Gap in the Hedge (Bwlch-y-Clawdd) by Dan Wood
Loosely based around nostalgia, Gap in the Hedge reflects on a journey I used to make with my Mother to the Rhondda Valley every Saturday when I was a child, to visit relatives. My daughter and I now regularly make this same journey, over 35 years later.
It was my first taste of a road trip and I can recall almost every inch of the journey. I’d sit there in the front seat of my Mother’s little red car utterly absorbed and fascinated, looking out of the window at the forests, terraced houses and falling rock warning signs. The journey seemed to take forever, but in real life time we were only ever around 30 minutes from home.
Bwlch-y-Clawdd (Gap in the Hedge) is a mountain pass (450m) that connects the Rhondda Valley - in South Wales - to the town where I live, Bridgend. It is also connected to the Afan Valley via the A4107, which leads through to the coastline and industrial town of Port Talbot. The Bwlch road itself s the A4061.
Built in 1928, not only did the pass offer a lifeline to the isolated valleys, and present greater job opportunities for the local people, it also provided an essential shortcut for the valley based industry; mainly coal related. My parents used the pass themselves to make their own move to Bridgend in 1966; starting their own business there shortly after.
This series will not only attempt to document this iconic piece of South Wales landscape, but will also explore the relationship that the people have with the landscape and ultimately, what will lie ahead for this part of South Wales following Brexit. The immediate villages of Nantymoel and Cwmpare, either side of the mountain, are incorportated into the project, both of which sit in the shadow of The Bwlch.
Dan Wood lives and works in Wales, UK.
To view more of Dan’s work, please visit his website.