I think as a region, the South Wales Valleys are a strong contender for the worst part of the United Kingdom.
An unfortunate history of collapsed industries leading to mass unemployment has resulted in a steep decline in the overall living standards in this part of Wales. I say this not in jest or from a sense of smugness and superiority, but as a fact; the Welsh Valleys are a barren, decrepit network of dying towns and miserable people.
The settlements that dot the desolate sheep-ridden hillsides are about as visually appealing as seeing your grandmother in a bikini. Row after row of some of the most hideous properties you will find on the British Isles are a reminder of the region’s history as a coal mining powerhouse. Once filled with proud working Welshmen who rolled their rrrr’s just to piss off the English, these houses are now filled with vermin, both the human kind and the rodent kind.
From Merthyr Tydfil to Cwmbran, from Ebbw Vale to Caerphilly; not a town among them is worthy of a visit. The names of these towns alone conjure up images of misery and despair, and were designed so that nobody but a Welshman can pronounce them without making a complete twat of themselves. Bear in mind, if you do attempt to pronounce a place in the Welsh Valleys to a Welsh person, ensure you have a sufficient coating of mucus in your throat. If you do not spray at least a half pint of spit when saying the word ‘Glynneath’ for example, you will simply be laughed away as an amateur.
The people in these valleys are truly some of the most unfriendly you could hope to meet. If you are an ‘outsider’ and do not speak with a thick Welsh accent, you can kiss goodbye any hope of interaction.
The population is split 50/50 between sheep farmers and chavs. The Welsh chav is a breed apart from the English chav. Twice as spotty, thrice as obnoxious and can drink their own bodyweight in cheap cider.
Sheep are a huge part of the Welsh way of life. They say for every Welshman there are a thousand sheep (I made that up but it sounds plausible right?).There is a reason for all the sheep shagging jokes that we English so thoroughly enjoy inflicting upon or neighbours to the west. Sheep are to Welshmen what cows are to Hindus; sacred.
Every way you turn your head in these valleys, the hillsides are absolutely cloaked in swarms of white fluffy beasts. For a moment you may think it has snowed until you squint harder and realise that it is just another huge conglomerate of sheep.
The sheep contribute to the ambiance of these valleys through their incessant baaaaaing and highly pungent piles of faeces.
Sheep love pooing. It’s almost as if they take pride in it. I once caught a sheep’s eye on a remote hillside near Usk, and as I did so, he proceeded to excrete the most humongous pile of s**t I ever bore witness to. As he was pushing this impressive specimen out, I could have sworn that he winked at me.
I remember another strange incident involving the sheep in this part of Wales. One day I was driving towards a hiking trail in the Brecon Beacons when we drove past a chap who was leaning over a fence. He appeared to be talking to one of the sheep in the adjacent field, but not in the casual way one would speak to their pet dog or cat, full well knowing you will not get a reply; he actually appeared to be laughing at something this sheep had said. I’m talking a full blown conversation.
Aside from sheep farming and a little cheese making (they make a mean cheese down Caerphilly Way), there is little industry in this rancid corner of the country. It goes to show the intelligence of the local populace that, despite receiving more EU funding than any other region and also having one of the lowest levels of immigration, they still voted to leave the European Union. It really doesn’t take a genius to work this one out people; you get given money to try and improve your towns and in return you have to do absolutely nothing. Yet somehow these folk decided less investment in their crumbling communities would be the answer.
And the award for biggest bunch of retards goes to . . . .
One ‘attraction’ that the valley dwellers love to boast about is The Big Pit; little more than a gaping hole in the ground filled with some soot. The Big Pit has acted as a school trip destination for years, with half the population of England and Wales being left traumatised by the childhood memory of driving through the dump of Blaenavon, only to be greeted with a claustrophobic, stinking hole in the ground halfway up a hill.
So in summary:
Towns- Ugly and depressing
People- Rude and ignorant
Attractions- What attractions?
I wrote a poem about this part of the world and its gross inhabitants to finish off my article. I hope you enjoy it:
The once was place called Cwmbran
Where the sheep were equal to man
They both smelled like s**t
So proud of the big pit
About hygiene they don’t give a damn