December 30, 2023
Mid Wales has no shortage of sites of interest. One of them is Elan Valley, which is sometimes called the Welsh Lake District. This is because it is home to five man-made lakes built by the Birmingham Corporation Water Department for the purpose of providing drinking water to Birmingham over in England.
Of course, that is a rather prosaic description for the much more interesting reality. After all, the people behind the project had an eye for beauty. This can be seen in how Elan Valley is home to Elan Village, which is meant to house the workers responsible for maintaining the dams as well as the filtration systems. Such model villages aren't particularly uncommon in either Wales or the rest of Great Britain. However, Elan Village is something of a stand-out because of its style.
For those who are curious, it is an excellent example of the Arts and Crafts movement that originated in Great Britain before spreading to Europe as well as North America. In huge part, it was a reaction to the perceived lowering of standards brought about by the mass production of the Industrial Revolution, thus explaining why it put such a huge emphasis on traditional craftsmanship as well as the particular looks of earlier periods.
On that note, it should be mentioned that one of the main reasons that people visit the place would be the aforementioned dams.
For starters, there is Craig Goch. It is the most upstream of the dams. However, Craig Goch's bigger claim to fame is that it is the most pleasing of the dams as well. In part, this is because of its Birmingham Baroque style. However, it should also be noted that Craig Goch is consistently available for viewing. Something that can't be said for some of its counterparts. After all, Garreg Ddu is completely submerged, while much of Pen y Garrey is submerged as well. As for Claerwen Dam, it is interesting to note that its increased size, which was necessary because the initial project was no longer capable of meeting the demand for water. However, considerable effort was made to ensure that it would fit in with its three predecessors, thus enabling the preservation of Elan Valley's overall look.
August 28, 2023