a choice of 3 gearboxes: ZF Ecomat, Allison T280R and Voith DIWA 854.5. The second generation Enviro300, with front end redesigned to match the Enviro200 and Enviro400, was launched in 2007. Production of the Enviro300 ceased in 2015 with the introduction of a long-wheelbase Enviro200 MMC. More than 1,000 were produced; the TransBus Enviro300 was launched in 2001 by TransBus International, becoming the first member of the Enviro range.
In 2005, a school bus version was launched. A common design was used that the bus has a single-curvature windscreen with a peaked roof dome and a separately mounted destination sign; the bus was developed to compete with the European-built heavy-weight single-decker buses sold in the United Kingdom, the most notable being Volvo. Many full-size single-decker buses are designed for use on the continent and to carry a large number of standing passengers, commonplace on the continent, but the Enviro300 was designed for the UK market where large numbers of standing passengers are not carried. TransBus therefore believed that operators could make significant fuel savings by operating light-weight buses and produced a vehicle, claimed to be lighter than its continental rivals but offer more seating capacity; the Enviro300 had not sold as well as the manufacturer had hoped, though sales were not helped by the collapse of TransBus International in 2004. First Midland Red purchased 35. Arriva purchased at least 40.
A small number of original style Enviro300s were sold to Cardiff Bus. The Enviro300 chassis was able to be fitted with bodywork by other manufacturers, with Courtney Coaches purchasing East Lancs Esteem bodied examples in 2006; this was the first time the Enviro300 chassis being constructed with bodywork by another manufacturer. In late 2007 Alexander Dennis introduced an all new second generation version of Enviro300 which featured styling cues similar to the Enviro200 Dart and the Enviro400, it had a single-piece windscreen covering the destination display. It was available on MAN 18.240 and Volvo B7RLE chassis. The second generation Enviro300 was far more successful sales wise than its predecessor, with Arriva, FirstGroup and Stagecoach purchasing examples. Stagecoach ordered 100 Enviro300 bodied MAN 18.240s in 2007 Further orders boosted the total number to over 350. In mid-2008 Ulsterbus ordered 45 Enviro300 bodied Volvo B7RLEs, which were the first to feature Volvo chassis since the introduction of this option, they were built to a rural specification featuring unusual modifications such as narrower entrance doors, side wheelchair access door and 55 seatbelted seats in the form of 2+3 layout.
In January 2011, Stagecoach placed an order for 50 Enviro300s on the diesel-powered Scania K230UB chassis. These were followed by further 28 examples in 2012/13 and 28 in 2014/15. In April 2013 Reading Buses took delivery of 20 gas-powered Enviro300SG buses based again on a Scania K UB chassis; these buses were jointly developed by Alexander Dennis and Scania, who had a demonstrator on loan to other operators from March 2013. Stagecoach North East purchased 40 Scania K270UBs in 2014. Production of the Enviro300 ceased in late 2015 with the introduction of a long-wheelbase variant of the new Enviro200 MMC; the final Enviro300s were delivered to Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire in December 2015. Media related to Alexander Dennis Enviro300 at Wikimedia Commons Product description on Alexander Dennis official website
Vale of Glamorgan
The Vale of Glamorgan referred to as The Vale, is a county borough in Wales, bordering Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taf. With an economy based on agriculture and chemicals, it is the southernmost unitary authority in Wales. Attractions include Barry Island Pleasure Park, the Barry Tourist Railway, Porthkerry Park, St Donat's Castle, Cosmeston Lakes Country Park and Cosmeston Medieval Village, it is the location of Atlantic College, one of the United World Colleges. The largest town is Barry. Other towns include Llantwit Major and Cowbridge. There are many villages in the county borough. In medieval times, the village of Cosmeston, near what is today Penarth in the south east of the county, grew up around a fortified manor house constructed sometime around the 12th century by the De Costentin family; the De Costentins, who originated on the Cotentin peninsula in northern France, were among the first Norman invaders of Wales in the early 12th century following William the Conqueror's invasion of neighbouring England in 1066.
The village would have consisted of a number of small stone round houses, or crofts, with thatched roofs. Clemenstone, to the west, was the seat of several high sheriffs of Glamorganshire, including John Curre, known have occupied the estate in 1712. William Curre, known to have lived in Clemenstone in 1766, was an occupant of Itton Court in Monmouthshire. In the early 19th century, Lady Sale née Wynch, wife of Sir Robert Sale, spent much of her early life on the Clemenstone Estate. In 1974, the area became part of South Glamorgan, under the Local Government Act 1972, it created several problems in local governance, between the South Glamorgan County Council, Cardiff City Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council owing to their conflicting interests. It was a turbulent time for governance in the city of Cardiff, as for the first time in its history it had to share authority with the county council, larger and better resourced. In April 1996, the Vale of Glamorgan became a county borough of Wales, after forming part of South Glamorgan county.
Located to the west of Cardiff between the M4 motorway and the Severn Estuary, the Vale of Glamorgan covers 33,097 hectares and has 53 km of coastline. The largest centre of population is Barry. Other towns include Dinas Powys, Llantwit Major and Penarth. Much of the population inhabits villages and individual farms; the area is low-lying, with a maximum height of 137.3 metres above sea level at Tair Onen to the east of Cowbridge. The borough borders Cardiff to the north east, Rhondda Cynon Taf to the north, Bridgend to the north west and the Bristol Channel to the south; the yellow-grey cliffs on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast are unique on the Celtic Sea coastline as they are formed of a combination of liassic limestone and carboniferous sandstone/limestone. They were formed 200 million years ago when the whole area lay underneath a warm, equatorial sea at the start of the Jurassic Era, thus today the cliffs contain traces such as ammonites. The stratification of overlapping shale and limestone was caused by a geological upheaval known as the Variscan orogeny, which pushed the cliffs out of the sea, contorting them as they did so.
This stratification can be found on other parts of the Celtic seaboard, such as Bude in Cornwall, across the Bristol Channel. The calcium carbonate in the soil allows crops to be grown which would be difficult elsewhere in Wales or the West Country: most of the West Country has poor quality and acidic Devonian soils); the liassic limestone and carboniferous sandstone are used in the Vale as building materials. As the Glamorgan Heritage Coast faces westwards out to the Atlantic, it bears the brunt of onshore winds: ideal for surfing, but a nuisance for ships sailing up the Bristol Channel to Cardiff; as in North Cornwall and South-West Ireland, the fierce Atlantic gales created ideal conditions for deliberate shipwrecking, which until 100 years ago was common along the coast. Nash Point and Ogmore-by-Sea have some of the highest shipwreck victims on the coast of Wales; the Vale of Glamorgan was determined to be the wealthiest area in Wales in a 2003 survey conducted by Barclays Bank that measured disposable income.
Chemical industries are located to the east of the port of Barry while further inland the main activity is agriculture beef and dairy cattle, with marketing facilities at Cowbridge. The Vale of Glamorgan parliamentary and assembly constituencies sway between Labour control and Conservative Party control in both the National Assembly for Wales and Westminster. There is substantial Labour support in the east of the constituency and in the town of Barry, substantial Conservative support in the agricultural area in the west. Since 2017, there has