Story of Cwmwrdu




Gwersyll Cwmwrdu

from a sketch by Robert Davies

Welcome to the website for Gwersyll Cwmwrdu!

If you require any additional information please telephone Barbara and Dorothy Hughes on (01685) 872775 or send an email to gwersyllcwmwrdu@hotmail.com.

Cwmwrdu is a permanent self-catering hostel and camping centre, mid way between Brechfa and Gwernogle, in a forestry area fringing Llanybyther Mountains (Ordnance Survey ref: SN 535 329).
Cwmwrdu is a registered charity (regd. charity no.: 525067).

Cwmwrdu is situated in an area of great historical interest, which is probably why it has inspired poetry to be written about it by at least two well-known Bardic figures.  One of these, William Thomas (Bardic name: Gwilym Marles) was the great uncle of Dylan Thomas.

Here is an extract from his poem, 'Mynwent Cwmwr Du' (published in the Oxford Book of Welsh Verse):

Fe grwydra haf awelon pêr
  Trwy lathraidd dderw'r allt sy draw,
Pob dalen yn cyd-odli'n fwyn
  Ar gainc pob llwyn â'r ffrwd islaw;
Ac weithiau yn y gaeaf trwm
Ysguba'r corwynt trwy y cwm.

The sweet breezes of summer wander
  Through the stately oak trees over there
Every leaf harmonising gently and sweetly
  To the tune of each branch of the torrent below
And sometimes in the depth of winter
The world wind brushes through the vale

The other of these is Rev. D. Jacob Davies.  As well as being a Unitarian minister and poet, he was a broadcaster on TV and radio, and was well known for being a great humorist.
After he visited Cwmwrdu in August 1961 a 'mysterious' list of commandments appeared on one of the walls.  Its humorous content makes it likely that he was the author!

The first of these commandments was:

1. Thou shalt not walk on ye paving brickes to ye Soakage Pit, as the worms as do live and have theyre abode thereunder do object.

How he acquired this 'inside information' from the worms we cannot comment on; however, this is definitely a place where nature, in all its wonder, cannot be ignored.  There is an unspoilt natural beauty to this area; it is a place where, when you stand outside and close your eyes, nature seems to speak to you.  The sound of the wind in the trees, the birds and the nearby Cloidach (Clydach) river lull your mind into a feeling of tranquillity.

The author of the 40th Anniversary book for Gwersyll Cwmwrdu, Robert Davies, sums up this feeling with the words:

Buddhists say that we create the world with our minds.  For many now part of their world are the dreams they dreamt in the great dark valley of Cwm mawr du.

Cwmwrdu means in English 'the Great, Dark Valley'.  As you will see when you look at the photographs of Cwmwrdu there is nothing dark about it; the phrase is more likely to imply that it is a place for restful retreat.  We would not argue with that!  But it is also a place where you are free to indulge in less restful activities.  It is ideally situated for walkers, families who 'just want to get away from it all' (you won't get a mobile phone signal!), with the added advantage that, if you crave the company of other people, the nearest general store is less than a mile away in Brechfa, where you will also find a pub, some houses and a public telephone!

The centre itself has all the basic facilities.  The bunkbed accommodation consists of two dormitories (sleeping 8 and 10 respectively) with room for another 4 adults in the gallery above the dining area.  An electric fan heater is available to provide heating for both dormitories. There are two shower-and-toilet rooms (i.e. ladies and gents) and a large open kitchen/dining area.  Guests are required to bring their own bedding and towels, first aid equipment, and £1 coins for the electric meter.
The meter supplies the power points for any electrical equipment the centre has as well as any equipment you may wish to bring with you.  However, the centre's lighting is free.

The centre provides cooking utensils, plates, cups and cutlery.  The kitchen has a Calor Gas cooker, microwave, kettle and a large worksurface for food preparation.  The dining area has a table which will easily accommodate 8-10 people.  This communal dining/cooking area is heated by an electric fan heater and a wood/coal-burning stove.

Unfortunately, due to fire regulations we cannot store fuel for the fire at the centre when it is unoccupied, so guests are asked to purchase fuel for the stove and bring it with them if they wish to make use of the stove.

The accommodation fee is £4.50 per person per night; however a minimum charge of £20 may be payable.  To make bookings and check payment arrangements, please contact Barbara and Dorothy Hughes on (01685) 872775.

Website content (unless otherwise stated) © Gwersyll Cwmwrdu 2008