Sports and Leisure

Blaenavon has a rich tradition of sporting participation across a wide range of disciplines. National representation has been achieved in a range of sports, the number of people reaching Welsh and British standard being far in excess of the number you would expect from a town of Blaenavon’s size. It would be fair to say that excellence on the rugby field has been the traditional path to sporting honours, with Blaenavon producing many fine players who have graced both Welsh and British Lions teams. Included amongst these are players such as Ken Jones, Welsh wing of the 1950’s who for many years held the Welsh record for international caps as well as being an Olympic sprinter. Terry Cobner, who captained Wales during the 1970’s is also a product of the town. Continuing this fine tradition Mark Taylor was a regular in the Welsh team, also achieving the honour of captaining the team.

Whilst it is fair to acknowledge the impact rugby has made, it would be a mistake to think that this is the only sport where success has been gained at a national level. In the past twenty or so years, in particular, we have witnessed Blaenavon representation in an increasing number of disciplines. Included amongst the sports to feature are Squash, Table Tennis, Swimming, Athletics, Orienteering and Triathlon and Martial Arts.

Blaenavon is blessed with a variety of sporting facilities for both training and competition. The town has three rugby fields and three football fields. Both the rugby and football clubs have a variety of teams, from age group to senior sides. Clubs exist to cover a wide range of disciplines.

In 2008 a committee was formed, initially by Blaenavon Town Council, to raise funds to erect a statue of the late Ken Jones. Due to the generosity of the residents of Blaenavon a grant was obtained, and a statue was commissioned from Laury Dizengremel. The statue was unveiled on 28th March 2013 and stands on Coutras Place, Broad Street as a tribute to Blaenavon’s finest athlete.

The Community Campus incorporates a new school, with leisure facilities, and health centre.

The local surroundings are ideal for many outdoor pursuits. Walking is extremely popular with both residents and visitors. Terrain exists to cater for all, ranging from gentle strolling to energetic hill walking. National competitions at both Fell Running and Orienteering have been staged in past years, which gives an indication of the quality of the local mountains and facilities.

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The cyclist has not been forgotten for the former London and North Western Railway Line has been converted to a cycle track, that now forms part of the National Cycle Network. The track runs along the side of the Coity Mountain providing the cyclist with excellent views of the Avon Valley.  Over the past years volunteers of Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway Society have renovated a large section of disused railway track and steam trains are run most weekends and midweek during the summer months with frequent special events organised.

Hang gliding and Para gliding are both extremely popular, in these disciplines too; national championships are staged quite regularly. A major cave system exists underground, which draws pot-holing enthusiasts from all parts of the U.K. and beyond. This system is one of the largest and most important in Europe. It should be noted that access to the caves is restricted to properly equipped and trained persons. Access is not available to the general public as a general rule.

I hope we have given you a taste of the sporting opportunities available in Blaenavon and the surrounding area. For more detailed information please contact us. We will do our utmost to answer more specific queries on the facilities or organisations available in the sporting field.