Walnut Tree Viaduct

One of the surviving pillars (the one you can see from the A470) of the Walnut Tree Viaduct, reflected in the River Taff.

Built in 1901, the Walnut Tree Viaduct (so-called because it crossed the Taff Vale Railway above Walnut Tree Junction, at the southern end of modern-day Taffs Well) carried the Barry Railway 120 feet in the air across the Taff Gap from the Lesser Garth to the other side. What a view it must have been from up there, and certainly what a sight it was until it was dismantled in 1969.

References:

http://webapps.rhondda-cynon-taff.gov.uk/heritagetrail/taff/taffs_well/taffs_well.htm
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fray_bentos/362362405/

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Cheese Grater

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My choice of desktop wallpaper today is this abstract shot of a cheese grater. Perfect for home-made pizzas and for making pasta bake.

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Cardiff Clock Tower and Trees

Cardiff’s magnificent civic centre, at Cathays Park, is built on land sold to the city of Cardiff in 1898 (Cardiff was not a city at the time). Perhaps its most distinctive feature is the Clock Tower atop City Hall, completed in 1904 (the year Cardiff was granted city status).

Today, the clock tower isn’t just a popular subject for passing photographers. It’s also very popular with wildlife enthusiasts, as a pair of peregrine falcons have made the tower their home. Wander past, and you’re likely to see groups with their cameras and binoculars trained on the tower in the hope of catching a sight of these magnificent predators.

References

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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My choice of desktop wallpaper today is this abstract shot of the drying rack beside our sink at home.

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Kettle

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This week’s desktop wallpaper theme is a set of photos I shot of items I shot inside the house at the weekend. Abstract photography is something I do rarely; I hope you enjoy this set of photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

My choice today is the wonderful deep orange of our kettle. We’ve got one of those kettles with clear sides and bottom, giving a clear view through to the hot plate that the kettle sits on whenever Mrs H needs a cup of tea to make her feel human again.

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The Rooftops Of Cilfynydd

Cilfynydd today stands on the northern edge of Pontypridd as it creeps up the Taff valley towards Abercynon and beyond to Merthyr Tydfil. It sits to the east of the route of the Glamorganshire Canal (now buried beneath the A470 trunk road).

Most of the old terraced housing was built between 1884 and 1910, with the population exploding from a hundred or so people to over 3,500! This sudden population of what was originally a farming hamlet was driven by the opening of the Albion Colliery (closed 1966; today is the site of Pontypridd High School) in 1887. The village suffered great tragedy and loss in 1894 when 290 men and boys were killed by a massive underground explosion in the colliery.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cilfynydd

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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Completed in 1926, Llwyn Onn is the southernmost and largest of the three reservoirs built across the Taf Fawr to supply water to Merthyr Tydfil and the valleys south to Cardiff. With unsually warm and dry weather so far in 2010, water levels at Llwyn Onn have dropped dramatically, revealing Pont-yr-Daf and allowing safe access along the retaining wall to the sluice gates at the southern end.

The Photos

Path Down From The Taff Trail

The Taff Trail (national cycle route 8 ) runs down the western edge of the reservoir, and from the road there are plenty of paths like this one that you can use to walk down to the shores of the reservoir.

Pont-yr-Daf Revealed By Drought

When the reservoir is at normal levels, Pont-yr-Daf lies underwater. But current water levels have fallen low enough to reveal the bridge – the only surviving structure from when the reservoir was created. This shot is looking north … note how the whole northern end of the reservoir is both silted up and completely dried out.

Pont yr Daf Revealed By Drought

Another shot of Pont-yr-Daf, showing the low water levels as we look south down the reservoir.

On reflection, I should have taken this photo at f/8, and made it sharp front-to-back. A lesson for future shots, I think.

Human Detritus In The Reservoir

Here’s a pile of human junk out in the middle of the drying Llwyn-Onn reservoir.

Note how green the ground is starting to turn at this spot. My wife reckons the ground here could have been exposed for about a month for these plants to take hold like this.

Looking South From Pont-yr-Daf

The Llwyn-Onn reservoir is completely dry north of Pont-yr-Daf. From the bridge itself, you can clearly see how the water is retreating south towards the reservoir’s retaining wall.

Reservoir Rubbish Up Close

This is a close-up shot of a tree that had been washed up in the reservoir at some point.

The Beach at Llwyn Onn

The water levels at the Llwyn Onn Reservoir north of Merthyr Tydfil have fallen quite low this year, exposing all of the northern end of the reservoir bed. It is drying and cracking up quite nicely.

Chasing The Receding Water

As the water level drops, the reservoir bed is being slowly uncovered. At first, the bed is a horrible sticky mud, and until it dries out it’s a bit tricky to walk on. The local fishermen have solved this problem, by creating stone pathways out to the water and extending them as the water level continues to drop.

Llwyn Onn Reservoir

Here’s a shot of the reservoir retaining wall, looking south along the reservoir towards Merthyr. You can clearly see how far the water stocks have fallen already this year, and summer is only just beginning.

The Tree Growing Out Of The Drainpipe

At the top of the retaining wall, my wife spotted this tree growing out of a drainpipe. It certainly looks like it has been here for some time.

The Sluice Gates At Llwyn Onn Reservoir

With the water levels so low, we were able to carefully walk out along the reservoir wall to the sluice gates.

The Bars Of The Sluice Gates

To stop debris being flushed into the sluice gates (and, presumably, to stop nosey photographers from doing something silly and ending up falling down the gates!) there are these metal bars across all of the sluice gates at the reservoir.

View this photo at ‘large’ or better on Flickr … the rust patterns in the bars are quite something.

Where Do The Gates Go?

Behind the bars lie the sluice gate itself … but what does it look like and where does it go?

Inside The Sluice Gates

This is what the bars are protecting … one of the sluice gates at the reservoir. Not far into the blackness there must be quite a drop down to the valley floor below. We didn’t go and explore the other side, so I couldn’t tell you whether the gates empty into the river below or into the water plant. Either way, it’s a ride that you don’t want to try.

Uncovered Shoe

Whilst clambering back along the reservoir wall after visiting the sluice gates, I spotted this shoe further down towards the receding water. I’m guessing it was washed up here when the water level fell, rather than being simply abandoned by someone else scrambling along the wall.

See Also

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Looking North Along The Lost Canal

I wasn’t around when the Glamorganshire Canal still existed; I wasn’t even born when in 1969 the canal was filled in to make room for the A470 trunk road. So I can’t say for certain that the Glamorganshire Canal ran exactly along this wall, and I can’t say for certain that this wall is a remnant of the wall sometimes seen in old photos separating what’s now the A4054 from the canal …

… but whenever I stand at this spot and gaze north towards Navigation (modern-day Abercynon), sometimes it’s nice to dream of what the views might have been two hundred years ago, and one hundred years ago.

Copyright (c) 2010 Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all).

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Uncovered Shoe

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To bring this week’s theme to a close, my desktop wallpaper today is this shoe I spotted on the reservoir wall as we clambered back from walking out to the sluice gates. The shoe was further down the wall than we were, and from the state of it it looks like it was washed up on the wall when the water levels fell.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my choices of wallpaper this week. Come back tomorrow for an extra blog post: all of the photos that I took during our visit to Llwyn Onn Reservoir on Sunday. And if you can’t wait until then, you’ll find them in my Flickr photostream.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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This Way To Merthyr Road

This is the point where the A470 is about to become Merthyr Road for the first time as you head north. According to Google Maps, this is also the only stretch of the A470 that carries the name of Merthyr Road.

Behind me is the Gabalfa roundabout and flyover, with the A48 running underneath it, which is the subject of a separate blog post.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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