An award-winning Eco House in Snowdonia has added ‘Carbon Negative’ to its host of environmental accolades.
John and Ceilia Whitehead’s Bryn Elltyd Eco House at Tanygrisiau, near Blaenau Ffestiniog, is believed to be one of the first accommodation businesses in the UK to be certified carbon negative.
Bryn Elltyd, which can provide bed and breakfast or self-catering for guests, became the first Tesla destination charging point in Wales, and its six electric vehicle (EV) charging points are continually upgraded.
Last year, it was recognised by Electrifying.com as one of the best places to visit in the UK with excellent electric car charging facilities.
The business has been operating entirely on renewable energy since 2013, when it won the Considerate Small Accommodation Provider of the Year Award. Bryn Elltyd was the only Welsh business shortlisted by Considerate Hoteliers in the 10 award categories and triumphed against much larger five-star businesses.
The eco guest house was described by the judges as “a beacon of sustainability at the foot of Snowdon” and went on to win the accolade again in 2014. Bryn Elltyd has also achieved gold in the Green Tourism Business Scheme for more than a decade.
Stu Meades, managing director of Greener Edge Sustainability, based in Beddgelert, who undertook the carbon footprint analysis of Bryn Elltyd, said: “I haven’t assessed or seen any other holiday homes in Wales which have achieved carbon negativity, and I think it’s extremely rare in the UK. The amount of work John has done at Bryn Elltyd is exceptional; he’s a demonstrator of best practice.”
The story for Bryn Elltyd began when Ceilia took John to the Centre for Alternative Technology, near Machynlleth in 1982 and was amazed at working solar panels in a slate quarry. John left his aerospace career, fitted solar panels on their suburban semi-detached home in Coventry and devoted the next 20 odd years to teaching technology.
The chance came in 2007 to change careers and create a green guesthouse, 700ft up a mountain in Snowdonia National Park. Bryn Elltyd is an 1883 granite building, which was a challenge for energy efficiency.
John has sensitively developed the property with massive insulation and turf roofed buildings, lined with sheep’s wool, solar panels, hot air extraction from conservatories, rainwater loo flushing and biological sewerage into a reed bed and duckpond.
The property was one of the early adopters of a boiler that turns local wood to gas and burns it at 900c. The boiler is computer integrated with a massive solar array. The couple buy mainly local products and services and have their own orchard and vegetable plots hewed from the mountainside.
“Many organisations talk about aiming to become carbon zero or carbon neutral in future,” said John. “Carbon negative is even better, and we’re delighted to have achieved this now. Insulation, insulation, insulation is the key!”
The carbon footprint analysis was funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, managed by the Green Digital Academy at Busnes@LlandrilloMenai.
“The team are really pleased with the certification awarded to John and Ceilia at Bryn Elltyd,” said Julie Stokes-Jones, project business development officer at Busnes@LlandrilloMenai. “We encourage small businesses in Gwynedd and Anglesey to get in touch to take advantage of the support offered through this project to reduce their carbon footprint.”
Small businesses in Gwynedd and Anglesey are encouraged to contact email@example.com for a fully funded carbon assessment of their business.
The Whiteheads are members of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation representing more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses in Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
Film fans will get to enjoy award-winning gins from maverick distillery In The Welsh Wind at an interactive film night at this year’s Carmarthen Bay Film Festival.
In The Welsh Wind is the ‘official gin’ of the four-day film festival which is being held at Llanelli’s Ffwrnes Theatre from May 16-19.
The interactive film night is on Tuesday, May 17 where filmgoers in the theatre and online viewers will be able to decide the twists and turns of the interactive films shown.
As part of the evening’s plot, In The Welsh Wind will be at the theatre offering gin tasting from its range of award-winning spirits.
The company, which is based near Cardigan, is also sponsoring the prestigious feature film category, which will be presented by distillery co-founder and director Ellen Wakelam at the awards dinner on May 19. It is the first time the distillery has supported the festival.
Ellen said: “Gin has a great history with the movies. Whether it’s James Bond’s dry Martinis, Marilyn Monroe drinking Manhattans in Some Like it Hot or Humphrey Bogart’s classic line in Casablanca ‘Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine’.
“With such a strong link, sponsoring the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival and bringing gin to the movies seems the perfect partnership.
“We’re looking forward to being involved in the interactive film night, which sounds like a really fun and interesting night, and of course being at the awards. We’d like to wish everyone involved in the festival and all of the filmmakers all the best for a successful event.”
Kelvin Guy, the festival’s chief executive, said: “The Carmarthen Bay Film Festival is very proud of its Welsh roots, so we’re delighted to be able to work with and support local Welsh brands and encourage their involvement in the festival and film making here in Wales.
“We’re excited to be working with In the Welsh Wind and look forward to strengthening our ongoing collaboration this year and into the future.”
Recognised as Wales’ premier film festival, it is a BAFTA Short Film and BAFTA Cymru qualifying film festival and now receives more than 1,000 submissions from filmmakers across the world.
Carmarthen Bay Film Festival chief executive Kelvin Guy and In the Welsh Wind Distillery owner and director Ellen Wakelam discuss nominations.
The Corris Craft Centre is celebrating its 40th birthday as new owners take up the helm at this leading Mid Wales visitor attraction.
Brothers Pete and Danny Cameron, who established the award winning Dyfi Distillery at the Corris Craft Centre six-and-a-half years ago, have now purchased the whole site, which is 40 years old this year.
Located near the village of Corris, north of Machynlleth, the centre was first developed by the former Development Board for Rural Wales, who reclaimed the old slate mine workings. It was further developed by previous owner, the late Ian Rutherford.
“The site now comprises nine independent artisan businesses where you can meet the makers and see them at work,” said Pete. “We call it the best high street in Britain.
“Also starting from the craft centre are two spectacular underground experiences – King Arthur’s Labyrinth and Corris Mine Explorers.”
Danny added: “We already have the convenience of accessibility, parking, a great café and so on, but it’s a rare place that can offer multiple wow-factors.
“We won’t be resting on our haunches, however. We want to continually improve what’s here as well as provide changes to keep our regular visitors wanting to come back.“
Special 40th anniversary events are planned including an exclusive prize draw, offering prizes that money just can’t buy. Prizes include a tailored one to one pottery throwing workshop and behind the scenes tour with the Quarry Pottery which is also celebrating 40 years at the Corris Craft Centre this year.
Sammi Wilson Art has recently moved into the centre where the other businesses are Agau Jewellery, Chocablock, The Candle Studio, Delyn Glass, Hyde and Sheep and Taran Eco Designs.
Corris Craft Centre opens daily from 10am to 5pm.
Volunteers are making some components for Corris Railway’s new Falcon steam locomotive which is progressing after a temporary pause in January while more money was raised for the new build project.
Ross-on-Wye based engineering company Alan Keef Ltd has made sections of the footplate for locomotive number 10 which are being fitted prior to the mounting of the smokebox.
The handbrake screw has also been machined and connected up to the rest of the mechanism to complete that part of the brake assembly and mountings are being made for the air brake cylinder.
Volunteers have made the firebox doors and the opening mechanism and a wooden ashpan for trial fitting before the steel one is produced.
The new locomotive will be the second to enter service on the revived section of the oldest narrow gauge railway in Mid Wales, situated in the beautiful Dulas Valley between Machynlleth and Dolgellau.
The Falcon is a 21st century evocation of a trio of engines built in 1878 at the Falcon Works in Loughborough. One of these is now Sir Haydn on Talyllyn Railway.
The new build will differ from the originals in some respects, most visibly a higher cab to accommodate drivers and firemen who are taller than their Victorian predecessors.
Subject to continued fundraising support, the first steaming of the locomotive is scheduled for September 24 as the centrepiece of a charity open day at Alan Keef Ltd’s workshops.
Further work, including painting, will follow with a further target of entry into service at Corris early next year.
Donations for the new engine, which are needed to help the railway meet its targets, can be made online at www.corris.co.uk or cheques, payable to Corris Railway, can be sent to Peter Guest, 38 Underwood Close, Callow Hill, Redditch, B97 5YS.
Corris Railway’s new locomotive number 10 under construction at Alan Keef Ltd.
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 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.
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?
People seeking to get away for a four-night, Easter break are being urged to act quickly to book a stylish cottage on a Mid Wales farm with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Granary Cottage at Ty Gwyn Farm - www.tygwynfarm.co.uk – is less than three miles from the Victorian spa town of Llandrindod Wells and sits in a quiet courtyard surrounded by 130 acres of farmland.
Available for £420 from Easter Monday for four nights, the cottage has two en suite bedrooms, a sun terrace, garden area, full central heating and free wi-fi. Dogs are welcome and safe kennels are available together with wonderful walking and dark skies for stargazing.
Llandrindod Wells, with its feature 13-acre lake, has a selection of local food shops, supermarkets, a Victorian theatre, coffee shops, restaurants and garages.
For those planning ahead for the Royal Welsh Show, which is set to return from July 18-21, a cancellation has created a rare opportunity to book the week at Granary Cottage for £650. The cottage is just seven miles from the showground.
Ty Gwyn Farm also has The Straw Cottage, a romantic, off grid straw bale cottage in an idyllic spot on the farm. Guests wake up to the sound of birdsong, watch the stars at night, go to sleep to the sound of Holly Brook and breakfast outside with just meadow flowers and the hills for company.
Contact Margot Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 01597 829298
for further details.
Panoramic views from Ty Gwyn Farm.
The Craft Gin Club, the biggest gin subscription service in the UK with more than 100,000 members, has selected In the Welsh Wind’s Signature Style Gin as its Gin of the Month for April.
The distillery was founded by couple Ellen Wakelam and Alex Jungmayr in January 2018 and has grown steadily ever since.
Starting out in a refurbished cowshed, the distillery now occupies a site on the main West Wales coast road at Tanygroes near Cardigan, where it offers visitor experiences as well as producing award-winning spirits.
Initially making gin for other brands and businesses, including a number of Welsh brands, the distillery launched In the Welsh Wind Signature Style gin during the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2020.
Signature Style has gone on to win a number of awards and the distillery now has 16 employees.
In early 2021, the Craft Gin Club approached the distillery to produce one of its 12 carefully selected, rare or exclusive craft gins for 2022. The distillery has been working on the project in secret ever since to ensure that when Craft Gin Clubbers received their box earlier in April, it was a complete surprise.
Ellen said: “This has been an incredible project to work on – from distilling enough gin to send out to over 100,000 Craft Gin Clubbers, to working on the content for the magazine that is sent out in the monthly box. And, of course, keeping such an exciting opportunity secret has been hard too!
“We’re delighted to be able to share what we’ve been doing. It’s also been amazing to see the feedback we’ve had from Craft Gin Club members about the gin. We’ve been blown away by how much people are enjoying the gin!”
Alongside a full bottle of Craft Gin Club Edition Signature Style and the April 2022 edition of Ginned magazine, Craft Gin Clubbers have received a handpicked selection of treats bursting with flavours of the Welsh countryside in spring.
These include garnish, a cocktail syrup for a ‘Gin Daffodil’ cocktail, tonic from Welsh producer Llanllyr and a variety of sweet and savoury snacks.
Jon Hulme, Craft Gin Club co-founder and chief executive, said: "We’re incredibly excited to share this multi-award-winning gin from West Wales with our members!
“In the Welsh Wind Signature Style Gin manages to be full of flavour yet exceptionally light and fresh, in a way that makes it perfect for this season. Along with juniper, its starring botanical is tea-soaked currants, which are aromatic and evocative of Welsh baking - delicious!
“The gin’s subtly spiced flavours are also great for Easter, which we’ll be celebrating in style. Now, all we have to do is cross our fingers for plenty of chances to enjoy a G&T in the garden in between the April showers!"
In the Welsh Wind founders Ellen Wakelam and Alex Jungmayr.
In the Welsh Wind Signature Style Gin.
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