Understanding environmental impact is crucial to sustainability and community quality of life.

South Sebastopol Archaeology and Historic Landscape Re-evaluation

1 Introduction

1.1 In an initial assessment I made in late January 2003 (Appendix 1), I identified a potential early historic agrarian landscape. I have now conducted two full days of fieldwork (all that is permitted by the tight timescales of the planning process) and I have been assisted by members of the Fight the Plan Group in an initial trawl of documentary sources. As I write, the latter is far from complete and only a few preliminary comments can be made in support of the field observations. What has been revealed so far is, of necessity, just the beginning and would require much more extensive and detailed research to understand fully the historic development of this piece of landscape. Nonetheless two days of fieldwork and a few days of documentary research have revealed more than has been documented for this landscape by fellow professionals in the course of development impact assessment.

‘... two days of fieldwork and a few days of documentary research have revealed more than has been documented for this landscape by fellow professionals in the course of development impact assessment.’

1.2 The landscape lies on the west slope of the steep glaciated valley of the Afon Lwyd, itself a tributary of the Afon Usk. At this point the Afon Lwyd flows almost due south in a flood plain now much obscured by modern development. Indeed, in recent years, the area has seen much re-development during the creation of the new town of Cwmbrân to the south and the strenuous efforts being made to revitalise older communities following the decline of heavy industry. The present situation (Figure 1) has left the South Sebastopol landscape as a threatened island of rurality in an urban sea, apart from the ‘mountain’ (Mynydd Twynglas) to the west which rises dramatically to over 450 metres and bears the scars of past mining and quarrying.