Friday, 11 August 2017

The Afon Lwyd - what a difference in 50 years

I spent my secondary education attending school at Croesyceiliog in Cwmbran. A river runs at the bottom of the school playing fields, the Afon Lwyd (Grey River in English). Being only around 13 miles long the Afon Lwyd is hardly a mighty stream and my childhood memories of the river are of something dead and dirty.

The river's source rises to the north of Blaenavon, flows through Abersychan, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool, Llanfrechfa and Cwmbran before flowing into the River Usk at Caerleon. In other words it flows through what were some of the most industrial sites in the area and was polluted by industrial waste and mine discharge and in more recent times, fly-tipping: my goodness, didn't the poor river suffer for it.

The Afon Lwyd at Llanyrafon, Cwmbran
Fortunately since the mid 1980s an effort has been made to clean the river up and improve both water quality and fish stocks. It certainly seems to be working too, the river today is almost unrecognisable from my its days in my youth.

The Afon Lwyd looking much better today than it did in the 1960s
Still not as clean as it could be, but the Afon Lwyd looks alive now and you can see the river fish swimming in it. There are dragonflies flitting about and I even caught sight of a kingfisher this morning while walking through Llanyrafon. All I can say is, what a difference 50 years makes!