Sgwd Gwladus, Vale of Neath, Brecon Beacons, Wales by Jackie Matear

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Picture Story

The Vale of Neath is a spectacularly beautiful area on the southern edge of the Brecon Beacons in Wales. It is often called ‘Waterfall Country’ with good reason – there are a series of dramatic waterfalls of varying size along the many tributaries of the River Neath in the deep gorges of the rivers Mellte, Hepste and Nedd Fechan, between the villages of Pontneddfechan and Ystradfellte.

Sgwd Gwladus (known as Lady Falls in English) is one of the many waterfalls in the area, named after a 5th century Welsh princess. Most of the time, a graceful column of water runs off the sandstone rock ledge into a deep pool eight metres below, set in an amphitheatre in the woods. On this particular winter’s visit, the normally fast-flowing waterfall had turned to ice after a very cold week. I composed the image to show the contrast between the frozen and flowing water, with the curve of the ice on the surface of the water leading the eye to the frozen falls.

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