"get away from it all"

Croeso / Welcome

Our four luxury courtyard holiday cottages are set in 8-acres of private land and gardens in an idyllic countryside location near the market town of Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd, North Wales.

The cottages are decorated and furnished to the highest specifications and are perfect for “getting away from it all” holidays in peaceful surroundings, benefiting from a children’s playground, barbecue areas and private parking. The coastal resorts of Pwllheli and Nefyn, many stunning beaches, pubs/restaurants and shopping facilities are all within a 10-minute drive. The Snowdonia National Park is within a 30-minute drive.

Ideal for larger families and group of friends who enjoy holidaying together whilst still enjoying their own privacy. Bed linen, gas, electricity and Wi-Fi is included in the price, as is full use of our extensive kitchen garden, seasonal herbs, fruit and vegetables. Strictly no smoking in the holiday cottages please. Small pets welcome by prior arrangement.

Geraint Jones

Green Tourism – Recycling old timber

What does it mean to be green , truth is it means something different to every single one of us. To some its investing in a new electric vehicle, to some its doing away with a vehicle altogether, to others is food miles or solar panels. We are all different. But if we all do something, think about our actions then it will all help us to develop a fulfilling, sustainable community environment. We here at Rhosydd Bach have always embraced sustainability and the environment. Having been brought up in the countryside of Pen Llŷn, it was something we always did, foraged for food, collecting berries, fungi, stealing apples. Harvesting game, rabbits etc. Rather than buying something new, have a look round to see if there something we can repurpose.

So as you can see being sustainable comes as second nature. Don’t get me wrong, we could do a lot more and we have plans in place to do so but we will always d those little things that helps make a difference.

A few weeks ago we build a small gate entrance with recycled rails , posts and timber. The only new things were screws and wood stain.

Here is a small video documenting the process.

There are so many things we could all do to help being sustainable, many of them saving us money.

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Green Tourism – Small things make all the difference

Old teapots

I came across a novel idea recently, how many of you have old teapots in the back of the cupboard, redundant, never to see the light of day ever again. How about turning them in to nesting boxes for our wildlife. They could be hung in a sheltered spot and would make an awesome art instillation in a sheltered copse of trees. Could be attached to a fence somehow in your garden, make sure they are high enough so as the local cat population does not utilise it as the latest takeaway.

Reuse, repurpose and recycle – it todays climate of waste, this one little thing you can take action on to help nature and the environment.

Just think about it, its rot proof and has its own build in drainage system.

Some garden centers are actually selling teapot nesting boxes now for a lot more money than the teapot itself.

They are ideal for Robins , as they love an open but sheltered nesting site. So have a rummage through the back of your cupboards , ask your grandmother or pick up some cheap teapots at the local car boot sale.

Summer Holidays Here at Rhosydd Bach

Its been a busy summer here at Rhosydd Bach, most of my time being taken up with grounds maintenance, improvements and marketing.

If you are still looking for a getaway then we still have a few weeks left .

please have a look at our website www.rhosyddbach.co.uk for further details.




Traeth y Graig Ddu- Black Rock Sands

Here are some photos of the beach and surrounding areas at this very popular spot.

The dune system

The wind being an artist
Low water
World war two tank traps
A busy day
Quiet day on the beach

Cei Tyddyn Isa

Cei Tyddyn Isa 

It was a  glorious day in late February so after a quick lunch we decided to make the most of this beautiful day and head out there for an exploration of sorts,I had something in  mind and when both the leads were taken down the dogs shared the same excitement. I’m sure both Nel and Rosie have psychic abilities.

We were heading towards Penrhyndeudraeth to find the Old dock  ‘Cei Tyddyn Isa’, an old 17th century dock used in the slate industry.

Rucksack sorted, coffee made, dogs bouncin around with excitement, we got in the car and made our way towards the Dwyryd estuary. Having researched this place, looking at maps it was getting obvious that there was not an easy, marked path to find the quay, so it was looking like a good proper afternoon of exploration.

Starting point was a layby just about a mile outside of Penrhyndeudraeth, first bend to the right, old cottage on the left and pull over just after. Rucksack on, dogs out and then to cross the road, this was a challenge in itself as it was pretty much a blind bend and no speed restrictions. Mission accomplished and then we followed a small path down through some fields, up again and found another tarmac lane. Now this was confusing as I thought I would have been on the edge of the river and somewhat puzzling as I had no idea whatsoever where this road had come from or where it was going. It was on the map as a track.This was another project for later on, to find the entrance to this track.

There was no obvious way so after heading right for 500 metres we decided it was the wrong way so we headed left instead. Still not clear , but saw a tiny path on the edge of a wood which was heading towards the river’s edge so thought ‘why not’, 100 metres and we could see the Dwyryd, Bingo!, on the right track at last. A very pleasant walk on the edge of a wooden clad hill, very flat so I presumed this was the base for the old tram line where slates were transported from Blaenau down to the river’s edge.

The first thing that hits you is the size of the quay itself. The structures are still there today, most being intact, huge well built stonework. 23 sets of steps for loading, 10 metres between each set of steps, all straight as a die. A few stones are missing but considering it was built in the late 18th century, it is still pretty remarkable. There are also  two buildings , one a small simple hut and the other a more grand boathouse type of building.

 Before Porthmadog was even dreamt up by Lord Madocs the quarries at Ffestiniog were producing many tonnes of slate roofing tiles.

They were transported down from Ffestiniog by packhorse to the Quay at Tyddyn isa, a few miles below the bridge at Maentwrog. They were then loaded into small local barges, some had sails and oars, and operated by local men, commonly known as ‘Philistines’, and then floated out on the tide to awaiting ships on the bar. Some accounts say this to be far side of Ynys Cyngar, others say just outside  ‘Ty powdr’ – the powder house on the point. 

This practice finally died out in 1860’s after the development of Porthmadog harbour.

 From the south side it looks like a castle wall, this is due to the steps between the walls. 

Wood and lime was also transported .

The site of this remarkable piece of riverside against the backdrop of the river Dwyryd is quite amazing and well worth the effort to find the place. After taking plenty of photos, drinking coffee we made our way back up the way we came and back to the car. Dogs and owners looking forward to a short rest , task for the day completed we headed back to Rhosydd HQ .

It’s a walk well worth doing and if you want to make it a longer one then I’m sure it’s possible to follow the river down to Bont Briwet and back up through the woodland , this would make a fantastic circular walk, one for the summer maybe. 

Thank you for reading


Eglwys St Tanwg

Church of St Tanwg

Llandanwg is just the other side of Harlech(south) . Just follow the signs, turn right and follow the road to the bottom. Church is open during the day.

This lovely ancient church is dedicated to St Tanwg who may have founded it. It is thought to date back to 435 AD and is one of the oldest christian foundations in Britain and perhaps the oldest with a continuous Christian history.

Llanganwg at that time was one of the key anchorages in North Wales for reaching Ireland.

It is thought it was founded as part of St Patrick’s communication systems between Britain and Ireland.

The original church on the site is thought to be much smaller and built from stones off the beach, oak timbers and thatch. The remains of the original church may be under the present floor.

The present building is thought to have its roots in the early middle ages late 5th – 10th Century where it was developed over the years with. 

In 1839 a new church was built in Harlech and by 1845 the church was only being used for burials. A few years later the roof collapsed and created substantial damage and it said that local fishermen then used it to dry their nets. There is confusion over when the last burial was performed . The last burial is recorded as Lewis Thomos on 14th July 1884 and the general register closed in 1903 , However there is also a note that Emily Jones was buried in 1921 in  a separate register for Llandanwg.

In 1884 The Society for the Protection of  Ancient Buildings stated their intention to re roof the building but due to lack of funds this did not happen until after 1890. Further work was done before and after World War ll . In 1879  a major preservation project was completed thanks to the initiative of the parishioners. In 2006 the  bell cradle was renewed and in 2008  the original steps  to the church were removed and new pathways laid to improve access. 

Inside there are some stones of great historical interest .

Ingenvus stone – 8’ long , 5th Century pillar stone , being the 2nd largest stone of its date in Britain. Thought to come from the Wicklow hills in Ireland.

Equester stone  – 6th Century 

West Gable stone – part of a gravestone built into the west gable, above the door  7th – 9th Century.

Stone Cross  – thought to be a focal point in the churchyard  9th Century.

The Gerontius stone – a pillar stone 5 ‘6 high  from the early 6th Century.

Ellis Wynne was the rector of Llandanwg from January 1705 until 1711 when he moved to Llanfair. He died in 1734 and was buried at Llanfair. His infant son and wife are buried at Llandanwg. His birthplace is Las Ynys, Harlech , just a short distance up the road.

Today’s church.

These days numerous services are held in the church including  Christenings, Christmas morning, New year, flower festivals. A wedding was held on the 29th August 1992 and 22nd July 1995 , both by special permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury. First weddings for over a century.

Numerous weddings are now conducted following the church regaining its licence in 2000.

It’s a lovely little church and well worth the drive over there. Awesome walk on the beach to follow and a lovely little cafe which serves lovely coffee, gluten free cakes and awesome pasties. The car park is Gwynedd owned and its pay and display.

Spring is on its way

Spring is getting close to springing here on Pen Llyn, here are some photos from the past few weeks .

Christmas at Penrhyn Castle

A winter visit to Penrhyn Castle.

As most of us this time of the year, we all love visiting, we all agree to go or we are dragged along to the various fantastic pre-Christmas festivities and fairs up and down the country, myself included.

I fall into the category of ‘love’, I must admit now that both children are officially adults the magic of Christmas does not shine as bright as it used to, maybe I drag myself out to these events to charge the batteries.

In any case, today’s little escapade was a little visit to see Penrhyn Castle’s ‘Victorian Christmas’. Penrhyn Castle does have a place in my heart, not because it is a fantastic beast of a mock castle, but I do love it, awesome grounds, stunning views but because it is a very important piece of history for us in North Wales and a fine example of exploitation of workers and their rights over the years.

Still an impressive building and a fine example of how you can spend an awful amount of money on property and indulgence, a fine example of ‘upstairs and downstairs’, I urge every single one of you to visit it at some point.

They are normally closed over the winter months but the last few years they have been opening the property, be it only a limited section, to portray how Christmas used to be in the Victorian times. Wreath making in the kitchens, various Christmas trees and the drawing room was full of traditional toys from a train set to board games, and guides were on call to explain the weird and wonderful traditions of the time. There was even a magician there playing sleight of hand, maybe their opulence extended to entertainers for the big day, who knows.

Another of Penrhyn Castle’s best kept secrets is its wonderful grounds, again visited many a time over the warmer months but strangely enough never during winter, a good reason for this maybe because its closed….

The display of our late autumn colours, or as those over the other side of the world would say ‘the fall’, was still generating a fantastic display of reds, oranges, yellow, russet, and many more superb  shades of autumnal colours with many of the leaves still holding strong to the trees, like a mother refusing to abandon her young.

It was a lovely warm day, walking around the various paths and dreaming that we were exploring and enjoying our gardens back in the day, the vision of some of these gentry was awe inspiring despite their characters and background and no one can deny their influence on the way we perceive gardens and the countryside as we know it today.

The garden as it appears today was conceived by George Hay Dawkings Pennant in 1822- 1838, developed and implemented to match the grandeur of his ‘Penrhyn Castle’.

Walter Speed was the head gardener between 1835 – 1921 and he served three consecutive Lord Penrhyn’s over the period of 58 years. I’d love to see a football manager with that dedication and length of service. He had a staff of 30 and the estate was very much self sufficient in seasonal fruit and vegetables. They had separate greenhouses for grapes, pineapples, nectarines, figs, peaches and mushrooms, the list is endless.

It is said that his lordship insisted on fresh tomatoes for 12 months of the year, this was done with a complex set up including various greenhouses and heated cold frames, not an easy task, I’m sure, especially 2 centuries ago.

For me one of the highlights of the grounds is the magnificent walled garden which strangely enough is quite a walk from the house, even today it is pretty impressive with its terraces, steps and water features. Fuchsias now fill the box hedges and flowers where the vegetables used to be, crunchy gravel paths to die for. There is a magnificent long archway at the bottom with fuchsias trained over it, must be lovely in summer, oh , what opulence.

Below the terrace is the bog garden, with dozens upon dozens of the fantastic but rather strange Gunnera Manticata growing, flanked with Japanese maples, eucalyptus, palms, pampas grass and bamboo. Now all cut down for the winter ready to spring back into action during the warmer months.

The staff had put together a huge Christmas wreath from their very own stock of vegetation and had set it up ender the gazebo for us mere mortals to take a selfie, to be fair it was a very nice touch.

We ambled back up to the house thinking to ourselves ‘I wander what the cook will have for us tonight’ maybe some exotic fancy roasted bird, some foir groix or however you spell it, what a life it must have been. The reality for us it was a lovely cup of coffee in the cafe and some magnificent cake, hat off to cook, be it today or 150 years ago.

If you are reading this and, in the area, then please visit this gem of a place, be it Christmas, Summer, Autumn or Winter.

Well time to get back home and back to reality.

Ger xxx

FFynon Cybi

Well, here I am again , been a few months since I have posted one of my blogs and I know I must make more of an effort.

In any case it was a lovely Friday afternoon, sun shining low trough the study window so I said to myself, come on Ger, get yourself out there for an explore, looked at Crazy Nel and she agreed, mind you when shaking the lead she would agree to anything…… destination Ffynon Cybi.

Ffynon Gybi is situated in the most tranquil of valleys behind the wonderful church of Saint Cybi beneath Garn Bentyrch in the Village of Llangybi. It is a holy well and the only well in Llyn to be granted grade 1 listed status and is in the care of CADW. There is some confusion about the original date of the well , Lord Harlech suggests that is dates from the early Christian period (Illustrated regional guides to North Wales vol 1) CADW is more cautious with dating quoting is as being ‘this building is of indeterminate date’ . RCAHMW maintains that the whole site dates from the mid 18th century.

You can reach it one of two ways, one by the footpath by the main junction in the road and follow the paths across the fields and down to the river, the other by following the footpath through and around the lovely church. As you see the river then you will see an old stone walkway acting as a bridge and a stone path leading to the well itself.

There are two buildings, both adjoining , the first one being the well itself and the second being the cottage, walk inside and you will see a sunken pool surrounded by a narrow walkway with recesses sunken in the wall, these acted as seats, and steps leading down to the pool itself. Behind the main building is a smaller building where the spring rises and flows through into the main chamber. It then flows out down a ditch in to another building about 50 yards away , this being a latrine(toilet) where the waste was swilled down to the river.

Cottage itself must originally have had an attic as well as a fireplace, the well was renowned for curing all sorts of illnesses and guests used to stay in the cottage, bathe in the well, drink is water as well as drinking local seawater for up to 10 days at a time .Tales used to say that an eel lived in the well and would wrap itself around the legs of the ill, eel are reputed only to live in the cleanest and purest of waters, some also say that the eel was once caught and with it all the healing powers disappeared too.Another tale is that local girls used to visit the well and consult its waters as to suitability and virtue of their prospective lovers. They dropped their handkerchiefs in the water and if it moved south then the gentlemen were honest and honourable in their intentions, if it moved north then they were to be avoided. Water was also used for baptism in the local church.(further info can be forum in the fantastic book – The Ancient Wells of Llyn by Rolan Bond)

Eglwys Ynyscynhaearn

It was a lovely day and having been busy on cottage improvements for the past 6 weeks I really had to get out exploring. I have recently been reading a fantastic book about Porthmadog – Slate , Sail and Steam by John Idris Jones and was intrigued by a description of James Spooner’s burial site in a medieval church called Eglwys St Cynhaearn or more commonly known as Ynyscynhaearn in Pentrefelin. Now, I know the area very well and know of no church in Pentrefelin, I got the maps out and started searching, nothing, put a few random searches in on google, nothing much coming up, found the name St Cynhaearn and bingo, some results about this fantastic church but nothing about how to get to it. I was thinking to myself, why is this such a well kept secret, this does build even more interest and intrigue within one self, back to the maps and found a path that led down to a historical monument on a mound, well I thought to myself, this must be it.

Is it not strange how little you know about a village you pass on a weekly if not daily basis. How there is a church you have never heard of there How there is a 3.5 mtr high standing stone set in now what is tarmac on the footpath known as Maenhir Pentrefelin, with a cross and the date 1791 carved in to it , it is believed to be much earlier mind you. How there is no parking whatsoever.

I managed to find a small lane adjacent to a small housing estate and de camped there, parked up, rucksack out, crazy Nel out, lead on and away we go. We headed down the main road for a few hundred yards, I knew where the path was so not to bad, crossed the road came to the public footpath sign and then turned off. To my amazement we had a tarmac road all the way down. We had good old fashioned pasture land both sides of the road interwoven with some trees and scrubland, blackthorn was starting to show it white glory and the gorse was a lovely, summery shade of yellow dancing in spring sun. We were walking on the remains of an ancient causeway which lead down to an island known as Ynyscynhaearn, the surrounding land is all very low lying and used to be a lake fed by a river with brackish water, in the 19th century the river was diverted and a shale bank developed thus draining the lake and cutting it off from the sea, when you glance over to the right you can still see the marshland and the road makes so much more sense when you imagine it being surrounded by water. What a sight it must have been then, all those years ago. On stormy, wild days it was very difficult to get to the church at times.

As you approach closer first thing you notice is the sense of solitude and sanctuary within this small church yard flanked by some mature trees and a lovely stone wall enclosing it, it really does look like an island in the middle of a sea of green grass by now. The first real feeling of the magnificent history of this place is when you approach the timeless lynch gate that grants you access into the churchyard, when looking at it in detail you can imagine if not hear the dozens of churchgoers, be it on foot or horseback making their way down the causeway. As you open the well worn gate and head through it suddenly hits you that this is a the final resting place for many people from local wealthy landowners, bards, businesspeople, sea captains as well as the local, more humble farm workers. One thing is certain about death, it certainly is a great leveler, yes some graves are more grand than others but they are all graves.

Services ended at Ynyscynhaearn in 1983 but it is still remains consecrated and was taken under the wing of the Friends of friendless churches in 2003. It is listed as a grade II by Cadw. Records show that there was a church on the site during the 7th century, nave from the 12th century, north transept added during the 16th century and the south during the 17th, it was partially rebuilt to what we can now see in 1832.

From the outside the church itself is a very pretty little thing if being quite plain and simplistic in design , but once you open the heavy wooden door then it all changes from then. Now I am no expert on churches and church architecture but even to me its clearly obvious that this is special and quite different form your run of the mill estate church. Many notable figures involved with the booming slate industry during the 1800’s had links with the church so maybe some money was spent on it during its rebuild. First thing that hit me was the three decked pulpit on the right hand side of the building, then the fine array of stained glass windows. As you approach the fabulous alter you notice the wonderful painted floor, still intact today. ‘No organ’ I thought to myself, how can a church be without organ , then I turned around to see the most remarkable organ situated on the first floor gallery above the entrance in the west gallery, apparently its a Flight and Robson chamber organ, not that it means much to me . Another interesting feature is the tiered pews in the North transept with the names of all the local estate owners carefully painted on to them , everyone had their seats. I could go on about various features but if you are interested in its history then please look it up yourself. There is a fantastic piece on it called ‘Four Graves at Ynyscynhaearn’ by Gary Hill, do a search on google for it.

The graveyard itself is fascinating with so much history there, the final resting place for some notable people such as

James Spooner and his family – founder and developer of the Ffestiniog railway.

Dafydd Owen(Dafydd y Garren Wen – local Harpist and composer.

John Ystumllun(Jac Black) – a young boy who was brought to Ystumllyn as a slave but soon integrated in to local society learning to speak both welsh and english, married locally and was an accomplished horticulturist, his bloodline still live on.

Robert Isaac Jones (Alltud Eifion) – Famous pharmacist, inventor of many famous pills and potions as well as being a very well known bard.

John Williams(Ioan Madog) – Local Bard.

Ellis Owen – Local farmer and very talented writer of welsh poetry.

I spent the following hour exploring the graveyard and imagining these people going around their daily lives. One thing that did surprise me was the amount of people living well in to their 80’s during the 17th & 18th Century, this small part of Wales must have been a very happy and healthy place to live in .

We closed the door behind us and myself and Crazy Nel starter our short journey back up the now tarmacked causeway just wondering to ourselves about the lives of the locality over the years, it’s easy to see these things through rose tinted glasses, one thing I do believe in though, it might have been a tough and hard life, but I do think people were much more content with their lives back then.

What a wonderful journey I thought to myself, Nel agreed waging her tail, but that might have been the interest she showed in my chocolate Bounty .

till next time …..

Note. The church is funded and looked after by the ‘friends of the friendless churches’, look them up, there are a few places on there no matter where you live, they do sterling work to maintain these wonderful snapshots in time. If you have time then please subscribe to them and help fund their work.