While our lockdown Coronavirus lockdown was being eased the first main concession was that our "stay local" area was eased and we were able to venture 5 miles from our home.
While this seemed still to be very restrictive it did give me a chance to visit some of my local areas.
One of these was Frog Pond Wood Nature Reserve.
The wood has a fascinating connection to our industrial past. The long straight path along the reserve’s eastern edge, which was once a horse-drawn tramway. The tramway, known as the Dyffryn Llynfi and Porthcawl Railway, opened in 1828 as a horse-drawn tram road. It brought the Llynfi Valley’s iron and coal to the coast. The new dock that opened simultaneously in Porthcawl was an integral part of the new transport system.
Interestingly when I examined the bridge here that had been restored I found that some of the stone used to restore the bridge was made from the original sleepers of the rail track. The holes on the stone that held the fixings for the rails were clearly visible.
In the 1860s, a steam-powered railway replaced the tram. I could follow the old tram road which has been redeveloped and has been extended into the wood as a picturesque, family-friendly trail.
The trail circles this pond known locally as the Frog Pond and hence the Frog Pond Wood name.
The water was particularly muddy on the day I visited as it was a bright and sunny day, but the previous day we had some heavy rainstorms.
A few years ago our local council decided to commission the ‘Nature Keepers’ They are oak sculptures erected in our local parks and "green spaces". They add interest to our beauty spots, and with the accompanying poetry, they capture the imagination of younger visitors by interweaving mythology into the sites. Their aim is to spark an emotional connection to our green spaces, and so encourage people to visit as well as care more for them.
This one is the Keeper of the Pond.
“I am this Pond, its story I have kept,
For I am the Keeper but long have I slept.
Look around you now as I wake.
Here, in the shadow of factories and fences, a hidden world likes waiting . . .
Here, there is magic...here everything is connected;
From the water which rises through the roots of the willows
To the call of a kingfisher perched on a branch,
Here, all is one...
I am this Pond, secluded and stilled,
The land’s cupped hand with water-filled,
And I am the life, cradled within
As it flows and grows and sinks and swims.
I am silver skin pierced by Spears of green -
Irises thrust from depths unseen.
I am a leap in the legs of a frog,
A newt’s winter sleep in the shade of a log.
I am hope and life when creatures thirst.
I am unborn clouds and a rainstorm’s burst.
I am a jewel in woodland’s protection.
Heavens are held within my reflection...
Here the song of the Land is sung,
Where dragons fly and foxes run...
And I am this place; pond, frog, sky and tree,
Staring straight back within all that you see.”