A470: Images of Wales's longest road from south to north
At 185 miles (300km) and running from Cardiff in the south to Llandudno in the north, the A470 is the longest road in Wales and an important link through the country. Cardiff-based photojournalist Glenn Edwards explains what drove him to capture the life that exists on and around it.
Glenn has spent much of his career travelling the globe taking photos. He said: "I spend so much time abroad, particularly in Africa, that I wanted to do a project on Wales for once. The A470 runs right through its very heart so I decided to spend a few years driving up and down, capturing the scenery and documenting its usage, but also meeting the people who live off it. This shot shows people of all ages cycling through Llandudno right at the very top of the road."
Often Glenn would take shots as he came across them on his travels, but sometimes he would make a point of driving to specific events signposted off the road. Here he is at the Erwood and District Show in Powys. "All kinds of animals were being judged at this county show: horses, cattle, sheep. Whole families were involved but these children really captured my heart. They were so proud of their sheep and I loved the way they looked at them."
In Dolgellau, Gwynedd, Glenn stopped off at The Church of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows to take a photo of Father John Bosco Bukomba, originally from Uganda. "It was wonderful to have a little slice of Africa right here in Wales. I sat through Father Bosco's service and witnessed his typical African friendliness and warmth. He is very popular with tourists and locals alike."
During his travels, Glenn would often stumble across peculiar sites just off the edge of the road. "I drove past this couple in Rhayader, Powys, then turned back to talk to them. I was so perplexed that they were both looking at the sky. It transpired they were from Devon but come to the same spot each year to watch red kites." As Glenn took their photo, there were several kites circling high overhead. "The couple thought it was very funny that I was taking a photo of them, not the kites."
This too was another unexpected sight - albeit a quintessentially Welsh one. "I saw this man hitchhiking with his dog near Llanidloes, Powys, and knew I had to take the picture. The man wasn't very chatty so I've no idea what they were doing." According to Glenn, it was sights like this that reaffirmed to him what a beautiful country Wales is - not just in terms of its landscape but also its people and characters. "People often the criticise the A470 because you can get stuck behind farmers and sheep trucks, but to me, this makes you just slow down and appreciate it all the more."
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This shot was another that caused Glenn to slow down - a couple having their wedding photographs just off the A470 north of Brecon, Powys. "It's not what you expect to see - a bride and a groom on their happy day. Unfortunately for the couple, I think I am probably in the background of quite a lot of their wedding shots. I'll certainly be in the back of this one."
This photo of a woman dancing was taken in Cardiff, where the A470 begins its long journey up through the country. "I had recently taken pictures of rugby fans, big burly men in their shirts, so I found this woman a joyful contrast. I snapped her at the Cardiff carnival. I love the way she is dancing with a scarf on her head; she looks great and it was a really fun day."
After spending so much time on the road, Glenn was determined to find the exact point where the A470 ended. "I asked the police and local people in Llandudno, but no one knew. Then I saw a sign and realised the road actually ended on the beach. I was looking around for a photo to take, then all of a sudden I saw Amy Winehouse and Felipe Rose of the Village People... It was a retirement party and they were all dressed up. It felt like all the stars had turned up to celebrate the end of my book."
Glenn's book Route 47zero is available through his website. His photos have also been chosen to represent Wales in the Lorient Celtic Festival in Brittany, France, in August.