Clydach Vale (Welsh: Cwmclydach) is a village adjoining Tonypandy in the county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taff, within the Rhondda Valley, Wales. Clydach Vale is named for its situation on the River Clydach, a tributary of the River Rhondda.
Integration of villages
Before the coming of industrialisation, Clydach Vale was a sparsely populated agricultural area. Records show that in the seventeenth century the area was named Duffryn Clydach (Clydach Vale), and was divided into two areas, Cwmclydach and Blaenclydach. Those two localities are today very much integrated. The Cwmclydach Community Partnership is made up of groups from both villages (and the wider community), plus the Clydach Vale Countryside Park and Mountain Forestry.
Cwmclydach Countryside Park & Mountain Forestry
Clydach Vale Countryside Park lies between Cwmclydach's two lakes and is a haven for birds, flowers and butterflies. Two main routes are available for walkers and cyclists, with several access routes on to the surrounding mountains.
In the 1840s coal mining began in the valley, but this was on a small scale and no pits were sunk at this time. Towards the end of the century there was a marked increase in mining activity, several collieries being opened, including Lefel-Y-Bush (1863), Blaenclydach (1863), Cwmclydach (1864) and Clydach Vale Colleries Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
The Clydach Vale colleries would later become synonymous with worker activism within the South Wales coalfield. Opened in 1872, the Clydach Vale colliery No. 1 was originally sunk by Osbourne Riches and Samuel Thomas and, by 1894, was served by the Taff Vale Railway. Following the death of Thomas in 1879, his sons became managing partners and, in 1895, formed Cambrian Colleries Ltd. The Cambrian Collieries were a focus for disputation between active trade unions such as the South Wales Miners' Federation and the Cambrian Combine, a business network of mining companies, formed to regulate prices and wages in south Wales. A bitter clash between them resulted in the 1910 Tonypandy Riot.
On 10 March, 1905, an explosion occurred at the Cambrian Colliery No.1. The explosion was heard for miles around the valleys and resulted in the loss of 33 lives and serious injury to 14 others. The accident happened between the day and night shifts, otherwise the death toll would have been far higher.
On 17 May, 1965, a second major mining accident occurred at the Cambrian Colliery. An explosion caused by firedamp, after poor ventilation allowed a build-up of flammable gas, killed 31 miners. The ignition point was later identified as an electric arc on an open switch panel which was being worked on. This was the last major mining disaster in South Wales history.
1910 flood disaster
At about 4.00 p.m. on Friday 11th March, 1910, the lives of two adults and four children were lost when pent-up water from an abandoned coalmine burst through into the village.
The mountainside seemed to give way, 'as though from a volcanic eruption' and a torrent of water together with huge amounts of earth, boulders and other debris swept down the hillside. Directly in the path of this torrent lay Adams Terrace and, according to contemporary newspaper reports, the first house it encountered 'was in a moment completely wrecked like a pack of cards' and its occupants Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Williams and her four-month baby girl perished. The newspaper goes on to state that, 'Altogether eleven houses and a shoemaker's shop were wrecked, one being completely washed away'.
Rushing down to the valley floor, the torrent inundated the Clydach Vale School and trapped hundreds of children. Fortunately the time coincided with the homecoming of many miners at the ending of a shift and an immediate rescue effort by them and the school's staff saved all but three of the children.
Clydach Vale is home to football team Cambrian & Clydach Vale B. & G.C.. The village also has a rugby union club, Cambrian Welfare RFC.
- Tommy Farr, heavyweight boxing champion
- Lewis Jones, political activist, writer of Cwmardy and We Live
- Rhys Davies, novelist.