Poet's family condemns plan for woodland road

Paul Peachey@peachey_paul
Monday 18 November 2002 01:00

The family of R S Thomas, one of Britain's greatest 20th-century poets, has condemned plans for a road through the ancient wood that inspired some of his finest work.

The proposal would split the ancient woodland of Coed y Rhiw and pass close to the Grade II listed home where one of the great voices of Welsh literature spent most of his latter days.

The family of Thomas, who died in 2000, said he would have been "appalled" at the proposal that would see 38 trees uprooted to re-allign a road made impassable because of a landslip.

Thomas walked through the woodland almost every day of the 17 years that he lived on the Lleyn Peninsula in Gwynedd, north-west Wales, until being forced to leave through ill-health in 1995. Such was his affection for the place that A Year in Llyn was one of the four books of his autobiography and his surroundings provided the inspiration for some of his poems.

Thomas, a former Church in Wales priest, wrote more than 20 volumes of poetry and was regarded as the best religious poet of his time. He was also outspoken on political issues and supported the arson attacks on holiday homes.

His son, Gwydion, said: "The area is bleak and heather-covered but this is a little oasis of woodland on a south-facing coast."

A planning decision is due to be made today over whether to press ahead with the next stage of the project.

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