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Blaenavon - Torfaen

Group Travel Guide

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Contents 04 Regional Overview

08 Activities

Attractions

10 Accommodation

13 Explore

16 Coach Parking

Blaenavon - Torfaen

06 12 Refreshment Stops

15 Event Highlights

17 Tour Guides

18 Maps & Travel Information 3


….. r u jo on B . … e a m w h S o… ll e H it u d ia D o… ll a H . … g a T Guten Welcome (or Croeso as we prefer to say) to Southern Wales You may already have an idea what to expect from a trip to Southern Wales. We are split into ten distinctive areas, each with their own character and charm. The areas of Blaenau Gwent, Blaenavon (Torfaen), Caerphilly, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf are well known for their history and heritage, whilst nearby Monmouthshire is more rural and famed for its fabulous food and drink. Newport and Cardiff are thriving cities with some world class attractions whilst along Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan is a mix of coastal resorts, market towns and fabulous countryside. We have plenty of castles and museums but we also have a National Park, the start of the Wales Coast Path and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We also have some things you may not associate with us. There are the remains of a Roman amphitheatre and barracks, vineyards producing award winning wine and a great big sculpture, soaring 20 metres into the sky and standing guard over the Valleys below.

Discover Blaenavon & Beyond Torfaen links the Valleys of South Wales with the rolling landscape of Monmouthshire and the Brecon Beacons, and is proud that the only World Heritage Site in Southern Wales is in our patch. For more information visit our website www.visitsouthernwales.org or contact the tourism team: tel - +44 (0)1495 742333 email - blaenavon.tic@torfaen.gov.uk To order the brochures for the other areas of Southern Wales please contact +44 (0)845 6002639 or e-mail brochure@southernwales.com

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Each of our areas has its own guide. So have a flick through this one and then take a look at the companion brochures and before long you’ll be planning your trip to Southern Wales.

Blaenavon World Heritage Site is set in 33 square kilometres of a landscape that played a key part in the industrial revolution and which still carries the marks of the hard work of miners and ironworkers.

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Blaenau Gwent Blaenavon

A visit should start with the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre to find out why the area was the perfect location for the Iron industry to thrive. Then you can venture 300 feet below ground at the Big Pit National Coal Museum, before seeing the remains of the blast furnaces at Blaenavon Ironworks. A trip on Blaenavon’s Heritage Railway will give you a unique view of the scarred landscape, or you can sample some of the local beer at Rhymney Brewery before exploring the heritage town.

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Blaenavon - Torfaen

The area has much more to offer than just Blaenavon. As you travel south towards Newport the landscape opens up offering great walking country. A section of the Monmouthshire & Brecon canal sits next to Pontypool Park, former home of the Hanbury family and now a great place to visit with the Folly, the Tower, a ski slope and Torfaen Museum housed in the former stable block. Further south is the new town of Cwmbran, now celebrating its 70th anniversary. A great shopping centre, nearby you can to explore Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Greenmeadow Community Farm and Llanyrafon Manor, all of which offer facilities for groups. And for sporting groups Cwmbran Stadium has all the facilities you’ll need whilst Llandegfefdd Lake is ideal for water sports. We have a variety of accommodation for groups, including The Parkway Hotel & Spa in Cwmbran, good coach parking throughout the area and a guaranteed warm welcome. Contact us if you’d like help creating a bespoke itinerary for you and your group.

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Attractions Here are a few ideas of how you could combine the attractions across the area create a fascinating day out. Torfaen Museum

Blaenavon World Heritage Centre

Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre

Blaenavon Heritage Town

Set in the Georgian Stables, the museum explores the areas past through an extensive display of artefacts. In particular there is an extensive display of Pontypool & Usk Japanware, and the Pontypool Rugby Club archive is on show, including the Pontypool Front Row.

Located in two beautifully restored former industrial schools from the early 19th Century, the Heritage Centre provides visitors with a unique insight into the significance of Blaenavon’s Industrial Landscape and also introduces them to the area’s many attractions.

Housed in a Victorian gentleman’s residence, Llantarnam Grange shows local, national and international art & craft. Also runs a variety of workshops. High quality craft for sale in the shop, and home made food served in the cafe.

Take time to explore Blaenavon Heritage Town, which is the best preserved early iron town in Wales. Only a few minutes stroll from the World Heritage Centre, discover what this town has to offer.

tel: +44(0)1495 752036 email: TorfaenMuseum@outlook.com web: torfaenmuseum.org.uk

tel: +44 (0)1495 742333 email: blaenavon.tic@torfaen.gov.uk web: www.visitblaenavon.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)1633 483321 email: info@lgac.org.uk web: www.lgac.org.uk

tel: +44 (0)1495 742333 email: blaenavon.tic@torfaen.gov.uk web: www.visitblaenavon.co.uk

Greenmeadow Community Farm

Pontypool Park

Big Pit National Coal Museum

Llanyrafon Manor

Hands on farming experience. Meet and feed the animals, see the daily milking demonstrations, take a tractor & trailer ride, explore the woodlands and enjoy the adventure playground. Seasonal events, cosy cafe and gift shop.

Formerly owned by the Hanbury Family, the park is now a great family day out with play and sports facilities as well as historical features like The Grotto and Tower. Nearby is the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal at Junction Cottage.

Big Pit stands high on the heather-clad moors of Blaenavon, and in its heyday, employed 1,300 workers. Today you can follow in their footsteps through award winning interactive exhibits and the world famous underground tour led by a real miner.

Recently restored, a visit to the Manor allows you to discover how it looked and operated in Tudor times, through the Victorian era and during WW2. It also plays host to regular craft and food markets. Nearby is Llanyrafon Mill.

tel: +44(0)1633 647662 email: greenmeadowcommunityfarm@torfaen.gov.uk web: www.greenmeadowcommunityfarm.org.uk

tel: +44 (0)1495 762200 web: www.torfaen.gov.uk

tel: +44 (0)2920 573650 email: bigpit@museumwales.ac.uk web: www.museum.wales/bigpit

tel: +44 (0)1633 648562 email: llanyrafonmanor19@gmail.com web: www.llanyrafonmanor.org

Blaenavon’s Heritage Railway

Rhymney Brewery Visitor Centre

Blaenafon Cheddar Company

Blaenavon Ironworks

Blaenavon’s Heritage Railway is set at the head of the Eastern Valley. From Furnace Sidings you can take the train to the Big Pit National Coal Museum, the heritage town of Blaenavon or simply relax and take in the scenery.

Sample a unique opportunity to step back in time when ale was king. Go on a journey through the history of the Rhymney Brewery up until the modern day and witness the brewing process of award winning ales.

Making a wide variety of cheese matured deep underground at Big Pit, Blaenafon Cheddar also organises talks and tastings at their shop in the centre of Blaenavon or at other venues for larger groups.

One of the best preserved 18thcentury ironworks to be found anywhere in the world. When Blaenavon Ironworks was built in 1788 it was part of a revolution of industrial proportions. Visit Stack Square cottages and see how generations lived.

tel: +44 (0)1495 792263 email: info@pbrly.co.uk web: www.pontypool-and-blaenavon.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)1495 790456 email: enquiries@rhymneybreweryltd.com web: www.rhymneybreweryltd.com

tel: +44 (0)1495 793123 email: achunkofwales@btinternet.com web: www.chunkofcheese.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)1495 792615 email: BlaenavonIronworks@gov.wales web: cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/blaenavon-ironworks

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www.visitsouthernwales.org

Blaenavon - Torfaen

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Activities The area has a great range of activities to suit your group visit. Here’s just a taster of what you can experience during your visit. Blaenavon Digital Passport

Garn Lakes Local Nature Reserve

With so much to explore in the Blaenavon World Heritage Site use the Blaenavon Digital Passport to help you discover and enjoy the story of the Heritage Site, including three new virtual reality experiences.

Covering 40 hectares with lakes and grasslands it provides a diverse habitat and breeding grounds for a wide range of wildlife. A great location for walking, cycling, fishing or a picnic.

tel: +44 (0)1495 742333 email: blaenavon.tic@torfaen.gov.uk web: www.visitblaenavon.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)1495 742333 email: blaenavon.tic@torfaen.gov.uk web: www.visitblaenavon.co.uk

Industrial Landscape Walking Trails

Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal

Congress Theatre

Blaenavon Workmen’s Hall

Covering 33 square kilometres the landscape is filled with a wealth of historic sites and fantastic views, the perfect base for a short stroll or a challenging weekend of adventure. A wide range of leafleted trails are available.

Constructed in 1812, it was the export route for Blaenavon iron to the world. This beautiful canal is now used by pleasure craft, and the towpaths by cyclists and walkers.

In the centre of Cwmbran Shopping, the Congress Theatre has a full programme of events. It is a great venue for conferences, meetings and for group refreshments.

A fine example of a Valleys Miner’s Institute, offering excellent meetings and conference facilities, including a 350 seat auditorium and a separate 69 seat Cinema.

tel: +44 (0)1495 742333 email: blaenavon.tic@torfaen.gov.uk web: www.visitblaenavon.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)3030 404040 web: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/wales

tel: +44 (0)1633 868239 email: info@congresstheatre.net web: www.congresstheatre.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)1495 792661 email: info@blaenavonworkmenshall.wales web: blaenavonworkmenshall.uk

Golf

Cwmbran Stadium

Llandegfedd Lake

Pontypool Ski Centre

There are 5 golf courses in the area.

The largest sports facility in the area with hockey and football pitches, running track, swimming pool, indoor sports and classes, as well as an innovative family climbing wall.

A water supply reservoir set in the beautiful rolling landscapes, Llandegfedd Lake is an ideal base for watersports, walking and bird watching. There is also a beautiful visitor centre with views across the water.

Pontypool Ski Centre boasts a 230 metre main slope, a beginners area, a ski lift, sprinkler system and mogul run, and is set in the beautiful Pontypool Park.

tel: +44 (0)1633 627101 email: bookings@torfaenleisuretrust.co.uk web: www.torfaenleisuretrust.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)1633 373 401 email: llandegfedd@dwrcymru.com web: www.llandegfedd.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)1633 627100 email: bookings@torfaenleisuretrust.co.uk web: www.torfaenleisuretrust.co.uk/en/ski

web: www.woodlake.co.uk www.greenmeadowgolf.com www.pontypoolgolfclub.co.uk www.pontnewyddgolf.co.uk www.torfaen.gov.uk - Llanyrafon Golf Course

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www.visitsouthernwales.org

Blaenavon - Torfaen

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Accommodation With a range of accommodation from spa hotels to unique historic buildings, groups are welcome and catered for in the Blaenavon locality. Lion Hotel

Parkway Hotel & Spa

Fusing contemporary chic with classic luxury, the Lion Hotel’s 12 rooms all feature en-suite rooms with a wide range of amenities, including a restaurant, to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

A friendly and enthusiastic welcome always awaits you at this family owned and family operated luxury spa hotel. Renowned locally for its high standards of food, service and accommodation, this hotel prides itself on its Welsh heritage.

tel: +44 (0)1495 792516 email: info@thelionhotelblaenavon.co.uk web: www.thelionhotelblaenavon.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)1633 871199 email: sales@theparkwayhotel.co.uk web: www.parkwayhotelandspa.com

The Angel Hotel This Georgian coaching inn is situated in the bustling market town of Abergavenny - located approximately six miles from the town of Blaenavon. This stylish hotel boasts a high level of service and accommodation.

tel: +44 (0)1873 857121 email: info@angelabergavenny.com web: www.angelabergavenny.com

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There are Premier Inns in Pontypool and Cwmbran, as well as a Best Western Metro in Pontypool. For more accommodation in the wider area visit:

www.visitblaenavon.co.uk DaysOutTorfaen DaysOutTorfaen

www.visitsouthernwales.org

Blaenavon - Torfaen

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Refreshment Stops

Explore Blaenavon

The Heritage Site can offer a variety of eating experiences including fine dining, traditional welsh dishes and coffee and cake, all served in unique locations across the Site.

1 Day Itinerary

Big Pit National Coal Museum

Butterflies

Heritage Tea Rooms

Take a tour around the Blaenavon World Heritage Site. Venture 300ft underground, see the remains of the blast furnaces, walk through the industrial landscape and sample some of the locally produced ale. Stop 1 – Blaenavon World Heritage Centre

Experience lunch in the Miners’ Canteen in the Pithead Baths, serving various refreshments including snacks, cakes and hot meals. Blaenavon, NP4 9RL www.museum.wales/bigpit Lion Hotel

Butterflies Restaurant, situated in the heart of Blaenavon, offers a vast selection of traditional foods and a la carte menus. Blaenavon, NP4 9PN butterfliesblaenavon.com

Little Crown

The perfect place to start your visit, the Centre features an interactive Victorian schoolroom, film and multi-media displays telling the story of the World Heritage Site. Visit the gift shop and café. Admission FREE. www.visitblaenavon.co.uk

Located in the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, have lunch or coffee and cake whilst enjoying the views over the Coity Mountain. Blaenavon, NP4 9AE www.visitblaeanvon.co.uk

Stop 2 – Blaenavon Ironworks Visit the Stack Square cottages and see how generations of workers lived and call into the recreated company truck shop. Don’t miss the cast houses coming to life through sound and light. cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/blaenavon-ironworks

Rifleman’s Arms

Stop 3 – Blaenavon Heritage Town The Lion Hotel offers a fantastic selection off fine dining dishes using the best ingredients that Wales has to offer. Blaenavon, NP4 9NH www.thelionhotelblaenavon.co.uk

Parkway Hotel & Spa

Specialising in traditional Welsh fare, game, grills and vegetarian dishes, there is definitely something for everyone in this unique pub.

This traditional pub, on the outskirts of Blaenavon Heritage Town serves traditional dishes with a very comfortable, welcoming atmosphere.

Take time to explore the town, the best preserved early iron town in Wales. Follow the town trail using the Blaenavon Digital Passport App and visit one of the cafes and receive a warm welcome. www.visitblaenavon.co.uk

Wainfein, NP4 6DR www.thelittlecrown.co.uk

Blaenavon, NP4 9QS tel: +44 (0)1495 792297

Stop 4 – Big Pit National Coal Museum

Cafe Cwtch - Greenmeadow Farm

Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre

Big Pit National Coal Mining Museum is one of the few mining museums where visitors can descend in the pit cage. Visit the places where generations of coal miners worked. Admission Free. www.museum.wales/bigpit Stop 5 – Rhymney Brewery Visitor Centre

Ideal refreshment stop for groups of all sizes. Freshest ingredients. Fine dining, buffet menus, etc,. Private rooms and entertainment can be arranged. Cwmbran, NP44 3UW www.parkwayhotelandspa.com

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Delicious, home cooked food using own produce wherever possible. Suitable for groups of all sizes.

Home cooked good, especially known for afternoon tea. Great for groups up to 20 - private room can be provided.

Cwmbran, NP44 5AJ

Cwmbran, NP44 1PD www.lgac.org.uk

www.greenmeadowcommunityfarm.org.uk

www.visitsouthernwales.org

Journey through the history of the Rhymney Brewery up until the modern day in the Visitor Centre and watch the brewing process of award winning ales. Sample beers in the Brewery’s own pub. www.rhymneybreweryltd.com

Blaenavon - Torfaen

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Explore the Blaenavon and Beyond - 2 Day Itinerary

What’s on in Southern Wales

With so much to do it can be challenging to know where to start. We’ve put together a sample two day itinerary for you, giving you the opportunity to visit some of the very best attractions.

Time your visit right and not only will you stay in some great accommodation, get to sample some great food and visit some top attractions, you’ll also get to enjoy some fabulous events.

Day 1 Stop 1 – Greenmeadow Community Farm Enjoy a farmhouse breakfast with bacon and eggs from the farm, before seeing the animals enjoy their first meal of the day. Many animals can be handled - great for young and older visitors. www.greenmeadowcommunityfarm.org.uk

We’ve highlighted some of the most popular ones here, but there are hundreds more going on throughout the year. For a full list of events in the region, please visit www.visitsouthernwales.org

Stop 2 – Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre With an ever changing programme of exhibitions there’s always something new to see. The Grange is also a great starting point for a shopping trip to Cwmbran or group art activities can be arranged. www.lgac.org.uk Stop 3 – Torfaen Museum Witness the history of the area, from stone age sites, through the industrial revolution which started with the Hanbury’s in 1577, to modern days. The display of Pontypool and Usk Japanware is of national importance. torfaenmuseum.org.uk Stop 4 – Pontypool Park and Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Just a short step from the museum and you enter Pontypool Park. A circular walk route can take in the Shell Grotto, the Tower and the canal. A guide can bring the history of the park to life and stunning views can be enjoyed. www.torfaen.gov.uk

RHS Flower Show Cardiff

Merthyr Rising Steelhouse Festival, Blaenau Gwent

Day 2 Stop 1 – Llanyrafon Manor On the edge of the newtown of Cwmbran, Llanyrafon Manor dates back to around 1600. A visit gives you a fascinating glimpse of the past, and how this house has played a part in the story of the area. www.llanyrafonmanor.org

Nos Galan Road Races, Mountain Ash

Isle of Fire, Vale of Glamorgan

Abergavenny Food Festival

The Big Splash, Newport

Stop 2 – Llandegfedd Lake Created to supply water, this lake is a great watersparts centre and ideal for bird watching. The visitor centre gives you spectacular views across the water. www.llandegfedd.co.uk Stop 3 – Garn Lakes It’s hard to believe that this nature reserve was covered in coal waste only around 25 years ago. Now the two lakes and grasslands provide a diverse habitat and breeding grounds for a wide range of wildlife such as Tufted Ducks, Skylarks, Snipes, Redshanks and Little Grebes. www.visitblaenavon.co.uk/en/VisitBlaenavon/ThingsToDo/GarnLakes Stop 4 – Blaenavon’s Heritage Railway Run by a loyal band of volunteers the railway runs regularly though the summer and host numerous special events. It is also possible to hire the railway for your group, and to travel through the former industrial landscape. A great experience. pontypool-and-blaenavon.co.uk/

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www.visitsouthernwales.org

The Big Cheese, Caerphilly Blaenavon - Torfaen

Porthcawl Elvis Festival

Blaenavon World Heritage Day, Blaenavon

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Coach Parking

Tour Guides

Find out where to drop off your passengers, park your coach or get further information about our main towns.

Make sure you get the most out of your visit to the region by hiring the services of a tour guide. Members of The Wales Official Tour Guide Association are the only guides officially recognised to be able to guide in Wales. They can provide highly trained, professional and experienced Blue Badge Guides, who will help bring your journey to life.

Blaenavon Coach parking is available at Big Pit (NP4 9RL), the Ironworks (NP4 9RQ) and at the Heritage Railway (NP4 9SF). There is a coach drop off space at the World Heritage Centre car park on Church Road (NP4 9AE) and spaces for smaller (30 seater) coaches are available in Prince Street Car Park (NP4 9BD). Both are within a short walking distance of the town. Coach parking is also available at Rifle Green Car Park (NP4 9QS), opposite the Rifleman’s Hotel. Please be advised that there are some vehicle restrictions in the area: • B4246 Llanfoist to Blaenavon – Weight Limit 7.5 tons • B4246 Blaenavon to Varteg – Bridge Height 13ft 9in • Minor road from B4246 to Pwll Du – no access to coaches beyond the Lamb and Fox Inn

There are dozens of guides, each with their own specialisms, interests and language skills. Blue Badge Guides can take you all over the region, whilst Green Badge Guides offer a more specialist and localised expertise.

To find a guide to suit your needs please visit www.walesbestguides.com

Pontypool Coach drop off and parking is available at Pontypool Leisure Centre. It’s a short and enjoyable walk through Pontypool Park to Torfaen Museum and the town centre.

Cwmbran Coach drop off is available at Cwmbran Stadium, Greenmeadow Community Farm and in the town centre. Coach parking is available near the railway station.

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www.visitsouthernwales.org

Blaenavon - Torfaen

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Maps and Travel Information

Blaenavon World Heritage Industrial Landscape

Easy to get to We’re a different country with our own language and culture, yet we’re surprisingly easy to get to. We’re only around two hours down the M4 from London whilst Birmingham and the West Midlands are only an hour or so from our borders.

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Scotland

So in next to no time you could be here, immersing yourself in our culture and traditions and who knows maybe even trying to get your tongue around our language. Croeso - or welcome in English. We’re not very big, but we certainly fit a lot in – and getting around the region couldn’t be easier. A comprehensive road system links all the major towns, while many towns and villages are well served by the local train network which connects with the mainline stations.

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National Cycle Route 492 Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal Blaenavon Heritage Railway Iron Mountain Trail Brecon Beacons National Park Boundary

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Blaenavon Workmen’s Hall

Big Pit National Coal Museum

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Tourist Information Centre

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Blaenavon Heritage Town

Maps are not to scale and are for illustrative purposes only

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www.visitsouthernwales.org

Brecon Beacons National Park

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, Southern Wales Tourism cannot accept responsibility for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions, or for any matter in any way connected with or arising out of the publication of the information contained within this brochure. The brochure may not be reproduced in part or in whole without the prior consent of the publisher. This publication is available in Welsh. www.visitblaenavon.co.uk @DaysOutTorfaen @DaysOutTorfaen

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St Peter’s Church Garn Lakes Local Nature Reserve Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal Keeper’s Pond

Published by: Southern Wales Tourism Photographs: Southern Wales Tourism would like to thank Mike Chapman, Visit Blaenavon, Visit Britain. LovetheValleys and © Crown Copyright Visit Wales for the use of their images in the publication. Map © Collins Bartholomew Ltd Design: Mediadesign


Profile for Southern Wales Tourism

Blaenavon - Torfaen  

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