BUNKHOUSE


At the head of a hideaway valley near the River Tanat, in that charming but little known stretch of mid-Wales lying between historic Offa’s Dyke and the rugged magnificence of Snowdonia, stands the ancient farmhouse of Foel Ortho set in stunningly beautiful countryside.

On the thousand foot contour, nestling into the Powys hillside, this historic home – one of the few remaining ‘cruck buildings’ in Wales – affords spectacular views stretching twelve miles across to the Berwyn mountains while behind the house the pre-Roman track Llwybr Heulen (Helen’s Way) winds up to Clawdd Mawr, the once-fortified Celtic earthwork.

Hidden away in the hillside garden you may discover the Follies – the much filmed, photographed and adored fantasy world of colour, shape and sound, created over the last forty years by jazz trumpeter Eddie Matthews – surely the ultimate escape from all known stresses and strains.

 


Inside the Bunkhouse

 

Warm & cozy bunkhouse in the mountains. Great drying room, comfy bunk beds, DVD, music player & well equipped modern kitchen, 2 big showers, 2 loos, sleeps 8 (max 12). Please see photos and info for exact spec before booking – we aim to please!

After washing the mud off your boots………..come into the Bunkhouse. It was built probably in the 17th century as an outhouse to Foelortho farm and has been used for the last forty years as a log and timber store and overflow dormitory for visitors who were prepared to rough it.

Now reinforced with stronger walls and a slate roof it’s been magically transformed into self contained, self catering Bunkhouse accommodation ideal for groups of walkers, cyclists, canoeists, bird watchers, scouts, guides, photographers, painters, musicians……………

The magic expands – what appeared from the outside to be a small stone box becomes a ‘Tardis’ when you enter. Everything is in place for welcoming home an intrepid group of hungry adventurers, wet and exhausted from some demanding outdoor pursuit. There’s a place for rucksacks, a cosy drying room (eqipped with a radiator, de-humidifier, and extractor fan) for sopping wet cagouls and footwear plus dry and lockable accommodation for bikes and whatever.

Step through into a warm, smartly tiled lobby and decide on a wash or a shower. The wet room’s warm and snug with two showers, two washbasins, a dividing curtain and an extractor fan. The toilet is separate and equipped with its own corner wash basin, radiator and extractor.The super-efficient Combi boiler gives you all the hot water you could possibly want, and also powers five radiators. Even with snow and ice outside, this little home in the hills is as warm as toast – truly a ‘bunkhouse heaven’.

Now slip into your indoor shoes and, helping yourself to a magazine (or a newspaper or a map) from the shelving on the Mezzanine floor, climb another five steps for a complete surprise. Mouths drop open at the sight of the modern equipment in this tastefully designed kitchen area. Facilities like the integrated fridge, microwave/oven, gas hob, sink unit, electric kettle, toaster and all the crockery and cutlery make it a pleasure to prepare and serve a tasty meal for ten, while three sets of dimmable halogen lights can transform the whole space into a sophisticated lounge.

The dining table’s a great place for friendly, relaxed conversation, serving also as a place for poring over maps while planning tomorrow’s adventure, as a card table or merely as a prop for your elbows while you have a laugh and a chat. In this relaxed atmosphere and with such comfy mattresses laid out on the carpet, you won’t be talking too far into the night. Please ensure to bring your favorite pillow and sleeping bag or sheet & duvet for the best night’s sleep possible! We provide the mattress protector. 

Outside the Bunkhouse

 

Stunning fifteen mile panorama from the doorstep, bike or walk in the quiet mountains with buzzards high above. Or pop down to the friendly village shop & pub.

There’s much to see when you step out of the Bunkhouse. Firstly the stunning views all round – the twin Berwyn mountain peaks of Mynydd Mawr and Gyrn Moelfre framed between the rolling sides of the Nant y Brithyll valley, and behind you, Foel Knoll, down from whose summit, some 500 years ago, the granite and stone would have been sledged down to build the Farmhouse and Bunkhouse.

Leading from the Bunkhouse a concealed, winding staircase entices you up to The Follies, the much filmed, photographed and adored fantasy world of colour, shape and sound created over the last forty years by jazz trumpeter Eddie Matthews – surely the ultimate escape from all known stresses and strains.

What better place to ease the mind and body after a day of intrepid team building on some remote mountain top or of hurtling down precipitous forest tracks or scanning the wilderness all day in pursuit of that elusive Red Kite.

You may well get a wave from any car that passes you and maybe an offer of a lift. Happily, city ways have not yet reached these parts. The same friendliness is to be found in The Railway Inn where, over a pint of local ale or a local steak you soon lose any sense of time, urgency or stress.

Take a five minute drive west to Llangynog, noting on your right the ‘hanging valley’ left perched above the retreating mass of a glacier during the last Ice Age.

Dwarfed by towering masses of granite and slate this village was, in the 18th and 19th centuries, Europe’s largest lead mining area. The extension to Llangynog of the Tanat Valley Railway (2) in 1904 was unable to arrest its gradual decline.

High above the disused quarries there still remain many traces of Craig Rhiwarth, the large Celtic Hill Fort from which, until his eventual defeat by Scapula, Caratacus (Caradoc) King of the Ordovices launched successful resistance to Roman occupation.

A few miles to the west of Llangynog, hidden away at the head of a valley stands the Shrine Church of St. Melangell (3), a tranquil, spiritual place to which anyone seeking peace of mind should pay a visit, as pilgrims have done for many hundreds of years.

 

FARMHOUSE


Amongst mediaeval oak galleries, historic cruck beams & secret places behind bookcases, Wi-Fi, DVD, Jacuzzi, en-suite bedrooms & well equipped modern kitchen.

Discovered in 1967 with the help of two friendly rock stars the farmhouse had been empty for four years and was almost derelict, with no electricity, a roof full of holes, one cold tap and a somewhat off-putting lav far away up the garden path.

Now, as a result of forty-two years of student and child slave labour, the scraping together of every penny from a million lectures and gigs and the focussing of family enthusiasm bordering on the manic, we’ve finally made it ‘with a little help from our friends’ and had a load of laughs on the way.

In the early years, most of the rooms being big and airy, we often froze in our beds but since the advent of full central heating in 1986, the whole house can be as cosy as you want.

 


Inside the Farmhouse

 

Amongst medieval oak galleries, historic cruck beams & secret places behind bookcases, Wi-Fi, DVD, Jacuzzi, en-suite bedrooms & well equipped modern kitchen.
Discovered in 1967 with the help of two friendly rock stars the farmhouse had been empty for four years and was almost derelict, with no electricity, a roof full of holes, one cold tap and a somewhat off-putting lav far away up the garden path.
Now, as a result of forty-two years of student and child slave labour, the scraping together of every penny from a million lectures and gigs and the focussing of family enthusiasm bordering on the manic, we’ve finally made it ‘with a little help from our friends’ and had a load of laughs on the way.
In the early years, most of the rooms being big and airy, we often froze in our beds but since the advent of full central heating in 1986, the whole house can be as cosy as you want.
Here’s the nitty-gritty of each room:
Maximum numbers for comfortable sleeping – 15 / 17
Master Bedroom Suite: (split level and with its own staircase): king-size bed, chest of drawers, clothes rail, bathroom with WC, full-size jacuzzi bath with shower, and double wash basins. (2)
Blue Bedroom (aka Farmhands bedroom) (split level): Two 4’6 double beds, one above the other, the lower one canopied. Chest of drawers, shelves and clothes rail. Small wash basin with shaver point. Ensuite shower room with WC, wash-basin with shaver point and adjoining clothes cupboard. (4)
East Wing Bedroom 4’6 brass bed, chest of drawers and clothes rail, ensuite shower room with WC and double wash basins. (2)
Baronial Bedroom (aka Old Bedroom) Two single beds or superking bed. Wash basin. (2)

Library Bedroom (off Lounge on Ground floor). Double bed with single bunk above, plus optional folding bed. Ensuite shower room with WC and wash basin. (3 / 4)
Secret Bedroom A cunningly concealed box-room with double bunk beds. The top one is 4’ by 6’ and the lower one, ideal for Hobbits, is 4’ by 5’. (You’ve got to find it yourself) (2)
Marble Palace(aka the DVD Room) A south-facing conservatory with its own staircase.
The Elspeth Gallery Two full bookcases and two comfy armchairs.

Downstairs
Kitchen Well equipped with 2-door Aga cooker, ceramic hob electric cooker, large fridge, dishwasher, microwave and capacious cupboards, working surface and drawers. Room too for recycling. (For freezer see Boot Room). Great views of garden, and of woodpeckers and friends at the hanging feeder.
Cegin Fawr (aka Dining Room) The old oak refectory table seats 12, or with extension, 16. Charming Welsh dresser contains the cutlery and some crocks, while the white painted version next to it cunningly houses the hi-fi equipment. Bring your own iPod or browse our CDs. A log stove is on hand to provide extra atmosphere and should you wish for a cabaret or other dramatic production while you eat, the minstrel’s gallery above you offers the ideal stage.
Cruck Hall (aka Music Room) Plenty of relaxing room to appreciate the Eavestaff piano and the hi-fi which controls from the dining room.
4 sets of speakers, for this area plus dining room, lounge and kitchen, and to contemplate the 1490 cruck wall, mentioned in Pevsner.
Parlwr (aka Lounge) Five very comfortable armchairs and an Esse Dragon woodburning stove . In the drawers of the 17th century oak chest you’ll find Scrabble, packs of cards, chess, and dominoes, plus the dictionary and many other books of course. If you need the lounge extra snug, don’t forget you can create walls with the curtains.
Garden Room (aka Breakfast Room) This has stunning views down the valley, and is good for relaxing over coffee, watching the buzzards as they quarter the valley, or for children to do drawing activities.
Buttri (aka Laundry) This utility room where butter was made up to the 1950’s now houses the washing machine, tumble-drier, Barnes airer for line drying, 6ft long clothes rail for coats etc. iron and ironing board and Belfast sink (excellent for bathing babies). Also peg bag if you want to hang washing on the line up the garden.
Boot Room A good place to keep wellies and wet gear, it also houses a wonderful 1937 Frigidaire and a modern deep freeze.
Lavatories (aka Loos, toilets) There are six of these littered around the house so even those of you operating on the shortest fuse should seldom be caught out.

Outside the house

Amazing mountain bike / MTB / walk / walking in the quiet mountains with buzzards high above, or pop down to the friendly village shop & pub.  Stunning fifteen mile panorama from the doorstep.

There’s much to see when you step out of the Farmhouse. Firstly the stunning views all round – the twin Berwyn mountain peaks of Mynydd Mawr and Gyrn Moelfre framed between the rolling walls of the Nant y Brithyll valley, and behind you Foel Knoll from whose summit of hewn granite was sledged, some 500 years ago, the stone to build the farmhouse and its outbuildings.

A gentle walk beyond the Bunkhouse and up the farm track passing the new barn and yard brings you to a minor road perched on the side of the valley which you can follow down to the village, stopping frequently to admire the roadside profusion of wild flowers and the aerobatic grace of buzzards.

You may well meet a couple of neighbours on horseback and if it’s ‘rush hour’ maybe a car or even two. You’ll get a wave or an offer of a lift. Happily, city ways have not yet reached these parts. The same friendliness is to be found in The Railway Inn where, over a pint of local ale or a superb lamb shank you soon lose any sense of time,  urgency or stress.

Take a five minute drive west to Llangynog, noting on your right the ‘hanging valley’ left perched above the retreating mass of a glacier during the last Ice Age.

Dwarfed by towering masses of granite and slate this village was, in the 18th and 19th centuries, Europe’s largest lead mining area. The extension to Llangynog of the Tanat Valley Railway in 1904 was unable to arrest its gradual decline.

High above the disused quarries there still remain traces of Craig Rhiwarth, the large Celtic Hill Fort from which, until his eventual defeat by Scapula, Caratacus (Caradoc) King of the Ordovices launched successful resistance to Roman occupation.

A few miles to the west of Llangynog, hidden away at the head of a valley stands the Shrine Church of St. Melangell, a tranquil, spiritual place to which anyone seeking peace of mind should pay a visit, as pilgrims have done for many hundreds of years.


SPA AND SAUNA



THE FOLLIES


Enjoy the follies and gardens of Foel Ortho Farmhouse Mid Wales – even Port Meirion was once a tiny dream. Echoes of TVs ‘The Prisoner’. Need a film / TV set?

See short YouTube video at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnkbVoi-cDw

 

Three definitions of a folly:

“An ornamental structure whose creation reflects a whimsical inclination on the part of the builder.”

“An architectural construction that isn’t what it appears to be”.

“A building without a practical purpose”.

Three responses on first seeing the Follies at Foelortho:

“Never seen anything like this before – how amazing”.

“Why did you build it?”

“How did you get the time?”

This then triggers my usual mantra about my having an extra thirty hours available each week because I don’t have a tele, and wouldn’t they prefer to create their own fantasies rather than gawping every night at other peoples, and why don’t they look up the White Dot society on Google and get a life?…….. I won’t go on.

When I was four I had a most vivid dream. I was staring wide-eyed through my bedroom window at a vision suspended in the sky – a sunlit village, made of my own toy bricks. All my friends were there.
This beautiful picture dwelt in my mind ever after, the inspiration for countless drawings, models and dens. I knew that some day, in some lovely spot, I would build it.

Thirty years later, with a young family of my own, I discovered Foelortho – a deserted, rambling and dilapidated farmhouse with an acre of Welsh hillside. Here at last was my ‘field of dreams’ – the place for my village.

Another forty years on and the fantasy is a reality. I hope you’ll love it as much as we do.


ACTIVITIES


There are SO many things to do locally…  Two of the most beautiful places in Wales are Pistyll Rhaeadr (Llanrhaeadr Waterfall) & Lake Vyrnwy – both near the Bunkhouse. Lake Bala is only 30 mins away.

Whitewater rafting at the National White Water Rafting Centre www.ukrafting.co.uk

Paintball, high ropes and outdoor adventure activities for groups, parties and individuals at:

www.getwet.co.uk

Mountain Biking

The famous Lake Vyrnwy Hotel Trail: http://youtu.be/bTxYufvp5aA?hd=1

Riding from Pystyll Rhaeadr Waterfall back to the Farmhouse and Bunkhouse:http://youtu.be/0Cve69hSxDk?hd=1

Revolution Bike Park – just over the hill! 

The UK’s newest freeride and downhill mountain bike park with uplift service. Family run, owned and built – by riders, for riders! www.revolutionbikepark.co.uk

To get there from Bunkhouse is two minutes by car or ride there:http://youtu.be/LJq_S6YiqtY?hd=1 

See one of the routes at: http://youtu.be/OvQ_bSpCfv0?hd=1

Walking

There are walks for all tastes and abilities. They range from the easy and beautiful to the extremely hard but magnificent!

See one of the hundreds of wonderful walks at:

http://youtu.be/1uRWvvRFrbk?hd=1

There are a great many famous walks in this part of Mid Wales, the Berwyn Mountains, the Aran Mountains, Cadair Idris (or Cader Idris), Snowdon, Snowdonia, Owain Glyndwr, Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall Walk, Pererindod Melangell Walk, The Ann Griffiths Walk, The Llangynog Loop Walk and many, many more…

Pubs

The local pub (the Railway) in Penybontfawr is wonderful and serves the best lamb shank in Wales! Say we sent you: 

www.railwayinnpenybontfawr.co.uk

The Tavern Bar in the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel does good food and offers the best view in Wales at sunset – don’t miss it! 


GETTING HERE


Foel Ortho

Farmhouse & Bunkhouse

Penybontfawr

SY10 0HU

Telephone: 01691 870626

 

 

 

 

 



CONTACT US


Use the contact form to get in touch with Edde and Jenny at Foel. They will reply to your inquiry as soon as is possible. Thanks

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