THE VALE of Glamorgan covers a large area on the south Wales coast.

It borders the Welsh capital Cardiff to its east, Bridgend to the west, and Rhondda Cynon Taf to the north.

As well as Penarth in the east, the Vale includes the towns of Barry, the largest in Wales, and Cowbridge and Llantwit Major in the west.

The Vale is also home to Wales' only international airport, Cardiff International Airport, which is in Rhoose.

The Welsh Coastal path stretches the entire length of the Glamorgan heritage coast which has also been home to several high profile dinosaur fossil finds over the years.

In 1897, the area saw the first ever radio messages sent across open sea from Lavernock to Flat Holm Island.

The county is also home to various country parks including Porthkerry and Cosmeston.

A total of 159 candidates will be standing in the Vale this time round for the 47 available seats on the council.

These include 47 from the Conservatives, 38 from Labour, 30 from Plaid Cymru, 18 independents, 10 from the Green Party, six from the Liberal Democrats, four from Llantwit First Independents, three from UKIP, two from the Pirate Party and one other candidate.

It is covered by two parliamentary and Welsh Assembly constituencies, Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff South and Penarth.

It falls in the South Wales Central Assembly region which is represented by Gareth Bennett of UKIP, Andrew RT Davies of the Conservatives, Neil McEvoy of Plaid Cymru and David Melding of the Conservatives.

The county also falls into the remit South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael, who was formerly the MP for Cardiff South and Penarth.

In the EU Referendum, the county voted to remain with 59.78 per cent voting to stay in the European Union.

For the past five years the council has been a coalition between Labour and Llantwit First Independents. They took over after the last local election in 2012 from the previous Conservative administration.

County statistics

Population: 127,592

Ethnicity: White - 93 per cent

Asian/Asian British 1.8 per cent

Black/Black British 0.63 per cent

Other - 1.02 per cent

Average weekly pay: £619

Average house price: £237,839

Average life expectancy: 79.6 (men) 83.4 (women)

Number of Welsh speakers: 10.8 per cent

Number of businesses: 4,340

Current council make-up: 47 seats

Labour - 21

Conservative - 11

Plaid Cymru - 6

Independent - 6

Llantwit First Independents - 3