The village of Hirwaun (Welsh “Long Meadow”) is accessible via the Heads of the Valleys road (A465) and comes under the post town of Aberdare, just four miles away.
Hirwaun has a rich industrial history most notably known for the Hirwaun Ironworks opened in 1765 by Anthony Bacon and later acquired by the powerful Crawshay family, where iron was produced from the early 19th Century until its closure in 1859. The Hirwaun Ironworks prospered during times of war such as the Napoleonic wars and the War of American Independence and manufactured cannons used on the HMS Victory.
Coal mining replaced the ironworks as a major employer until the second half of the 20th Century. Tower Colliery, the last remaining deep coal mine in Wales in the wake of the miners’ strike of 1984-1985 was subsequently purchased and reopened by its workers until its second closure in 2008. Following the closure of the deep mine, the redevelopment and remediation of the site and returning the area in large part to the community in the form of nature conservation and public access land.
Saint Lleurwg’s Church remains at the centre of the village having opened its doors to worshippers in 1858, when it was dedicated by the Bishop of Llandaff. The church building appears to be the gift of the trustees of the Marquis of Bute and has a gallery, which is untypical of an Anglican church. There is also a Roman Catholic Church in the village as well as several non-conformist chapels.
The area is popular with tourists and walkers and Hirwaun boasts a number of fine pubs and restaurants in and around the village. The village has two football clubs, Hirwaun Sports and Hirwaun Fc and both compete in the local Aberdare Valley Football League. The Hirwaun Recreational Ground, known as the Welfare Ground offers one soccer field, a Rugby Union field, two hard surface tennis courts and a bowling green with a floodlit training area between the fields.