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My Nedd Valley

This project has been photographed over the last two years. It’s setting lies deep within an area of the National Park which is rarely visited. The Nedd Valley.

The Nedd is remote, peaceful and populated only by a small number of farms. A National Trust cottage rental, a standing stone, a wonderful mountain, limestone pavement, waterfalls, a roman road, sink holes, underground rivers, caves and a lot more. One of that is why I go.

It is wild, wonderfully wild. The whole area was only connected to the National grid in 2005, so it retains an desolate untouched feel. The Nedd sits in a valley which adjoins the amazing waterfalls country of the Brecon Beacons. Visitors (thankfully) are instantly drawn to the Sgwd y Eira’s of the park (the waterfall you can walk behind). Rather than take the “no through road, right hand turn” into the valley. My head tells me that this sign is enough to put people off entering, it’s a small country lane, with little room for passing and only a few pull ins.

Why?

Writing publicly about the Nedd is tricky, it’s a mental retreat.  It’s a very different personal escape; exploration. I can explore for hours without bumping into a soul. Life needs that, your head needs that. I escape again. Exploration is difficult to achieve  these days, as so many paths are trodden. I’ve walked through limestone kilns, traversed over fallen tree trunks spanning rivers, climbed waterfalls, got lost in woodland but I still made my own path both physically and metaphorically.

This project is a series of images that I’ve been working on for a number of years. Only recently have I realised the form that the project needed to take, it lacked a binding, a element that pulled it together, the images and context is so varied that the subject matter wasn’t gelling it all together.

Thinking about the Nedd and it’s history, I wanted the photographs to feel like they fitted the landscape, not huge shouty sunsets but a “Genuis loci” or spirit of a place. I wanted to show the landscape used, manipulated and weaved together. I have no personal association with the Nedd Valley, no childhood memories to draw from, just countless visits in snow, wind, hail, rain and sun. Sepia is a much maligned tone, so the choice was a difficult one, however,  it feels right, it fits the Nedd Valley, it makes a connection to the old and mixes with the new.

I hope the project encourages you to spend time in the landscape and enveloping yourself into it’s geographical history can prove be so much more rewarding than treking to a location for a single shot of the sun rising or setting.

Welcome to my unfinished Nedd Valley , if you ever visit ( I won’t encourage you!), tread carefully and please do explore. The Nedd Valley is so much more than a lone tree at sunrise.

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