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The feature below was first shown on my website on 4 January 2004

John Ball

Images of Wales



Where's that?? - locate Bethlehem and the Black Mountain on a map of South Wales.


To Bethlehem via the Black Mountain, Carmarthenshire

Photography by John Ball - 4 January 2004
(with a Fuji FinePix S602 Zoom digital camera)

I recently decided to visit the tiny village of Bethlehem in the Carmarthenshire parish of Llangadog. The purpose of my visit was to explore the 200-year-old Bethlehem Independent Chapel and its graveyard. The route from my home to Bethlehem took me over the 616-metre (2000-foot) Black Mountain, at the western end of the Brecon Beacons mountain range. I set out in low cloud and mist, but climbed above the clouds during the ascent of the Black Mountain.

This two-page Images of Wales feature combines spectacular views from near the summit of the Black Mountain with a photographic exploration of the mist-shrouded Bethlehem Chapel and its graveyard.


Page 1 (below)                   Page 2


Views from the Black Mountain

The first three pictures were taken during the ascent of the south side of the Black Mountain at around 9:30 in the morning. The sun had risen, but the valleys were filled with dense mist.

Black Mountain view
Above: View south towards Brynamman, Cwmllynfell, and Ystalyfera [my home in 2004].

Black Mountain view
Above: View to the south southwest.

Black Mountain view
Above: View southwest. Mountain sheep stray onto the A4069 road from Brynamman.

The next three pictures were taken during the descent of the north side of the Black Mountain at around 9:40 am. The landscape here was in the shadow of the mountain and the mist lingered all day.

Black Mountain view
Above: View north northeast to the Tywi Valley. Llandovery is hidden in the mist.

Black Mountain view
Above and below: Views north showing the northern foothills of the Black Mountain.
Black Mountain view


Bethlehem Independent Chapel

The chapel is a few hundred yards south of Bethlehem village. The mist was still very much in evidence, but the atmosphere was clear enough to allow photography.

Bethlehem Chapel
Above: The south-eastern aspect of Bethlehem Chapel and the entrance to its graveyard.

Bethlehem Chapel
Above: The south corner of the chapel. This end of the chapel, possibly a vestry and/or schoolroom, appears to be a later extension.

Bethlehem Chapel
Above: Wall plaque indicating the chapel was first built in 1800 and rebuilt in 1834.

Bethlehem Chapel
Above: North corner of the chapel, viewed from the graveyard.

Continue the exploration of Bethlehem Chapel graveyard on Page 2

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Details of each website feature (for newcomers) Direct links to each website feature (for regulars) Advance news of new developments on my website Summary of all the latest updates Gateway to Welsh Family History Archive Help for those having problems accessing my website A link to the main 'gateway' page to my entire website