Fall in Gwent


Lasgarn Wood.

This autumn I have been spending some of my spare time visiting my favourite spots in Gwent in order to try and capture the wonderful colours of the season.

I know lots of people rave about the "Fall" in faraway places such as the United States and Japan but there is a lot to shout about when it comes to our own part of South East Wales. Throughout my local part of Wales the autumnal colours have been nothing short of breath taking. The trees have been amazing wherever you go. From your garden, your street, your local park, your place of work, the town centers , valley slopes and hills and nature reserves everywhere has had a riot of trees turning a myriad colours of oranges, reds, greens, yellows and browns.

I've really enjoyed walking in some lovely welsh woods admiring the colours of fall and fascinated by how much the landscape and nature changes at this time of year. Getting out and doing some forest bathing has also helped me ease some of the stresses of everyday life.

This autumn season I have tried to do a mix of photographic equipment and styles,  using my Nikon Z6 Mirrorless camera and 24-70mm Nikkor Lens , my Nikon D850 camera and Sigma 150-600 mm c  lens and DJI Drones for aerial work. I am also finding that my iPhone has incredibly versatile camera and produces some great pictures.

The Afon Lwyd.

This is one of my favourite spots on the Afon Lwyd River. The rock breaker really does thunder through the valley the waters flowing really quickly. This photograph was taken using a ND filter attached to the Nikkor lens and long exposure time of 30 seconds. I love the orange colours of the Beech Trees in the background and the misty effect of the water that emphasises a sense of movement in the scene. 

The wood looked like it was on fire.

The steep hillsides of Lasgarn Wood are covered in deciduous trees and during the autumn there is so much orange it looks like the wood is on fire.

The drone enables me to get views and perspectives I could never have achieved previously. The tree canopy from above reminds me of orange coloured cauliflower.

Looking towards Abersychan.

At this time of year it doesn't really matter what the weather or light is like as the colours of autumn look good in any light. I just worked with whatever the weather threw at me. For drone work I really need to be careful , safety is paramount and when winds are too high or its raining it meant I had to "fall back" to the more traditional camera in hand methods.

However when conditions were good for flying and the location was safe to do so the drone has been a real joy to use. 

Looking down the valley towards Abersychan

Pontypool Park remains one of the best places to visit for an incredible variety of trees and different shades of colour in an urban location.

I was really fascinated by the Sweet Chestnut Trees that are spread around the park. They really do have a very prickly outer skin. A noticed a number of people collecting them to roast and eat.

Sweet Chestnuts

The Old Sweet Chestnut Tree

The Old Sweet Chestnut tree is a fascinating tree and located near the Nantygollen ponds at Pontypool Park. Its is reported to be about 400 years old.

The tree canopy in Pontypool Park

The park is home to lots of deciduous trees and the make for a great picture from above using the drone.

Looking towards the Ray Prosser stand at Pontypool Park.

The rugby ground has been looking fantastic surrounded by all the trees turning lovely colours.

Pontypool Park.

The drone pictures give a far better perspective of the park and the surrounding town.

My local walk

When I get the opportunity I occasionally have a lunch time walk in my local area. There is a nice footpath that is lined with birch trees. When they start to shed their leaves the whole path becomes like a red carpet.

An avenue of Birch Trees

The Brecon and Monmouthshire canal has been really beautiful this autumn. 
Although some stretches have been plagued by infestations of green pond weed compared to this time last year.

The canal near Pontymoil.

Further afield I ventured up the Wye Valley to the Eagles Nest in Chepstow. After a quite exhausting climb up hundreds of steps I eventually made it to the view point. It was well worth it . The Eagles Nest is apparently the birthplace of modern tourism.

A windy road near Lower Wyndcliff Chepstow

The Eagles Nest

A view across the Wye and Chepstow.

I had a walk around Tintern but was a little disappointed to find the bridge being repaired and out of bounds.

Whilst walking around the village I head the thumping of rotor blades and tow Royal Marine Merlin Helicopters came flying around the bend in the river and I was lucky to grab a picture of them.

Helicopter flypast at Tintern

In the north of Gwent I explored the lanes and mountainsides of Man Moel. This place is a hidden gem and lies on top of the hill between Ebbw Vale and Tredegar.

An autumn lane in Manmoel

The lanes up Man Moel are lined with thousands of Beech trees that have turned an amazing orange colour. I was a little late this year when I visited so leaf drop had occurred in earnest. Hopefully next year I can improve my timing.

The view above Manmoel

The view from above Man Moel Road looking towards Tredegar and Ebbw Vale. Bedwelty Pits can be seen on the far left.

Nant-Y-Cnyw stream runs down to Llanhileth

I have spend a lot more time in the Gwent uplands and found a lovely spot up above Llanhilleth near the Canyon, The Nant-Y-Cnyw stream , a tributary of the River Ebbw runs down the misty valley down into the valley floor.

An autumn patchwork

The nearby fields resembled a patchwork quilt to me of autumn colours. The trees almost devoid of leaves form grids and the fields are covered in blankets of reddy brown leaves.

A few miles away I explored the Marine Colliery area of Cwm. I explored along the cycle path towards Aberbeeg and walked some of the paths on the steep hillsides up above the River Ebbw.

The River Ebbw runs down through the woods in the valley.

The area is really picturesque and reminds me of the Austrian Alps , the steep forest covered hillsides and river valleys with the terraced houses of Cwm looked amazing.

Looking up from Aberbeeg towards Cwm

My last location this autumn has also been in Cwm. There is a lovely Gwent Wildlife Trust nature reserve called Silent Valley. 

Silent Valley

Bridge across the Nant Merdogg

This reserve is a magical place to walk through and I am sure I am going to be back here again in the future.

This season I have really been blown away by how many amazing places there are in this area of South East Wales and there is so much more to explore and photograph.


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