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Brynmawr (pronounced /brɪnˈmaʊər/ brin-MOWR, [brɨnˈmaur], sometimes hyphenated to Bryn-mawr, from Welsh Brynmawr, meaning 'big hill') is a market town and electoral ward in Blaenau Gwent, South Wales. The town, sometimes cited as the highest town in Wales, is situated at 1,250 to 1,500 feet (380 to 460 m) above sea level at the head of the South Wales Valleys. It grew with the development of the coal mining and iron industries in the early 19th century. Until the reorganisation of local authorities in 1974, Brynmawr sat within the county of Brecknockshire.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution Brynmawr was a small village settlement called Gwaun Helygen (Cors Helygen in Modern Welsh, meaning "marsh of the willow" in English), and lay in the former county of Brecknockshire. With the expansion of the Nantyglo Ironworks housing was required for the workers and Brynmawr turned into a prosperous town. Although coal mining has virtually ceased, a large mining museum has been established at Big Pit in nearby Blaenavon.
Brynmawr has an estimated population of over 6,000 people. At the 2001 Census 5.75% of the 16-65 age group spoke Welsh, but the proportion of children (ages 3–15) able to speak Welsh was much higher at 30.54%. The town had the only Welsh-medium primary school, Ysgol Gymraeg Brynmawr, in Blaenau Gwent with 310 pupils ranging from nursery to year 6 until 2010, when the school re-located to a brand new, purpose-built building in Blaina.
The town centre's primary shopping areas are contained within Beaufort Street and on Market Square which is also the focal point of the town where many events are hosted. The former Market Hall is now a cinema and theatre presenting films and productions from the local amateur operatic society. The business community offers many traditional, family orientated and independently run shops with friendly and personal service.
Parc Nant y Waun is a nature reserve incorporating 22 hectares (54 acres) of grassland, mires and reservoirs which was officially opened in 2007. Home to many wildlife species, it includes a picnic area, an outdoor classroom, and an angling club.
Brynmawr RFC is the local rugby union club which is affiliated to the Newport Gwent Dragons. Brynmawr has a 350-seat cinema (The Market Hall Cinema) which is the longest continually running cinema in Wales. The Market Hall opened in 1893 and has recently been renovated.
Notable people include professional wrestler Adrian Street, singer-songwriters Huw and Tony Williams and indie pop singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis, known professionally as Marina and the Diamonds.