Tours of Enchantment at Abbeycwnhir
Published: Thursday 22nd Mar 2018
Encompassing a rich history, impressive natural surroundings and an eclectic mix of collectable items, Abbey-Cwm-Hir Hall is a truly unique attraction, quite unlike anything else you might find. Visitors to the hall will discover a fascinating display of antiques, collectables and other oddities, with an interior lovingly designed by Victoria Humpherston. The site also features a wonderful garden and surrounding grounds that are waiting to be explored.
Abbey-Cwm-Hir Hall is set in Abbeycwmhir, within the valley of the Nant Clywedog in the inspirational Welsh county of Powys. The hall itself rests in a breath-taking area of natural beauty, sitting at the base of the valley, close to the Clywedog brook and is surrounded by hills, hanging oak forests and rocky outcrops.
This is a wonderful backdrop for taking a break and spending a little time to unwind in unspoiled natural surroundings. Birdwatchers will also take delight in the opportunity to spot rarities such as red kites, peregrines, pied flycatchers and redstart, while budding conservationists will quickly discover a rich and diverse biosphere and a host of wildlife.
In addition to its stunning natural surroundings, the Hall is steeped in a fascinating history that is waiting for visitors to uncover. The village itself is named after the Cisterian abbey, which was founded in 1143 by the then Prince of southern Powys Cadwallon ap Madog. Although it was never completed, the abbey was the largest in Wales before it was slighted in 1644, during the English Civil War.
Today, the remaining ruins offer a true feeling of calm that provides some indication as to why the monks decided to build there and a wonderful place to unwind and reflect. The site is also the burial place of the last native Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, who was killed in battle in December 1282.
Over the years Abbeycwnhir has also become home to several interesting buildings of note, including the village Church of St Mary, which was rebuilt in in the neo-Byzantine style by Mary Beatrice Philips during 1866; the Happy Union Inn – a grade II listed building with something of a mysterious history and an usual pub sign featuring a man riding a goat; and Abbey-Cwn-Hir Hall, which is an impressive Elizabethan-style house built in 1833 for Thomas Wilson.
Abbey Cwnhir Hall
Thomas Wilson financed the construction of Abbey-Cwn-hir Hall and even oversaw the creation of a lake, so that the village would have water power for a local sawmill. Unfortunately, the process ruined Wilson financially and he emigrated to Australia, where he would go on to become the Mayor of Adelaide in 1842. This meant that eventually the Hall and its grounds fell into a state of disrepair, until the estate was purchased by Francis Philips during 1837.
The Philips family did much to improve the fortunes of the hall and remodelled the estate in 1869, doubling the hall in size and further adding a snooker room in 1894. Today, the Hall is one of Wales’ most outstanding Victorian homes, representing a grade II listed property with 52 rooms and truly magnificent Victorian architecture, overlooking the 12th century abbey in countryside bordering the beautiful Brecon Beacons to the south. To the west the local countryside meets the impressive Cambrian Mountains, while to the Welsh Marches can be discovered to the east.
The Hall was purchased by Paul and Victoria Humpherston during late 1997 and following ten years of determined restoration, Abbey Cwnhir Hall and its gardens are open to tours for individuals, couples, small and large groups in a true family atmosphere. The results of this restoration have been featured on as many as 20 different television show over the years, including the BBC’s ‘Discovering Welsh Houses’, ITV’s Wales tonight and on S4C, but are most impressive when viewed in person. The Hall is also home to 1000s of collectable items, that each has its own unique and fascinating history.
Collections, Gardens and Classic Cars
A visit to the Abbey Cwnhir Hall is a unique opportunity that is certainly assured to offer something for everyone. The Hall is home to thousands of antiques and vintage items that are used as furnishings to complement the individual designs of the buildings rooms and include enamel signs packaging, phonographs and radios, art and photographic collections, china and glass, railway memorabilia, as well as vintage vehicles.
Visitors with green fingers or who have a love of the outdoors will take delight in the Hall’s 12 acres of listed gardens, which have also been lovingly restored with 1000’s of tree, shrubs and herbaceous items that have been planted during the past decade. The gardens are comprised of a fully walled garden, lake, boathouse and waterfall, woodland walks, lawns, courtyards and terraces, a gypsy caravan, shepherds hut, a row of beach huts and a vintage caravan. These charming features are the perfect backdrop of a relaxed walk and an opportunity to unwind.
Abbey Cwnhir Hall is also a popular venue of visiting classic and vintage car clubs, while the hall also works with local accommodation providers where weekend stays are involved. Enjoying beautiful classic and vintage cars in a romantic country house setting, adds an exciting extra dimension to the mid-Wales driving experience for club members and enthusiasts alike.
Information on visiting the Hall, including booking tours and visiting car clubs can be found on the Abbey Cwnhir Hall, with details for guided tours for individuals, couples, small or large groups. The site also provides information relating to charges and arranging catering for visits, while the local team is on hand by either email or telephone.
Go online abbeycwmhir.com or call 01597 851727