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Date: 16/09/09

"Rocko Paths, Winding Down..."

(For Carl, who is likely to be the only regular reader of this site who will immediately get the reference in the title of this piece)

Composite photo of a wooded slope

This is the Rocko. Or, to be formal about it, these are The Rocks. It's a wooded bank which separates two parts of Brymbo; the Penygraig estate above ('Penygraig' means 'The Top Of The Rocks', in case you didn't know), and High Street below.

It hasn't always been anything like as tree-clad as this, though. The reason was that this was a very useful short-cut between the houses at the top and the shops, pubs and what-have-you at the bottom. And especially to the steelworks, the entrance to which stood opposite the steps which you can probably just make out in the left-hand frame of the picture above. A fair number of people who lived on the estate worked there, so walking up and down the Rocko saved a round journey up Blast Road or up the Red Path.

It had other uses, too. As kids, we were never off its slopes. If we weren't using it as a short-cut ourselves, we were playing commandos in the long grass and bracken, sliding down it on flattened cardboard boxes (there was a particular broad area of clear slope for this), eating the nuts off some of the bushes (erm, I don't mean that the way it looks), or (naughty, naughty!) rolling old car tyres down it and seeing what (or possibly who) we could hit on High Street below.

Nearly all the shops and pubs down there have gone, and of course the steelworks was pillaged from us nearly twenty years ago. Between that and the facts that no-one seems to walk anywhere anymore and that kids don't seem to play out in the same way as we did (media scares suggesting that there's a paedo lurking behind every bush, for example), hardly anyone uses the numerous paths which criss-crossed the Rocko. As a direct consequence, the trees and bracken have completely taken over, the paths have either been covered up or have slid into oblivion.

This is all part of my heritage. So I've decided to create a map marking the paths which I remember being part of the ways of my life. So here's the map:

Map showing paths

(The light blue square marks the house I was born and grew up in; the yellow circle is the Thrupenny Bit; the dark blue rectangle was John Arthur Davies' (Jac Y Pant's) pigeon kit; and the paths are marked in red).