If you live in Wales, you may be familiar with the BBC Wales series ‘Weatherman Walking’, starring popular TV weather presenter Derek Brockway. The last episode saw Derek tour Prestatyn in North Wales, as well as the Fourteen Locks from Newport, accompanied by mobile artist Joseph Connor. The weather on Sunday was dry, crisp and chilly – a perfect opportunity to wrap up and retrace some of Derek and Joseph’s steps.
The Fourteen Locks is a canal that steps down the Welsh valley towards Newport. It was built over 200 years ago for boats to transport coal, iron and limestone. Newport’s Allt-Yr-Yn is a hill that overlooks the rural landscape in the picture above – this was about half way into Derek’s route, an alternative starting point that takes you through the local nature reserve.
As featured on the episode, the lake in the picture below (and top picture of this post) marks the site of a lido that locals enjoyed around the 1930s.
Derek filmed his walk in the full bloom of summer (albeit a Welsh summer with hail and thunder), so it’s interesting to see the area in the cold frosty light of January.
Turning onto the Locks and heading west I passed many walkers and cyclists who were enjoying the trail. I also happened to bump into Derek’s guide, Joseph, who kindly shared some insight of the locks and his experience filming the walk. Further up the canal is the bowl-shaped ‘Mystery Lock’, who’s purpose is not really known.
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Each lock stepped up and up to our final resting stop, the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre.
The Canal Centre was recently modernised and includes a tea room and function space to host events. It was great to see many people of all ages soaking up the fine weather and facilities, perhaps inspired by the recent television feature.
I really enjoyed this walk and I hope you like some of the images I took along the way. Many thanks to Joseph Connor for stopping by to chat!