Aberkenfig (Welsh: Abercynffig meaning mouth of the Kenfig (Stream) is a village of around 2,000 people located in the County Borough of Bridgend to the north of Bridgend.
Aberkenfig is located in south Wales, located just off the A4063 link to the M4 at Junction 36.It is nestled at the confluence of the River Llynfi and the River Ogmore. It is located to the south of Tondu and to the west of Sarn, Brynmenyn and Bryncethin. These five villages which all lie to the north of the M4, whilst remaining distinctly separate areas have expanded to form one contiguous urban area of several thousand which is primarily a dormitory suburb of Bridgend, although many people also work in Cardiff and Swansea, due to the proximity to the motorway. As a result of its location next to both the rivers, it is somewhat lower in elevation compared to the other villages (especially Sarn) and this results in a microclimate which can produce some fog during the winter months, and also can disrupt analogue television signals.
Compared to other villages around Bridgend County, and relative to its size, Aberkenfig has a large range of commercial activity. It also has an extremely diverse commercial sector, indeed, it is (somewhat notoriously) home to the only licenced sex shop between Cardiff and Swansea which is opposite a gun and tackle shop. There are a number of hairdressers in the village, along with two corner shops, a taxi firm, two furniture shops, a photographic studio, a betting shop and a number of fast food outlets - which are primarily Cantonese, or fish and chip shops. The village is also home to a highly regarded Chinese restaurant, the New Garden, which has been featured in the Egon Ronay guide.
The centre of the village is a small green patch of grass and a bench at the junction of Bridgend Road, Pandy Road and Dunraven Street, and is accompanied by a CCTV camera, placed as a response by the council to growing concerns about the activities of youths in the village. The locus of commercial activity is around this centre, although it has moved here from further up Bridgend Road closer to Tondu, although some shops have remained there, and some new shops have opened in recent years.
In spite of this area of south Wales following the rest of the United Kingdom in increasing secularisation throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; there are a number of religious houses of worship in the village. The village's central and accessible location at the confluence of the two rivers (and the Garw river flows into the Ogmore near Brynmenyn) and three valleys (LLynfi, Ogmore and Garw) have historically dictated the development of religious houses of worship (and also impacts favourably on commercial development here, rather than any other of the five villages). There is a Roman Catholic church, testament to Irish and Italian immigration, and this is also reflected in people's surnames around the area. This is the only Catholic church between Bridgend and Maesteg and is also frequented by people who live in the Ogmore and Garw valleys. There is a Church in Wales church, and there are several smaller non-conformist chapels doted around the village. Both the Catholic and Anglican Churches lack their own priests and are served by other parishes. Interestingly, the former Catholic Church recreational hall in Dunraven Street was sold off, bought and turned into a Mosque - which again is the only one between Cardiff and Swansea. This area has been, and still is (according to the 2001 Census) almost uniformily visibly white, with the next largest ethnic group being Chinese (about 0.2%) so the appearance of a mosque in Aberkenfig could be attributed to the very central location of the village (almost exactly halfway between Cardiff and Swansea and less than two minutes from the motorway junction) and the fact that a large building fit for communal use was being put up for sale. Also, bucking the national trend for churches to be shut and used for other purposes, the Lyric Bingo Hall on Pandy Street was closed down and turned into a charismatic evangelical church.
Education and Amenities
Aberkenfig has a Catholic Primary School, St. Robert's, in Dan y Lan, which is in the south of the village, it also has a state Primary school, Tondu Primary School (which was originally located in Tondu, but was knocked down and rebuilt in Meadow Street, but retained the name), which is in the north of the village and Pandy Infants School, which is just off Heol Persondy.
Aberkenfig also has a bowling green, and has another communal space, the Aberkenfig Welfare Hall. Aberkenfig also has a telephone exchange
The centre of Aberkenfig is a lot quieter than it used to be after a new road, (now the B4281 Park Road) was built, to bypass the centre of Aberkenfig and cut traffic off Dunraven Street, which is very narrow. Another bypass (the A4063) was built to bypass Bridgend Road to take valleys traffic en route to Bridgend out of the village. This second bypass cut Heol Persondy in two, which was the road from Aberkenfig to Sarn, and reduced it to a footpath. Whilst this did have an impact on commercial activity, the road infrastructure in the village would now not be able to cope with the amount of traffic that the bypass now takes.
It is not served by the Maesteg Line although both Tondu railway station (around 10 minutes walk away from the village centre) and the closer Sarn railway station (about seven minutes walk away) via Heol Persondy are on the line. It is also served by First Cymru Bus service 32 and 36 to Maesteg (via the A4063) and to Bridgend (via the A4063 link and the A4061), which also links Aberkenfig to the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet Wales and Sainsbury's supermarket at the motorway junction. It is also served by service 30, which although going between Maesteg and Bridgend goes via Pen-y-fai and the A4063 towards Bridgend. Also it is served by service 63, which goes between Bridgend (following the route of the 32 and 36 services but then goes as far as Porthcawl via Kenfig Hill and Pyle. Service 30, 32 and 36 stop in the centre of the village, but Service 63 stops only on Park Road.