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Photographer's Note

This is a favourite place of mine from my childhood. It was an oasis of green and calm set in a shallow valley between the two major coal mining valleys of the Rhondda Fach and the Cynon. In the 1950s the Cynon Valley was a hive of mining activity, there was very little space set aside where children could play safely, the floor of the valley had many railway lines and working collieries.

To get away we used to walk over the mountain and down into this little valley of the Nant Clydach. The top half of this valley was virtually untouched by the coal industry. In 1886 the Taff Vale Railway Company built a railway line almost the entire length of the valley to the small colliery at Llanwonno. Unfortunately for the railway company the geology of the upper part of the valley was too difficult to sink a colliery to the important Rhondda 4 foot seam of valuable steam coal and the colliery closed in 1905. The railway line, however, did give good access to the families who wanted to get away from the smoke and grime of the working collieries.

When car ownership became more popular and with the stunning coastline of Wales just a 30 minute drive away a lot of the paths and picnic areas soon went back to nature. However, over the last couple of years the Forestry Commission and the local authority have re-instated many of the footpaths and walks are able to enjoy this stunning valley once again.

I took this image today after heavy rain had given me the conditions that I wanted to get the wet stones and the saturated colours in the foliage, the still damp air was ideal for long exposures.

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Additional Photos by Gerwyn Gibbs (gibbsy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 61 W: 0 N: 203] (1438)
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