"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.

local history

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

Ger 

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.

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.