A look at my valley
Will it be spoilt by Fracking?
by Paula Denby
After the mines closed in the valley it was noted that a new use of the forest was occuring. People were using the forest as a LEISURE forest park.
The valleys REGENERATION inspired CW Nicol (from Neath originally, now has Japanese citizenship) to purchase old industrial land and restore it in Japan. Afan Forest Park is now twinned with the C.W. Nicol Afan Woodland Trust in Japan and the beautiful Kanji Gardens, (which isn't far from the proposed exploratory borehole pre fracking site) was created to celebrate this friendship and to encourage the sharing of information between the twinned Afans. A beautiful Haiku poem is in the gardens created by local schoolchildren and engraved in wood in Welsh, Japanese and English.
'Into my home village flows Heavens starry river'
Tourism is growing here; this valley is nicknamed "Little Switzerland".
The felling of the (monoculture) larch trees impacted greatly on local tourism because of its impact on the cycling trails, but this is temporary and as naturally indigeonous species reclaim the land the natural health of the valley will be improved, unlike the potential impact of years of fracking.
The cycle trails are rated WORLD CLASS and attract visitors from all over the world. The area has given birth to many notable people, one of whom was Richard Burton. A new trail has been created in his name in the forest and this will pass by the proposed industrial site!
Glyncorrwg Ponds is further up the valley and Aberafan Beach is further down; both these wonderful amenities attract locals and visitors. (All rivers flow to the sea')
The River Afan is teeming with wildlife once more, otters, heron, dippers, salmon, trout. A thriving Angling club has invested a lot into the river and more and more people now come because the river is so clean. We all use the Afan Valley now and the cycle trail gives ease of access to families ,dog walkers and of course cyclists. This is a wonderful asset linking Aberafan Beach to the top of the Afan Valley. Are we to have fracking in the middle of it?
Personally the Afan river provides fresh swimming and paddling for children and adults (without the desire or funds to get to Aberafan Beach in the hotter weather). The banks of the river are full of picnicing families. This is the river where spillages from the borehole, should fracking commence, will go. Will there be a warning system in place to alert the communities who use the River as a leisure facility that its been contaminated with toxic chemicals? Impossible. This river is used along its length and what of the fish and the wildlife, how do they get warned?
Visitors to Wales are on the increase - l thought the idea was to continue to promote ourselves as a GREEN SUSTAINABLE LAND.
My personal view is that Fracking does not belong in our Afan Valley or anywhere else on this struggling Planet of ours but you already know that so l'll end this missive here.
In Hope.......... Paula Denby