Gwlad, gwlad… pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad. Our country, our land… faithful am I to my land.

Gwlad, gwlad… pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad. Our country, our land… faithful am I to my land.

Redevelopment by ‘Marvel’ at Rhydycar West is a regeneration scheme that will create exciting tourism, leisure and international sporting destination in the heart of the South Wales Valleys between Cardiff and the Brecon Beacons, creating long-term local jobs and opportunities for businesses across the region.

Creative Point-of-View (PoV) for Rhydycar West

Co-created with Neil Angove for Orchard Media.

‘We need to hear people’s voices and value genuine respect for heritage, culture and humanity. In order to access hearts and minds, local people need to capture their own sense of ‘ownership’ and ‘belonging’ and be creative contributors to Marvel’s beneficial development: For people, ecology and places, working together with people for future-facing heritage’.

Gwlad, gwlad… pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad.

Our country, our land… faithful am I to my land

Our land has sustained us for countless generations. We are its original inhabitants, the Cymry – communities together, each with our own identity. Our roots are embedded deep into our heritages of invasion, conversion and innovation – which brought occupation, religion and industrial revolution to our hills and valleys.

Our land has created our lifeblood. Like ancient seams of mineral richness, our identity has been founded, settled in layers – we belong here.

When revolution came to our valley, our sweat, like streams of flowing water, scoured the ironstone and coal from our land with forceful energies. Our human mettle, which sapped our strength in muscular effort, succumbed to serve the white-hot furnaces of industry. Amongst clouds of smoke and steam, iron and coal flowed solid from our valley, away from our shores – exporting our power across seas into lands not our own.

We gave our lives then, as though martyrs to an industrial cause.

Until – when our land had become exhausted, when we had exerted all that the revolution demanded – then, like the spoil laid waste from our iron and coal, we too were discarded. We remain amongst remains. Like industrial scars scoured in the erosion of wind and rain, our communities, our togetherness, lay abandoned in silence and tears.

But we are faithful to our land. We belong… here.

And now, towards our shores, as in our myths and legends, a new story comes to our valley – Marvel, a wonderful opportunity. Now we can re-empower our lives, and restore energy in our land.

Together, re-enabled in our communities, we will be able to re-ignite our fiery spirits – and, by re-energising our own mettle, with determination, stamina and strength of character, we will craft new kinds of heritages, revitalise many lives here and out into the wider world. By reclaiming our land for good, anyone who strives can achieve their hopes and dreams.

Marvel… hmmm, now here’s a new story we can tell. How astonishing – here you are, coming to our valley with an invitation for us to share our own thoughts and ideas for our land. Well, we have wanted to find someone who will listen to us, and will work together with us – to help us bring jobs, opportunities, new life into our communities.

You say you’d like to help us regain our capabilities – our own determination, energy, strength, our depth of character, our personal ‘vigour’.

As you have discovered, our land is precious to us – very precious. It’s the reason we live here – even though the industry has gone, and so many of our jobs and livelihoods with it. But we’re hearing you say that this same land has so much more to give us – more than any of the old industries could ever have achieved.

OK, together with your help, we could bring our hopes and dreams into actual everyday reality. Yes, we could even create new kinds of lasting heritage for generations to come…

Unlike the attitudes that brought that old type of industry, this time, just like us, you really respect our land. And, you value our human dignity. We’ve heard you say that, by working together, our land’s ecology will flourish, our past heritage will be celebrated – our future heritage, which we can create together, will be empowering for anyone who has enthusiasm, courage, get-up-and-go, grit, strength of character – in fact, whoever is energised and motivated enough to achieve their heartfelt ambitions…

It’s true… we are more than our past, and much more than our present circumstances. When we dig into our own abilities, and mine into our spirited human energy, then with help, by planning and working together we can create new life for our valley, our land.

In fact, come to think of it, we can set an example for post-industrial communities like ours world-wide – hmmm… what an amazing thought.

With fresh, inspired, life-changing thinking, the possibilities that we could bring into being, actually begin in our wildest dreams. Just imagine what that could achieve…

Marvel, we’ve heard that you have brought ideas to share with us. Ideas which will create wonderful opportunities for us all to benefit now and into the future. It seems that you really do want to make it possible for us to bring our own ambitions into reality. And to begin, you are setting an example, because you’d like to share your amazing ambitions with us.

Together, we’d like our plans to respect our land and build upon its natural features. But unlike the past, this time we’d like to create a permanent, healthy future heritage that gives value to our history, sustains our ecology, generates livelihoods, strengthens and empowers people – right here in our land.

We’re aware that there is a hill above Rhydycar, where adventure have already begun. Yet, we reckon that together with you we can add more… much more to the richness of that land. The question is, how wide, how high, how deep are our ambitions?

So, let’s imagine together. Let’s be brave enough to bring our dreams into reality, down-to-earth reality…

To begin, because it’s so precious, what if we set-aside most of our land to respect our natural biodiversity, give value to our ecology, and yet also open-up possibilities for people to enjoy our land, to enhance their own health and wellbeing?

Because we’d also like to create new opportunities, what if we embraced only a smaller portion of our land to create homes, jobs, leisure and amazing experiences?

So, for example, what if together we created spaces and places for people to be together, to enjoy, to relax, to learn, to share stories, to be energised, to feel alive, to embrace challenges, to achieve their ambitions and to be at home – right here on our land?

Oh, and come to think of it, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we created indoor surf and water, bike and skate parks, treetop challenges – and camping, glamping and hotels for visitors to stay?

Let’s imagine even more spectacular ambitions… what if we raised the standards to the highest world-class level?

What if we built Europe’s longest indoor snow, ski and snowboard centre, so that, alongside visitors from anywhere in the world, Olympic athletes could train hard and develop their talents?

While we’re at it, what if we created ground-breaking, life-changing opportunities to explore new forms of energy, cultivation, education, design, technologies, research and development..?

Yes, what if, what if…

Why not? Maybe together with your help we actually can, at last, create a new kind of heritage, to enjoy now and to set an example for generations to follow…

Awesome. What an amazing thought.


We're grounded in reality, but our imagination is always in full swing.

We're grounded in reality, but our imagination is always in full swing.

Just being...

Just being...