Grovesend is a small village in Wales between Pontarddulais and Gorseinon, adjacent to Waungron. It owes its existence to a coalmine, now closed, which has left two legacies for the village and locality:
Most of the land was originally owned by private coal mining companies, who placed restrictions on the use of the land. The most significant is that public drinking establishments cannot be built, nor can existing buildings be converted into such establishments. For this reason Grovesend has no pubs. However, there are two private members clubs, which apparently exploit a loophole in the restrictions.
Several years ago, the waste tip from the then closed coalmine was accidentally set on fire. The fire has now spread underground and resisted all attempts to extinguish it; occasionally the area was covered in sulphurous smoke, but the prevailing wind usually kept this away from the area. Unfortunately, it blew towards a busy motorway (M4) and on cold winter mornings, the presence of smoke and cold fog formed a dense smog; for safety the motorway was then closed. This caused major tailbacks compounded by the fact that the detours have weight restrictions at a couple of bridges.
Proposed solutions to the burning pit included sealing it with a clay cap to try to suffocate the fire, and excavating the burning area and removing it off site. Both of these solutions had their own dangers and problems. The capping was potentially dangerous, as there were likely to be thin parts of the cinder crust on top of the waste heap that could have collapsed under even a small loading. The removal solution would have involved thousands of lorry loads of fuming material being transported through residential areas and was given the thumbs-down by local residents.
A compromise solution started in December 1999, in which the burning coal waste was removed, and stored in local 'cooling-pits' until the smoke and fumes had stopped. The waste could then be moved out of the area with 'minimum inconvenience' to residents. Unfortunately, the very act of moving the burning waste resulted in a lot of dust, and there were many complaints about this. Occasionally the cooling pits looked like mini-volcanoes as they belched forth fumes and flames which could be seen from several miles away. The removed waste was then replaced with earth and gravel. The work was completed in March 2000, though it nearly ran late due to dust problems.
Grovesend has no significant shops or eating-places. This is largely academic, as the only time a traveller is likely to pass through is when the adjacent motorway has been shut due to smog.