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St. Athan Boys Village

The St. Athan Boys Village opened on 8th August 1925 as a holiday camp for the sons of miners from the South Wales Coalfield. Over the years its usage developed to include the teaching of apprenticeships and new skills and a youth hostel was also opened on the site.

The buildings included a dining hall, dormitories, a gym, swimming pool, workshops, a church and it even had it’s own war memorial! There was also a full sized cricket pitch, putting green, tennis courts, football and rugby grounds and a pavilion.

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Visit Date: March 2013

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The site declined with the growth of cheap holidays abroad and the decline in coal mining in the Welsh valleys and subsequently closed in 1991.

After closure, the site was used for residential Bible courses by various church groups. It was sold to a new owner in 2000 where it was stripped of its equipment and rented to a family. When they moved out in 2008 it was taken over by airsoft enthusiasts, graffiti artists and vandals.

Various buildings were demolished during 2008 due to extensive fire damage, the swimming pool roof which collapsed several years after the site closing was removed and much of the debris was also cleared.

In 2010, the owner placed the site on the market, unprotected by any form of conservation the site could be cleared for redevelopment. In the summer of 2011, the area was secured with gates and fences in an attempt to secure the site.

The St. Athan Boys Village was sold once again during 2012 and things started to look up. More security fences went up, work began on the ground around the War Memorial and emergency covers went up over the 1980’s office block building. Things didn’t last long though and within a couple of weeks, the fences had been brought down, the covers were ripped off and the site was back in the usual state of disrepair.

Despite exploring and photographing this former boys village since 2011, we still have no idea what the future will hold for it. We would love to see these buildings brought back to their former glory but in reality, unless the current owner stops counting his money and actually does something with them, they will end up like many of the others on the site… a pile of rubble.

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