County of Monmouthshire
Location within Wales
|o MP||David Davies|
|o MS||Nick Ramsay|
|o Leader of Monmouthshire Council||Peter Fox|
|o Total||850 km2 (330 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 7th|
|o Rank||Ranked 17th|
|o Density||111/km2 (290/sq mi)|
|o Density rank||Ranked 15th|
|o Any skills||12.9%|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (BST)|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-MON|
|ONS code||00PP (ONS)|
Monmouthshire (Welsh: Sir Fynwy) is a principal area with the style of 'county' in South East Wales. The name derives from the historic county of Monmouthshire of which it covers the eastern 60%. The largest town is Abergavenny. Other towns and large villages are Caldicot, Chepstow, Monmouth, Magor and Usk. It borders Torfaen, Newport and Blaenau Gwent to the west; Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to the east; and Powys to the north.
The historic county of Monmouthshire was formed from the Welsh Marches by the Laws in Wales Act 1535 bordering Gloucestershire to the east, Herefordshire to the northeast, Brecknockshire to the north, and Glamorgan to the west. The Laws in Wales Act 1542 enumerated the counties of Wales and omitted Monmouthshire, implying that the county was no longer to be treated as part of Wales. However, for all purposes Wales had become part of the Kingdom of England, and the difference had little practical effect.
For several centuries, acts of the Parliament of England (in which Wales was represented) often referred to "Wales and Monmouthshire". However, the Local Government Act 1972, which came into effect in April 1974, confirmed the county as part of Wales, with the administrative county of Monmouthshire and its associated lieutenancy being abolished. Most of its area was transferred to a new local government and ceremonial county called Gwent, with the same eastern and southern boundaries as the historic county, the River Wye and the Severn Estuary. The western two-fifths are now administered by other principal areas: Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Caerphilly, and Newport.
The current unitary authority of Monmouthshire was created on 1 April 1996 as a successor to the district of district of Monmouth along with the Llanelly community from Blaenau Gwent, both of which were districts of Gwent. The use of the name "Monmouthshire" rather than "Monmouth" for the area was controversial, being supported by the MP for Monmouth, Roger Evans, but being opposed by Paul Murphy, MP for Torfaen (inside the historic county of Monmouthshire but being reconstituted as a separate unitary authority). By area it covers some 60% of the historic county, but only 20% of the population. A new council headquarters building at the site of Coleg Gwent, Usk was proposed and developed. Planning permission was granted in September 2011. The new county hall in Usk was opened in 2013.
In comparison to the pre-1974 areas it covers:
Scenic Railway Line:
Much of Monmouthshire is hilly, particularly the western area adjoining the industrial South Wales Valleys and the Black Mountains to the north. Two major river valleys dominate the lowlands - the scenic gorge of the Wye Valley along the border with Gloucestershire adjoining the Forest of Dean, and the valley of the River Usk between Abergavenny and Newport. Both rivers flow south to the Severn Estuary. The River Monnow is a tributary of the River Wye and forms part of the border with Herefordshire and England, passing through the town of Monmouth. The Black Mountains are part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, whilst the Wye Valley is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which straddles the England-Wales border.
The highest point (county top) of the county is Chwarel y Fan in the Black Mountains with a height of 679 metres (2,228 ft). The Sugar Loaf (Welsh: Mynydd Pen-y-fâl or Y Fâl), located 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) northwest of Abergavenny, is probably the best known hill in the county. Although its height is only 596 metres (1,955 ft), its isolation and distinctive peak shape makes it a prominent landmark for many miles around.