I spent all my growing up and a lot of my adult life in a small mining village. For almost 20 years now I have lived around 10 miles away but it sometimes feels like I now live in a different world.
Last summer I took a day out to revisit.
I am focussing on the "sub valley" adjacent to the main valley and this was where I spent a lot of my leisure time. It is named "Cwm Garw Fechan" or "Garw Fechan Valley"
Initially, this small valley was taken over by the forestry commission to plant a lot of fir trees. Much of the hills and small mountains were taken over by the vast planting.
After some time, and when the coal mines closed is was realised that these areas would benefit from some leisure time for the residents and what was once the "work pathways" were improved and walkers and mountain bikers were encouraged to explore.
Some picnic areas and barbeque areas were set up.
Although the area was then used, it was not really a great success and was allowed to deteriorate.
A few years ago the area was once again to be improved and this time better organised with walks and pathways set out with markers and direction posts to help walkers and casual visitors get the most out of their visit.
Local school children were invited to make plaques to be placed on the direction posts.
Unfortunately in the last few years, the trees were found to be suffering from some degenerative disease so a mass felling of this forestry was carried out, but leaving the "native trees" alone.
As you can see here the trees along the edge here are totally bare for two thirds from the base. As these trees would have been in the middle of the forestry and the last time I visited they would have extended right up to the pathway.
The area is now being taken back over by nature and the area are starting to be once again a habitat for wildlife with buzzards once again flying overhead and also bees and butterflies migrating back.
I have a lot of hope for this area and it would be great to see it flourish again once the tree culling has ended and the area is, cleared and then returned to a natural state.
I would like to end this post with this final image.
It perhaps sums up what I saw and felt this day. The old Native tree bare, but standing proud of its long past.
The fir trees, a symbol of the recent past,
The overground scrub showing "the now" and the return of nature and lastly the wind turbine on the hill symbolising hope for a cleaner better future.