Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Remembering 1918 and our new railway service

Remembering 1918

It is time to reflect on Pontyclun 100 years ago. On 11 November 1918 Germany surrendered to the allied forces of Britain, France and the USA. German forces had been repelled in their attempted advances earlier in the year – they were exhausted and mutinous. The terms of the surrender were that Germany should withdraw to well within pre-war boundaries and make large scale financial payments to the victors; the Turkish and Austro-Hungarian empires should be dismantled. We remember the lives lost, the bodies and minds mutilated, the sacrifices made in our workplaces and communities, women and children destined to live lives without those they loved and needed.

The end of the war led the British Government to respond to a range political pressures held back by the war itself. Parliament agreed that votes would be given to most women and all working men for the first time. In 1918 newly elected Irish MP’s declared independence for Ireland, triggering both a war of independence and a civil war.  Influenced by the Russian Revolution, the British Labour Party declared itself a socialist party. An influenza epidemic killed almost half as many as had been killed by the war itself.  Truly, the events of 1918 shaped so much of the century that was to follow.

There is an invitation for all of us to submit a piece of art or a photograph, a poem or piece of writing (up to 500 words) which shares our reflections on 1918. Submissions should be made to Pontyclun Community Council Office, Heol yr Orsaf (  by 5 November 1918.

Pontyclun Community Council has organised a whole month of events, entitled ‘Peace at Last’ to allow us to remember 1918.

Tuesday 6 Nov, 5.30 pm
Remember 1918 - A talk with drama and music
Y Pant School
Sunday 11 Nov,
Remembrance Services
St Paul’s Church 9.30 am
Miskin War Memorial 11 am
Monday 12 Nov, 10am
Remembering 1918 – a Walk from Pontyclun to Talygarn
St Paul’s Church
Monday 12 Nov, 3 pm
Afternoon Tea
Café 50
Tuesday 13 Nov, 5.30 pm
Film ‘Hedd Wyn’ – Welsh language with English subtitles
Y Pant School
Mon 19 Nov, 1 pm
U3A monthly meeting
Lunch with 1918 recipes
Pontyclun Community Centre
Tuesday 20 Nov, 5.30 pm
Film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’
Y Pant School
Saturday 24 Nov, 7.30 pm
Songs, Poems and Pints – Pontyclun’s songsters and poets invite us to remember 1918, singing along and sharing thoughts
Pontyclun Athletic Club

Pontyclun Railway Services

This October Transport for Wales will take responsibility for railways in Wales from Arriva Trains. I have been arguing hard for improved services in Pontyclun – writing to and meeting Ministers, MP’s and AM’s. 

I am pleased to report that there will be new and larger trains by 2020 and that RCT Council is working to extend the station car park by 2020.

However, I am disappointed to report that the current intention of the Welsh Government is to keep to just 1 train an hour stopping at Pontyclun. Throughout all the other valley lines there will be a minimum of four trains an hour. Even Llantwit Major will get 2 trains an hour. I will not accept that our railway service will be worse than everywhere else. I will need the help of all local rail users to create extra pressure - look out for petitions, public meetings and television cameras; unless, of course the Minister, Ken Skates, changes his mind once he has read this article.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Summer notes from Pontyclun

Bailey Bridge

Most readers will be aware of the Bailey Bridge across the River Ely at the end of Station Terrace. It is the property of the owner of the Ely Valley Business Park but it is a public right of way and the owner has a legal obligation not to obstruct walkers.
This path is used by hundreds of residents each day who need to get to the station, the schools, nurseries, shops, community centre, doctor, dentist, post office and many other facilities.
It is therefore with dismay that I must report that RCT Council has agreed to prohibit access for walkers to cross this bridge for the months of September, October and November, perhaps longer.
RCT Council will be providing special buses for school children and commuters but for others the invitation is to use an alternative walking route of over two kilometres. The charity, Travol, provides an ‘on-demand’ bus service for people aged over 60. Ring 01443 486872.
RCT Council reports the bridge will be reconstructed as a partnership between the owner and the Council. This, the Council says, is necessary because the bridge will otherwise become structurally unsafe in a short period of time. And yet, even today I witnessed a succession of 7 ton lorries cross this bridge.  If there is structural deterioration, why not require that all vehicles use the access through Coed Cae Lane and reserve the bridge for walkers only – I am convinced that it is safe for this purpose.
Pontyclun Community Council has never been consulted on the closure of this path or invited to suggest options for maintaining this right of way.
In my view this has all been poorly managed and the reasons for closing the walking route are less than convincing.

Grass Cutting
Pontyclun residents, the Community Council and RCT Council are developing innovative schemes for managing grass in ways which meet the needs of residents, walkers, motorists and wild life.
Whilst grass is being mown in the traditional manner near to roadsides and pavements and in play areas, we are looking for areas where the grass can be left uncut for the growing months. If it is then cut and collected late in the summer, this will allow the natural diversity of local plants and wildlife to prosper.
Pontyclun Park was created by Pontyclun Community Council in 2016. In our grass cutting contract we agreed with RCT Council that a swathe of grass would be left uncut until late Summer when RCT brings in their innovative new machine to cut and collect the grass.
In the last month Pontyclun Environment Group volunteers met with Richard Wistow, the inspiring RCT Council ecologist, who had us all on our hands and knees studying the diverse vegetation down amongst the long dry, yellow grass of our long, hot summer. We saw a range of wildflowers that included black knapweed, bird’s-foot trefoil, red clover, ox-eye daisy, St. john’s-wort, self heal, common spotted orchid and field scabious – all survivors of the historic Ely valley species rich grasslands. This is an excellent insect habitat and we saw a range of bees (including red tailed and carder bumble-bees) and a colony of the beautiful, jewel-like common blue butterfly.
In some areas, such as at the Talygarn roadside, it is not possible to collect the grass with machines and residents have volunteered to collect and bag the cut grass. Councils and communities work best when they work together.

Aethon ni I’r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yn Nghaerdydd i helpu gyda’r stondin U3A. Gaethon ni llawer o hwyl.  
We went to the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff. Being part of such a huge cultural festival in the centre of the capital city was great fun as we represented Pontyclun U3A on a stall.

Pontyclun U3A
Our University of the Third Age will be back in full swing in September. There are now 16 learning groups (including Spanish and Welsh, history, walking and lunching) which you can join. They are all great fun as well as offering ways in which we can learn from each other. Details can be found on the website  https//
Each month all members and potential members are invited to a monthly talk. On 17 September at 1.30 p.m. in the Community Centre I will be giving a talk on the ‘The Clarks of Pontyclun’ considering the remarkable life of the Dowlais ironmaster George Clark and the contribution of his family to the creation of modern Pontyclun.

Pontyclun Road Runners
Most weeks I am privileged to enjoy at least a 5k run with Pontyclun Road Runners. We really should congratulate the volunteers who create this amazing opportunity for 376 members to enjoy a run with friends – women, men, all ages and all abilities. If I can enjoy a run at my age– so can most Pontyclun residents! Details at

2 Wish upon a Star
Rhian Burke is the remarkable Pontyclun resident who created the charity2 Wish Upon A Star’ which provides bereavement support for families who have suddenly and traumatically lost a child or young adult.
This charity has organised a ‘Family Run Day’ on September 9th at Llandow race circuit. It will include a fancy dress elephant dash for the under 7's, a shorter family run of 2k and a 5k run for the serious family members. If you go along you will meet members of Pontyclun Road Runners who are supporting this charity event.

Cllr Paul Griffiths
Chair of Pontyclun Community Council
e.mail: chair
Tel.      01443 229301

Friday, July 20, 2018

Pontyclun's Summer of Festivals

As I write we are enjoying a sixth week of continuous sunshine – nothing like it since 1976! And Pontyclun knows how to celebrate the sun with a month of fetes and festivals already under our belt.

The Community Council organised its ‘Picnic in the Park’

Hundreds of Pontyclun people came together to share a cake and sandwich, to wang a wellie, compete in the silliest of walks and the strangest of runs, as well as throwing and catching eggs with the greatest of skill. Our local Macmillan Group were raising funds, our theatre group attracted new recruits and our Community Garden put on their best show of plants and vegetables as a means of attracting ever more volunteers. Sam Jones and Ollie Smith won the welly wanging with a series of Olympian welly throws.

Pontyclun Primary School organised its annual fete, also in Pontyclun Park, and it was another day of sunshine and smiles as hundreds of families shared each other’s company in support of their own school.

Pontyclun Football Club organised an enormous children’s football festival which attracted teams from far and wide – it put events in Russia into the shade

Our Welsh medium Primary School in Miskin, Ysgol Llantrisant, started off our sequence of summer festivals with their very successful fete at the Rugby Club’s Windsor Fields.

Let’s face it – Pontyclun does know how to party!
The fun will continue through August.

Rugby Club Festival
On 11 August there will be the Hole/Palk charity rugby game at the Rugby Club with stalls, a funfair, bars and music from midday on to the evening.

 Pontyclun’s Festival of Food and Drink
On the Bank Holiday weekend of Saturday 25 August to Monday 27 August Pontyclun will enjoy its first Festival of Food and Drink, organised by the Pipeworks. 

The Community Council will close the Car Park on Heol yr Orsaf. The Pipe Works will erect a Marquee. There will be food stalls from many of our favourite providers including Fulbrooks and Lisa’s Deli. There will be the widest range of beers and gins.  

You must not miss it. Be there!

Vegetable garden & Allotment Competition
Pontyclun Community Council are arranging a Best Vegetable Garden and Allotment competition this summer. 
This competition is open to all residents of Pontyclun, including Miskin and Groes Faen and aims to promote a sense of pride in their gardens/allotments. It does not matter how small or large your vegetable garden/plot/allotment is, or how young or old you are, just enter and show us your efforts.

  1. Best Vegetable garden / plot
  2. Best small Vegetable garden/plot (less than 2m sq)
  3. Best Allotment
  4. Best Children's vegetable garden/plot
  5. Most Bee friendly vegetable garden/allotment

Contact Pontyclun Community Council for a form 01443 238500 or go to Pontyclun net/ Community Council

Anrhydeddu Carole
Llongyfarchiadau I Carole Willis a gaiff ei derbyn yn aelod o’r Orsedd yn Eisdeffod Genedlaethol ym mis Awst.
We wish to congratulate Community Councillor Carole Willis who will become a member of the Gorsedd at this year’s National Eisteddfod for her work in supporting the Welsh language in our community. It is an honour for Carole and for Pontyclun.

Weekly Councillor Surgery
Margaret Griffiths and Paul Griffiths hold a weekly surgery each Tuesday from 9 am to 9.45 at Pontyclun Library to cover all issues relating to RCT Council and Pontyclun Community Council.

Cllr Paul Griffiths
Chair of Pontyclun Community Council
e.mail: chair
Tel.      01443 229301

Remembering 1918 and our new railway service

Remembering 1918 It is time to reflect on Pontyclun 100 years ago. On 11 November 1918 Germany surrendered to the allied forces of Bri...