This is John Hook, 81, from the Welsh town of Deri, in the Darran Valley. I met him walking his dog, a little pincer, along a path by a stream and we chatted. The Welsh are really friendly, like that. Maybe it’s just the older generation. He had worked as a coal miner in three collieries when he was younger, and also help started steel works in England. Now, retired, he stays outdoors as much as possible, walking and enjoying the countryside.
In the 50-70s these valleys in South Wales were major producers of coal in Europe and there were numerous collieries providing employment to the local population for generations. The beautiful countryside where we met were completely blackened with the spoils, slag heaps and soot from the mines. These were all cleared and the land replanted or regenerated into public space. The last mine which closed here was in the early 80s as the industry collapsed.