Old Chapel Farm

UK Wales Mid Wales Powys Llanidloes

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Good walks nearby

High up in the Cambrian Mountains, just uphill from the charming Powys market town of Llandiloes, lies the source of the mighty River Severn. Not that you'd know it – at nearly 1,000 feet above sea level, this tranquil site of her formative fluvial flows are a world away from the epic waves of the Severn bore or countless windy toll bridge crossings. Nestled within this breathtaking landscape lies Old Chapel Farm – an eco-conscious, volunteer-run retreat that makes for the perfect hillside hideaway.  

Old Chapel Farm was started by intrepid local archaeologists Fran and Kevin Blockley. Having excavated ancient artefacts at Roman settlements and some of the country's grandest cathedrals, the Blockleys decided to turn their own idyllic corner of rural Mid-Wales into a piece of living history. Reviving traditional farming methods and rural woodcraft, Old Chapel Farm now offers a self-sufficient, organic commune experience for holidaymakers with a penchant for the old ways. 

The centrepiece of the site is the resurrected thatched Montgomeryshire barn. The old stone chapel now hosts a dizzying variety of courses; felting, spinning, weaving, dyeing, basket making, stone sculpture, letter carving. You can even knock up your own authentic Welsh coracle to punt on the pond. 

Accommodation-wise, the two authentic Mongolian yurts ('orange' and 'blue') boast spectacular views over secluded valleys and hills. In a separate meadow on the edge of the woodland, the two Welsh-made yurts can accommodate 7 between them (couples might like to opt for the smaller black yurt). All come equipped with a wood-burning stove and complimentary fuel comes courtesy of the forest itself (though thankfully you can also buy logs if those in the woods are a little on the damp side). 

With farm-reared meats, organic veg, eggs and honey courtesy of the farm's very own hives, you'll be chomping at the bit to get down to some serious cooking. The converted school bus ('Merlin's Bus') has everything you'll need for knocking up the freshest feast you're ever likely to make. The fully fitted kitchen boasts tables and chairs and even a rayburn which can also be used for heating water when the sun has got his hat off. Milk and cheese are also available at certain times of the year. If you're very lucky, you might even get a go on the antique cheese press and the farm kitchen's other culinary curios.  

Sustainability is the order of the day here. Wind turbines provide the 'leccy while solar and wood heat some of the 15th century buildings. An ingenious new log and pellet system pumps water to all the main buildings and provides underfloor heating in winter. An extensive 18 acre woodland has also been planted with the help of local volunteers and students from Aberyswyth University.

Details

Facilities

Solar showers, bath in the farmhouse, compost loo and a converted bus with full kitchen facilities. Arts and crafts courses offered (check beforehand). Organic gardens, poly tunnels and farm-reared produce. Renewable energy used throughout. 

Nearby

The 135 mile Glyndŵr's Way is a circuitous walking route (and Wales' third National Trail along with Offa's Dyke and Pembrokeshire Coast paths) taking in the delights of Mid-Wales. Both educational and surprisingly fun, Machynlleth's Centre For Alternative Technology (01654 705950) demonstrates the latest advancements in renewable energies. Culture vultures should head to the Museum of Modern Art (01654 703355) in Machynlleth. For fans of classical music, the town also hosts the annual Machynlleth Festival every August. For something a little more high-octane, why not spend an afternoon quad-biking at Ty Mawr courtesy of Beiciau Madian Quads (01654 702746). 

Food & Drink

With such a wealth of wonderful, organic produce on offer, you won't need to go far for delicious healthy dinners. The converted school bus has everything you could need for knocking up a foraged feast, including a rayburn range stove. Should you venture further afield, the Great Oak Cafe (01686 413211) in Llanidloes serves up a daily menu of hearty, vegetarian and vegan meals. It's also fully licensed. 

Opening Times

March – October. 

Location

Contact Old Chapel Farm, Tylwch, Llanidloes, Powys SY18 6JR

Show Map

Getting There

From the south: From Rhayader go north at the crossroads in the centre towards Llangurig. Turn right immediately, after the sports centre on the road to St Harmon. Continue 7 miles to Tylwch, take the first right 1/4 mile after the village, steeply up an unmarked road. At the top turn right at the crossroads, fork right immediately, and you will find the farm at the end of the road. Park above chapel.

From the east or north: Pass through Newtown and Llandinam. About 2 miles after Llandinam there is a large lay-by with a cafe caravan on the right. Turn opposite here (left) signed Newchapel. At the crossroads on top of the hill turn left and immediately fork right. The farm is at the end of the road (1 mile) Park by chapel.

Caersws is the nearest railway station. Connections from England come via Shrewsbury on the Aberystwyth line. Campers can be picked up from the station. It is often as cheap to buy return tickets as single and it is usually much cheaper if tickets are booked well in advance. There is no ticket office at Caersws (you can just buy them on the train) - but if you buy outward tickets online you have to drive 60 miles to pick them up before getting on the train! For guests coming via London there is a train from Euston Station every 2 hrs.

The closest bus stop is Llanidloes. National Express makes the trip here daily from London (about 1pm) via Birmingham. Pick up from Llanidloes available. From Aberystwyth and its coastal connections, there are several buses daily to Llanidloes but local buses in mid Wales do not run on Sundays.

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