Is that love in the air? If you’re in Wales on 25 January (yup one week today), then it most certainly is. This is St Dwynwen’s Day, when we honour our Welsh patron saint of lovers. It’s our very own version of St Valentine’s Day – although we celebrate that too (we do like to celebrate things!). We’re just a nation of passionate romantics (oooh romantic beyond!!). So here’s all you need to know about St Dwynwen, and how you can get a piece of the amorous action.
Who was St Dwynwen?
A 4th-century Welsh princess who lived in what is now the Brecon Beacons National Park. Dwynwen was unlucky in love, so she became a nun and prayed that true lovers have better luck than she did. We celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day – 25 January – in much the same way as people mark St Valentine’s Day on 14 February (Sorry fellas another date to remember – but just think about all those Brownie points!)
How did she become the Welsh patron saint of lovers?
Dwynwen was the prettiest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters (ouchey…and just think about the que for the bathroom in the morning!). She fell in love with a local lad called Maelon Dafodrill, but King Brychan had already arranged for her to marry another prince. Maelon took the news badly, so the distraught Dwynwen fled to the woods to weep, and begged God to help her. She was visited by an angel who gave her a sweet potion to help her forget Maelon, and turned him into a block of ice (like ya doo).
God then granted Dwynwen three wishes. Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed; second, that God help all true lovers; and third, that she should never marry. In gratitude, Dwynwen became a nun, setting up a convent on Llanddwyn Island, a beautiful little spot on Anglesey. Her name means, ‘she who leads a blessed life’.
Incidentally, as well as being the Welsh patron saint of lovers, she’s also the patron saint of sick animals. So if your budgie’s unwell, try praying to St Dwynwen before calling the vet.
What happens on St Dwynwen’s Day?
Quite simply, it’s the most romantic day of the year in Wales (but only just ahead of every other day in Wales because we are a loving bunch you know *sweet smile). We exchange cards and gifts (hoping for a set of car keys, but lets face it that probably isn’t going to happen), gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes over candlelit dinners (preferably without spaghetti bolognaise down your new white Primark shirt), take long walks on deserted beaches, run through meadows in slow-motion (is there another speed then?) while holding hands, carve lovespoons, cwtch (that’s Welsh for cuddle…awwwww) up in front of roaring log fires, and put on our smartest underwear. Just in case (not the one with an Iron-on print of ‘ who else loves Daniel Craig’)
Does everyone celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day in Wales?
Not everyone, but it’s becoming increasingly popular, especially among Welsh speakers. But you don’t have to be Welsh-speaking, or even Welsh to join in the love-fest. You have our total blessing to surprise your loved one with a special St Dwynwen’s Day treat, and what better treat than a romantic stay in our Luxury Shepherds Hut.
Many thanks to www.visitwales.com for all this info. Take a look at their website for all things Welsh!!
Noswaith dda everyone!!
We have been overwhelmed by all the lovely reviews and comments throughout last year – thank you all so much for making our 2017 really special, hopefully we are going to see you all again this year! Just incase you didn’t realise, we upload lots of photos to the Google Business Page – mainly because too many photos on our own website just slows it down. Of course you can always follow us on Facebook and Twitter too.
For all you Mountain Bikers out there – we are hopeful that the Skyline trail will be ready to shred by Easter – and hopefully, we might have added some considerable singletrack to it!! We’ll keep you posted 🙂
Down the road at the Glyncorrwg Visitors Centre we have new tenants, the old skyline cafe is now the Corrwg Cwtch well worth a visit, and Skyline bike shop will be Afan-A-Blast – an outdoor pursuits shop!! More details to follow when It’s up and running.
For all you roadies – the Dragon Ride is on the weekend of the 8th of June, and training weekends will be arranged prior. If you haven’t sampled the local tarmac you really ought to – the routes you can choose are simply amazing.
Time to get your diaries out and start that all important camping and glamping planning – we’ll be here, ready to accommodate you and help in any way we can to make sure you have the warmest of Welsh welcomes and the most incredible adventures…from a quiet weekend to an adrenaline fueled action break….and talking of action, time for me to get back to coppicing the Willow, now that I’ve planted loads of Daffodil bulbs, well it is Wales after all!!
— Visit NPT (@VisitNPT) November 20, 2017
Throughout the decades, Neath Port Talbot has seen its fair share of change. Industry has changed. Jobs have changed. Land has changed. Even the rules of our beloved rugby have changed. The one thing that has remained the same and always will, is the Welsh culture and zest for life.
There is no better place to experience and become part of this culture than the Valleys and Vales of Neath Port Talbot. Be ready to meet some colourful characters, who will welcome you with a mystical tale about their beloved village.
Poets and artists have been celebrating the beauty and character of our Valleys for centuries. There are five valleys here in Neath Port Talbot, each with its own mesmerising tale!
Having played a key role in the industrial revolution, the Vale of Neath is home to waterfall country, the Neath Canal and Aberdulais Tinworks and Waterfall. The waterfalls area near Pontneddfechan is the gateway to the Brecon Beacons and is part of the Fforest Fawr Geo Park.
The history of mining in the Dulais Valley can still be discovered at Cefn Coed Colliery Museum. The village of Banwen in the Dulais Valley is also believed to be the birthplace of St Patrick the Patron Saint of Ireland.
Known worldwide as Afan Forest Park, the Afan valley has a rich mining heritage and is famous for its world class mountain bike trails. Home to Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre and Ponds, Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre and South Wales Miners Museum there is no end to the possibilities for a day out in the Afan Valley.
Home to the Swansea Canal, this valley emanates Welsh culture and the Welsh language is widely spoken. Pontardawe, once a thriving industrial centre hosts festivals throughout the year.
The most rural of our Valleys and gateway to the Black Mountains, the Welsh language is also spoken widely here. Home to the Amman Valley Trotting Club the area offers many opportunities for horse riding.
Thanks @VisitNPT for the above info and video clip!
Here’s a couple to get you started…do you know of anymore???
Everything you need to know about the annual Neath Real Ale and Cider Festival
The annual Neath Real Ale and Cider Festival will kick off in the town centre this weekend. Organisers hope the event will be the best yet with more than 35 varieties of real ales and ciders from local brewers to sample, as well as live music from local acts.
The event is now in its fourth year and celebrates local breweries producing top quality real ale and ciders. Up to six local breweries will be showcasing their products in Neath Town Hall and in a marquee on Angel Square on Saturday. There will be more than ale and cider to keep guests entertained, with a variety of food on offer and performances from local favourites including Neath Male Voice Choir, Like a Lion, Santa Cruz, Neath Ukulele Band, the Steve WIlliams Trio, Jeff Wiltshire, Lloyd John, Moongazer and Afternoon In Paris.
There will also be a live stand-up performance on Saturday evening in Angel Square. The festival has a strong emphasis on showcasing locally produced ciders and ales. This year, they will feature the likes of Gower Brewery, Grey Trees, Borough Arms, Gwynt Y Ddraig, Neath Ales and Mumbles Brewery.
An ale and cider list which will be available in the town hall has been published on the Neath Real Ale and Cider Festival Facebook Page. The list includes:
Iron Runner, Borough IPA, Pelenna Valley Ale, Full Blast and Nut Red Coke from the Borough Brewery. Deliverance, Welsh Amber, Dewi Sant, Cherry Bomb and Platinum from Neath Ales. Mumbles Gold, Mumbles Mile, Lifesaver, Hop Kick and Weisse from Mumbles Brewery. Caradog’s Bitter, Digger’s Gold, Drummer Boy, Chinookan VPA and Mosaic Pale Ale from Grey Trees. Happy Daze, Farmhouse Scrumpy, Fiery Fox, Welsh Warrior, Dog Dancer and Two Trees Perry from Gwynt-Y-Ddraig Ciders. Gower Gold, Gower Power, Brew and Sunrise from Gower Brewery.
Back by popular demand will be the Ale Trail, where punters will be able to buy guest ales or ciders in at least four of several venues across the town.Those tipped to take part include the Ambassador, Cross Keys, Presidents, Morruzi’s, Charlie’s Bar and Grill, Gwyn Hall, Borough Arms and the Canterbury Arms.
It starts at noon on Friday and Saturday, ending at 11pm on both days.
Entry is £4.50 per person but, if you pay the entry fee on Friday, you can return for free on Saturday as long as you are still wearing your wristband. Everyone who attends will also receive a free 2017 festival tankard while stocks last.
I quickly put this slide show together to give you all an idea of what went into the interior finish. I haven’t included any of the solar power equipment because I’ve been asked loads of questions regarding it – hence I’ll give it’s own post at a later date 🙂
In essence the inside could be broken down into , insulation, paneling, Varnishing/painting, Stove install, Solar/Electrics and decor/furniture. The little vid suggests I had this kicked in a couple of days…..errrr nope, a few months would be more accurate. I never really considered the merits of a summer type house, but whilst completing the interior – I found myself spending more and more time sitting in the hut (technically not working – don’t tell Mrs Willow Springs!) ,just being there- in that moment. Taking time to appreciate the same amazing views but from a different angle and place, whilst feeling almost comforted by that sweet timber aroma. I can see why people have summer houses. This Hut however, was built for something greater – to share with other people, and for those people to have ‘Their own moment’.
Ladies and gentlefolk…we’re really excited to announce….. Our Shepherds Hut is ready to rent!! Visit the Shepherds Hut page on the website or click here for all the details!
Hi all, It’s been so busy that writing a blog has unfortunately had to take a back seat….so here’s a short video, from the workshop to the pitch…and some serious erecting! You’l notice it says part 2 – I figured that it made sense to actually put some videos together of the whole progress – I’m still planning on finishing the written blog – but some people just prefer less reading and more watching. Hopefully I’ll have pleased everyone in the end!!!
Part 1 is probably going to be all the base construction in the workshop and part 3 will be all the interior – including soft furnishings…who knows maybe part 4 will be your blog from our hut! I have my head full of solar panels and controllers – because we need to put basic power in…enough for lights, phone and laptop charging, I’m toying with idea of a small fridge, just big enough for some milk, bacon, butter and beer!..or wine…maybe both!!! But power consumption is a big factor in designing a simple solar arrangement.. we’ll have to see how it develops.
feel free to either email via the website or tweet via @WillowSpringsUK or a Facebook message @WillowSpringsUK with your thoughts on what you’d expect when staying in a shepherds hut, how would you want to cook? would you prefer to bring your own bedding and towels? Would you ever consider staying in a 4 berth hut with friends? We value your opinions and points of view and love to chat, so get typing!!
Mountain ( and road) biking is big in our neck of the woods (pardon the pun!), If you know how varied and beautiful our area is you’d wholly understand why people come from all over the world to ride here. As far as I know we are the only valley or borough that has 2 visitor centres linking both walking and cycling trails. Obviously the majority of visitors will only ever see the more advertised routes, trails and places….and amazing as they are, its tip of the iceberg stuff! You can’t get bored here, as for the trails well if you think you’ve done them all, think again – try hopping over to the Garw and Llnfi valleys which are only minutes away in the Borough of Bridgend – have a look at the youtube video from our friends at BridgendBytes.com courtesy of Brent Davies.