For more than 5 years I have been battling against quarry expansion in Clearwell Parish with local people and councillors. I have met with the Environment Agency and Natural England to help clarify the risk to the Slade Brook from the proposed expansion of the quarry which, if approved, are likely to begin to destroy the unique tufa dams of the Slade Brook.
Let's not forget this is a national hydro-geological treasure, an irreplaceable SSSI and the longest set of such features in the country. Taking thousands of years to create, the whole lot could be washed away in a few short years.
I therefore admire the effect the tufa cascades of the Slade Brook have on people and visitors. Local poet Sean Swallow has obviously been deeply moved by its beauty and vulnerability and his poem captures this perfectly.
Slade Brook, December
for an hour the applause of water over tufa dams
ease and the brook more slowly pummels air into stone
for an hour foam accumulates on the surface
a bust of toxic minerals and lime tree leaves will
winter to be green mist sweetens the woodland
hour and every rotten thing connects
a hairy root of ivy snakes up a mossy trunk and
monsters a butterscotch crown for a borrowed
hour the flow does not draw down to the leathery river
Wye and the yellow quarry trucks cease rumbling
for an hour threadbare wood sorrel grows on a hollow log
growing until the rotten things that give it life also go