Ffynone Falls is a hidden gem in Pembrokeshire. Few people ever visit it because it really is one of those mysterious places tucked away in the heart of Wales. You can’t see it from the road, but it’s only a ten minute walk to reach it (provided you can resist stopping along the way to admire the forest).
Ffynone Falls after a month with very little rain. After a deluge, water floods down the rockface to the left as well as the main fall.
The best way to locate Ffynone Falls is to head through Boncath towards Cenarth, which is another famous Welsh waterfall. You’ll pass through a small village called Newchapel and, once through, turn right at the next crossroads. Head just over a mile down that road into the forest-covered valley and you’ll discover a small carpark on the right. That’s where your heading. Park there and take the trail to the falls. You want to head to the right of the small house part way down the track, then it’s just a matter of following the trail until you reach the river.
Getting low down can really enhance some shots.
Once you’ve spent some time admiring the main waterfall, it’s a good idea to head up the valley. The river plunges down into a deep valley on its way to the falls, so backtracking allows you to admire the river as it wends its way through the pine woodland. It’s a steep climb in places and you’re walking through forest, so there isn’t really a defined path, but it’s worth exploring as the river has plenty of tiny waterfalls along the way.
By following the river back up the valley from Ffynone Falls, you reach a series of mini-falls.
The time of year also creates a special twist on this magical location. Autumn turns a lot of the woodland to gold. So the dark rock mixed with golden leaves seems to frame the river. It makes you want to just to sit and admire the scenery while wrapped in the sound of birdsong and the soft swish of the wind as it stirs the trees above.
Autumn turns the leaves to gold, creating a magic all of its own.
There’s a wonderful peace to the place and it’s easy to get lost in the wonder of exploring it all, or so wrapped up in taking photographs that time slips by without noticing.
For the actual photography side of things, using a slow shutter speed to blur the water adds a dreamy feel to images and helps to create a sense of motion to water. I use a fairly small aperture, either f8 or f11, depending on the lens and camera system. Using a polariser is another great technique. A polariser helps to get rid of glare in a scene. It allows you to boost colours and show rocks under the surface of water by cutting out reflections. It’s a dramatic way boost the quality of an image.
But the main thing to do is just enjoy yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you’re heading out to take photographs, or just heading out to enjoy nature and the great landscapes that Wales has to offer. Just breath it all in and relax.