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Welsh Valley (1961)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Geoffrey Johnson Smith introduces the area - which includes Port Talbot - and the way in which it provides work in mining, forestry and farming.

The scene is set with shots representing these industries - e.g. long lines of colliery houses, young trees being planted and Matthew Bell's hill farm. Mr Bell prepares his Welsh Mountain rams for the sales, and cuts bracken to use for animal bedding. At the Forest of Michaelston John Lloyd, a forester, ascends a forest fire tower to survey the landscape for forest fires whilst logs, dragged from the forest by horses, are power-sawn ready for despatching to Dyffryn Rhondda mine for use as pit props. At the mine, colliers are coming off the morning shift, including Wyn Morris, mine roadman and tenant farmer, who ensures his calves are fed before he has his own tea.

The valley beneath the farm contains the mine which is being modernised, its methane gas waste piped eight miles to the gasworks on the coast. Not far away is a different kind of mine - small and privately owned, by Ritchie Griffiths. Here we see the working of a three foot seam and coal being despatched in a lorry.

In nearby Port Talbot, the streets are busy and the rising smoke between them and the valley behind is evidence that as well as mining, forestry and agriculture, the steel and allied industries of the coastal plain are also playing their part in changing the face of the valley.