Llwyn Celyn Landmark Trust ttage Wales

© John MIller

Llwyn Celyn sits within the green folds of the Llanthony Valley in the Black Mountains, with glorious views of the Skirrid and Sugar Loaf mountains beyond. Arriving at dusk, the neat white house, only comes into view after a series after sweeping bends in the narrow lane. It is handsome, modest and surrounded by a crop of outbuildings and lush, sheep filled fields.

Llwyn Celyn was built in 1420, on the grounds of a priory, just five years after Owain Glyndwr’s rebellion against the English crown, a moment during which many similar hall houses in Wales were destroyed. The house is rich in rare medieval features and has barely changed since 1690. Similarly, the borderlands in which it resides are largely unspoilt since the days of priors, princes, Knights and Marcher Lords.

Over a decade ago, Landmark Trust began restoration, Llwyn Celyn (meaning holly bush) had been found in an abysmal state, with water coursing down the hillside and rushing straight through the building. Anna Keay, director of the Landmark Trust, described the acquisition as ‘a massive leap of faith’. But £4 million and ten years of planning, reconstruction, conservation and craftsmanship have returned the house to its former glory. There are finely carved ogee-headed door-heads, flagstone floors and a dining room with an open fire and long table surely installed to encourage banquet-style feasting.

It is a remarkably comfortable place to hunker down in between long walks and visits to Hay-on-Wye, The Skirrid Mountain Inn – reputedly one of the oldest pubs in Wales, or Capel-y-Ffin, once the home of sculptor and typographer Eric Gill. Under the gimlet eye of furnishing manager, John Evetts, the house has been equipped with pared back but historically sensitive furniture and decoration. One notable exception being the welcome installation of under floor heating and fabulously deep baths.

Channel 4 recently aired £4 Million Restoration: Historic House Rescue – an in depth look at how and as importantly, why Llwyn Celyn was brought back from the brink. Catch up on episode 1 here. Episode 2 airs on Wednesday 23rd January at 9pm on More4.

To book at stay at Lwyn Celyn follow the link.