Gregynog Hall in Tregynon, near Newtown, is marking an exciting three-year collaboration with Sinfonia Cymru by hosting two concerts for string quartet.
On Saturday, May 7 at 7.30pm, Sinfonia Cymru will be playing works by Haydn, Beethoven and Caroline Shaw. On Sunday, May 8, the second concert at 3pm will feature music by Britten, Ravel and the Danish String Quartet.
These concerts have important historical associations with the Gregynog Festivals of Music and Poetry of the 1930s. They celebrate not only the work and influence of remarkable musicians and composers, but also the Davies sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret, whose passion and patronage brought musical excellence to Wales.
Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/Gregynog/sinfonia-cymru/e-qqqxor . Tickets for each concert are £14 for adults aged between 18 and 60, £12 for registered disabled and over 60s, £8 for students and £4 for under 18s.
Gregynog will also be supporting the National Garden Scheme by opening its gardens from 10am to 4pm on the same weekend. The gardens are Grade I Listed due to association with the 18th century landscape architect William Emes. A mass display of rhododendrons, azaleas and a unique yew hedge surround the sunken lawns.
An unexpected hidden treasure, Gregynog is one of Wales’ premier country estates and the former home of the extraordinary Davies sisters, art collectors and public benefactors. The black and white hall is surrounded by popular walking trails through the 750-acre estate which is a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The estate is one of Wales’ most important sites for ancient parkland and wood-pasture habitats, veteran trees and nationally important lichens, insects and other wildlife, supported by these rare habitats. The Great Wood at Gregynog is one of few remaining ancient oak and lichen-rich woodlands, home to an extremely rare lichen never seen before in Wales.
A quartet from Sinfonia Cymru will be playing two concerts at Gregynog Hall.
Sinfonia Cymru’s leader Roberto Ruisi who will be playing as first violinist in the Gregynog Hall concerts.
A vibrant Spring Fair held on the green in front of Oriel Davies Gallery in Newtown at the weekend has been declared a big success.
The event, part of a partnership project between Oriel Davies and Open Newtown, invited local musicians, artists, storytellers and organisations to share the space and celebrate the coming of spring.
Stuart Owen, from Open Newtown, said “the field was filled with positivity”.
The event was attended by all ages, an opportunity for families in the community to enjoy the last weekend of the Easter holidays in the sunshine. All were welcomed and encouraged to engage with their green spaces and learn about local artists, upcoming projects and to try something new.
Around 400 people visited the Spring Fair throughout the afternoon. Music was provided by Creative Stuff Newtown and the DJ Club, local woodwind band Ffonic and community singing group Hafren Choir.
Local community groups and organisations brought stalls and activities, including Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, North Powys Wellbeing, Cultivate, Newtown Gardening Club, local plant growers Nic Knapton and Ash and Elm Horticulture, along with Open Newtown.
Alongside music and stalls, artists Chris Wallbank, Sadia Pineda, Layla Robinson and storytellers Jo Vagabondi and Milly Jackdaw brought an array of workshops to get involved with.
There were also spring animals from Pentre Farm and hot drinks from the Cambrian Coffee van, which proved popular all afternoon.
“What an amazing turn out for this first event of the project for Open Events, there was a festival spirit in the air,” said Kate Morgan-Clare, Oriel Davies’ creative producer.
“Thanks to all those who ran stalls and workshops and brought music to the event and a special thank you to our visitors who made the sunny afternoon such a happy, relaxed and positive occasion.”
Keep a look out for news of more upcoming events, including a Ska & Reggae Disco Picnic this weekend, Newtown’s Outdoor Festival in June, Rinky Dink Disco in July and a similar autumn event.
The Open Events project is supported by the Welsh Government’s Enabling Natural Resources and Well-being (ENRaW) Scheme. ENRaW supports the development and delivery of projects that make clear links between improving the resilience of our natural resources and well-being.
Funding is provided through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government until June 2023.
The crowd gathered outside the Oriel Davies Gallery at the weekend.
The Quilt Association’s annual Spring Exhibition opens at the Minerva Arts Centre, Llanidloes on Saturday (April 30).
There will in fact be three exhibitions in the building, running until Saturday, May 21 and open from Monday to Saturday each week between 10am and 4pm.
Gallery 1 will be home to an exhibition entitled Sanity Through Stitch by the Mid Wales Embroiderers and features wonderful work produced since its last exhibition in 2019 which was extremely well received by visitors.
Gallery 2 has an exhibition entitled Personal Views, which is the work of a group of students who have been tutored by Hilary Beattie, an internationally recognised textile artist who has exhibited and taught in the Minerva Arts Centre many times.
The pieces are on a range of themes and are made using a variety of techniques, including machine embroidery, photo collage and mixed media work.
The centre’s workroom will be a poignant reminder of one of Hilary’s students, Gill Lamming, as it will provide a showcase for her creativity and hard work before she died in 2021.
Hilary is also tutoring two, three-day workshops at the centre during the exhibition for each of which there are a couple of places remaining.
All of these exhibitions were originally due to have been held in either 2020 or 2021 so are long awaited but well worth the wait.
The Quilt Association’s volunteer trustees said: “We are delighted to be getting back to having a full programme of events this year and we always welcome more volunteers to help us keep the centre going.”
The trustees are particularly seeking volunteers who are willing to utilise their IT and social media skills, to help welcome visitors to the Summer Exhibition in August and are available for just a few hours each year to help maintain the building and prepare it for exhibitions.
Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact the association via its website www.quilt.org.uk
But that wasn't all! The centre is also the starting point for
There is SO much going on in Corris!
Q. Please tell other members a bit about you and Corris Craft Centre
Pete: While we only moved the Dyfi Distillery to the Corris Craft Centre site six and a half years ago, the craft centre itself is 40 years old this year. Not too long after it was opened, Ian Rutherford developed King Arthur’s Labyrinth and later on Corris Mine Explorers within the old slate mine tunnels and chambers. These two spectacular underground visitor attractions bring many visitors to us every year, but the experience people have when visiting extends to the craft centre too. There are nine completely independent artisan businesses, where you can meet the makers, and see them at work. We call it the best high street in Britain!"
Q. You’ve gone from owning an award winning Gin Distillery at Corris Craft Centre, to owning the whole site. How has that transition been for you?
Danny: Its a big responsibility not only because of the wonderful legacy which Ian left behind, but many jobs are dependent on the success of the whole business. But both Pete and I bring some of our own past work experiences with us, and we intend to build on the reputation we have inherited. We have a dedicated and creative team who put heart and soul into providing a great customer experience, and even with such a unique site, the people are our most important asset.
Q. What plans do you have for Corris Craft Centre going forward? What do you think the main opportunities and challenges will be?
Pete: Its still quite early days for us, even though we have operated from the craft centre for several years. But alongside our management team, we have already put some upgrading in place both below and above ground. The feedback we have had so far from visitors has been really positive, but we won’t be sitting on our haunches: we want to continually improve what’s here, as well as provide changes to keep our regular visitors wanting to come back.
We already have the convenience of accessibility, parking, a great café and so on, but its a rare place that can offer multiple wow-factors.
Q. From your point of view, what is it like owning and running a tourism business in Mid Wales?
Danny: Being part of a business where the views are equally spectacular whether you are above or below ground is a privilege, and even more so to be able to share that with the brilliant people who work here and visit here. Being just off a main road and inside both Snowdonia and the Dyfi means our catchment is quite big. We seem to be experiencing many first time visitors to the area, and what they tell us is how unique and wonderful it is here. Of course, the people who have been coming here for years already knew that!
For more information, visit www.corriscraftcentre.co.uk, or find them on Visit Mid Wales:
Corris Craft Centre
King Arthur's Labyrinth
Corris Mine Explorers
Open daily: 10am - 5pm 28 March to 30 October 2022. Free admission to Corris Craft Centre.
Tourism and hospitality organisations have offered the Welsh Government their expert insight to protect legitimate self-catering holiday businesses from unintended consequences of proposals to clamp down on second home ownership in Wales.
Wales Tourism Alliance (WTA), UK Hospitality Cymru (UKHC) and Professional Association of Self Caterers UK (PASC UK) are calling on the Welsh Government to heed new evidence collected in a survey of more than 1,500 self-catering businesses, across Wales.
The survey, compiled jointly by the three membership organisations, has been sent to all Members of the Senedd, all Welsh MPs, Visit Wales and key stakeholders. It represents the views of a quarter of Wales’ self-catering operators, who own around 8,000 properties.
The Welsh Government is proposing stricter rules on self-catering accommodation qualifying for business rates rather than council tax.
Currently, self-catering properties in Wales must be available to let for a minimum of 140 days in any 12-month period, and actually let for at least 70 days to qualify for business rates rather than council tax.
Under the new proposals, properties must be available to let for at least 252 days and actually let for at least 182 days to qualify for business rates – an increase of 160%.
From April 2023, a self-catering business not meeting the new threshold would incur council tax for a second home, instead of business rates. Welsh county councils will have the power to increase council tax on all these business by up to 300%.
WTA, UKHC and PASC UK urge the Welsh Government to:
In return, WTA, UKHC and PASC UK are offering to work with Visit Wales to improve the profitability and sustainability of self-catering businesses by driving up quality and nightly yield.
They are also keen to work with Visit Wales, Welsh Government and other partners to drive the green, low-zero carbon agenda in the sector.
The survey reveals that the proposed occupancy threshold will have a “disproportionate and damaging economic impact” on the self-catering sector, individual livelihoods and communities.
The survey findings demonstrate that the proposed changes will not deliver the Welsh Government’s goal of creating more affordable housing in communities where second homes have made property prices too expensive for most local people.
The proposals could not have come at a worse time for the tourism industry in Wales, with rapidly rising energy and fuel prices, a cost-of-living crisis, the opening up of overseas tourism, staff shortages, rising employment and procurement costs, the return to 20% VAT and the Ukraine war.
Many family-run, micro holiday letting businesses surveyed said they will close if the Welsh Government introduces the proposed changes. The properties could subsequently be sold to buyers from outside of Wales or be re-absorbed into owners’ own homes.
A joint statement by the organisations said: “As a tool to bring properties back into a market which is affordable to local people, it will not work. Rather, it will reduce local owners’ ability to earn an income and cause a decline in secondary jobs in hospitality, retail, house maintenance and cleaning.
“It will not safeguard the Welsh language as these businesses will be lost to wealthier outsiders prepared to meet the higher costs of having a second home or self-catering businesses in Wales.”
“Businesses agreed that the 70-day threshold was too low and have consistently recommended an increased to 105 days. Raising the bar to 182 days will have a hugely detrimental impact on the genuine businesses that operate in the sector.
“It is far above average occupancy and will simply drive prices down as owners race to meet the 182 days target.
“A decline in the availability of self-catering businesses will deter tourism, on which many hospitality businesses depend. Local pubs, restaurants and other hospitality and leisure businesses will see a severe drop in footfall at key tourist times.
"The industry supports higher thresholds to help distinguish between professionally run self-catering businesses and second homes. Unfortunately, these proposals don't reflect the outcome of the Welsh Government's own consultation on the issue and we risk losing valuable, locally-owned, small businesses as a consequence.
“We urge the Welsh Government to review their figures and reconsider the damage that these proposals will cause to the economic sustainability of communities they purport to safeguard."
The National Cycle Museum in Mid Wales has developed a workshop section which allows visitors to watch bicycles being repaired and maintained.
Trustee Peter Davies, husband of the Llandrindod Wells-based museum’s fellow curator, Freda, can be seen at work on the exhibits and newly donated bicycles on Mondays and Tuesdays.
“Visitors like to stop and chat to Peter and ask lots of questions,” said Freda. “The museum is not just about the display of static bicycles; visitors can also learn by watching demonstrations.
“Most children love riding a bicycle, so they will be fascinated to visit the museum with their parents, many of whom are keen cyclists themselves.”
The museum, which is open on Monday and Tuesday from 10am to 4pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm, needs extra volunteers to allow it to open on more days as summer approaches.
Many amazing bicycles spanning 200 years of cycling and a wealth of cycling memorabilia are on display in the museum.
Located in the Automobile Palace, Temple Street, the museum is home to more than 250 cycles, representing the historical development of cycling from the early 1800s to the present day.
A copy of the first bicycle made by Johnson of London 204 years ago is displayed alongside an 1818 Hobby Horse, Victorian solid-tyred machines and the latest carbon fibre racing models.
It costs £20,000 a year to keep open the doors to the museum, which relies on the generosity of supporters and visitors to finance its work. For more information or to support the museum, visit http://www.cyclemuseum.org.uk .
The museum is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
Trustee Peter Davies at work in the museum.
More than 100 of the world’s top riders will race through the heart of Mid Wales this summer as The Women’s Tour visits Welshpool for the first time.
Stage four of the UCI Women’s WorldTour event will see the riders race from Wrexham and Welshpool on Thursday, June 9.
Spectators can watch all the action by the roadside for free and highlights of the race will be shown on ITV4 in the UK, and around the world via Eurosport and GCN.
Stage five, on June 10, will see the riders race from Pembrey Country Park for a gruelling uphill finish at Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons.
Thanks to in principle support from the Welsh Government, who have backed stages of the race in 2018 and 2019, both Wrexham and Welshpool will feature in the UK’s most prestigious women’s race for the first time.
Stage four starts from the heart of Wrexham before entering Powys at Rhydycroesau. The 148-kilometre route will take in Llansilin and Penybontfawr before an unforgettable, anti-clockwise loop of Lake Vyrnwy near Llanwddyn.
It then winds its way towards the finish line in Broad Street, Welshpool, via Llanfihangel, Dolanog, Castle Caereinion, Berriew, Montgomery, Forden and Leighton.
Powys has once before hosted a stage finish of the Women’s Tour - at Builth Wells in 2019 – while the men’s Tour of Britain has visited the county six times between 2010-‘16.
Dr Caroline Turner, Powys County Council’s chief executive, said: “The return of the Women’s Tour of Britain is wonderful news for the county. The event provides Powys with a fantastic opportunity to showcase the county with a national and international television audience.
“The stage will provide a much-needed financial boost to the local economy and we hope that residents and visitors get out and support the race.”
Councillor Alison Davies, Mayor of Welshpool, added: “This an exciting boost for the town. It will be a great opportunity for the people of Welshpool to welcome International and National athletes and many visitors to the town.
“It is exciting for us to be given the opportunity to be involved in this national event and a welcome boost for the Welshpool economy following two very difficult years.
“The organisers, competitors and followers of this event can be assured of a very warm welcome in Welshpool.”
Next day, the riders will face another stern Welsh test, this time in Carmarthenshire, which has become a regular feature on the routes of the men’s Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour since 2018.
Riders will roll out from sea level at Pembrey Country Park, before heading north to Llandovery via Pontyberem, Nantgaredig and Brechfa. Stage five features 2,065m of elevation gain, the most of any stage in this year’s race, finishing atop Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Mick Bennett, Women’s Tour race director, said: “The Welsh stages in this year’s Women’s Tour are going to play a key role in determining our next champion.
“Both will offer a true test for the world’s best riders, with the thrilling racing set to be played out in front of some of the most spectacular scenery the United Kingdom has to offer. We thank all our stakeholders, including the Welsh Government, for their continued support of the Women’s Tour.”
The Women’s Tour will feature all 14 of the top division UCI Women’s WorldTeams, with 18 teams and 108 riders competing in the race, marking the biggest field in the eight-year history of the race.
The Women’s Tour peloton on the event’s previous visit to Powys in 2019.
The stage four route through Mid Wales.
Wonderwool Wales 2022, the two-day show that celebrates all that’s great about Welsh wool and natural fibres, makes a welcome return this weekend following a two-year, pandemic enforced absence.
The organisers are delighted with the enthusiastic response to their 16th show at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on Saturday and Sunday.
Such is the demand that Saturday is nearing a sell out with around 3,000 tickets already sold, but there are tickets available for Sunday either online at www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk or at the gate. Tickets cost £12 per day.
“We are delighted with ticket sales and the general response to this year’s show,” said Wonderwool Wales director Chrissie Menzies. “A lot of people have been talking on social media about the show and we are expecting to sell a lot of tickets at the gate over the weekend.”
The pandemic continues to have an impact, however, with four exhibitors having to withdraw this week, having been struck down by Covid-19. There will be around 190 exhibitors this year.
“We have probably lost around a third of our usual exhibitors for a variety of reasons, including the impact of the pandemic. However, the good news is we’ve attracted a lot of new exhibitors, so it promises to be an exciting show,” added Chrissie.
A feature of this year’s show, which has been supported by the Wales Cultural Recovery Fund, are two special exhibitions in Hall 3. Visitors will have the chance to see work created by Coleg Sir Gâr’s Carmarthen School of Art textiles students and graduates throughout the pandemic and a zany, hand crafted interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.
Supported by Carmarthen School of Art throughout the pandemic, students kept working on their briefs at home to create exciting and challenging work. Visitors will get an insight into their design process as well as beautiful textile outcomes in knit, weave and mixed media.
The massive, specially-created ‘Alice in Wonderwool’ installation features an array of captivating characters, all crafted from felt and fibre. This exhibition will be raising money for this year’s Wonderwool charities - the Wales Air Ambulance and NGO Molotok Ukraine.
Show regulars, Alex Johnstone and Kathy Smart, joined forces with felting and fibre art friends, including prolific knitter and crochet enthusiast Terry Moncion, to recreate Alice’s dreamland journey and her marvellously wacky tea party. Janna Turner from Flock2Felts was project lead and felting advisor.
Halls on the showground will be filled with beautiful, hand dyed yarns and fibre, along with equipment and quality finished products, giving visitors an opportunity to stock up on supplies.
Airedale Yarns will be displaying Barra yarn, a strong blend of wool and nylon for weavers, luxurious silks which are ideal for hand and machine embroidery, delicate weaving, lace, tassels and braids and Axminster yarn, perfect for weavers and rugmakers.
For those seeking creative inspiration, there will be demonstrations and have-a-go sessions hosted by various exhibitors including needlefelting make and takes with Mum’s Makery and The Makerss.
Ever-popular Woolschool workshops will be held on both days, with topics carefully chosen to appeal to a wide range of interests and levels of ability.
Developed to promote the market for Welsh wool and natural fibres, Wonderwool Wales was first held in 2006 and has grown in scale and popularity alongside a knitting, crochet, felting and textile craft making boom.
To find out more about the 2022 show, visit www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk, like Wonderwool Wales Ltd on Facebook or follow on Twitter @wonderwoolwales
The Cheshire Cat, a character from the Alice in Wonderwool exhibition.
Teeswater sheep at a previous Wonderwool Wales.
Image by John Teale Photography.
The National Library of Wales is to host the Wales and the Battle of Britain Touring Exhibition to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
A special event will take place tomorrow (April 20) when Pedr ap Llwyd, chief executive and librarian and Air Commodore Adrian Williams, Air Officer Wales, will open the exhibition in the company of Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards and Second World War veterans.
The exhibition, which will be open free of charge until May 11, has been created by Dr Lynsey Shaw, from the RAF’s Air Historical Branch, together with Air Commodore Williams and his team.
Due to the pandemic, the exhibition has been delayed until 82nd anniversary year of the Battle of Britain. Comprising a series of prepared panels of photos and text, the exhibition tells this important story for the first time.
Mr ap Llwyd said: “I’m pleased to welcome the exhibition to the library, which will remind our readers and visitors of the extreme violence, aggression and destruction of war, both in terms of human, cultural and material loss.
“It will also remind us of the bravery and sacrifices of those who defended our shores in the Battle of Britain against the most reviled individual and ideology in human history.”
Air Commodore Williams added: “The Battle of Britain, the largest air battle ever recorded, was one of the most pivotal and iconic moments in the history of this country. It marked a turning point of the Second World War when Britain stood alone against Hitler’s seemingly unstoppable military power.
“The exhibition tells a story that will enable Welsh people of all ages to come along and find out more about what happened in the skies and on the ground during wartime.
“It exceptionally details the Welsh aircrew who fought, telling their stories and heroism to a modern Welsh audience.
“By visiting the exhibition, individuals will also have the opportunity to pay their respects to the Welsh fallen and to those who eventually returned home to their loved ones and to celebrate the many different ways Welsh people and their communities’ contributed to the war effort during the Battle of Britain.”
Harvey Jones, Age Cymru Dyfed chair, said the organisation is delighted to be helping to co-ordinate the exhibition at the national library whilst also supporting older veterans throughout Dyfed and the unique West Wales Veterans Archive (WWVA) housed on the People’s Collection Wales (PCW) website.
“In recent years, it has been our absolute honour to meet, support and build up friendships with many who served during WW2 and who have contributed so much to our freedom since then,” he added.
Squadron Leader John Dunn is taking the exhibition around the country to all 22 of the single-tier principal areas of Wales. He said the response has been overwhelming.
“I have a very busy schedule over the next few months until we finish the tour in Cardiff in October,” he added. “I am particularly pleased that the exhibition is coming to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. It is an excellent location to showcase the Battle of Britain from a Welsh perspective.”
The PCW has supported the WWVA by providing core services which help this and other similar projects to achieve their various objectives.
PCW was offers free training opportunities to WWVA staff and volunteers, outlining an established format for community archiving projects and offering a framework for collecting, digitising and publishing community content.
Despite pandemic restrictions on community engagement, the WWVA has continued to establish an incredible archive of material on the PCW website - https://www.peoplescollection.wales/users/44171 - with dozens of veterans' stories being celebrated and shared with a wider audience.
National Library of Wales.
“We want to find out what matters to people in Ceredigion, why and how the museum’s collections can reflect their values.”
The project will also investigate ways of giving people access to the whole collection, as only about 10% is on display currently. As part of the second phase, the possibility of a new Ceredigion Heritage Collections Centre, where adults and children would be able to have behind the scenes tours and attend workshops, will be explored.
A number of jobs could be created to support the project, including digitisation of the collections, creative community engagement, audience development, collections management and skills development.
Meinir Ebbsworth, Ceredigion’s corporate lead officer for schools, said: “We are very grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for supporting this project. It will be a fantastic resource to help us meet the aims of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and to deliver the new curriculum for Wales, which will support exciting cross-curricular learning of history, science, art and other key subjects.”
This development phase of the project will bring together all the people with the skills needed to develop a further application for funding for the second phase of the project.
Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million goes to good causes across the UK every week.
A heart shaped love token made by a sailor during WWI, an object that shows how much the sailor valued his relationship with his family or sweetheart. What objects do you keep that show the importance of love or family to you?
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