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Slade Brook

Slade Brook

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 

Sean Swallow