Past and Present

ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO RELAX & ENJOY

|Past and Present
Past and Present2018-10-15T10:25:43+00:00

ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO RELAX & ENJOY

History of Brynygwin Country House & Cottages

The History of Brynygwin House

In 1801 a certain Hugh Reveley, while on holiday from his work in Ireland, met, at a ball near the Coed y Brenin forest, a local Welsh heiress called Jane Owen. Within months they were married, and within a few years they were having a new house built, Brynygwin Isaf, a little lower down the river , further out from Dolgellau and in a more commanding position than Jane Owen’s Brynygwin Uchaf. The classical revolution in architecture was well under way, and the first part of the house was built in the graceful neo-Grecian style with columns and rounded walls.

By the time that was finished in 1806 the fashionable classical style had changed from Grecian to Romanesque. Needing more rooms for their growing family they built on, in the newer style, what we call ‘Flat 2’. It is no surprise then that the house, exemplifying both classical styles as it does, is listed as being of special architectural interest.

Lovely Location

Brynygwin was carefully looked-out by Hugh Reveley and his wife as their favoured spot for a new home in a more commanding position than their old one. And what a choice they made! In the north Y Garn mountain presents its face full-on to their chosen spot. Another of the Rhinogs, Diffwys, gives a sideways glance in this direction from the west, while the twin-peaked Arans make their expansive, presiding presence felt inland to the east. Cadair Idris mountain with its 8-mile, 8-peaked ridge rises up, unseen, behind us as we hide away at the foot of its foothills down nearly due north of its summit which many have achieved starting from Brynygwin.
Images of Cadair Idris from between Barmouth and Dolgellau

Mountains apart, this spot could have been looked-out today as an ideal centre for walking, cycling, mountainbiking, fishing, golfing, narrow-gauge rail-riding, pubbing and much else besides as you can see on the Activities page. We lie virtually on the National Cycle Route 8/Mawddach Trail. The Coed y Brenin mountain-bike centre is just 7 miles away by main road or by country lane. Walks of varying length and effort radiate out in all directions, so mapped step-by-step guidesheets are provided.

Images of Cadair Idris from between Barmouth and Dolgellau

Mountains apart, this spot could have been looked-out today as an ideal centre for walking, cycling, mountainbiking, fishing, golfing, narrow-gauge rail-riding, pubbing and much else besides as you can see on the Activities page. We lie virtually on the National Cycle Route 8/Mawddach Trail. The Coed y Brenin mountain-bike centre is just 7 miles away by main road or by country lane. Walks of varying length and effort radiate out in all directions, so mapped step-by-step guidesheets are provided.

Images of and from the New Precipice our favourite mid-level walk

A wide choice of pubs and restaurants lie a pleasantly walkable mile away in Dolgellau. Penmaenpool, 1 mile away in the opposite direction on the Mawddach Trail, is famed for its George III pub at the estuary edge. And again, people apart, this spot has indeed been looked-out, singled-out, you could say, by nature as special. Lesser horseshoe bats have made Brynygwin their third largest summer roost in the UK, making us an SSSI in the process. Over 70 species of bird have, by records since 1990, graced the grounds, swallows nesting year on year in the barn, buzzards riding the hot-air currents above, spotted fly-catchers returning time and again to the same ledges, tawny owls teaching their young on the chimney-tops, robins dancing their fearless attendance on gardening operations, goshawks swooping their deadly attacks, woodpeckers drumming away, woodpigeons cooing their calming tune…And so we could go on. They have all known a good place when they have found it, and they play their part in making it all the more lovely. Lovely is also the word for the wider location. Wordsworth described the Mawddach as “a sublime estuary which many compare with the finest in Scotland”. Ruskin said that there is “no better walk than from Barmouth through to Dolgellau other than from Dolgellau to Barmouth”. Shelley, Byron and Darwin voted for it with their feet, staying by it several times.

Images of nearby lakes

Being in the Snowdonia National Park has undoubtedly contributed to the preservation of its phenomenal beauty. And yet it is not nearly so frequented as further north around Snowdon, so can be enjoyed without all those crowds which is another lovely thing about it.

Images of 3 waterfalls within 7 miles of Brynygwin

The photos on this page may give you some idea of the area’’s beauty, as also may this 3-minute vimeo made by Ian King, a keen devotee of Dolgellau. These sights, which can be enjoyed best wthout the sound, could well inspire you to come and see them for yourself!

Our Outdoors

The terrace, surrounded by all that scenery, is a marvellous place to read, think, sketch, observe or just to be. Many are the meals enjoyed around its generous table, whether brought from the kitchen or cooked on the wheel-based barbecue.
The garden, with its lawn sloping down to shrubs and trees, flows naturally into the scenery beyond, a classic example of ‘borrowed landscape’. It is loved by adults and children alike and has a level area away from the house for enjoying ball games and the like. And, of course, being so long-established, it is a paradise of, and for, birds. The cottage gardens, because walled and gated, are particularly popular with dog-owners.

Our own fields to either side of us, both grazed by sheep, one with a pond where herons wait for their breakfast; 15 acres of woodland above us; 100 metres of the river Wnion for fishing (just across the little road at the bottom which you don’t know is there till you are on it): all these help to complete a picture of rural seclusion and tranquillity, all the more remarkable for being just 1 mile from the centre of an active market town.
Two tracks run from the house through our grounds as well as several paths.

The track to the town (Brynygwin’s old driveway) passes a large man-made, now nature-clothed, woodland hollow where the stone for the two Brynygwins was quarried. After taking you above the older Brynygwin it then crosses a rocky babbling brook on either of two period granite bridges, one above and the other below a picturesque cottage with the equally picturesque name of Twllybwbach (‘Home of the Scarecrow’), once a fulling mill. After passing a decoratively faced well you reach the wide pavemented road for the second half-mile into Dolgellau centre.
The track through the woods takes you past the remains of the old ice-house, then up to a view looking down onto the house and across to the New Precipice Walk and other hills in the north. In many places the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebells, wild garlic, wood anemone and wood-sorrel. As you return, your eye is drawn over the cottage roofs to the Aran mountains in the east. Wildlife spotted in the woodland include badger, pinemarten, and sparrowhawk.