Brecon Beacons

The idea for this project started with researching the old iron works that scatter the landscape of the Brecon Beacons. Over a hundred years ago these lands were ransacked for their natural resources, but now are regarded as an area of out standing nature beauty.

As I started photographing and walking the area the realisation that even our most protected landscapes are still scared by necessity, with dual carriageways and electricity pillion. Areas have been created and artificially landscaped so that we can enjoy their beauty. Concrete flowing ponds with car parks by the side, so that people can drive there and have a picnic in there car. All while over looking an area were once stood the powering plants for an industry that controlled a much larger area than the iron rich ground within these hills. 

The iron produced in this area was moved and sold into the industrial area’s at the base of the welsh valleys, Cardiff and Newport, and also into England, via canals and trains.

Now what was prime rich land, remains only some foot prints where man has walked. On top of one hill there is a plot of unmanaged health land, 134 hectares for sale almost unusable, but as it is having it’s a strange beauty of its own. The main value of these lands now is for farming and a small amount of tourism.

Across these lands stand, or evidence of, what we see as amazing victorian engineering and architecture, yet in their day they may have been seen as nightmare places with the pungent black smoke produced by the insatiable need for iron production and an image of labour, or may be this is a very twentieth century way of looking at this period in our history. Yet a lot of people have forgotten what lays and has laid here.

‘We all sit in trains, we drive in cars, look at photographs, watch TV, movies. Either way, bodily or imaginatively, we pass though the landscape- for business, for leisure, to see the world, to be part of the world. And the landscape is marked by our passage?’

lan Walker, Transitions
  • Origins
  • Brecon Beacons
  • Wye Valley Railway
  • Caerleon