Living in the shadow of the Folly

I live in the shadow of the Pontypool Folly. Almost every day I see Gwents most iconic tower on top of the hill above Pontypool.

It stands like some stone guardian keeping watch over the citizens of Pontypool and further afield.

The Folly can be seen for miles around.

Whenever I travel away from home its one of the first things that I look out for on my return. It really is an amazing tower and I don't think Pontypool would be the same without it.

The air is always fresh up there and the views are just awesome. I have been taking pictures of the Folly for a long time and at all times of the year. I don't think I will ever tire of the place.

The word Folly is derived from the french word "folie" meaning foolish, but I think it is anything but that now. It may have been considered quite an outlandish and expensive thing to have built back in the past in 1765 at the request of John Hanbury, but many would now think it has stood the test of time. Well, that statement is not accurate at all, as in 1940 it was demolished by order of the Ministry of Defence because it was feared that the German Luftwaffe would use it as a landmark to bomb the nearby Glascoed bomb factory.

It was only until 1993 after a determined and  concerted campaign by local historians and conservationist that eventually funding and planning permission was secured for work to begin on restoring the Folly.

There is a great summary of the background concerning the rebuilding of the Folly to be found here and is well worth a read.

I for one, am very thankful of the work that was done in order to get the Folly rebuilt and I hope it stands on the ridge for many future generations to enjoy as much I do.

Last year they allowed visitors into the Folly and I was one of many people to get a look inside. I was not disappointed at all and it was really interesting to get inside after having only ever taken photographs from outside.

The view from the top of the Folly

The newly refurbished staircase.

When I visit the Folly I like to get their very early in the morning , before dawn, as I love a good sunrise because the  views are fantastic .

I am not praying to the tree but its always a very magical and spiritual kind of experience being up there for sunrise.

Over the last couple of years I have spent quite a bit of time flying my drone in the area and I believe I have captured some unique views of the Folly and the surrounding areas that lie in its shadow.

Drones provide the opportunity to capture landscapes on another level in my opinion. They have certainly opened up a new world to me photographically.

Sunrise up the Folly in May.

Pontypool Park is only a short distance from the tower and I must say - although I am a little biased , is a real gem of a place and must be one of the nicest parks in Wales.

I have spent a lot of time in the park over the years taking pictures of just about everything.

At this time of year the park is truly stunning. The Cheery trees near the Band Stand have come into full bloom and look absolutely amazing.

Pontypool Park

The avenue of Cherry Trees

The band stand.

The avenue of Cherry Blossom.

Throughout all my local  walks, treks and meanderings I've rarely been far from that wonderful stone tower as I seem to be always standing somewhere in its shadow.


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