Near Coel­bren, Bre­con Bea­cons, Powys

British Travel Journal - - STEPPING ON SET -

The Falls, nes­tled in the Bre­con Bea­cons, are the high­est in south Wales with a drop of 27 me­tres (89 feet). They oc­cur at a ge­o­log­i­cal fault on the river Nant Llech and are ap­proached through a densely wooded val­ley.

star­ring Chris­tian Bale, Michael Caine, Anne Hath­away and Joseph Gor­don-Le­vitt was filmed at the falls in 2012.

Al­though the en­trance to the ‘bat cave' was at Oster­ley Park and House, the di­rec­tor Christo­pher Nolan wanted the se­cret exit to be spec­tac­u­lar and nat­u­ral. Hen­rhyd Falls ticks those boxes but ob­vi­ously how spec­tac­u­lar it looks de­pends on the weather. The film crew couldn't risk it look­ing any­thing other than a mini Ni­a­gara Falls. It was agreed to al­low them to par­tially dam the river for sev­eral days in or­der to build up a reser­voir of wa­ter to un­leash as the cam­era rolled. The Na­tional Trust worked with the En­vi­ron­ment Agency and the Coun­try­side Coun­cil for Wales to man­age any en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. It was judged to be no dif­fer­ent from hav­ing a wet spell in the sum­mer, hardly un­heard of in Wales. There was also a ‘test day' to see if the de­sired ef­fect was achiev­able.

The wa­ter was held back by a rig of sand­bags and a tim­ber gate to con­trol wa­ter flow. The crew had to walk their kit down a steep foot­path and con­struct the cam­era on site. On the day a di­ver­sion was placed on the foot­path.

Once they were ready and Robin

(Joseph Gor­don-Le­vitt) was in po­si­tion, the com­mand was given: fur­ther up the river, the gate was opened and a tor­rent of wa­ter cas­caded down as if in full spate for about ten min­utes. Al­though the wa­ter­fall was made to look as if it hid a cave en­trance and exit in the film, there is in fact no cave at Hen­rhyd – just a hol­low be­hind the Falls.

Usu­ally such small scenes are shot by the ‘sec­ond unit' (a smaller-sized crew, with­out the main di­rec­tor) and the wa­ter­fall could any­way have been en­hanced with a com­puter, but Christo­pher Nolan likes to do it ‘old school'.

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