Wintery ParkGraham Morgan

Dare Valley Country Park

by Aberdare Camera Club

In a glacial valley feeding into the the Cynon Valley sits Dare Valley Country Park. Overlooked by the village of Cwmdar the park sits in a much changed landscape. Clues of the origins are seen in the name Cwmdar, meaning valley of the Dar. The river rises on the Darren mountain flowing down the valley into the Cynon at Aberdare. Whilst Cwm means valley, Dar means Oak, which can still be seen throughout the park.

In this exhibition aberdare Camera Club has only been able to capture a small part of what the park offers, its history, its wildlife, its geography and its people. Each day is different and each season brings a new canvas.

Dave DaviesCountry Park of the Past 1
Dave DaviesCountry Park of the Past 3
The industrial revolutions from the 1850’s saw the valley transformation of the valley from an idillic cluster of farm houses, to the vibrant and energetic expansion of Cwmdar as strings of terraced houses, chapels and public houses to home the inward migration of hard working families from all over Wales, Great Britain and beyond in search of well paid work.
Through the period of the industrial revolution and up to the 1970’s the valley became increasingly scarred by the heavy industry of mining that, leaving spoil instead of fertile alluvium outwash soil, rail tracks instead of farm tracks, and man made mountains as tips. Despite the hardship the community grew and strengthened, with  those families that came to Cwmdar in the 1850’s being joined by countless more who are in love with the place that they proudly call home
Huw EdwardsCwmdare my Home
Huw EdwardsWar of the Mills
Les DaviesDare Valley Country Park from Aberdare
With the dying of the coal industry and the closure of the many pits by the late 1960’s the valley was a desert of spoil, tips, discarded colliery buildings and equipment. Led by an initiative of the Cynon Valley Borough Council clearance commenced in 1971  with the park opened on 5th December 1973  winning the Prince of Wales Award. Being the first such scheme of industrial waste land it won much national acclimation and became the template for many more such projects. In 1985  a visitor centre was added with cafe and exhibition centre which continues to develop to this day.
John WhiteStream
Les DaviesSmile

With its oak woodlands, open moors, lakes, wildlife and numerous walking / cycling routes, over the past fifty years the park has become a sanctuary for walkers, cyclists, dog walkers, fishermen, hang gliders, whippet racing, historians, geologists, adventurers and so many more. From here you can explore the valley, the moors above, visit neolithic settlements, watch birds of prey, or explore beyond along the higher ridges to other valleys and beyond. But most importantly, here you can find peace.

Lesley NewcombeMountain Bluebells
Lesley Newcombe
Lesley NewcombeBig Wheel
John Davy
John WhiteWheel
K Joseph
K Joesph
K Joseph
Huw EdwardsGateway to the Darren

This exhibition has been created by Aberdare Camera Club, the accompanying text has been created by Aberdare Camera Club Treasurer Huw Edward.

Aberdare Camera Club is for people of the Cynon Valley who are interested in photography in all its forms. No camera is too small, many of the best images are taken on mobile phones and compact cameras, so don’t think that you need to carry anything expensive or big. Your creative views of the world are most important.

Unfortunately due to the covid-19 crisis the club is unable to hold our usual Monday evening meetings, however via our web site and FaceBook page we are planning to host a series of digital meetings over the forthcoming months for members. If you enjoy photography why not make contact and join, we are always keen to meet new people.

You can find out more about the club here

For more online exhibitions click here


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