Heritage of Wales

Aerial Photography Gallery – Wales from the Air

Aerial photography is one of the most powerful ways to document the changes in the landscape of Wales from earliest times to the modern day. From high above archaeologists can look down on centuries of landscape change, photographing known monuments, discovering long-hidden sites, and providing a new perspective on our cities, towns and built heritage.

The Royal Commission’s aerial photograph archive illustrates the breadth of Welsh culture and landscape, from prehistoric tombs, Iron Age hillforts, Roman towns and medieval castles to country houses, historic docks, wartime defences, and modern architecture. More general views of the Welsh landscape are also available, whether you are looking for limestone coastal scenery, a beach in summer, the Millennium Stadium or the summit of Snowdon. At the National Monuments Record of Wales ‘oblique’ aerial photographs (looking out from a light aircraft) taken by the Royal Commission since 1986 form part of a wider archive of historic (post-1940) oblique and ‘vertical’ photographs (looking straight down from a survey aircraft), showing the changing face of Wales.

This online gallery showcases some of the best aerial imagery from the Royal Commission’s oblique archive, showing not only traditional archaeological sites and landscapes but also more unusual views of Wales’ modern buildings, coastline and landscape.

Discovering the past from the air – cropmarks

  • Cropmark enclosure, Cawrence, Ceredigion. Cropmarks in a ripening summer crop show the clear outlines of the plough-levelled ditches of a pre-Roman, Iron Age defended farmstead. The outer enclosure may have been for keeping stock like sheep and cattle, whilst the inner enclosure, reached by a short, gated passageway (on the left side), was probably reserved for round houses. (Image: DI2005_0139. NPRN:308918)
  • How cropmarks form: From Iron Age farm to low earthwork and then to modern farmland. This sequence illustrates how certain elements of a prehistoric farmstead, particularly the enclosure ditch, defensive rampart and postholes, can survive as below-ground features and effect the way that an arable crop or grassland grows during a dry spring and summer. (Image:DI2006_1443)
  • Dyffryn Lane Henge, Montgomeryshire. 
The long summer drought of 2006 produced very clear cropmarks of this Neolithic henge (bottom right, under excavation) and plough-levelled Bronze Age barrows (circles, centre-left), near Welshpool. The way that the buried ditch of the henge shows as a dark green cropmark, and is also revealed in the excavation trench, is particularly striking. (Image:AP_2006_3363. NPRN:306967)

Each year Royal Commission archaeologists discover long-forgotten sites and monuments from the air. Countless archaeological sites have been lost to agriculture, destruction and erosion in the centuries since they were first built. At ground level nothing may remain to show us the position of prehistoric farmsteads or Roman villas, but beneath the topsoil substantial remains may still survive of buried ditches, wall footings and other features. Crops growing on well-drained lowland soils in dry summers can reveal the shapes and positions of these buried remains through cropmarks.

Cropmarks happen when plants growing over buried archaeological features, like old ditches or postholes, grow taller and greener over the more fertile, damp soil in the holes. Conversely, those growing over buried stonework and walling quickly ripen and turn yellow in response to the shallow soil and lack of nutrients. These differences in summer growth, which can appear like an X-ray of the field, are best seen from the air. In very dry summers, when conditions are exceptional, many hundreds of new cropmark sites can be discovered in the space of just a few months, showing the fundamental contribution aerial photography can make to understanding the archaeology of Wales.

Recording earthworks in low light

A great many archaeological sites in Wales survive as grass-covered ‘lumps and bumps’. Some earthworks are prominent and well preserved, like some medieval mottes (castle mounds) or Iron Age hillforts. Others are far less well preserved. Vestigial earthworks are best photographed under low, raking sunlight to reveal their patterns in light and shadow. During the summer months late evening shadows can provide ideal conditions, but vegetation can obscure some detail. During winter, especially after the first fall of snow, grass and bracken are low and many upland earthworks can be photographed with breathtaking clarity.

The outlines of very faint earthworks become much clearer from the air if photographed in sharp frost or under a light dusting of wind-blown snow. In Wales the amount of new discoveries made during earthwork recording in the hills and mountains is comparable in number to the summer discoveries of cropmarks in lower-lying areas.

  • Tyddyn Mawr coal workings.
This very clear aerial photograph of an area of rural coal workings in central Anglesey was taken under a hard January frost around thirty minutes after sunrise. The workings are surrounded by relict ridge-and-furrow ploughing. (Image: DI2006_0259/NPRN 300520)
  • Gaer Fawr hillfort. A winter view of this large Iron Age hillfort in Ceredigion. Winter sunlight highlights the remains of the main, inturned gateway (centre foreground) and the broad terraced ramparts along the right-hand (north) side of the fort. (Image:DI2006_2003/ NPRN 303579 ).
  • Penally practice trenches, Pembrokeshire: a detailed view from 1995, showing the excellent state of preservation of these near-century-old earthworks and the sawtooth trench lines. Signs can also be seen of other accommodation built into the trench lines, which could include dugouts, strongholds, field hospitals and canteens. In places the Penally trenches are dug through the bedrock, which must have been exceedingly hard work. (Image:DI2006_0374/NPRN 268143 ).

Prehistoric Wales

Without the addition of aerial discoveries our understanding of the nature and extent of early settlement in Wales would be very limited. We know that Wales was intensively farmed and settled from the Neolithic, 6,000 years ago, and thousands of significant ancient monuments have been ‘rediscovered’ since the flying programme began.

  • Gop Cairn. The massive Gop Cairn near Prestatyn in north Wales commands Gop Hill and is believed to have Neolithic origins. In the foreground below the cairn can be seen the Gop Cave. (Image: DI2007_0640/NPRN 306725).
  •  Castell Henllys hillfort. Castell Henllys in Pembrokeshire is an Iron Age fort where reconstructed roundhouses are based on actual excavated evidence. This view from 2003 shows the main gateway (centre-right), with its gateway passage and the positions of recessed guardrooms marked in timber. The site is fully open to the public. (Image: DI2006_1291/NPRN 94989 ).
  • Banc Du prehistoric enclosure. Occupying the summit of a low hill overlooking New Inn in Mynydd Preseli in Pembrokeshire are the remains of an early defended enclosure, first discovered from the air by the Royal Commission in 1990. The enclosure uses steep rocky slopes on the east side as a natural defence, with ramparts completing the circuit on the more level ground to the west and north. It has much in common with causewayed enclosures, a very rare type of monument built during the early Neolithic period. In 2005 a ditch section was excavated, and radiocarbon dates from middle fills of the ditch indicate it was dug by 3,000 BC, confirming late Neolithic occupation. (Image: DI2006_1299/NPRN 308024).

Roman Wales

The Royal Commission holds specialist aerial photographs of sites and landscapes from across Wales. Welsh geology, archaeology, history, industry and architecture are well recorded. Regular photography of Scheduled Ancient Monuments for Cadw also ensures that Wales’ most important heritage sites are featured in our archive.

  • Y Pigwn Roman marching camps. These two overlapping Roman marching camps command a ridge to the east of Llandovery in central Wales. They were built as temporary overnight camps for detachments of Roman troops, pushing into the hill country of central Wales on campaigns between AD 74-8. The Roman earthworks are crossed in the foreground by a line of post-medieval tilestone quarries. (Image:DI2006_0230/NPRN 92004).
  • Forden Gaer Roman fort. Cropmarks (centre-right) show the double-ditched defences and internal street pattern of this major Roman fort which survives in the Welsh borderlands near Montgomery. It commanded a bridging or fording point on the River Severn (at lower left). The fort complex is still under the plough, but summer cropmarks regularly reveal details of the surrounding network of Roman roads, military structures and contemporary rural settlement. (Image: CD2005_613_014/NPRN 94012).
  • Caerleon Amphitheatre. The striking outline of this well-preserved Roman military amphitheatre in south Wales, excavated by Mortimer Wheeler, is highlighted by low autumn sunlight. (NPRN 95650; DI2005_0468).

Medieval castles and defences

Varied examples of castles, fortified country houses and defended moated homesteads of the medieval period survive across Wales. Their strategic locations and general layout can often be shown to advantage in the aerial view.

  • Caernarfon Castle. Caernarfon retains its remarkably intact medieval town defences, complete with towers and the sites of gateways. This aerial view illustrates the strategically strong coastal position of the town and castle. (NPRN 95318; AP_2006_3497).
  • Flint Castle. A winter view of Flint Castle showing its position on the very edge of the tidal mud flats of the River Dee. Its massive circular keep (upper right) was a particularly strong feature of the castle. (NPRN 94448; DI2007_0674).
  •  Talybont Castle, motte. The well-preserved motte (medieval castle mound) of this earth and timber castle sits on a ridge overlooking the M4 motorway near Pontarddulais in south Wales. The outer bailey, the enclosure where houses and workshops would have stood below the castle, has long been plough-levelled. Even so, cropmarks in this aerial photograph show the clear outline of the buried bailey ditch with the site of the main gateway on the far side. (NPRN 303962; DI2006_1779).

Medieval Wales

The surviving structures of the medieval church in Wales, as well as sites of towns and villages, form enduring sights in the landscape.

  • Valle Crucis Abbey, Llangollen. The aerial view of this well-preserved Cistercian abbey near Llangollen shows the ruins of the cruciform abbey church (left), together with the footings of the square cloister to the right. (NPRN 95205; DI2005_0685).
  • Cosmeston medieval village. At Cosmeston, near Penarth in south Wales, a small village of medieval houses has been reconstructed on their excavated foundations to give a vivid sense of their original appearance. (NPRN 406400; DI2007_0247).
  • St David’s Cathedral. By the ninth century St David’s or Menevia was a famous Welsh monastery and a cult centre for followers of the renowned saint. Although the earliest sections of the cathedral date back only to the twelfth century, it is thought likely that the layout of the wall of the medieval cathedral close may have followed the line of the pre-existing religious enclosure. The cathedral sits at the heart of a very old and largely intact close, encircled by a strong wall with fortified gates. The close contains the fine ruins of a once lavish Bishop’s Palace, now a protected ancient monument, and, to the north of the cathedral, a complex of houses and lodgings for the archdeacons and other clerics. (NPRN 306; DI2005_0905).

Country Houses and Parks

Wales has many famous country houses and estates, of which three are shown here. There are contrasts in this type of monument. While Aberglasney has been rediscovered and restored over many years, Gwrych Castle still awaits restoration. Aerial photography remains a particularly effective method of recording historic gardens and estates, because it is able to illustrate not only the main houses and stables, together with other ancillary buildings usually hidden from view, but also the wider context of landscaped grounds and planting schemes with broader views to the world beyond. Historic air photographs capture the great estates of Wales in working order, before post-war dereliction and demolitions altered them forever.

  • Aberglasney house and gardens. The extensively restored and excavated gardens which surround the former ruins of Aberglasney house lie along the Tywi valley in Carmarthenshire, just west of Llandeilo. The aerial photograph from 2002 provides a good overview of the several walled gardens and other elements of this estate. (NPRN 266159; DI2007_0183).
  • Gwrych Castle. The castellated battlements and towers of this nineteenth-century mansion were designed to echo the Edwardian splendour of the north Wales castles, but the castle has long lain derelict awaiting restoration. (NPRN 27250; DI2007_0664).
  • Nercwys Hall, Nercwys. Nercwys is a fine seventeenth-century mansion with many later additions. It sits at the heart of a great estate with walled gardens and other outbuildings. (NPRN 36046; DI2007_0687).

Industries of Wales

Since 1986 the flying programme has recorded the changing face of Wales’ industrial heritage, as well as examples of contemporary architecture and civil engineering.

  • Gorseddau Quarry. These well-preserved slate quarries in north Wales, in the hills north of Porthmadog, demonstrate how waste from the slate workings, exploited in successive galleries, was piled up in tips to either side of the main quarry. Slate for working was then moved down from the quarry via an incline plane and tramways to a fine processing mill at Ynys-y-pandy. (NPRN 40557; DI2006_0252).
  • Halkyn Mine. This view shows the extraordinary remains of lead mining on Halkyn Mountain in north Wales. Lines of mounds, each surrounding a shaft, indicate workings on parallel lodes of lead ore. (NPRN 33941; DI2007_0696).
  •  Stack Square, Blaenavon. Blaenavon Ironworks began production in 1789 and Stack Square was built between 1789 and 1792 to house part of its workforce. It is a U-shaped block, of which the south row is known as Engine Row, with a truck shop at the south-west corner. It was originally known as Shop Square but acquired its more recent name when a boiler stack was built in the middle of the square in 1853. The footings for this  demolished stack can be seen as a masonry square in the centre of the housing. (NPRN 20853; DI2006_0006).

Docks and harbours

Across Wales docks and harbours attest to largely lost industries of shipbuilding, fishing and the export trade. At Cardiff Bay buildings for leisure and government have been redeveloped on the former docksides.

  • Bute West Dock Basin, Cardiff Bay. The shape of the original dock basin can be seen as an infilled oval on the right-hand side of the picture. This 'Oval Basin' is  central to a regenerated docklands landscape at Cardiff Bay, which includes the Assembly Building (upper centre) and the Wales Millennium Centre with its copper roof (centre left). Cardiff Bay (right) has been dammed with a barrage and is no longer tidal, providing sheltered waters for sports and leisure. (NPRN 34288; AP_2006_1847).
  • Newport Transporter Bridge. This splendid and unusual industrial monument in Newport Docks was built in 1906. (NPRN 43157; DI2005_0469).
  • Solva, harbour, Pembrokeshire. Occupying the mouth of the River Solva, Lower Solva is set back from the sea along a narrowing inlet providing excellent sheltered harbourage. This inlet has long been considered advantageous. Solva Head promontory fort (centre right, NPRN 94269) has overlooked the harbour from a promontory to the east since the Iron Age. Solva was once a vibrant fishing and trading port where in its heyday, between c.1750 and the mid-nineteenth century, it was recorded that there were some thirty trading ships, nine warehouses and a population of over a thousand people. Remarkably, emigrants once sailed from here to New York for a single fare of only £3, though they had to carry their own food. (NPRN 33210; DI2006_1684).

Bridges

Bridges link Wales to the south-west of England, across the Severn Estuary, and to the island of Anglesey across the Menai Strait in the north. Our historic aerial archive shows the Second Severn Crossing under construction.

  • Pont Britannia. Pont Britannia was constructed by Robert Stephenson to carry two lines of railway in rectangular wrought-iron tubes across the Menai Strait. It was opened in 1850. In 1970 a fire severely damaged the tubes and the bridge was rebuilt as an arched steel structure, using the original masonry towers. The almost perfect reflection of the bridge, against the turquoise waters of the Menai Strait, caught the photographer's attention in this view. (NPRN 34614; AP_2006_1582).
  • Second Severn Crossing. The line of the Second Severn Crossing, under construction in 1994 with some piers in place and cranes at work on the massive central towers. (NPRN 405; DI2005_0487).
  • Second Severn Crossing. A view of the central section of the Second Severn Crossing, looking towards Wales, with a very low tide on the Severn. (NPRN 405; DI2005_0472).

Towns and Cities

One of the great strengths of the aerial perspective is its ability to bring coherence to complex patterns of buildings or structures which may be difficult or time-consuming to record at ground level. New roads, out-of-town superstores or housing developments can also have a tremendous impact on the overall shape and character of a community. Recording the towns and cities of Wales is an integral part of our flying programme.

  • Wrexham Town Centre. Modern offices and retail outlets, together with a network of roads, roundabouts and car parks, are a world away from the close-knit streets and public spaces of medieval towns. (NPRN 33102; DI2007_0681).
  • Victoria Park, Cardiff. This delightful Victorian park, complete with ornate planting, walks, a bandstand, paddling pool and play area, provides an island of green amidst the rows of terraced houses of downtown Canton. The park is still heavily used by the urban population today. (NPRN 301658; AP_2006_1815).
  • Cardiff Millennium Stadium and city centre. The new Millennium Stadium, seen here with its roof closed, dominates the skyline of central Cardiff. Each of the four masts stands 83 metres above the playing surface. (NPRN 309686; AP_2006_1832).

Seaside Resorts

Wales is famed for its coastline and seaside resorts. While piers at Bangor and Llandudno still attest to Victorian splendour, resorts in other parts of Wales have enjoyed more fluctuating fortunes.

  • Bangor Pier. This narrow, elegant pier strikes out across the shallow, clear waters of the Menai Strait. Built in 1896, it is the longest surviving pier in Wales. (NPRN 34150; DI2005_0811).
  • Llandudno Pier. August sunlight strikes the sea below Llandudno pier, designed by Charles Henry Driver for Brunlees and McKerrow architects and built in stages between 1876 and 1887. (NPRN 34159; DI2005_0775).
  • Rhyl seafront. A view of the modern, redeveloped seafront at this popular seaside resort. (NPRN 33112; DI2007_0702).

Modern Wales

The recording of contemporary architecture and the changing built environment of Wales is central to our national reconnaissance programme. Aerial photographs exist in our archive for most of the major building and civil engineering projects carried out in Wales over recent years.

  • Inmos Factory, Newport. This ultra-modern microchip factory was built in the early 1980s by Richard Rogers on the outskirts of Newport in South Wales. (NPRN 612; AP_2006_1878).
  • Llidiart y Waen Windfarm. An aerial view is one of the few ways to appreciate the layout and extents of large-scale modern windfarms. (NPRN 402078; DI2006_0497).
  • Natural Gas Pipeline, Tavernspite. A view of the Natural Gas Pipeline constructed during the summer of 2006 in Pembrokeshire, west Wales, to carry liquified natural gas between Milford Haven and England. (NPRN 406402; AP_2006_1649).

Mountains and uplands

The mountain scenery of Wales can be immensely evocative and dramatic, as these aerial photographs captured during winter flights demonstrate.

  • Pen-y-fan, cairn, Brecon Beacons. A winter view looking east along the characteristic ridges of the Brecon Beacons in south Wales. Several of the peaks were used for burial in the Bronze Age. (NPRN142199; CD2005_608_005).
  • Nant y Moch Reservoir. A winter view looking south over the Nant y Moch reservoir and dam, along the mountainous upper reaches of the River Rheidol into the heartlands of central Ceredigion. Such a combination of atmospheric conditions, yielding such an extraordinary view of the landscape, can be rare. (NPRN 268169; DI2005_1157).
  • Cadair Idris. Smoke from winter bracken fires around Llynnau Cregennan (far right), in the shadow of Cadair Idris in north Wales, drifts north-east towards the town of Dolgellau, here in dark shadow in the centre-left of the picture. (NPRN 406409; CD2005_605_003).

Lakes

The lakes of Wales often have their own stories and legends linked to mystic tales of healing, as with Llyn y Fan Fach in the Carmarthenshire Black Mountain, or harbour tales of lost cities and water monsters, as with Llyn Tegid/Bala Lake in north Wales. The serenity of Hanmer Mere, in the fertile lowlands of the north-east borderlands, contrasts dramatically with the lakes of upland Wales.

  • Bannau Sir Gaer from Fan Foel. The spectacular mountain scenery of Bannau Sir Gaer in the Black Mountain of Carmarthenshire, looking west under winter snow to Llyn y Fan Fach. The lake has mystical associations linked to the Physicians of Myddfai. (NPRN 84456; DI2007_0199).
  • Hanmer Mere and village. Hanmer Mere in the borderlands of north-east Wales, seen on an exquisite summer's evening with long shadows. (NPRN 268112; DI2007_0655).
  • Llyn Tegid, Bala Lake. The spectacular expanse of Llyn Tegid, striking south-west from Bala in north Wales, has attracted legends of drowned cities and water monsters for centuries. (NPRN 309129; DI2006_1436).

Estuaries

Estuaries form arresting subjects for the aerial photographer and are often fringed with the remnants of coastal industries and former fishing villages.

  • Barmouth & Estuary. An exceptionally clear winter's view along the Mawddach estuary at low tide, near Barmouth in north Wales, with Fairbourne Bar narrowing the mouth of the estuary on the south (right) side. (NPRN 34290; CD2005_605_009).
  • West Williamston quarries. A view looking west along the wooded, muddy reaches of the Daugleddau Estuary in south Pembrokeshire, showing the coastal inlets of the West Williamston stone quarries in the left foreground. The view looks beyond to the industrialised inland waterway of Milford Haven. (NPRN 307165; DI2007_0768).
  • Waterston oil storage, Milford Haven. The Irish Ferries’ Isle of Inishmore cruises along the narrowing waters of the Haven towards Pembroke Dock, passing the former Gulf refinery at Waterston. Returning to Wales from Rosslare, the ferries continue a maritime tradition spanning thousands of years. (NPRN 308937; DI2006_1242).

The Coast of Wales

The battered and weather-torn western coast of Wales has a long history of greeting travellers, saints and merchants, and repelling or assimilating intermittent invaders. To historic seafarers the changing coastline was at the same time full of inviting landing places and treacherous cliffs. Coves and beaches offered impromptu harbours, while larger ports continue to offer some of the best harbourage in the Irish Sea.

  • Aberystwyth from the north. Aberystwyth occupies an advantageous position on the west coast of Wales. Edward I fortified a rocky promontory with a castle and walled town, of which the ruins still stand (furthest point, right). The hill of Pen Dinas, crowned by an Iron Age hillfort, can be seen beyond, overlooking the harbour. (NPRN 33035; AP_2006_2555).
  • Porth Dinllaen. Porth Dinllaen is a small fishing hamlet on a narrow promontory which juts out to sea on the north coast of the Llyn Peninsula. The clear, turquoise waters contrast with the green improved grassland of the golf links on the promontory, formerly home to an Iron Age fort. (NPRN 403435; AP_2006_1555).
  • Dewisland near Whitesands Bay. The considerable antiquity of human occupation of this far-westerly peninsula of Britain cannot be overstated. The monuments and landscapes found here have been visited and praised by numerous early travellers and antiquarians, including George Owen, the Pembrokeshire antiquarian and historian writing in about 1600, the famous archaeologist Sir Richard Colt Hoare, who toured these parts in 1793, and Richard Fenton writing in 1811. The headlands are dotted with megalithic tombs, Iron Age promontory forts and medieval chapels. (NPRN 405266; DI2007_0136).

Rocks and Islands

Wales’ islands are archaeologically very rich, and today some of the larger islands house isolated communities. These images remind us of the perils of navigating around islands, past rocks and currents, guided by a network of coastal lighthouses.

  • Bardsey Island, Ynys Enlli. The narrow isthmus which separates the main island of Bardsey from its southernmost point. This view illustrates the natural harbourage which this bay offers to seafarers on the east side of the island, improved in modern times with the provision of a slipway. (NPRN 402783; AP_2006_1536).
  • South Bishop Lighthouse. In 1839 a lighthouse was established on one of the larger of a treacherous scatter of islets and rocks known as the Bishops and Clerks, about eight kilometres south-west of St David’s Head. In George Owen’s 1603 Description of Pembrokeshire he described the dangerous nature of these offshore rocks thus: ’A seaboord this Iland Ramsey rangeth in order the Bushop and his clearkes…all ways seene at lowe water who are not w’out some small Quiristers, who shewe not themselves, but at spring tydes, and calme seas…The Bushop and those his clerkes preach deadly doctrine to their winter audience.’ (NPRN 126319; DI2006_1178).
  • The Bitches, Ramsey Island. Fierce tidal races through Ramsey Sound seen at The Bitches rocks, Pembrokeshire, make for difficult crossings by boat between Ramsey Island and the mainland. (NPRN 404188; DI2006_1182).

Aerial surprises

In recording Wales from the air one sometimes sees surprising or unusual scenes and events which can form memorable images in the archive. For example, the ‘world map’ made by 1400 pupils of Penglais School, Aberystwyth, was undertaken for a global charity event and photographed by prior arrangement with the Royal Commission as part of a longer archaeological flight. The images in our aerial archive are comprehensive enough to answer most enquiries, and if you are looking for a particular type of image, please ask our experienced enquiry staff at the National Monuments Record of Wales.

  • Garth Fach, rainbow over. As rain clouds moved in to spoil an otherwise sunny autumn flight in central Wales, near Llanwrtyd Wells, a rainbow appeared through the aircraft window, rewarding the photographer with a very rare view. (NPRN 90279; DI2007_0190)
  • Gardens at Penpont. The face of a Green Man peers out from a recently-established formal garden at Penpont, Trallong. (NPRN 301202; AP_2007_1139).
  • Penglais School, Aberystwyth. This striking 'world map', made up of around 1400 pupils on the school sports field, was assembled for a world charity event in April 2007 in which schools across Europe were encouraged to show pupils 'joining up' and forming human chains. As an exceptional event, the Royal Commission agreed to overfly the school to record the striking map before continuing with archaeological reconnaissance elsewhere in Ceredigion. (NPRN 406437; AP_2007_0854).

Aerial Publications

The breadth of the aerial archive at the Royal Commission has been showcased in a number of publications. Most recently, Pembrokeshire: Historic Landscapes from the Air (RCAHMW, 2007) has shown the stories that aerial archaeology can tell about just one of Wales’ counties. Royal Commission aerial photographs formed a significant component of the illustrations for The Archaeology of the Welsh Uplands (RCAHMW, 2003). Both books are still available from our bookshop. Wales from the Air by Chris Musson was published in 1994 as the Royal Commission’s first major treatise on aerial archaeology and the landscape of Wales. It is now out of print, but still available to buy from selected second-hand booksellers and to borrow from libraries.