Bench Under The Trees In Bute Park

Bute Park is a great place to escape to during your lunch hour, although even the most determined of walkers will struggle to walk the whole length of the park and make it back in time for the afternoon stint behind a desk. Much nicer to find one of the benches dotted around the park to simply sit, break out the sandwiches, and recharge for a few minutes before heading back to the rat race.

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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Grass In Bute Park

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One of the great legacies from the age of coal that gave Cardiff its wealth before the First World War is also one of the great gifts made to the people of Cardiff. Originally flanked by Cardiff Castle to the south, the River Taff to the west, the Glamorganshire Canal to the east and Western Avenue to the north, Bute Park was begun in 1873 by the 3rd Marquess of Bute, and handed over to the people of Cardiff in 1947 by the 5th Marquess.

It is a fabulous place to roam, especially for the many thousands of office workers in Cardiff’s busy city centre who need somewhere to escape to on a lunch time. As well as open playing fields and the arboretum, there are quieter, shaded areas under the trees and by the river banks where you can go and hide with a book for a bit of peace and quiet.

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

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South Towards Pontypridd

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As the end of the week approaches, and time runs out to pick out HDR shots in tribute to my Nikon D200, it’s getting harder and harder to pick my wallpaper choice, I don’t mind admitting! But there was no way I could leave this shot out of my selection. For me, like my Calanais At Dusk shot that’s sadly the wrong aspect to ever be a Daily Desktop Wallpaper (but, do try it on an iPad … it’s the wallpaper for the lock screen on mine!), this shot is an example of what HDR can really achieve when it all comes together. The end result looks more like a painting than a photograph, and I could happily stare at it all day.

In fact, that’s exactly what I’m going to do! At least until tomorrow, when I’ll be sharing my last choice from the D200 HDR archives.

Oh, and tonight I’m planning on working on the shots for next week’s wallpaper theme. Mrs H has set me a photographic challenge. I’ve no idea how it will go, but I’m looking forward to doing something a little different (for me). If there’s a photographic challenge you’d like to set me for a future wallpaper theme, drop me a comment on my blog and I’ll certainly consider it 🙂

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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Restored Bridge At Taffs Well

This footbridge over the River Taff between Taffs Well and Gwaelod-y-Garth has recently been renovated and restored into a fantastic condition.

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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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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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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The Maltsters Arms is a public house in Pontypridd known to date back to at least 1858. It is believed to sit on the site of the original earthen house from which Pontypridd takes its welsh name (Pont-y-tŷ-pridd – the bridge by the earthen house).

Maltsters Arms

Maltsters Arms

My strong memory of the Maltsters Arms is walking by over the bridge on an evening and hearing the live music that is often being performed down in its cellar room. The cellar room opens out onto a stone patio beside the River Taff.

References:

http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/wal/GLA/LlantwitFardre/Slaters-Pontypridd.html
http://wikitravel.org/en/Pontypridd

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

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A Sea of Daisies

Bute Park is one of the enduring legacies from the heady days of Cardiff’s wealth from being a major shipping port. Located in the north west corner of the city centre, just a few minutes walk from all of Cardiff’s major shopping areas, it offers open fields, river and canal banks, an arboretum, sculptures and art installations, cycle trails, and superbly-tendered plants and flowers. There’s even a stone circle.

And, in the midst of all this careful tendering, you also get wild plants and flowers that have seeded themselves, such as this wonderful carpet of daisies.

For many of the folks who work in Cardiff city centre, Bute Park offers a great place to escape during lunch hours, and is always popular with the students from the nearby Cardiff University.

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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Water Bus Stop in Bute Park

Just inside the entrance to Bute Park, there’s a bus stop for the Cardiff Waterbus service. The service started in 2000, and links the centre of Cardiff with the redeveloped docklands of Cardiff Bay.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bute_Park
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiff_Waterbus
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/cardiffonline/cardiff-news/2010/04/28/a-decade-of-making-waves-for-waterbus-91466-26330343/

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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Railings On The Taff

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My desktop wallpaper today is this quirky shot of the railings that were stopping me from falling into the River Taff on a far-too-early-morning shoot back in March. Nice and blue – no green to be seen 🙂

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