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Encyclopedia > Administrative counties of Wales

For local government purposes, Wales is divided into 22 unitary authorities. There are 9 counties, 3 cities, and 10 county boroughs, although all have equal status. Collectively these are known as the principal areas of Wales. They came into being on April 1, 1996.

See: List of Welsh principal areas by population, List of Welsh principal areas by area, List of Welsh principal areas by percentage Welsh language


Principal areas of Wales

Areas are Counties, unless marked * (for Cities) or † (for County Boroughs). Welsh language forms are given in parentheses, where they differ from the English.

  1. Merthyr Tydfil (Merthyr Tudful) †
  2. Caerphilly (Caerffili) †
  3. Blaenau Gwent
  4. Torfaen (Tor-faen) †
  5. Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)
  6. Newport (Casnewydd) *
  7. Cardiff (Caerdydd) *
  8. Vale of Glamorgan (Bro Morgannwg) †
  9. Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr) †
  10. Rhondda Cynon Taf
  11. Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot) †
  12. Swansea (Abertawe) *
  13. Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyrddin)
  14. Ceredigion
  15. Powys
  16. Wrexham (Wrecsam) †
  17. Flintshire (Sir y Fflint)
  18. Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych)
  19. Conwy
  20. Gwynedd
  21. Anglesey (Ynys Môn)
  22. Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

United Kingdom | Wales | Principal areas of Wales

Anglesey | Blaenau Gwent | Bridgend | Caerphilly | Cardiff | Carmarthenshire | Ceredigion | Conwy | Denbighshire | Flintshire | Gwynedd | Merthyr Tydfil | Monmouthshire | Neath Port Talbot | Newport | Pembrokeshire | Powys | Rhondda Cynon Taff | Swansea | Torfaen | Vale of Glamorgan | Wrexham

Name changes

The current names of the counties and county boroughs are in some cases different from those specified in the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994. The following changes took place, all with effect from April 2, 1996.



From 1889 to 1974, administrative counties of Wales were used for local government for the first time. These were based on the traditional counties of Wales, but not entirely identical.

There were also a number of independent county boroughs


In 1974, the existing administrative counties were replaced by eight new two-tier administrative counties. These were all given names in Welsh only, apart from the Glamorgans, which had English names as well as Welsh. The creation of these new administrative areas effectively separated the administrative counties from the traditional counties, although in reality this had occurred in 1889.

  1. Gwent
  2. South Glamorgan
    (De Morgannwg)
  3. Mid Glamorgan
    (Morgannwg Ganol)
  4. West Glamorgan
    (Gorllewin Morgannwg)
  5. Dyfed
  6. Powys
  7. Gwynedd
  8. Clwyd

The division into districts of these was as follows

When these administrative counties were abolished in 1996, they were retained with slight amendations for some purposes such as Lieutenancy, and became known as the preserved counties of Wales. These were further amended in 2003 to ensure that each unitary area is wholly within one preserved county.

United Kingdom | Wales | Preserved counties of Wales

Clwyd - Dyfed - Gwent _ Gwynedd - Mid Glamorgan - Powys - South Glamorgan - West Glamorgan


The redistribution of these districts into the current unitary authorities is as follows:

Unitary authorities Previous districts
Anglesey Anglesey
Blaenau Gwent most of Blaenau Gwent
Bridgend most of Ogwr
Caerphilly Islwyn, Rhymney Valley
Carmarthenshire Carmarthen, Llanelli, Dinefwr
Cardiff Cardiff, part of Taff–Ely
Ceredigion Ceredigion
Conwy Aberconwy, most of Colwyn
Denbighshire Rhuddlan, parts of Glyndwr and Colwyn
Flintshire Alyn and Deeside, Delyn
Gwynedd Arfon, Dwyfor, Meirionnydd
Merthyr Tydfil Merthyr Tydfil
Monmouthshire Monmouth, part of Blaenau Gwent
Neath Port Talbot Neath, Port Talbot, parts of Lliw Valley
Newport Newport
Pembrokeshire Preseli, South Pembrokeshire
Powys Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire, Brecknock, part of Glyndwr
Rhondda Cynon Taf Rhondda, Cynon Valley, most of Taff-Ely
Swansea Swansea, parts of Lliw Valley
Torfaen Torfaen
Vale of Glamorgan most of Vale of Glamorgan
Wrexham most of Wrexham, parts of Glyndwr

See also


  Results from FactBites:
Preserved counties of Wales - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (307 words)
The Preserved counties of Wales are the current areas used in Wales for ceremonial purposes such as Lieutenancy.
However, it created the concept of preserved counties based on their areas, to be used for purposes such as Lieutenancy.
The preserved counties were originally almost identical to the 1974—1996 administrative counties, but with a few minor changes intended to ensure preserved counties were composed of whole principal areas.
  More results at FactBites »



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