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Bridgend

Bridgend is in South Wales. It has a population of around 139,000 and covers approximately 25,000 hectares. Here is a list of nearby or neighbouring counties: Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taff, The Vale of Glamorgan.

The County Borough of Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr in Welsh) has its main administrative offices in the town of Bridgend. The counties other main towns are Maesteg and Porthcawl, which has a coastline on the Bristol Channel. Located near to Porthcawl, Kenfig National Nature Reserve is an important wildlife habitat, which is popular with walkers and nature lovers who appreciate the picturesque landscape. Bryngarw Country Park is a listed historic park with woodlands, landscaped gardens and recreational facilities which attract tens of thousands of visitors each year. A couple of miles from Bridgend town centre is the village of Merthyr Mawr, which has a number of old buildings including the ruins of Candleston Castle, situated by the Merthyr Mawr Sand Dunes, among the largest in Europe. The long history of human habitation in the county has also left behind a number of other sites of historic interest, including Hutchwns round barrow, Dan-y-Graig Roman villa and the ruins of Coity Castle and Kenfig Castle.

Maesteg has a large covered market, housing stalls selling a wide range of goods and visitors to the town hall can see some paintings by the Welsh artist Christopher Williams. The town has a rich cultural tradition particularly in music and the first performance of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the Welsh national anthem, took place in Maesteg in the year 1856. The seaside resort town of Porthcawl has long sandy beaches, including some that have been awarded Blue Flag status and popular visitor activities include sailing and surfing. Porthcawl has a small museum with a collection of exhibits of local historic interest and The Grand Pavilion serves as a venue for a changing programme of events including theatre performances, concerts and art exhibitions. Those interested in the regions industrial heritage could visit the village of Ynysawdre, where the derelict Tondu Ironworks has some of the few remaining large kilns from the many thousands that during the nineteenth century were part of Britains Victorian industrial landscape.

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Christopher Williams

(Born 1873 in Maesteg in Bridgend), Painting

Welsh artist Christopher Williams often painted large canvases, requiring venues of sufficient size to exhibit them. The subject matter he chose generally included themes of interest to him, such as Welsh heritage and identity, as in his painting Cymru’n Deffro (Wales Awakes in English).