West Wales Life&Style Winter 2020

West Wales Life&Style celebrates the people, places, craft and culture of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

West Wales Life&Style celebrates the people, places, craft and culture of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.


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Winter 2020






An exclusive spooky

Christmas story from

Catherine McCarthy


A night of

luxury for two

at Twr y Felin




gift shops

to find the

perfect present

Ding dong merrily

St David’s bellringers at 75

West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

Avalon, The Glen, Saundersfoot

Offers in the region of £1,200,000

The Quay, Clarbeston Road

Guide price £625,000

Stunning five-bedroom detached


Recent full bare bones renovation and


Fantastic position with spectacular sea


Delightful 4 bed house in idyllic

countryside location

Beautifully landscaped grounds,

architectural follies, pond & stream

Double garage, piggery, black rock hen

shed, workshop & sheds

Ideal family home with scope for

conversion of outbuildings

Separate, totally unique, highly

successful, Grade II luxury holiday

cottage alongside

Five minutes’ walk to one of

Pembrokeshire’s most picturesque


Scope for development into an

contemporary light filled home with

amazing views in a very private location



07969 241845

07969 241845

2 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

22 Ringing

the changes

with St David’s


34 Christmas story

30 Win a night

of luxury

16 News

70 Stay fit with Joey 8 Old meets new

46 Christmas gifts


6 Welcome

8 Property spotlight

Waundwrgi is a stunning property

mixing traditional charm with

modern conveniences

16 News

20 Reader’s snapshot

Stunning images of West Wales

from our readers

22 Ringing the changes

St David’s Diocesan Guild of Bell

Rings marks its 75th anniversary

30 A night of luxury

Win a night at the stunning Twr y

Felin hotel in St Davids

34 Ysbrid y Mor

Award-winning horror writer

Catherine McCarthy with an

exclusive Christmas short story set

on the West Wales coast

41 Christmas nightmare

The Mari Lwyd is a frightening

Welsh festive tradition

46 Gorgeous giftshops

We take a look at some of West

Wales’ best giftshops for great

present ideas

51 Homes with a past

House historian Sara Fox explores

the history behind Golden Grove in


59 New direction

Tourism in Pembrokeshire is

moving in a new direction

60 What’s in a name?

We take a look at the meaning

behind some of our most common


62 Natural warmth

Discover the benefits of sheep wool

as home insulation

65 In the garden

There’s plenty to do in the garden at

this time of year

69 Health at Christmas

UK fitness champ Joey Bull on the

importance of indulging ourselves

over the festive period

72 Mental health

Dyfed Wyn Roberts on caring for his

mental health during lockdown

74 Food

Welsh beef makes for a delicious

winter warmer

75 Wines of the world

Celtic Wines’ Roy Roberts continues

his A to Z of world wines

80 Motoring

4 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style



Welcome to the second edition

of Wales Life&Style, the free

magazine dedicated to celebrating,

supporting and promoting the three counties of

Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion

– both here within our own borders and to the

wider world.

Firstly, we would like to say a huge thank you

to all those who picked up, read and enjoyed our

launch edition. – and a special thank you goes to

all those who took the time to get in touch and

offer their feedback.

Launching a glossy lifestyle magazine in the

middle of a global pandemic - when all our lives

have been thrown upside down - was a nervewracking

affair, but the response we have

received has been nothing short of overwhelming.

The support we have received has made all the

stress and hard work worthwhile.

The support we have had from readers has been

staggering and we were absolutely delighted

that within days of the magazine’s publication

we were receiving messages from some of the

businesses we had featured confirming they had

gained new customers after appearing in our

pages. It seems that there are lots of people in

West Wales who agree with our philosophy of

shop local, eat local and stay local.

While the future remains uncertain due

to outbreak of Covid-19, our message of

supporting small and independent businesses in

Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion

remains as vital now as it did back in the

summer when we launched.

For many suppliers, traders and small

businesses, a successful Christmas is key to

survival. This year, the festive season is likely

to be even more crucial than usual. With that

in mind, we would urge everyone to spend their

Christmas budgets large or small with the

businesses on their doorsteps.

During these trying times, it is important to

remember the most important things in life this

Christmas and be grateful for the family and

friends that make everything worthwhile.

We hope you will enjoy our second edition, with

its mix of food, drink, shopping, history and all

the rest.

We wish all our readers and advertisers a merry

Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

Nadolig llawen a blwyddyn newydd dda i chi





Sales director

01437 214667

07920 511360


01437 214667

07881 468965


Images: Gareth Davies, Claire Alexander, Keith Morris, Samantha Lewis, Visit Wales, Thomas Robert,

RCAHMW, West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style is published by West Wales Publishing Ltd

West Wales Publishing Ltd, Castle Green, Pencader,Carmarthenshire, SA39 9BP

@WWLifeandStyle WWLifeandStyle wwlifeandstyle

6 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

Rural charm with

21st century style

Stunning 93-acre estate with

beautiful historic buildings and

state of the art modern features

8 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

Waundwrgi – charming

yet luxurious ’

West Wales boasts a wealth

of stunning country homes

and properties, each with

their own rich history, but few can

hope to match the mix of rustic

charm and beautiful renovation of

the Waundwrgi Estate.

Originally a dairy farm dating

from the middle to late 18th

century, the Waundwrgi Estate

- situated close to the beautiful

market town of Narberth - is an

absolute gem.

Even arriving at the Grade

II listed property is a magical

experience as visitors descend

into tranquil, wooded surrounds

before emerging into beautifully

landscaped grounds where a lily

pond, lush lawns and a large pond

greet the unsuspecting.

Waundwrgi, meaning heath of the

otter, is accompanied by a cottage

and courtyard buildings.

The main house is based around

a charming, traditional stone

farmhouse, but behind the rustic

façade, former farm outbuildings

have been artfully combined to

create a large, comfortable home

with spacious reception rooms,

a state of the art kitchen, ultramodern

bathrooms and en-suite

shower rooms, four large bedrooms,

an amazing family room and a

delightful one- bedroomed guest


Redolent with character features

that include exposed beams and roof

trusses, lime washed and thickstoned

walls, deep slate sills and

inglenook fireplaces, the Grade II

listed property has undergone a

renovation and redecoration that

borders on the breath-taking.

The ground floor boasts a bespoke

kitchen with limestone floor,

ancient ceiling beams, leathered

granite work surfaces, and an oak

block centre island. The original

inglenook fireplace now houses a

wood-burner on a slate hearth. The

traditional farmhouse larder with

original slate salting slabs offers

10 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

with the initials DB & EB as well as

a stone feature wall with inglenook

chimney, a side window and three

large roof windows.

A third bedroom is a front facing

double with original fireplace,

integrated cupboard and spotlights

while bedroom four – with front and

rear windows, features a wonderful

oak floor with burned and brushed


The cottage is a charming yet

luxurious three-bedroom property

accessed via a flagstone terrace.

The entrance hall features stone

walls, a slit window and quarry tile

floor while the open plan sitting

room with exposed beams and roof

timbers, has a galleried landing,

pine floors, and a wood burning

stove on a slate hearth. A sunny

conservatory with flagstone floor

extends to the fore with French

doors to the courtyard.

An open plan dining room and

kitchen also offer access to a

partially covered rear terrace.

The ground floor bedroom suite

features stone walls, a polished pine

floor, and deep slate-silled windows

overlooking the front gardens.

Stairs rise to the galleried landing

with ancient timbers a feature

throughout the first floor where a

king size bedroom with exposed

stone wall and original roof timbers

and luxury bathroom are housed.

Away from the main property is a

a glimpse of a world long past.

Meanwhile, the dining room and

snug feature typical period features

and are both front facing.

An ancient cow shed is now

the stunning sitting/family room

and features a lofted ceiling with

exposed beams, stone walls, slit

windows, and underfloor heating

beneath a magnificent wide-plank

oak floor. The roof timbers are

engraved with the dated initials

EH 1777 DB EB, believed to have

been made by Waundwrgi’s original

owners, Elizabeth and Jane Bowen.

Alongside the sitting room, and

with external access via French

doors from the terrace, the guest

suite boasts a lofted ceiling with

exposed beams, and underfloor

heating. A suspended, sliding

glass door opens to the shower

room which features Antoniolupi

Renovations have been

carried out with no expense

spared to ensure the

preservation of the traditional

fabric of the buildings ’

bathroom furniture. Bespoke oak

stairs rise to the mezzanine double


The rear hall houses stairs to

the bedrooms, along with storage

cupboards, toilet room, and former

scullery, plus a spacious utility

room with a wall of cupboards and

a bespoke carved laundry sink by

stone masonry specialists Lapicida.

On the first floor, the master

bedroom suite comes with a sitting

area and fully fitted wardrobes,

cupboards and drawers, plus a

claw-footed slipper bath on a raised

platform with telephone taps.

Exposed beams and two windows

overlooking the lily pond, lake

and lawns make for a delightful

bedroom. An en-suite shower room

with marble tiled walls and floor,

oak floor, glass screened shower

simply adds to the luxury.

The rooftop bedroom includes

amazing character features such as

exposed roof timbers again engraved

12 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

Grade II listed Coach House with

planning permission to convert to

a dwelling. Additional outbuildings

include a five-bay multi-purpose

barn with height to accommodate

the largest of farm machinery,

a storage room for the Biomass

boiler, a water treatment plant and

workshop area.

The former stables have been

renovated and are currently used as

a gym and yoga studio.

All of the buildings are rich in

character features typical of a

home dating back to the 1700s

while the addition of a Biomass

boiler, solar panels and a state of

the art drainage system provide

green credentials and economic

practicalities befitting of a 21st

century home.

The renovations have been

carried out with no expense spared

to ensure the preservation of the

traditional fabric of the buildings

with restoration and reinforcement

of old timbers, new drainage,

tanking and re-rendering with lime

plaster where necessary.

The interior design and decor is

exceptional thanks to a vision that

has seen the blending of original

rustic features with contemporary

ultra-modern style to create a

completely unique, worldly interior

that is respectful of the provenance

of the home yet relevant for

today’s convenient and comfortable


Waundrwgi is situated in

approximately 92 acres of land,

including 73 acres of woodland,

two areas of part cleared parkland,

two grazing fields, a perch stocked

lake and pond and an area of river

frontage on the River Marlais which

can be fished for sewin.

There are a number of picturesque

walking trails and a magical fairy

meadow where the sun shines

through a forest clearing.

Waundwrgi is a place of

‘ translates Waundwrgi


the heath of

the otter ’

outstanding natural beauty and

tranquillity set in a ‘picture

postcard’ scene where historical

Welsh buildings are enhanced by

the addition of well-chosen modern


Offers over £1.75m

Country Living Group


Christmas at

G i f t C a r d s

A v a i l a b l e t o p u r c h a s e o n l i n e a n d i n s t o r e

e l i v e r y


c r o s s


P e m b r o k e s h i r e


Extra Special T H I S Y E A R

Why not treat yourself and your

family to the largest selection of

Finest Local Produce from

Prendergast Butchers.

With all of your festive favourites

such as our traditional seasonal

meats, our delicious home crafted

trimmings, our speciality Dry Aged

Beef, our wide array of seasonal Game

or if you are looking for something a

little different, why not try some of

our very sought-after Wagyu Beef.

Our popular hampers are now in store

and available to pre order or purchase.

We have a range of Vegetable, Cheese

and Meat Hampers - including our

newest addition, our Game Hamper.

Let Prendergast Butchers help you take

the stress out of Christmas food shopping

this year - pre order your Local Produce

from us, and we will deliver it to you in

time for the big day! Simply just place your

order online, or gives us a call.

0 1 4 3 7 7 6 3 3 8 7

P R E N D E R G A S T B U T C H E R S . C O . U K

14 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



B R Y N C A P E L , H A V E R F O R D W E S T

S A 6 1 2 P F

West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

News / Newyddion

Blwyddyn dda

Cyfle i rannu



Oes gennych chi syniad a arweinir

gan y gymuned a allai wneud

gwahaniaeth gwirioneddol i

fywydau pobl sy’n byw ac yn

gweithio yng Ngheredigion? Nododd

Grŵp Gweithredu Lleol Cynnal

y Cardi (GLlI), sy’n gweithredu’r

cynllun LEADER yng Ngheredigion,

nifer o flaenoriaethau ac maen nhw

eisiau clywed eich syniadau.

Mae yna nifer o flaenoriaethau,

gan gynnwys sut rydyn ni’n gwneud

Ceredigion yn lle unigryw lle

mae pobl eisiau byw, gweithio ac

ymweld; sut y gallwn gefnogi trefi

farchnad Ceredigion gan eu gwneud

yn lleoedd bywiog i ymweld â nhw;

a sut y gallwn wneud mwy o asedau

a thraddodiadau diwylliannol

Ceredigion fel y gallwn gefnogi ein

cymunedau a’n heconomi leol.

Mae gweithio tuag at ddyfodol

carbon isel yn flaenoriaeth arall i

GGLl Cynnal y Cardi. I gyflawni

hyn, a oes gennych unrhyw

syniadau yn benodol sut y gall y sir

wneud, defnyddio, ailddefnyddio,

ail-wneud ac ailgylchu mwy!

Y dyddiad cau ar gyfer cyflwyno’ch

mynegiadau o ddiddordeb yw

18 Ionawr 2021. Mae croeso i

gyflwyniadau yn Gymraeg neu

yn Saesneg. Cysylltwch â’r tîm i

drafod eich syniadau. I gael mwy

o wybodaeth am y blaenoriaethau

ar gyfer cefnogaeth yn y dyfodol

ewch i wefan Cynnal y Cardi, e-bost

cynnalycardi@ceredigion.gov.uk neu

ffoniwch 01545 570881.

Eve Myles on set in Un Bore Mercher/Keeping Faith


back for star role

Carmarthenshire was back in the

spotlight in November as popular

S4C drama, Un Bore Mercher/

Keeping Faith returned to our


Those familiar with Faith Howells

were delighted to learn that the

third and final series of Un Bore

Mercher, which is filmed largely

in Carmarthenshire, started on

Sunday, November 1.

Viewers across the globe have

been treated to some breathtaking

scenes of the county at Laugharne,

Llansteffan and Pendine since the

show started in 2018.

The former courthouse in

Guildhall Square in Carmarthen

was also largely featured in Series

One with the main character, Faith

Howells’s home based in Laugharne.

One of the programme’s most

infamous shots overlooking the

estuary was taken on the balcony in


Un Bore Mercher, tells the story

of lawyer, wife and mother Faith

Howells played by Eve Myles, who

is drawn into a mystery when her

husband and business partner,

Evan, vanishes. While searching for

truth, she uncovers secrets about

his life and starts to question how

well she knows the man who is her


The programme was filmed back

to back with the English version,

Keeping Faith, which is set to

appear on BBC Wales in early 2021.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s

executive board member for

tourism, sport and culture, Cllr

Peter Hughes Griffiths said: “Once

again Carmarthenshire is being

showcased across the small screen.

“The show’s popularity together

with the much anticipated final

farewell will no doubt attract a

large viewing.

“This is a fantastic advert for

Carmarthenshire which will

hopefully build on the area’s

reputation of being one of the best

places to visit.”

i bryfed peillio

Sir Benfro

Er ein bod wedi wynebu mwy na

digon o heriau yn 2020, mae wedi

troi’n flwyddyn addawol i bryfed

peillio ar hyd arfordir Sir Benfro,

diolch i’r prosiect Pobl, Llwybrau a

Phryfed Peillio.

Mae’r cynllun peilot tair blynedd yn

cael ei gefnogi gan Ymddiriedolaeth

Parc Cenedlaethol Arfordir Penfro

a Stena Line, a’i nod yw cynyddu

bioamrywiaeth ar hyd y darn o

Lwybr yr Arfordir rhwng Niwgwl

ac Abereiddi. Mae wedi gwneud

cynnydd mawr ers ei sefydlu fymryn

dros flwyddyn yn ôl.

Yn ystod y cyfnod hwn, mae mwy

na 25 milltir o Lwybr yr Arfordir

wedi cael ei arolygu am bryfed

peillio, gyda’r nod o ganfod ardaloedd

i’w gwella er mwyn darparu cynefin

gwell. Drwy sicrhau bod gwelliannau

i fioamrywiaeth yn ganolog i waith

cynnal a chadw Llwybr yr Arfordir,

gellir galluogi cysylltedd ar gyfer

rhywogaethau, yn ogystal â chefnogi

mynediad a phori ar yr arfordir.

Cyfrannwyd mwy na 200 o oriau

The 2020 Pembrokeshire Coast

Archaeology Day was moved from

its usual venue at Pembrokeshire

College to an accessible online

format in November.

Organised by the Pembrokeshire

Coast National Park Authority in

partnership with PLANED, the

18th Annual Archaeology Day was

broadcast on YouTube on Saturday,

November 7.

Despite the ongoing pandemic,

National Park Authority staff felt

gan wirfoddolwyr i’r

prosiect hyd yma,

drwy arolygon pryfed

peillio a thasgau

mwy ymarferol fel

clirio prysgwydd a

chreu mwy na 200 metr o fanciau


Bu’r wardeiniaid yn arbennig o

brysur dros fisoedd y gaeaf, yn torri

rhyw 2km o dwneli gwynt ar Lwybr

yr Arfordir cyn i dymor nythu’r adar


Y peth gorau hyd yma yw

canlyniadau’r arolwg o gacwn ar

drawslin ar Faes Awyr Tyddewi ar

ôl i gyfyngiadau’r cyfnod clo gael eu

llacio. Mewn tair awr, cofnodwyd

chwe rhywogaeth wahanol a mwy na

150 o wenyn.

Mae pryfed peillio yn elfen hanfodol

o’n bioamrywiaeth, ac mae pryfed yn

gyfrifol am beillio 90% o gnydau. Yn

ogystal â pheillio cnydau bwyd, maen

nhw hefyd yn hanfodol i oroesiad

planhigion sy’n cynnal llawer o’n

bywyd gwyllt.

it was still important to deliver this

event, albeit in a different format

from the norm.

Speaking days before the online

event, National Park Community

Archaeologist, Tomos Ll. Jones said:

“It is a pleasure to bring back the

Archaeology Day for another year.

While the platform is different,

we hope that those attending will

still enjoy hearing more about

archaeology in the National Park

and surrounding area, including

Cofnodwyd chwe rhywogaeth wahanol a mwy na 150 o wenyn yn

ystod arolwg o gacwn ar Faes Awyr Tyddewi.

Dywedodd Vicky Squire, Warden

Pryfed Peillio Awdurdod y Parc:

“Roeddwn i’n lwcus iawn ym mis

Awst eleni, o’r diwedd, i ddod o hyd

i ddau sbigyn o Droellig yr Hydref

(Spiranthes spiralis) wrth ymyl

Llwybr yr Arfordir ym Mhorthclais.

Mae’r rhain yn degeirianau prin,

eiddil yr olwg sydd i’w gweld fel

arfer ar laswelltiroedd calchaidd.

Maen nhw’n hoff o laswellt byr ac

mae cysylltiad rhwng eu dirywiad a

dwysáu amaethyddiaeth.

“Nawr bod samplau ohonynt

wedi cael eu darganfod eto ym

Mhorthclais, 10-15 mlynedd ers

iddynt gael eu cofnodi ddiwethaf,

rydyn ni’n gobeithio gweithio gyda’r

Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol

y gaeaf hwn i wella amodau

cynefinoedd er mwyn iddynt ffynnu.”

Archaeology Day goes virtual for 2020

projects and research.”

This year’s programme included a

mixture of videos and presentations

with an opportunity to ask

questions. Speakers included

Professor Mike Parker Pearson

talking about his research into

Neolithic Preseli and Dr Toby

Driver and the team updating on

the CHERISH project.

Further information about

the Trust is available at


16 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

18 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style



Samantha Lewis sent in this wintry

image of a snow-capped Foel Eryr in

Pembrokeshire’s Preseli Hills. To submit

your photographs of West Wales for

consideration, email


20 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

Ringing the


The St David’s Diocesan Guild

of Bell Ringers celebrated its

75th anniversary in September

22 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

The traditional sounds of

Christmas take many forms,

but few are as joyous or

distinctive as the ringing of church


Of course, church bells are also

rung throughout the year in

celebration of various feast days and

public events, and in West Wales,

the duties are carried out by the

St David’s Diocesan Guild of Bell


The Guild recently marked the

75th anniversary of its formation,

although current circumstances

ensured there was little opportunity

to celebrate the historic landmark

and no bells rang out to honour

such longevity – particularly given

the somewhat low expectations for

success the Guild faced during its

early days.

. The St David’s Diocesan Guild

of Bell Ringers was formed on

September 29, 1945, with a vision

to bring together active bellringers

from across the three counties of

Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire

and Ceredigion – the Diocese of St

David’s. Prior to its inauguration,

many of the region’s ringers

Bellringing practice at St Peter’s Church, Carmarthen. Picture: Claire Alexander

attended meetings either within the

Swansea & Brecon Guild or the then

West Wales Association.

Some three months after it was

formed, the Guild was recognised in

the Central Council of Church Bell

Ringers’ weekly journal The Ringing

World on January 4, 1946, where

it was noted: “In the remoter part

of Wales a new St David’s Diocesan

Guild has come into being and its

fortunes and future will be watched

with sympathetic interest in all

parts of the country.”

It was a less than ringing

endorsement of the fledgling group.

But despite such scepticism, the

Guild began with nine ringable

towers within its region and it burst

into life with a quarter peal at St

David’s Cathedral the day after its


Two months later, it rang a full

peal at Tenby.

A peal is the name given to a

specific form of bellringing which

meets certain exacting conditions

for duration, complexity and quality.

Brecon Cathedral bells

in action.

Picture: Claire Alexander

For a performance to be recognised

as a peal it must consist of sufficient

numerical sequences - or changes.

A peal must consist of at least 5,040

changes on up to seven working

bells or 5,000 changes on higher


On typical tower bells a full peal

takes around three hours to ring,

although the actual length of time

depends on several factors including

the number of changes and the

weight of the bells involved, which

affects the speed of ringing.

Quarter peals, which are a quarter

of the length of a full peal, take

around 45 minutes to complete.

“There is a whole language

associated with bellringing,” said

Anne Bunker, Guild Master of the

St David’s Diocesan Guild of Bell


However, despite such precise

terminology, bellringing is much

less complicated than it sounds and

goes far beyond the simple fulfilling

of religious duties. Dedicated

bellringers view the practice as a

hobby, a social exercise and just

good, plain fun.

24 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

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“Bellringing is a very inclusive

activity,” said Anne.

“We are very welcoming and open

to anyone joining – and you often

find that once someone becomes

a bellringer it develops into a


Bellringing itself dates back many

hundreds of years and for modernday

practitioners, the art forms

a direct link between bellringers

past and present across time and


Technically, the controlled ringing

we hear today is known as change

ringing – the origin of the phrase “to

ring the changes” - and came about

following the invention of full-circle

tower bells in the early 1600s when

it was discovered that swinging

a bell on a pivot through a much

wider arc offered the bellringer

far greater control over the timing

and sound of strikes compared to a

swing over a shorter, limited arc.

“It is such an old activity, going all

the way back to the Middle Ages,”

said Anne.

“It has developed and evolved over

the centuries, but it still centres on

controlling the sound being made by

the bell.

“There are people who have spent

their lives arranging the order and

pattern of ringing, depending on

the number and size of bells in each

Behind the scenes at St Peter’s Church, Carmarthen. Picture: Claire Alexander


Despite encompassing such a

large geographical area and the

remoteness of its towers, plus the

limited transport available in the

late 1940s and 1950s, the Guild

flourished. By 1964 the number

of ringable towers available to its

members had risen to 13.

The Guild now has 25 towers with

bells hung for full circle ringing,

of which eight are

currently unringable

for various reasons,

but it endeavours to

fulfil the ambitions of

former Guild Master

John Prytherch, who

said at the time of its

Silver Jubilee in 1970:

‘The Guild’s aim must

be to keep all our bells

ringing regularly for

Sunday services.”

And although the

geography has not

changed, it does

exactly that, with

members coming

from all corners of the


“As a group we are

spread quite widely,”

said Anne.

“The Guild covers the

whole of the St David’s

Diocese all the way from Llanelli in

Carmarthenshire to Haverfordwest

and St Davids in Pembrokeshire

and up to Llanbadarn Fawr,

Aberystwyth, in Ceredigion, and

also includes the likes of Tenby,

Llansteffan and Laugharne.”

“We cover a rather large

geographical area, but we do not

have that many ring-able bells.”

Unsurprisingly, the most

The tower at St Elli’s Church, Llanelli. Picture: Claire Alexander

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26 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



prestigious bells found in West

Wales are those belonging to St

David’s Cathedral.

However, the ring of ten cathedral

bells are no longer located in the

cathedral itself, but now hang in

the nearby Porth y Twr – Tower

Gate. Dating back to the 13th

century, the detached gatehouse,

which overlooks the cathedral, is

the last of the four original gates to

Cathedral Close.

According to records, there was

an octave of bells – eight - at the

cathedral in the middle of the 14th

century, but these were at some

point sent to be recast. On their

return journey to St Davids, the

largest was lost at sea. By 1690, the

cathedral housed five bells although

some were cracked and in 1748 it

was ordered that the four largest

should be removed as they were

both useless and becoming ever

more dangerous. Two were sold in


The remaining bells were left for a

period in the nave of the cathedral.

The smaller of the two, which were

cast for the cathedral by William

Savill of London, was reportedly

used in the casting of the fifth bell

of a brand new octave in 1928,

which is now the seventh bell of the

current peal of 10, with two smaller

bells having been added in 2001.

The purchase of the 1928 octave

was only made possible thanks to an

anonymous donation.

The only known surviving

medieval bell now forms part of an

exhibition in Porth y Twr, which

was itself derelict until it was

restored between 1928 and 1931,

thanks to the anonymous donor.

The 10 bells at St David’s

cathedral now form the prestigious

centrepiece of the Guild’s portfolio.

But while opportunities for

bellringers in West Wales might

appear limited, new possibilities

are arising, not least at Nevern in

north Pembrokeshire where a new

ring of 10 bells is set to be installed,

hopefully in time for Christmas.

The installation at St Brynach’s

Church will see bells ring out across

the village for the first time in more

than 160 years and comes after a

two-year fundraising campaign,

which has seen the restoration of

the church tower, with the original

bells and bell frame taken down,

West Wales Life&Style

Ropes at the ready at St Dingad’s Church, Llandovery. Picture: Claire Alexander

refurbished and replaced.

The ambitious project began only

with initial hopes of restoring the

original six bells, which date back to

1763, but it has proved so successful

that it was able to expand its vision

to the point where 10 bells will now

be put in place, including two new

Bellringing is

a very inclusive

activity ’

bells specially commissioned and

cast in Milan.

Currently, there are only six other

churches in Wales with 10 bells.

“Having 10 bells will put the

church on the world ringing map,”

St Brynach fundraising committee

chairman Duncan Fitzwilliams said.

Such is the nature of bellringing

that St Brynach’s new and restored

bells will undoubtedly ringers from

across the country.

“Most bellringers belong to a

specific tower,” said Anne, “but you

can go to just about any tower to


“We have a governing body that

joins up all the bellringers and

towers around the country. It means

you can go anywhere in the country

and ring at any tower.

“In the St David’s Diocesan Guild

of Bell Ringers we love to welcome

visitors from across the country – as

do all the other guilds.

“We are always happy to welcome

people to come and join us.”

With bellringing being such a

broad church, those taking part are

enthusiastic and dedicated, and ring

for many different reasons.

“Some people ring because they

are members of the church,” said

Anne, “and some ring because

they are interested in the bells

themselves; some ring because they

are interested in the patterns and

some are like twitchers, wanting to

visit ever tower across the country

and tick them off as they go.

“Bellringing is a great way to

socialise and meet people from all

over the country. It is a wonderful

activity to be part of.”

West Wales Life&Style

28 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

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stunning Twr y Felin

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West Wales Life&Style

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30 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk




West Wales Life&Style West Wales Life&Style

Tastes of


West Wales Life&Style



Iolo Williams on the

great Welsh survivor

70 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk


West Wales Life&Style

delivered to your door


hen it comes to food, there

is nothing that says Wales

more than the stunning

taste of succulent Welsh lamb.

Welsh lamb has been granted PGI

status – Protected Geographical

Indiction – the highly sought after

marque that guarantees that you

are buying a premium quality

product with special characteristics

that cannot be replicated anywhere

else in the world.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves five or more


225g boneless PGI Welsh Lamb

leg steaks (1 large or 2 small leg


Prepared fresh ready rolled

pizza dough – enough for 1 pizza


1 tbsp oil

1 aubergine, sliced lengthways

2 courgettes, sliced lengthways

Autumn 2020



me up

Building history

in Porthgain


the latest

novel from


queen of






When it comes to caring for their

animals, Welsh farmers use the

best of everything; the finest grass,

sharpest sheepdogs and best kept

husbandry secrets to ensure the

finest meat possible.

And with as fabulous a meat as

Welsh lamb, it would be a waste to

save it just for Sunday best.

Why not try something deliciously

light and summery like a Welsh

lamb, pesto and feta pizza.

150g feta cheese, crumbled

1 pomegranate, seeds only

100g reduced fat prepared green


Handful of rocket leaves

For the dressing:

1 lemon, zest and juice

50ml extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed or finely



idden away on the north coast of

Pembrokeshire is a tiny, picturebook

harbour where shadowy

structures hint at 200 turbulent years of

back-breaking Welsh industry.

Porthgain is a village with a history as

unpredictable as any in Wales.

Despite the tranquil surroundings, a

century ago Porthgain huffed and puffed

and roofed the nation before providing

the vital ingredient needed to feed the

insatiable appetite of the growing motor

trade. As the nineteenth century gave way

to the twentieth, the village was at the

very heart of the construction industry in

Pembrokeshire and beyond.

Porthgain means Chisel Port, and the

name - despite existing long before the

arrival of the quarries which would come

to dominate its geographical and financial

landscape, already pointed to a sweatsoaked

future of toil and hardship.

No-one knows exactly when slate

quarrying began at Porthgain but the

industry was well established by the

beginning of the nineteenth century.

Nearby Aberpwll was exporting slate as

early as the 1750s while the St David’s

Slate Quarry was in operation by 1811.

1. Heat the oven to 220°C / 200°C fan / Gas 7.

2. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment.

3. On a floured surface roll out the dough into a thin rough

oval shape, and place on the tray. Leave to stand for few


4. Heat a non-stick griddle or frying pan until hot and brush

with oil. Lightly char the courgette and aubergine slices on

both sides for a few minutes.

5. Spread the pesto over the dough. Top with slices of

courgette and aubergine.

6. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until base is


7. While pizza in oven cook the lamb steak. Drizzle a little oil

over the steak on both sides and cook for 4-5 minutes on each

side, season and allow to rest for a few minutes, then cut into


8. In a small bowl mix the dressing ingredients together and

set aside.

9. When pizza cooked, top with the feta, pomegranate seeds,

rocket leaves and sliced lamb.

10. Drizzle with the lemon dressing and serve immediately.

Tip: to save time try ready-to-use chilled pizza dough or you

can make your own dough or use a dough mix, where you

just add water and follow instructions on the pack. We’ve

topped our pizza with sliced cooked lamb leg steak but you

could use leftover roast lamb if you prefer.

stone entrance, flanked by classical


The front door leads to the Nash

reception hall with its moulded

fluted ceilings, classical fan

lights, central octagon “umbrella”,

limestone floor and imposing open

fireplace with marble slips and a

carved Nash surround.

The staircase hall with its fine

stone cantilevered staircase has

further Nash mouldings to the

ceiling, with doors leading off the

reception hall to the principal

reception rooms.

The drawing room boasts three

west-facing sash windows and

includes an 18th century fireplace

while the adjacent library offers

south-facing sashes and access

to the terrace with its classical

balustrades and far-reaching views

of the countryside. The library also

includes a handsome Georgian

fireplace and extensive book


Steps lead down from the library

to the music room, originally

designed by Thomas as a ballroom

and featuring an impressive

vaulted ceiling with extravagant

plasterwork and an imposing


At the opposite end of the library,

the morning room, with its open

fireplace, leads to the panelled

dining room, again designed by

Thomas, with its stunning vaulted

ceiling and elaborate plasterwork.

The modern fitted kitchen

comes with a four-oven AGA,

central island unit and integrated

appliances. A pantry, laundry and

further storerooms are situated off

the kitchen.

The first floor is accessed

via the majestic cantilevered

staircase which winds up to the

accommodation that includes the

principal landing with Nash arches

and plasterwork.

The main bedroom enjoys the

use of a bathroom suite while four

further bedrooms are located off

the landing together with a second

bathroom. A half-landing from the

main staircase connects to the two

large wings that include further

bedrooms, bathrooms, and store


The stairs continue upwards to

the second floor where four further

bedrooms and another bathroom are

Did you know you can ensure you

never miss an issue of West Wales

premier lifestyle magazine by

having it delivered to your door thanks to

our subscription service?

An annual subscription (six editions)

costs just £20 and guarantees you’ll stay up

to date with everything that’s happening

in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and


An annual subscription to West Wales

Life&Style also makes the perfect gift for

family and friends with a passion for this

wonderful part of the world.

Setting up a subscription is easy, simply

email mike@westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk or

steve@westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk and we’ll

do the rest – then you can sit back, relax

and wait for the next great edition to land

on your doorstep.


West Wales Life&Style West Wales Life&Style

A village built on stone

West Wales Life&Style West Wales Life&Style

12 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk


Porthgain’s nearest neighbour, the hamlet

of Abereiddi, had a slate industry by 1827.

Abereiddi remained the centre of the

local slate industry for 25 years and in

October 1838 two-and-a-quarter acres

of land were leased for the creation of

a quarry. The enterprise, however, was

doomed and in September 1841 the lease

60,000 trees

were planted

on the estate ’

to be found.

At basement level an imposing

vaulted hall connects directly with

the south facing belvedere terrace.

Within the basement are a billiard

room, the old wine cellars and

various store and plant rooms.

Externally, Ffynone incorporates

a number of outbuildings which

surround the old enclosed kitchen,

coach house and stable courtyards

and include the original kitchen

with its cast iron range, the Old

Coach House, garaging, original

stables with loose boxes and stalls,

the old granary, clock tower,

workshops and store rooms.

Situated in these courtyards are

three self-contained apartments

– the Cook’s Apartment and

the Garden Apartment are both

three-bedroomed while the Stable

Apartment boasts five bedrooms.

The apartments have all been used

for staff and holiday letting in the


Beyond the bricks and mortar,

Ffynone provides a breath-taking

landscape for whoever calls it home,

and the stunning gardens are on

was surrendered.

Later that year the land was leased again,

this time to a group of London industrialists

– Benjamin Hill, Robert Norman and John

Barclay – who understood that to make

quarrying in Pembrokeshire sustainable it

needed to be carried out on a much greater

scale than anything that had gone before.

48 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk


Operations at Abereiddi were expanded but

the industry was severely limited by natural

geography. Abereiddi’s long, shallow beach,

made the loading of ships problematic and

only sloops under 30 tonnes could be used.

Without a radical new plan, the Abereiddi

Slate Company was heading into troubled


West Wales Life&Style

Holidays where quality is key

Quality Cottages is a

family-run business

founded in 1961 by Leonard

Rees, who inherited Cerbid

Farm near Solva at the age

of 17. Ten years later he

diversified from farming,

converting the farm buildings

into holiday cottages.

Such was his success that

nearby cottage owners began

asking Mr Rees to help let

their properties as holiday

homes – and so it stayed for

nearly 20 years.

In 1979, Cerbid was featured

on TV holiday programme “Wish

You Were Here” and the showcase

was so successful it kickstarted

the next phase of the business

as more owners joined and the

portfolio grew. Shortly after, Quality

Cottages won Wales’s first Gold

award for Self-Catering in Tourism.

Quality Cottages has now grown

into a pan-Wales agency specialising

Leonard Rees, founder of Quality Cottages (right) receiving the

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award in 2019

in quality Welsh holiday homes and

self-catering cottages, promoting not

only cottages, but all parts of Wales

while working with discerning

owners to achieve the highest

possible returns.

At the beginning of this year, the

portfolio stood at approximately 450

holiday homes.

At the heart of Quality Cottages

are real people. The current

team numbers around 30,

and the company takes

a ‘family’ approach to

employment, putting the

needs of staff first.

Quality Cottages is proud

to be one of the very last,

and oldest, truly Welsh

holiday cottage agencies.

In recent years, Margaret

Rees and son Tim Rees, have

re-joined the company to

take the business through

the next 50 years.

Some 10 years ago, a new

brand was born. Quality

Unearthed specialises in unusual

holiday abodes throughout Britain

such as treehouses, eco pods, gypsy

wagons, yurts and more.

The hard work culminated with

inclusion in the ‘Top 50 Vacation

Rental Property Managers in

the World’ in 2020 by industry

technology leaders Rentals United.

32 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

Award-winning horror writer and self-confessed “spinner of dark

tales” Catherine McCarthy breathes new life into the traditional

Christmas ghost story with a special short written exclusively for

West Wales Life&Style, illustrated by the brilliant Tony Evans

West Wales Life&Style

Ysbrid y


(Spirit of the Sea)


silver ribbon of moonlight coruscated on the sea,

guiding the stranger to shore. Mari peeped from

behind the curtain, hardly believing her eyes.

No-one had dared enter the village for months, either by

road or sea.

Not since the sickness.

A wave of panic as the stranger alighted the skiff

and planted his feet on the pebbles. Black boots, black

oilskin, only his face was visible against the night sky.

She snuffed the candle, allowing her eyes to adjust.

The beam from the light-house swept across the beach,

teasing her with a momentary glance. In his left hand

he carried a lantern, in his right a sack. What was she

doing standing here? She should raise the alarm. She

donned her cloak and stepped out into the cold night

air. Head bent low against the brittle wind, she hurried

towards the inn.

Christmas Eve, but no sign of festivities. Many of the

little row of cottages were in darkness, not a garland or

wreath in sight. Only the sickly green glow of lamplight

from the Pentre Arms Inn spoke of life. That and the

smell of tobacco and ale.

A cursory glance over her shoulder assured her the

stranger had not moved. He stood still as a rock, facing

towards the village. Even the wind did not cause him

to sway. From this distance she could not make out his

expression, though she doubted it was friendly.

‘Are you sure?’ Tomos Evans, innkeeper, leaned an

elbow on the bar and frowned. A hush fell about the

place. Mari’s cheeks ruddied, though whether from the

bitter wind or the fact that she was the only female

present she could not say. She pressed a cold hand to

her cheek in an attempt to quell the bloom.

‘I’m certain,’ she said. ‘Come, see for yourself.’

Tomos and a half dozen men stood as one, pipes in

hand, and tumbled onto the street. Squinting in the

darkness, they peered towards the shore. ‘Well, I’ll be—’

Tomos said, shaking his head.

Mari followed the men as they stumbled over the

pebbled beach, arms folded across hearts that belied

34 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



Black boots, black oilskin,

only his face was visible

against the night sky...in

his left hand he carried a

lantern, in his right a sack ’

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West Wales Life&Style

their courageous demeanour.

Still the stranger made no attempt to move, nor did

he alter his stance. Billowing clouds scudded across

the moon in their haste to escape, but the steady

rhythm of the surf, as it broke on the shore, showed

no such fear.

It was the stranger who spoke first. ‘Will you offer

an old man respite?’ he said. ‘I have travelled far and

wide to get here.’ Hair, white as snow, lapped at his

collar; deep wrinkles on his face spoke of aeons. The

bitter wind whistled as he awaited an answer.

‘From where have you come, sir?’ Tomos said, eyeing

him suspiciously. ‘Have you not heard of the sickness

that has befallen these parts?’

‘I have indeed,’ said the stranger. ‘It is the reason I

have come.’

The waves roared with laughter at the stranger’s

audacity, licked his feet in praise. A mumbling fell

about the men as they eyed up the stranger in their


‘You cannot enter the village,’ one of them said. ‘You

might be contagious.’

The stranger drew breath, filled his lungs with

sharp, salty air. ‘I assure you, sir. There is no disease

where I come from, and I have not stepped foot in any

village on my way. Even if I had wished to, it would

No-one had dared

enter the village for

months, either by road

or sea...Not since the

sickness ’

not have been possible since no harbour, other than

your own, was lit. If I had attempted to row ashore in

darkness, my skiff might have been damaged on the

rocks.’ He raised a bushy eyebrow. ‘And what would

become of you then?’

‘Tell us, sir. What is it you have in that sack of

yours? You grip it so tight that the whites of your

knuckles shine through.’ It was Jones the Butcher

who spoke, and no-one dared argue with the glint of

his knife.

The stranger held the sack aloft, though Mari saw

that his arm quivered with the weight of it. From

inside the sack came a rattling sound: brittle, calcite.

It reminded Mari of a medicine man’s rattle. ‘This,

sir,’ he said, shaking the sack so that it rattled louder,

‘holds the answer to all your problems.’

By now word had spread, and Mari watched as a

steady stream of villagers approached, though none

got too close to the stranger. The whites of their

eyes shone huge in the moonlight, such was their


‘Like a ghost,’ one said.

‘A ghost from the sea,’ whispered another.

‘Huh,’ said Jones the Butcher. ‘It’ll take more than

a rattling sack to solve our problems. Be on your way,

sir, lest you feel the sharp point of my butcher’s hook.’

The stranger’s expression grew weary, his skin

blanched by the moonlight. ‘’Tis only vittles and a bed

for the night I seek,’ he said. ‘That and the compassion

of my fellow men.’

‘But, sir,’ Tomos said with an air of feigned pity. ‘You

must know that many hereabouts have fallen sick these

past months. People

have lost their lives to

the sickness. Lost loved

ones.’ He stuck out his

chest, somewhat proud.

‘We have been fortunate

in our village, for while

others have suffered not

one of our inhabitants has

fallen foul of it.’

‘I lost an aunt from Tresaith,’ a voice in the crowd said.

‘And I cannot even visit my sick grandmother in

Penbryn,’ said another. ‘We cannot take such a risk, sir.’

Mari searched the stranger’s face by the light of his

lamp. A single tear rolled down his cheek. The wind,

Mari thought, though her instinct was to whip out a

handkerchief and step towards the man. If Alys Hughes

had not caught her by the elbow she might have done


Then, to her astonishment, the stranger slumped

down on the skiff’s hull, dropped both lantern and

sack onto the pebbles, and put his head in his hands.

Strands of seaweed matted the back of his fine head of

hair, barnacles clung to the soles of his boots, and Mari

understood how long this stranger had journeyed. How

far he had travelled. And all so that he could help them.

‘Where is your Christmas spirit?’ she said, addressing

the crowd. ‘Can you not see how exhausted he is?’

A hush fell, and they stared at their feet, ashamed.

‘Christmas,’ spat Jones the Butcher. ‘Fine Christmas

this is turning out to be. We have no wine to mull, no

pudding to boil. Why, I cannot even slaughter a goose!’

‘You see, sir,’ said Tomos, addressing the stranger.

‘No-one has left the village for months, nor has anyone

entered. Our roads are blockaded and manned night

and day. ‘Tis the only way to ensure we stay well. Do

you not see our predicament?’

The stranger raised his head and addressed the crowd

in a whispering voice that spoke of the sea. ‘If you put

your faith in me, your suffering, and that of the people

in all the villages, will end.’ He lifted the sack from

where it drooped like a corpse, reawakening its rattling

voice. ‘In here I hold the cure. Mother nature has sent

me to you, but first you must prove yourselves worthy.’

The crowd grew animated. Elbows dug and fingers

pointed while men and women considered the stranger’s


‘Stop!’ said Tomos. ‘We shall put it to the vote.’ He

turned towards the stranger. ‘Do not move, sir,’ he said.

‘We will deliver our verdict shortly.’ He gestured to the

crowd. ‘To the inn,’ he said. ‘Each and every one of you

can have your say over a drop of port. I was saving the

last bottle for the morrow, but what does it matter?’

‘Very well,’ said the stranger, ‘but the clock is ticking.

My deed must be done tonight.’

One by one the villagers crunched towards the inn, the

West Wales Life&Style

glow from its lanterns showing the way.

‘Somebody needs to keep watch,’ Tomos said before

crossing the threshold. ‘Make sure he doesn’t move.’

‘I will,’ Mari said without hesitation. ‘So long as you

count my vote to let him stay.’

Mari sat on the harbour wall and wrapped her cloak

about her. The winter

wind whipped into a

Mother nature has sent me

to you, but first you must

prove yourselves worthy ’ Jane Beck

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frenzy, drowning out the

muffled voices from the

inn. Too cold for snow,

she thought, sitting on

her hands in an attempt

to warm them. This was

turning out to be the

strangest Christmas Mari had ever known, but then it

had been a strange year, so why should Christmas be

any different? The waves broke on the pebbled beach,

marking time. Why did she believe the stranger could

help them? Was she so desperate for the months of

sickness and fear to end that she was willing to put her

faith in an old man with a rattling sack? She watched,

and she waited, and she hoped.

And all the while the stranger did not move.

After what seemed an age, the villagers streamed from

the inn, led by Tomos. His face gave nothing away,

though the scowl on Jones the Butcher spoke volumes.

They trudged towards the shore, hands thrust deep in

pockets, hats pulled low. And Mari had not the nerve to

question any one of them as to the outcome. She would

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36 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

About the author

Catherine McCarthy is a spinner of dark tales, more often than not

set in Wales.

She has published two novels and a collection of stories, and is

soon to publish her new novel, The Wolf and the Favour.

Her short stories and flash fiction have been published both online and

in anthologies such as Diabolica Britannica, Graveyard Smash, and Dead


In 2020 she won the Aberystwyth University Imagining Utopias prize

for creative writing.

Catherine lives in an old farmhouse in Llandyfriog, Newcastle Emlyn,

with her illustrator husband and its ghosts, and when she is not writing

she may be found hiking the coast-path or photographing ancient

churchyards for story inspiration.

Discover more at catherine-mccarthy-author.com

wait and hear it delivered at the same time as the


He watched them approach, tilting his cap in respect

as the crowd drew near. No fear in his eyes, just

weariness. And the ocean frothed and spat at the

bobbing skiff, eager to hear the decision, for it knew all

too well how important it was.

The crowd fell silent as Tomos spoke. ‘Welcome,

stranger,’ he said. ‘Come, warm yourself by the fire and

share our meagre offerings. In the spirit of Christmas

we open our hearts and our homes to you.’

And Mari’s baited breath escaped in a cloud of relief.

‘I thank you, one and all,’ the stranger said, ‘but I have

one request before I join you.’ Once again he held aloft

the sack. ‘Before the clock strikes midnight, riders must

be sent to every village to deliver my gift to those who

are sick.’

An audible cry rang out in the dark, and a colony of

gulls, roosting on the sea, screeched a warning.

‘You said nothing of this earlier,’ spat Jones the

Butcher, foaming at the mouth.

But Tomos raised a hand. ‘We shall do as he asks,’ he

said. ‘We are done with quarrelling.’

The stranger smiled and from the sack he pulled out a

cockle shell. He held it out for all to see, before cosseting

the heart-shaped skeleton in the palm of his hand.

‘Fill your saddle-bags with shells and speed out to the

villages. When you reach your destination, tell them

this: each and every one of them must place a shell

beneath his pillow tonight. In the morning, at the first

turn of the tide, they must take their shells and place

them in the sea.’ He scanned the crowd, his expression

grave. ‘You must stress how important it is to do as I

ask, or the sickness will not be eradicated entirely.’

‘But what is the meaning of this?’ a voice in the crowd


He paused before answering, ensuring he had their

full attention. ‘Have you not held a shell to your ear?’

‘Indeed,’ came the answer.

‘And what did you hear?’

‘Why, the sound of the sea, of course.’

The stranger chuckled and his eyes glinted bright as

the moon. ‘And there you have it,’ he said. ‘Mam Môr

Writer Catherine McCarthy

speaks to all of us. She has witnessed the suffering

of those who are sick and is saddened. She has seen

enough and is willing to swallow the burden.’ As he

spoke, Venus winked her approval and the sea breathed

a sigh of relief.

‘Then which of you is willing to volunteer?’ said Tomos.

‘Whoever agrees will need to be a competent rider to get

there in time.’

By ten o’clock the inn was full. It seemed to Mari that

every man, woman and child had descended on it. All

were gathered round the fire, or else huddled close

in corners, merry with expectation. A long trestle

table stood beneath the window, laden with offerings.

Each and every villager had ransacked the larder and

together they provided a feast fit for a king.

But first they would await the riders’ return, for they

needed to be certain that the deed was done.

One by one the messengers came, saddle-bags empty

and hearts full. Fire-side seats were relinquished so

that they might warm themselves whilst telling their


At three minutes to midnight, the door to the inn

swung open and there stood the last of them. His skin

was chafed from the cold, ice-crystals nestled in his

beard, but his smile was wide as the ocean.

A cheer rang out as the clock struck midnight and

everyone raised a toast to the stranger from the sea.

‘Forgive us, sir,’ said Tomos. ‘We have been negligent

in our welcome, for we have not yet asked you your


The stranger smiled and the lamps in the inn grew

brighter. ‘I am so old that I have forgotten my name,’ he


‘Then we shall call you Ysbrid y Môr,’ said Mari,

handing him a hot toddy. ‘Spirit of the Sea.’ She raised

her glass. ‘Nadolig Llawen, one and all. We may not

have much left in the way of possessions, but we have

been granted the greatest gift of all: good health.’

‘Nadolig Llawen!’ The greeting rang out and the air

was filled with the scent of whiskey and honey.

The stranger raised a hand. ‘It would be amiss of me to

leave you with no Christmas gift after you have shown

me great trust.’ He bent low and retrieved the sack from

beneath the table. A small bulge in the bottom emitted

no rattle as he held it aloft. The children cheered. ‘But

you must wait until

morning, like every good

citizen,’ he said. ‘For now,

I shall bid you goodnight,

for I am bone-weary.’

Tomos was first to rise on

Christmas morning. As

far as he was concerned

a special guest was

fast asleep in his best

bedchamber. Hangover

or not, he must rustle up

a hearty breakfast before

seeing him on his way. He set about lighting the lamps

and getting a fire blazing, before turning his attention

to the larder.

Instead of a rasher of bacon and the one egg he had

been saving for his own Christmas breakfast, he was

astonished to discover that the larder was full. A

whole roast turkey, stuffed with sage and onion, jars of

chestnuts and bowls of clementines, and plum pudding,

still steaming. His mouth watered. How was this

possible? Just then there came a knocking at the inn

door. Who could it be at such an hour?

Mari stood before him, hair wild about her face and

eyes bright as stars. ‘Is he there?’ she said. ‘I must

thank him.’

West Wales Life&Style

A whole roast turkey,

stuffed with sage and

onion, jars of chestnuts

and bowls of clementines,

and plum pudding, still

steaming ’

Before Tomos could answer they were joined by others,

each with a similar tale to tell: gifts for the children,

food in the pantry. How was it possible from a small

bulge in an old sack?

Tomos was not

surprised to discover the

bedchamber empty.

As dawn broke, the

villagers poured from

their cottages, blearyeyed

and lost for words.

They descended on the

beach as one, hands

clasped tight to steady

their footing. But the

skiff was gone. Far, far

out to sea, a lantern winked a message of hope. As they

watched, it grew dimmer and dimmer, until it was no

more than a pinprick. The waves swallowed it and took

the stranger home.

The villagers raised their heads skyward as snow

fell upon their faces, soft and silent. It settled on the

pebbles, a white blanket of protection.

They waited for the turn of the tide. From miles

around, the waves carried a song of hope as those who

had been struck by the sickness placed their shells into

Mam Môr’s open arms.

Free from suffering, free from pain. The most precious

gift of all.

38 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

A knock on the door in late December could well mean

the arrival of the most frightening and fun festive visitors

The nightmare

for Christmas

Unsuspecting visitors to

West Wales at Christmas

might think their festive

celebrations have turned into a

waking nightmare should a very

special visitor come calling.

How else would you describe

the arrival on your doorstep of a

ghoulish apparition with a beribboned

horse’s skull for a head?

Things could only be worse if the

dreadful figure, accompanied by a

rag-tag bunch of followers, bursts

into song demanding food, drink and

a warm welcome.

Those of a stronger disposition

would discover they were being

visited by the Mari Lwyd.

The visit of the Mari Lwyd is

an ancient tradition celebrated

throughout parts of Wales around

December and January, often – but

not exclusively - between Christmas

and the first week or two of the new


And while the Mari might seem,

initially at least, to be a most

unwelcome caller, she and her

followers bring fun and music to the

festive celebrations.

The first recorded reference to the

Mari Lwyd was made in a journal

in 1800, but it is believed that the

tradition dates back many hundreds

of years earlier and may, in fact,

belong to pre-Christian mid-winter

celebrations held throughout Britain

during the first millennium.

Even the meaning of the name the

Mari Lwyd – which includes the

definite article “the” and in Welsh is

actually pronounced Y Fari Lwyd –

is the cause of some dispute among


It has been claimed that the

name originally referred to Holy

or Blessed Mary and is a reference

The Mari Lwyd. Illustration by Irina Vizhevskaya

A creature wrapped in a white

or grey sheet with a horse’s skull

decorated with colourful reins, bells

and ribbons ’

to the mother of Jesus, but most

now accept the more literal – albeit

confused – pre-Christian translation

40 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

of the Grey Mare. This in itself can

be rather confusing as the Welsh

word for mare is gasseg. March,

which mutates into Y Farch, is

though a common word for horse,

and it is therefore possible that

Y Farch Llwyd (the grey horse)

became Y Fari Lwyd.

Whatever the origins

of the tradition – and

the meaning of the

name, it involves a

group – traditionally

men – moving from

house to house led by the

Mari Lwyd, a creature

wrapped in a white or

grey sheet with a horse’s

skull decorated with

colourful reins, bells and

ribbons. A torch, whether fire or

powered by batteries, is sometimes

placed inside the skull to give it an

even more frightening illuminated


The head is attached to a pole,

which – along with its carrier – are

hidden by the sheet and decorations.

Traditionally, the horse head spent

the year buried underground only to

be reclaimed again each December.

West Wales Life&Style

Now though, the head is more

usually made of wood or papier


The Mari Lwyd’s followers are

often dressed in traditional costume,

and include characters known as the

Leader and the Sergeant. They are

sometimes accompanied by a pair of

The tradition dates

back many hundreds of

years and may belong to

pre-Christian mid-winter

celebrations ’

Punch and Judy-style figures who

wreak havoc as they go.

The raucous group travels around

the village singing and playing

instruments before challenging

families to a battle of rhyming

insults in Welsh, either spoken or


At the entrance to each house,

the Mari and her group try to gain

access to the home by performing a

series of verses, known as pwnco.

The householders must respond

with their own rhymes, in a battle

to outwit the creature and prevent

her from entering the house with

her party.

The battle can continue for as long

as the two parties can keep up their

rhymes and songs, but

once it is over, the Mari is

let in – bringing good luck

for the future year.

Once inside, the Leader

must control the Mari and

her followers before the

entire group is given food

and drink while the fun

and singing continues.

After the celebrations

fade, the Mari Lwyd and

her procession move on to the next


Although the Mari Lwyd is

thought of as a specifically Welsh

Christmas activity, there are

numerous similar traditions of

groups with a horse-headed figure

visiting homes recorded all around

the rest of the UK with comparable

celebrations found in Ireland, the

Isle of Man, Derbyshire, Yorkshire,


The start of your adventure



42 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



Dorset, Kent and Gloucestershire.

As with many of the traditional

customs elsewhere in the rest of

country, appearances of the Mari

Lwyd began to lessen in the late

nineteenth and early twentieth

centuries, most likely due to the dim

view taken of pagan traditions by

church and chapel leaders.

However, in recent decades the

Mari Lwyd has experienced a rise

in popularity once more during the

festive celebrations and has even

made an appearance at St David’s

Day and other Welsh festivals in

New York and Los Angeles.

So, should you hear a raucous

knocking this Christmas, it’s no

good bolting the door and hoping

you’ll be left in Peace. Instead,

you’ll need to steel your nerves and

get ready to face the embodiment

of one of Wales’ oldest traditions –

and just make sure you have plenty

to eat and drink as well as lots of

funny rhymes, jokes and gentle

insults to protect yourself because if

the Mari Lwyd comes calling, you’ll

want to feed and keep her happy.

Your fortunes for the year to come

depend on it.

West Wales Life&Style

The Mari Lwyd prepares for an outing more than 100 years ago

West Wales Life&Style

44 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

Gorgeous gifts


perfect presents

West Wales is blessed with a fantastic

assortment of stunning craft and gift

shops and, with Christmas getting

ever closer, there is a wealth of opportunities

for quirky, cute and just plain cool gifts for our

nearest and dearest.

Many of our specialist craft shops either create

their own unique range of products or source their

stock from some of the many talented artists,

makers and producers within the region.

We’ve put together a selection of some of our


There’s never been a better time to support them

and the producers whose work they showcase.

So when it comes to finding that perfect, unique

gift for the ones you love, stay local and shop local

– you won’t be disappointed.

46 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style


20 St Teilo St, Pontarddulais

07961 613010


Artyzans is a beautiful little

gift shop and gallery located

in Pontarddulais, right on the

Carmarthenshire border. The shop

sells a fabulous range of gifts and

homewares, including hand-made

jewellery, artworks, indoor plants,

soaps and candles and a wide

variety of eco-friendly products.

Artyzans is also home to Lagoon,

which produces a gorgeous, elegant

hand-made jewellery range.

Artyzans also hosts craft and

jewellery-making courses.

Flags and Bluebells


Pembrokeshire’s Flags and

Bluebells is an online shop

specialising in unique country

crafts, resin crafts, ceramics and

photography. All products are

handmade in Pembrokeshire. The

site boasts a wide range of fabulous

gifts, including perfect stockings

fillers, such as customised keyrings

and unique pendants as well as

beautifully-made ceramic festive


The Golden Sheaf Gallery and


25 High Street, Narberth

01834 860407


The Golden Sheaf Gallery and

Emporium is situated in a

gorgeous Georgian town house in

beautiful Narberth. The emporium

is brimming with curious and

wonderful things, including art

and sculpture, clothing, jewellery

and accessories, confectionery,

beauty products, candles, toys and

games and much more. The Golden

Sheaf is a unique, independent

store constantly seeking the

undiscovered, the classic and the

contemporary while championing

up-and-coming artisans and


The Nook and The Cranny

10b St Julian’s Street, Tenby


The Nook and The Cranny are

two linked gift shops in Tenby

specialising in all sorts of beautiful

products unique to the stores and

designed to make the perfect gift

for friends, family, loved ones and

anyone who deserves it. All of the

stores’ items are made by local

suppliers of high-quality arts and

crafts. Stunning products on offer

include jewellery, clothing, gifts,

art and home furnishings.

The Blue Boat Vintage, Antique

Gift Shop & Art Studio

43 St. Mary Street, Cardigan



The Blue Boat Vintage, Antique

Gift Shop & Art Studio is a

charming shop and open art studio

tucked away just behind Cardigan

Castle. The gift shops carries

a delightful selection of handpicked

unique finds, from vintage

ceramics, Welsh studio pottery,

leather bound books, to pre-loved

clothes featuring popular brand

names such as Desigual, White

Stuff, Boden, Fat Face and more.

The shop also carries a beautiful

collection of vintage Welsh tapestry

blankets and coats as well as

upcycled soft furnishings, all made

in Cardigan.

Found and Seek

51 King St, Carmarthen



ound & Seek is a lovely

little shop in the centre

of Carmarthen offering “half

handmade, half vintage and

antique” gifts that are all

completely unique. All the

handmade products come from

makers based in Wales, and are

either created in small batches or

as individual pieces so everything

is a once-in-a-lifetime gift. As well

as art, antiques and traditional

Welsh blankets, the shop is an

outlet for the stunning ironwork

produced by Ferric Fusion


48 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

The second house at Golden Grove circa 1770

(Carmarthenshire Museums Service Collection)

Golden Grove

A Tale of Two Families &

Three Houses

House Historian Sara Fox examines the rich history of

one of West Wales’ most famous country estates

Golden Grove is one of

the most evocative

Carmarthenshire landmarks

that are scattered along the historic

landscape of the Towy valley.

At its peak, the Golden Grove

Estate totalled fifty thousand

acres, including five castles and 12

manors, making it the largest and

most important estate in South

West Wales.

Two of the most influential

local families held Golden Grove

throughout the centuries and it

was their personal aspirations

and interests that drove the

development of the estate.

The Vaughans

The Vaughan family claimed

descent from the Princes of

Powys and first appeared in

Carmarthenshire in the latter part

of the fifteenth century.

They acquired the land that they

later called Golden Grove through

the misfortunes of their kinsman

Rhys ap Gruffydd of Dinefwr, after

he was accused of treason and lost

his head as well as his lands in


John Vaughan built the first house

at Golden Grove when Elizabeth I

50 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



was a young queen.

It must have been a substantial

mansion as it had 30 hearths in the

seventeenth century.

He welcomed the travelling bards

and in a praise poem of 1563/4 to

Siôn Fychan, the poet Wiliam Llŷn

intriguingly refers to the house


I have loved your court, houses of

the cross with wine,

dignified columns’

(trans. Eurig Davies)

West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

His grandson, another John,

found himself caught up in the

volatile political events at the

end of Elizabeth’s reign when his

father-in-law, Sir Gelly Meyrick,

was executed for his involvement

in Essex’s revolt of 1601, which

placed Vaughan temporarily under


In 1604 he was appointed sheriff

and in an early example of social

distancing, he hosted the great

sessions at Golden Grove after the

plague ravaged Carmarthen.

He set about reinventing himself

as an obliging courtier to the

An 1848 Lithograph of the south side of the Wyatville house (Private Collection)

Stuarts, accompanying Prince

Charles to Spain on his ill-advised

attempt to woo the Infanta.

He later claimed that serving

the Prince of Wales had cost him

£20,000 (roughly £2.6 million in

today’s money) which Charles never

repaid, although eventually he did

make him Earl of Carbery.

John’s son Richard Vaughan, the

second Earl, had a chequered career

during the Civil War.

He commanded South West

Wales for the King, but his heart

does not seem to have been in

soldiering. He was captured by the

Parliamentarians in 1643 and after

this, it appears he took no real part

in the war.

After the Restoration, Carbery

The current mansion at Golden Grove. Image AP_2007_0771 (C.876801) Gelli Aur are Crown copyright and are reproduced with the permission of

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW), under delegated authority from The Keeper of Public Records.

was appointed Lord President of

the Marches of Wales, but he was

removed from the position in 1672

owing to a scandal caused by his

ordered mutilation of some of his

servants and tenants at Dryslwyn.

It is not surprising that he was

described as a man of ‘pride and

menacing insolencies’.

The beautiful portrait of his

second wife Frances, long thought

to have been by Peter Lely, was

recently the subject of an intriguing

BBC documentary where experts

found that the portrait had in fact

been painted by Britain’s first

commercially successful female

artist, Mary Beale.

Local legend, says that Oliver

Cromwell spent a night at Golden

Grove and that Carbery, on learning

of his approach left his pious wife

to entertain the general, while

he hid himself in a neighbouring


Cromwell must have enjoyed her

hospitality as he is said to have sent

the lady a present of some deer from

the royal parks, the descendants

of which may still graze in the

parkland today.

Their younger son, John, the

third and last earl, was appointed

Governor of Jamaica in 1674 with

instructions to develop sugar

planting and negotiate prices of

slaves with the Royal African


This brought him into conflict

with the notorious pro-buccaneering

Sir Henry Morgan, who had been

appointed his deputy.

The economic development of the

island during this period meant

that as the hegemony of the pirates

declined, an industrial level of

slavery and its associated cruelty

and brutality was ushered in.

On his return to Britain, Carbery

was prominent in learned societies,

but was also known for his


He was described by Samuel Pepys

of all people as “one of the lewdest

fellows of the age.”

Lady Anne Vaughan his daughter,

married the Marquess of Winchester

in haste and repented at leisure as

their marriage was an unhappy one.

When she died in 1751, she left

Golden Grove to a distant cousin,

yet another John Vaughan, from


52 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

Darganfyddwch fwy am safleoedd hanesyddol a henebion Cymru!

Archwiliwch archif cenedlaethol archaeoleg a threftadaeth adeiledig Cymru.

Dewch o hyd i ni ar-lein yn www.coflein.gov.uk neu cysylltwch â Gwasanaeth

Ymholiadau am ddim y Comisiwn Brenhinol.

Dilynwch Newyddion Treftadaeth Cymru i weld ein holl newyddion

diweddaraf: https://cbhc.gov.uk/tanysgrifiwch-i-newyddion-treftadaeth-cymru/

Discover more about Wales’ historic sites and monuments!

Explore the national archive of the archaeology and built heritage of Wales.

Find us online at www.coflein.gov.uk or contact the

Royal Commission’s free Enquiries Service.

For all our latest news follow the Heritage of Wales News:


Cofnod Henebion Cenedlaethol Cymru

National Monuments Record of Wales

Ffordd Penglais, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3BU

Ffôn / Telephone: 01970 621200

e-bost: chc.cymru@cbhc.gov.uk

e-mail: nmr.wales@rcahmw.gov.uk

cbhc.gov.uk - rcahmw.gov.uk


The Tudor house at Golden Grove

had disastrously gone up in flames

thirty years earlier and was rebuilt

by him, although he never lived


When John’s grandson, the last

John Vaughan of Golden Grove

died in 1804, there were plenty

of Vaughan relations, including a

sister who might reasonably have

expected to inherit the estate, but

they were all snubbed in his will.

Instead, a widower and childless,

he left everything to his best friend,

John Campbell.

This did not stop the rumour mill

and a story took hold, that when

travelling in Europe together on the

Grand Tour they had each made a

will in each other’s favour in case

of death, to avoid local officials

seizing their belongings. Instead of

destroying Vaughan’s will on their

return it was claimed that Campbell

kept it his copy and produced it on

his friend’s demise.

The Cawdors

John Campbell, Baron Cawdor, who

was part of the anti-slavery faction

in Parliament, and recklessly

addicted to the collection of art

and antiquities, inherited a Golden

Grove heavily encumbered by debt.

A true romantic, he married

Isabella Caroline Howard, daughter

of the impoverished Earl of Carlisle

after apparently falling in love with

her at first sight.

When his son John Frederick

Campbell came into the estate

in 1821, he commissioned Jeffry

Wyatville to design a fashionable

new mansion in Scottish Baronial

Gothic which became the third

incarnation of Golden Grove and

was located in a more commanding

position on the hill above the old


During the Second World War the

house was a school and was also

used by the American forces.

The County Council acquired a

lease on the property in the 1950s,

using it as an agricultural college,

and opening the park to the public

until 2003.

It was sold several times after this

in quick succession and the house

and grounds quickly deteriorated.

However, in October 2011 the

property was acquired by the

Golden Grove Trust which has now

West Wales Life&Style

Frances, Countess of Carbery, seconod wife of Richard Vaughan, second Earl of Carbery.

The portrait was thought to have been by Peter Lely but is now believed to have been painted by

Britain’s first commercially successful female artist, Mary Beale. (Simon Gillespie Studios)

reopened the park, arboretum and

tearoom so that once again visitors

can enjoy the tranquil loveliness of

Golden Grove.

The park is open every day

between 9am and 6pm, the cafe

from 10am to 5pm in the Summer

& 10am to 4pm in the winter.

There is a parking charge of £1.50

2hrs, £2.50 3hrs, £4.00 all day.

For entry to the Arboretum £4.00

adults, £2.00 children. Dogs are

welcome & can run free in the

park but must be on leads in the


Find out more about Sara’s work via her

Twitter account @HouseHistorian1

Aerial photograph of Golden Grove mansion.

Image DI2007_0073 (C423125) © Crown copyright: RCAHMW

54 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style






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Pair recognised in

Queen’s Birthday



former apprentice and a recent

graduate at Coleg Sir Gâr have been

awarded Medallists of the Order

of the British Empire (BEM) in this year’s

Queen’s Birthday.

Phoebe McLavy a world-medallist for

hairdressing was recognised for her success

in Team UK with WorldSkills where she

won bronze representing Coleg Sir Gâr and

the UK at an international skills competition

in Russia, last year.

The 21-year-old from Carmarthen was

preparing to take part at EuroSkills in

Austria this year where she would compete

as one of 14 members of Team UK but due to

coronavirus the event has been cancelled.

No stranger to international competitions,

Phoebe has taken part in training and

competitions spanning Italy, China, Russia,

Hong Kong and Brazil, demonstrating that

her skills in hairdressing are world-class


Phoebe said: “Skills competitions have

given me an enormous confidence boost,

increased my professional skills to worldclass

level as well as opening up a wider

choice of career options.”

Also recognised for her work in health and

social care during the coronavirus pandemic

is Lyndsay McNicholl who graduated at

Coleg Sir Gâr this year with a first-class

honour degree in social care studies.

Lyndsay works for Carmarthenshire

County Council at Llys y Bryn residential

home, she said: “I felt honoured and

humbled to have just been nominated for a

BEM but to have it awarded is something


“I have accepted the award on behalf of

everyone who has worked tirelessly in care

and support services and not just through

Covid but every day.”

Phoebe McLavy

Lyndsay McNicholl

Gwybodaeth bellach

Further information


56 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



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C o f r e s t r w c h y n | R e g i s t e r a t :

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Pembrokeshire tourism

takes a new direction

Pembrokeshire’s tourism

industry is heading in a new


Over the last 20 months, key

partners in the industry, including

Pembrokeshire County Council,

PLANED, The Pembrokeshire

Coast National Park Authority

and Pembrokeshire Tourism

have been collaborating to create

a new Destination Management

Organisation under the name Visit


Visit Pembrokeshire, which was

launched on November16, is the

first organisation of its type in

Wales, bringing together the public,

private and third sector to drive

growth and development within the


Leading the organisation as chief

executive officer is Emma Thornton.

Emma was chosen from a list of 460

applicants from all over the UK and


Speaking about her appointment,

Emma said: “I am absolutely

delighted to be appointed as the new

CEO for Visit Pembrokeshire.

“Pembrokeshire is one of the most

beautiful parts of the UK and in fact

the world.

“2020 has been an incredibly

tough year for tourism, but with

its stunning coastline, natural and

cultural assets and great visitor

experiences, Pembrokeshire is now

well placed to benefit from a growth

in domestic tourism and, when the

time is right, international visitors.

“I feel privileged to be taking up

this role at this challenging but

exciting time, and look forward

to working with the new Visit

Pembrokeshire team and to help

support business recovery.”

Jane Rees-Baynes, chair of

the transition board of Visit

Pembrokeshire said: “We are

exceptionally pleased to have found

Emma who is an outstanding

Emma Thornton, CEO of the newly-created Visit Pembrokeshire

tourism leader who brings to

the county extensive destination

management experience as well as

public-private sector partnerships.

“Emma will lead Visit

Pembrokeshire with real confidence

to an exciting future both for our

members and our local communities

who want to see economic growth

closely aligned to the values of a

sustainable future.”

Pembrokeshire County Council’s

cabinet member for economy,

tourism, leisure and culture, Paul

Miller, said: “The launch of Visit

Pembrokeshire is fantastic news

for this county. This is the first

organisation of its kind in Wales

and I’m proud that the Council has

been at the forefront of making it

happen. It’s been an enormously

challenging year for our tourism

industry, and the creation of this

new organisation brings hope and

excitement for a better future.”

Tegryn Jones, chief executive

of the Pembrokeshire Coast

National Park Authority said:

“Tourism is an important part

of the Pembrokeshire economy

and the National Park Authority

looks forward to working with

Emma and her team, the board

of Visit Pembrokeshire and

the wider tourism industry to

develop a sustainable tourism

offer that supports the people and

communities of Pembrokeshire.”

If you would like to get involved

with the new organisation,

there are three vacancies for

trade members to be elected

onto the Visit Pembrokeshire

board – if you are interested in

finding out more about these

roles and how to apply, contact

Visit Pembrokeshire.


58 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



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West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

In the latest in regular series, we examine the meaning

of some of the place-names found across Ceredigion,

Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, and ask...

What’s in

a name?

As discussed in our previous edition,

many Welsh place-names refer either

to geography or to man-made features

of significance built into the landscape. A

perfect example of this is places that include

the prefix Pont at the beginning of their


There are more than a dozen towns, villages

and hamlets in the three counties that

begin with the word Pont, such as Pontfaen

and Pontyglasier in Pembrokeshire, Pont

Rhyd y Groes and Pontsian in Ceredigion

and Pontarsais, Ponthenri and Pontiets in

Carmarthenshire. There are hundreds more

across the length and breadth of Wales.

Pont, of course, means Bridge.

What follows Pont in a place-name is often

the name of the river being crossed – Pontfaen

(a mutation of Pont Gwaun or Bridge over the

River Gwaun), Pontyberem (a contraction and

mutation of Pont Aber Beran or Bridge over

the Mouth of the River Beran); the name of a

person, presumably who lived near the bridge

when it was originally built – Ponthenri

(Henry’s Bridge), Pontsian (Sian’s Bridge); or

some nearby feature – Pontiets (Bridge of the

Gates), Pont Rhyd y Groes (Bridge at the Ford

of the Cross). Pontyglasier, a small village in

the northern Pembrokeshire, means Bridge

of the Glacier, although its origins remain


Interestingly, West Wales’ most famous

bridge is generally referred to by its English

name, Devil’s Bridge. In Welsh, the nearby

village – and the bridge itself – is known as

Pontarfynach (Bridge over the River Mynach).

It is thought that Mynach – meaning Monk –

was adopted as the name of the river because

the land through which it ran was then owned

by a monastery. The first written reference to

the bridge at Pontarfynach as Devil’s Bridge

came in 1734.

There are in fact three bridges at

Pontarfynach – built on top of each other, the

most recent being erected in 1901.

The name Devil’s Bridge refers back to the

Middles Ages, when – according to legend –

an old woman spotted her cow grazing on the

far side of the valley. When she proved unable

to rescue the beast, the Devil appeared and

offered to build her a bridge – but only if she

agreed that he could claim the soul of the first

living thing to cross. The woman accepted the

deal, but once the bridge had been completed

she threw a crust of bread over the river,

which her dog went over the bridge to retrieve

- earning the Devil the soul of a dog and

nothing more.

60 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk




West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style


Nature’s choice:

Stay warm with wool

after recognising the environmental

credentials of wool and the support

the move would offer farmers.

Wyn Evans, NFU Cymru

livestock board chair, said: “Wool

is a great product and ticks all the

environmental boxes. It is also

supporting Wales and our farmers.”

Of course, sheep’s wool is also

completely natural.

It is also cheap and fairly easy

to work with, in that it can be

purchased in rolls which can then be

cut to measure, shaped to fit around

immovable objects such as water

tanks, joists, chimney breasts, etc.

The main issue with wool

insulation is that it compresses if

you put any weight on it, which

lowers its insulating efficiency so it

is important not to place pressure

on the wool It is also incredibly

important to remember when

working in any loft that you must

never place your feet between the

joists, otherwise you will more than

likely come through the ceiling.

Wooden boards can then be laid

over all the insulation if you need to

make the loft usable for things like


Having a carpet of insulation in

your roof will significantly reduce

heat loss out of your home and

remains the go-to method of saving


It is also important to remember

that when laying any form of loft

insulation between joists, the loft

space itself will be very cold in the

winter. This means that anything

you really value should be kept in

the home itself, not in the loft.

In addition, anything left above

the level of the insulation – such as

pipework and the cold water tank

– will also need to be insulated to

avoid them freezing up in a very

cold loft during the depths of winter.

With winter well and truly here, it’s time to insulate our

homes...and Wales has plenty of the perfect material


As we head into the depths

of winter, we should all be

trying to find better ways

to insulate our homes in order to

retain heat, save money and – in

turn – reduce our impact on the


Insulating your loft is one of the

best ways to improve the EPC rating

of your home. If you currently have

25mm or less of insulation in your

loft then adding extra insulation will

produce massive savings on your

energy bill.

Without proper loft insulation,

much of the warmth produced

by your heating system escapes

through the roof of your property

- as much as 25% of heat in an

uninsulated house is lost through

the roof. Loft insulation acts as a

barrier, slowing the movement of

heat during the winter and keeping

the property cool in summer.

The purpose of insulation is to

create a barrier that slows the

movement of heat either in or out

of the property. In most homes this

is done by laying insulation directly

above the ceiling of the uppermost

rooms in the house between the

joists in the floor of the loft.

There are various materials to

choose from, each with their own

advantages and disadvantages, but

more and more people are turning

to natural sheep wool as the perfect

insulation material.

Using sheep’s wool can be much

easier than DIY insulating with

other materials, such as glass wool,

rock or mineral wool, because it is

not an irritant and can therefore

be handled without the need for

protective clothing and glasses.

Sheep wool insulation also comes

with the added benefits.

Unlike other traditional insulation

materials, sheep’s wool is able to

absorb moisture. This can be crucial

because when warm air rises from

the heated rooms below it condenses

into water droplets when it comes

into contact with cold insulation

materials. Sheep’s wool however,

unlike other wool products, can

absorb some of this moisture and

protect the rafter timbers from rot

without affecting its own insulating


In addition, using sheep’s wool

insulation is a way of helping to

support Welsh farmers, many of

whom are struggling due to the

impact of the Covid-19 on their

usual wool sales. Farming union

NFU Cymru has warned that the

pandemic has contributed to a

“disastrous” fall in demand for the

fleeces of mountain sheep with the

closure of large hotels and cruise

liners - which routinely invest in

new carpets – seriously hurting

Welsh wool producers.

The Welsh Government has

already announced that it now

intends to use Welsh wool wherever

possible to insulate its buildings

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62 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style


Gardening guru Sara Milne with the tricks and

tips to make the most of a woodland garden

Secret gardens,

natural appeal

Woodland gardens

aren’t only for

large areas of

land, even small shaded

suburban spaces can

be transformed into

woodland habitats. They

provide a place of natural

beauty and discovery as

the seasons come and go

as well as a home for all

kinds of wildlife and –

once established – they

are also relatively low


The secret to a stunning

woodland garden is all in

the layering. Using the

tallest plants – trees – to

provide a canopy then

shade tolerant shrubs to

64 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk




West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style


create a layer below that followed

by herbaceous perennials, bulbs and

ground cover plants. When planting

make sure it’s in an informal

haphazard way so you replicate

the feeling of natural woodland, no

straight lines.

Trees with light canopies such as

silver birch are ideal for woodland

gardens, as they have height and

structure but don’t overwhelm the

other plants. Rowan and crab apple

work well too. If your garden is

treeless, you can buy semi-mature

trees to add an instant woodland


Use shade-tolerant shrubs to

create a layer beneath the canopy,

to add all year round interest.

These can be a mix of evergreen and

deciduous shrubs such as skimmia,

hydrangea and viburnum.

Herbaceous perennials like

hellebores and hostas and

springtime bulbs form a layer

beneath the shrubs, adding splashes

of colour and attracting pollinating

insects. You can let spring bulbs

As autumn really gets under way leaves are falling rapidly, and wind

and rain are on the increase so here are some general gardening tips for

this month from the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society)…

Clear up fallen leaves - especially from lawns, ponds and beds

Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging

Plant tulip bulbs for a spring display next year

Prune roses to prevent wind-rock

Plant out winter bedding

Cover brassicas with netting if pigeons are a problem

Insulate outdoor containers from frost - bubblewrap works well

This will be your last chance to mow lawns

and trim hedges in mild areas

Put out bird food to encourage winter birds into the garden

naturalise, which results in

wonderful swathes of flowers and

foliage. Many favourite wildflowers

are native woodland plants and

have adapted to growing under

trees and in shady spots such as

foxgloves, primroses and bluebells.

Let them self-seed to give an






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authentic natural woodland feel.

Finally, plan a natural way to

move through and experience the

garden by laying out an informal

meandering and irregular path. It

can be created with gravel or mulch,

paved with stone or brick, or simply

left bare and edged with timber.

A green Christmas

Your garden gives up some

beautiful gifts of its own at

this time of year – allowing

you to bring the outside into the

home with foliage and ‘green’


By using your garden as a

resource, you can create some

simple yet beautiful decorative

displays for the Christmas season.

What better way to celebrate

than by bringing festive cheer to

your home and garden with two

traditional Christmas favourites –

Holly and Ivy.

They are perfect garden plants,

with many boasting beautifully

variegated leaves along with fruits

and berries that provide seasonal

food for hungry birds. Holly is hardy

and evergreen, making it an ideal

shrub to form part of the backbone

or structure that every garden

needs. Most holly plants are either

male or female, so to ensure you

get a crop of berries you’ll need to

grow a female variety and ensure

there’s a male nearby to pollinate

its flowers. With thick evergreen

growth and spiny foliage, holly is

also a good choice of shrub to form

a dense and secure boundary hedge

to your property and it can also be

tightly clipped into formal shapes

and topiary.

Ivy is a valuable climber or ground

cover plant, perfect for a shady

spot or for cladding bare fences or

garden structures. However, it must

be kept under control with regular

pruning to prevent it spreading

too far or becoming invasive.

Established ivy carries flowers late

in the season that provide valuable

nectar for late-flying butterflies and

bees, as well as great nesting site

opportunities for blackbirds and


As an alternative to the traditional

red colour scheme of Christmas,

try mixing white and silver for

The Christmas rose – Helleborus niger – is a fabulous bloom to enjoy over the festive period

December is definitely a time to catch up on some indoor gardening jobs

and have a rest, but for those that are out and about here are some top

tips from the Royal Horticultural Society...

Make sure there is food for garden birds

Check that greenhouse heaters are working

Prevent ponds from freezing

Prune acers, birches and vines before Christmas

Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and remaining

root crops

Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted and transplanted

Take hardwood cuttings

Keep mice away from stored produce

Reduce watering of houseplants

planters inside and outside for a

clean and stylish look. Put greyleafed

lavender and senecio together

with white cyclamen and decorate

with strings of silver beads and

small LED white lights. Or, go

for a beautiful Christmas rose –

Helleborus niger – and plant with

pale pink or white cyclamen and

training ivy around the edges to

make the container feel like it’s


66 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

Health and Fitness

Four-time UK fitness champion,

ballet dancer, mountaineer,

GB Adventure Racer and

mum of seven, Joey Bull offers

tips and advice on all things

health and fitness.

Enjoy a festive feast –

and still stay in shape

This year of all years we need

to find pleasure, enjoyment

and satisfaction where we can

- and Christmas comes laden with

possibilities when it comes to feeling


I think in 2020 we really can have

our Christmas cake and eat it! So

fear not, I don’t intend to start

warning you about the perils of

overindulgence or how mince pies

should be replaced with squats and


But I can tell you how to buffer the

effects of that binge or binges and

keep you a few strides ahead of the

game when it comes to the reality of

New Year! That’s the point when all

the fun, feasting and festive frolics

are behind you and a depressing

awareness of the extra pounds,

additional inches around the waist

and general lethargy creep in - when

you feel a little lardy, slow and not

making your personal best time

round the block. And if like me, you

missed out on the supermarket slot

deliveries the entire year and your

new addition to the home vegetable

patch isn’t in full bloom, you can

still equip yourself with... a master


According to a YouGov poll in

2019 – 48% of people stated that

‘losing weight’ was their resolution,

59% said they wanted to start

‘exercising more’ and 54% planned

to ‘eat healthier’ – all of which

are of course inextricably linked.

But quite often that objective can

feel like a steep climb, although

the thought of cleaning up seems

exciting, it is one of those desires

you wish to fall into place - easily

and effortlessly without missing out

too much.

So what’s the solution? How can

we enjoy all that Christmas has to

offer and still come out the other

side feeling tip-top and raring to go?

Well here’s a question: Do you

know why after a booze-up, you

fancy a kebab? Answer: Alcohol

blocks Glucagon without which, you

can’t get energy from fat so you get

hungry… and you’ve come up sugar

short. Each drink takes 1.5 hours to

process, so one glass with a meal is

a good match. But two and beyond,

the liver goes off the job and can’t


Since the liver is our Hoover bag

and has to manage a dirty house

over Christmas, here are some tips

to care of any excess that might be

slowing you down and dimming your

1000watt energy:

Leptin: This is the hormone that

tells you when you’re hungry and

when you should stop.

At Christmas it might lose its voice

a little, so give it a voice and boost

68 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

This year of all

years we need

to find pleasure,

enjoyment and


where we can ’

your leptin levels with good portions

of protein (turkey!) or quinoa and

lentils as a vegetarian preference.

Sugar: From The Dance of the

Sugar Plum Fairy to all the

additional snacks, treats and

desserts, sugar can play a lead role

at Christmas if we’re not careful.

So where possible for baking, use

sugars that at least have some

nutritional benefits and mineral

content like honey, maple syrup

and coconut sugar. Avoid the sugars

ending in ‘ose’ in your purchases:

dextrose, maltose and glucose.

Sugar also suppresses the immune

system by up to five hours, so don’t

go kissing strangers under the

mistletoe and remember your social


Drinking alcohol: Contrary to

popular belief, after a night on

the town or these days, lockdown

in a dressing gown, don’t head for

anything to ‘fix’ the damage.

There is nothing better for the

liver than to rest and not to digest a

thing after a few too many tipples.

Don’t get clever with a healthy

brunch, just drink water and avoid

eating / juicing / challenging the

liver for a good 12 hours.

Boost your glutathione levels.

This is the aforementioned super

Master Blaster antioxidant. Yes use

vitamin C, D and Zinc but get to

know Glutathione too.

You can increase this with

seasonal favorites like brussels

sprouts, asparagus, broccoli and

avocado and invest in a supplement,

it’s worth the cost, particularly

when I tell you the next bit;

Glutathione taken before and

after drinking alcohol acts as potent

damage control.

From time to time that might be

more of an appealing idea than

emergency steaming of green


And of course exercise. Just a little

quite often, boosts Glutathione and

prevents oxidative stress which is

responsible for lowering your levels.

So keep these pointers in mind as

tick-over maintenance throughout

December, then you are not hitting

January cold - at least not in health

and exercise sense. Stay active,

stay mobile, don’t succumb to West

Wales weather, dress appropriately,

get outside for a good walk, a jog,

pump some muscles, I’ll tell you how

best next issue. Stay active, safe and


Incidentally, nothing gets the blood

pumping like a good dance, so if you

fancy some uninhibited cavorting to

the perennial Christmas classics by

the likes of Slade and Wizzard, then

go for it, I’ll be doing the same thing

– probably to the not so well known

but my personal favorite Master

Blaster, Stevie Wonder.

I wish you all the merriest possible


WIN: Three lucky winners can

get some extra help to stay in

shape with a DVD and book

from Joey. Just send an email

marked “Joey Bull competition”

to steve@westwaleslifeandstyle.

co.uk. The draw will take place

on January 31.

Visit youtube.com/joeybull for a

variety of online workouts

70 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



Health and Well-being

West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

Health and Well-being

Dyfed Wyn Roberts knew the stresses of 2020 would put

a strain on his mental health, here’s how he dealt with it

Learning to manage

those lockdown lows

As someone who had

experienced depression in

the past, I knew that I would

have to work harder at keeping

well when the first Covid lockdown

was announced in March. I hadn’t

actually been ill for years and yet

the odd low mood would come over

me like a thick sea mist, only to

quickly evaporate. The threat of

mental ill-health seems always

there, lurking in the shadows, and

finding ways of keeping well has

been an important part of my life.

So knowing that I hadn’t been fully

cured of my depressive tendencies, I

realised that lockdown could prove

difficult. What to do?

Road runner

One thing I hadn’t been doing

enough of was physical exercise. The

evening Boris Johnson announced

Lockdown 1.0, therefore, I decided

I would start running. He insisted

that we would be through the crisis

in three months and so I gave

myself a target of achieving 5k by

the end of that period.

Though I had been a gym user in

the past, I had not been doing any

regular exercise for a few years.

Yes, I would walk quite a lot with

my camera but they were hardly

strenuous romps; more a gentle

amble, with lots of stops to shoot the

scenery. Running was a different

prospect, as I soon found out.

I aimed for 3k on my first day and

I probably managed to run half the

route in short bursts and then walk

the rest. Red-faced and panting

arriving back at my front door, an

observer might well conclude that I

had run 10k, if not half a marathon.

In the weeks that followed, I would

run the whole 3k, extend to 4k and

then finally complete my first 5k.

That achievement in itself gave

me a boost. There’s something about

setting a target and achieving it,

that gives our mood a significant

lift. Add to that the chemical hit our

brain gets every time we exercise

properly, and low moods would

barely register in those early weeks.

As I now aim for 10k, I realise that

physical exercise in itself is just a

sticking plaster, however.

Mindful soul

My second strategy in this period

was to increase a method of keeping

well which I have been using for a

couple of years: meditation.

A bit like the Spice Girls in the

90s, mindfulness has become

something of an overnight

sensation. Unlike the girl band,

this meditation practice is sticking

around and with an increasing

number of studies showing that its

benefits are long lasting, it will be

with us for some time to come.

It has its roots in Buddhism but

requires no religious affiliation. All

you need is 10 to 15 quiet minutes

a day and a comfortable place to sit.

There are plenty of online resources

to help you get started but I went

for a book published by two of the

most respected teachers in the UK,

Mindfulness: a practical guide to

finding peace in a frantic world.

Unlike the quick hit of physical

exercise, mindfulness is a longerterm

practice. It’s only by looking

back over months of using the

technique that you come to realise

that you have a better control over

the thoughts and fears that race

around your head and which so

easily drag you down. Indeed, it

may be that the first thing you learn

through mindfulness is how much

negative thinking you get

caught up in.

The key to


mindfulness is that it’s a

technique that helps you

notice your own mind and

body. That’s it.

It doesn’t provide a cure for

negative thoughts. It doesn’t stop

them from happening. It merely

shows you they’re there. Half the

battle in getting to grips with

thoughts that drag us down, is to

notice them in the first place. To

notice them dispassionately, rather

than get caught up in them.

We all know how it works. A

negative thought pops into your

mind. Out of nowhere. But you start

to play with it. You start creating a

scenario around it. If it’s a memory,

you delve deeper into the incident.

Maybe you try and play it out in

different ways. What if I had done

this instead of that? And suddenly,

you’re in a trance that changes

nothing but gets you so wound up

it can affect your

whole day.

Mindfulness helps

you notice those

initial thoughts.

You might even

label them. ‘Here’s a

bad memory that’s

just popped into

my head. I wonder

where that came

from? No need to

do anything with it.

Just move on.’

And it really

works. Gradually,

noticing negative

thoughts before

they escalate

becomes second

nature, giving you

a head start in the

battle of the mind.

Wise counsel

Physical exercise gives you a shortterm

hit; mindfulness gives you a

longer-term strategy; but neither

can go to the very roots of why

you’re prone to mental ill-health

in the first place. For me, it took

Exercise gives a short-term

hit...mindfulness gives a

longer-term strategy ’

counselling to expose those roots.

I went to my GP suffering from

regular migraines. I had a hunch

why I was tensing my body to such

an extent that it was making me ill

and I explained that to her.

“Try counselling,” she said. “You

can get six sessions free on the NHS

but it probably won’t be enough.”

So I found a private practice and


At £45 a shot, my 15 to 20 sessions

proved to be draining on my

finances but the boost to my mental

health made it well worth it.

Actually, ‘boost’ is the wrong

word. Delving into a painful past

can be quite harrowing. I felt more

drained than boosted after many

a session. Yet, as that delving

Dyfed Wyn Roberts and his pet pooch Sidan

progressed - expertly guided by a

psychotherapist - the roots of my

illness were slowly being exposed.

For some, mental illness is a

chemical imbalance in the brain but

for many it is rooted in historical

trauma. This is where the slow

process of counselling can

make such a difference.

I cannot say I’m cured.

My moods can take a

dip every now and then.

Running gives me regular

boosts of happiness.

Mindfulness helps keep

a busy mind more ordered. But it

is counselling that has been the big


It’s possible that because of

counselling the low moods I still

experience would be nothing

but shallow and temporary. I’m

not taking that chance though,

especially during lockdown. Ten

minutes of quiet, followed by a

forty-minute run can make such a


Lockdown 2.0 is now over and

there is real hope of a vaccine. The

crisis seems to be drawing to an

end, however slowly, and because of

the strategies I have followed, my

mental wellbeing hasn’t been badly


Now, to reach that 10k goal!

72 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk




West Wales Life&Style



West Wales Life&Style


With winter already well on its way,

there is no better way to keep the

family warm than a delicious Welsh

beef casserole.

Welsh beef has achieved PGI status – Protected

Geographical Indication – the much soughtafter

marque that guarantees that you are

buying a premium quality product with special

characteristics that cannot be replicated

anywhere else in the world.

Welsh beef offers a true taste of Wales – and

what a taste it is.

For a truly festive treat, try this stunning

Welsh beef, cranberry and chestnut delight.

When it is cold and wet outside, this will keep

the family wonderfully warm on the inside.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 3 hours and 30 minutes

Serves five or more


1kg PGI Welsh Beef braising steak, cut into thin


3 tbsp oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

300g carrots, chopped

Salt and pepper

300ml red wine

300ml beef stock or water

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

300g fresh or frozen cranberries

180g cooked chestnuts

1. Preheat oven to 150°C / 130°C / Gas 2.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a casserole dish and cook

the onions for about 5 minutes, stir in the garlic

and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Add the remaining oil to a frying pan, season

the beef with salt and pepper and brown on both

sides before adding to the casserole.

4. De-glaze the fry pan with the red wine,

scraping all the sediment off the bottom. Pour

over the beef along with the stock, bay leaf and

thyme leaves. Cover and cook in the oven for 2

hours. Stir in the cranberries and chestnuts and

return to the oven for a further 1 hour until the

beef is tender.

5. Remove from the oven and serve with mashed

potatoes and celeriac and steamed greens.

74 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style


Enjoy a

world of wine

this Christmas

Welcome again to the West Wales Life&Style

guide to wine with Roy Roberts of Celtic


Roy will be continuing to guide our regular readers

through his A to Z of wine, this time covering B to C.

Including interesting information regarding different

regions, grape variety and wines to be on the

lookout for as it is now the festive season.

Beginning with B – and as it is the

festive season, we’ll start with Buck Fizz.

First served in London’s Buck’s club in

1921, Buck’s Fizz was created as an

excuse to begin drinking earlier in the

day. It is a combination of Champagne

and orange juice, and consists of 50%

Champagne or sparkling wine and 50%

orange juice. Legend has it that the original

recipe contained extra ingredients known only

to the in-house bartenders.

B is for Bacchus, the god of the grape harvest; a nature

god of fruitfulness and vegetation, known as a God of

Wine and ecstasy. Bacchus wandered the earth, showing

people how to grow vines and process grapes for wine.

B is for Beaujolais, a wine that is once again

fashionable from France. Chilled in summer, it makes

a great choice of red; it also works brilliantly with

Christmas dinner. Just choose wisely. It is a juicy, very

approachable wine generally made of the Gamay grape

which has a thin skin and is low in tannins, hinting at

strawberry, raspberry and red cherry

flavours and perfume.

B is for Burgundy, one of the world’s

most famous wine regions in France.

Burgundy’s vast array of vineyards

gained UNESCO world heritage



your own classic

Bellini cocktail: fill a

Champagne flute to about

1/3 full with peach puree

and slowly top up the

remainder with a

sparkling wine.

status in July 2015. Burgundy’s key grape varieties are

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, largely due to the cool and

moderate climate of the region.

B is for Bordeaux, another of the great French wine

regions. Bordeaux, with its many chateaux and the

renowned 1855 Classification, is a leading destination

for wine lovers, as well as the bedrock of the

fine wine market and a benchmark for

winemakers. The designated red grape

varieties in Bordeaux are Cabernet

Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc,

Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

B is for Barsac, a village some 40

miles south of Bordeaux, in southwest

France. It makes sweet white dessert

wines based on the Semillon grape


B is also for Barolo, the famous wine

producing area in the Piedmont region of Italy.

Wines from the region can be very long lived and very


My last B is another region: Bardolino, this attractive

spot on the shores of Lake Garda in the Veneto region

of north-eastern Italy. Known for its light red wine,

its DOC title was granted in 1968. Wines made in the

traditional vineyard areas, close to the town of Bardolino

itself, are designated as Classico.

B is for Bellini, for all the cocktail lovers, a true Bellini

is made with the nectar of white peaches and Italian

sparkling wine. The cocktail was

created at the famous Venetian

establishment, Harry’s Bar. By

mixing fresh white peach puree

and champagne, Giuseppi Cipriani

created a sensation.

76 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk




West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style


is for Christmas, Chianti,

Claret and Champagne

Next in Roy Robert’s wine alphabet, comes the

letter C – and where better to begin than


Choosing wines to match festive foods should be a

pleasure not a pain. Much is written on the subject,

but ultimately the choice comes down to personal

preference. Buck’s Fizz makes for a great start to

Christmas morning, but there are plenty more wines for

the rest of the day.

C is for Chateau, the word “Château” in French

literally means “castle”. But in the wine business it

refers to a wine-producing estate, which is

normally a combination of vineyards, cellars

and any buildings on the property – and

sometimes, even a real castle.

C is for Champagne, as midnight approaches

on December 31, more than a few of us

will crack open a bottle to toast the New

Year. Strictly speaking, Champagne is a

sparkling wine from the Champagne region

of northeastern France. If it’s a bubbly wine

from another region, it’s sparkling wine,

not Champagne. Traditional Champagne

comes to life by a process called the méthode

Champenoise. It starts life like any other

wine: the grapes are harvested, pressed, and

allowed to undergo a primary fermentation.

The acidic results of this process are then

blended and bottled with a little yeast

and sugar so it can undergo a secondary

fermentation in the bottle – it’s this

secondary fermentation that gives

Champagne its bubbles.

C is for Claret, Claret is a traditional

term used in Britain for Bordeaux

wines. It can be traced back to the

12th century and is believed to be

linked to the French term ‘clairet’.

Today it is used more as a blanket

term for red wines from Bordeaux,

even if they are heavier in style than

the lighter reds originally denoted.

C is for Cabernet Franc, the distant

relative of Cabernet Sauvignon, can

produce deliciously perfumed, supple,

raspberry and blackcurrant-infused

red wines in Bordeaux. My personal

favourite is Verum Cabernet Franc

Selecion De Familia, which includes

classic elements of Cabernet Franc on

the nose, including

wild strawberry

and a hint of

blackcurrant. The

fuller bodied palate

is elegant with firm

tannins but a balancing acidity.

C is for Chile, vines were grown on Chile in the

1500s by Spanish conquistadors. This long, narrow

strip of land on the west coast of South America is

now the continent’s largest exporter of wine. Cabernet

Sauvignon is well suited to the warmer regions

of Chile, producing fruity wines with soft

tannins. Merlot and Carmenere have also

grown in popularity and are now important in


C is for Carménère, late ripening grape from

Chile confused with merlot in the early days.

Wines labelled Carménère can contain up to

15% other grape varieties. In Chile, a singlevarietal

wine is allowed to have up to 15%

other grape varieties blended in with it. With

Carménère, winemakers have discovered that

a small percentage of Syrah or Petit Verdot

makes the wine more luxuriant.

C is for Chianti, a red blend from Tuscany

in Italy. For a Chianti to be a Chianti,

it must be produced in the Chianti

region and be made from at least 80%

Sangiovese grapes, the straw-wrapped

wine bottle of Chianti is called a

fiasco. While most Chiantis are 100%

Sangiovese, some winemakers in the

region like to blend the Sangiovese

with a little Cabernet, Merlot or

Syrah to soften the finished wine.

And finally, C is for Chardonnay

Viognier and Coffee Pinotage, two

of my recent personal favourite

wines both produced by Van Zijl.

The Chardonnay Viognier is a blend

of both grape varieties, has a lovely

aromatic nose of ripe peaches and

apricots, complimented by floral

tones. Smooth and creamy with

tropical fruit flavours and a crisp

finish. The Coffee Pinotage is an

elegant wine distinct with roasted

coffee beans and rich dark chocolate


78 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style


The Range Rover Velar is now even

more desirable, sustainable and

intelligent with the introduction of an

electric plug-in hybrid option, advanced new

infotainment technology and elegant new

design features.

The mid-size luxury SUV, which sits

between the Range Rover Evoque and Range

Rover Sport in the family line-up, offers the

perfect balance of design and technology –

now with electric power. The new 2.0-litre

four-cylinder P400e plug-in hybrid offers

a smooth and refined drive, producing a

combined 404PS and 640Nm of torque from

its 300PS petrol engine and 105kW electric

motor, with an impressive 0-60mph in 5.1

seconds. A 17.1Wh lithium-ion battery,

located under the boot floor, can be charged

to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes using a fast

DC charge point, or 1 hour 40 minutes using

a standard 7kW wallbox. With zero tailpipe

emissions in electric mode, an impressive

real-world all-electric range of 33 miles,

fuel economy of up to 130.2mpg and CO2

emissions from just 49g/km, the Range Rover

Velar is now more sustainable by design.

A new family of 3.0-litre straight-six

Ingenium engines is also introduced to the

Range Rover Velar for the first time. The

latest generation of smooth and efficient

petrol and diesel engines are available with

48-volt mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV)

technology for reduced fuel consumption and

heightened refinement. The new straight-six

engines, developed in-house, are available as

D300 (300PS diesel) and P400 (400PS) petrol

all-wheel drive variants, each fitted with air

suspension as standard.

The new engines are available with mildhybrid

electric vehicle technology (MHEV)

in addition to the latest engine technologies,

for efficient performance. The MHEV system

uses a Belt integrated Starter Generator

(BiSG) in the engine bay to harvest energy

usually lost under deceleration, which is

then stored in a 48V lithium-ion battery

located beneath the rear loadspace. It is able

to redeploy the stored energy to assist the

engine when accelerating away, while also

delivering a more refined and responsive

stop/start system.

The new P400 straight-six engine generates

550Nm torque and delivers an impressive

0-60mph time of 5.2 seconds. The engine

features an electric supercharger supported


by a twin scroll turbocharger and Continuous

Variable Valve Lift (CVVL), for refined


The D300 diesel generates 650Nm torque,

offering 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds with fuel

economy of up to 37.2mpg and CO2 from 199g/

km. Series sequential turbos and an advanced

after-treatment system make it one of the

world’s leading clean diesel engines.

The new in-line Ingenium diesel engine

designs meet Real Driving Emissions Step

2 (RDE2) standards and Euro 6d-final real-

80 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

West Wales Life&Style

world driving compliance with

48V Mild-Hybrid Electric Vehicle

(MHEV) technology boosting

responses and fuel economy. As

a result, the new

Ingenium diesel unit

– also now available

in the Range Rover

and Range Rover

Sport – is one of the

world’s leading clean

diesel engines.

Additionally, the

next generation fourcylinder


D200 (204PS diesel)

is introduced on the Range Rover

Velar, offering more power, lower

CO2 and improved fuel economy.

The engine is offered with the same

48-volt mild hybrid technology as

the rest of the range, with CO2 from

165g/km and fuel economy of up to

44.9mpg .

Velar features a reductive design,

emphasised with beautifully

integrated digital screens that are

now fitted with Land Rover’s stateof-the-art

infotainment system, Pivi

and Pivi Pro. The intelligent and

intuitive system, offered as Pivi

Our purpose built Service and Parts Distribution

Centre enables us to supply parts worldwide

for a vast range of vehicles. We have the

largest and most specialized repair centre

in West Wales, with a modern 16 bay fully

computerised workshop. You can always be

assured of a fast turn around as we have daily

deliveries of any parts that may be required.

Pro from an S-specification pack,

transforms the digital experience

inside Velar.

Pivi is designed around ease of use,

The Range Rover Velar’s

name and bloodline date

back to the code name of

the original Range Rover


with a simple interface reducing

the number of interactions to

enhance safety. Crisp new graphics

and super-fast responsiveness

are enabled with a new electrical

architecture under the surface,

ensuring the screens and navigation

system are ready to go in seconds,

thanks also to a dedicated power

source. Customers can access

software updates ‘over-the-air’

reducing the need to visit a retailer.

An embedded data connection

means customers have access to

the latest maps, apps and vehicle

software modules with updates

scheduled via the touchscreen at a

time to suit them.

Streaming music and media has

never been simpler.

Spotify is integrated

directly within the

infotainment menu

for the first time, with

data included, while

there’s Bluetooth

connectivity for two

phones at once.

Nick Rogers,

Executive Director,

Product Engineering

at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “The

Range Rover Velar’s name and

bloodline dates back to the code

name of the original Range Rover

prototypes. It has been fifty years

since the introduction of the

pioneering Range Rover in 1970,

and now every family member is

electrified with our awesome plug-in

hybrid technology.

“Electrified powertrains and

cleaner mild hybrid diesel engines

mean the Velar is an even more

efficient and sustainable option for

our customers. Jaguar Land Rover’s

The World’s Oldest Land Rover Dealer


Service Department: 01437 771530 • Parts Department: 01437 771117

Withybush Business Park | Haverfodwest | SA62 4BW

new Electrical Vehicle Architecture

– EVA 2.0 – supports the new Pivi

and Pivi Pro infotainment, as well

as Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA),

and a whole suite of advanced driver

assistance systems, cameras and

clean-air technology, making the

Range Rover Velar cleaner, safer

and smarter than ever before and

one of the most technologically

advanced luxury SUVs in the


The experience inside the Range

Rover Velar is now an even calmer

sanctuary with the addition of

Active Road Noise Cancellation. The

intelligent technology works like a

pair of high-end noise cancellation

headphones, constantly monitoring

vibrations from the road surface

and calculating the opposite phase

sound wave needed to remove the

noise heard by the occupants. The

effect is subtle, but the minimum

reduction of 4 decibels ensures an

even more refined and calming

interior space. The system is even

able to adjust the level and position

of sounds played into the cabin

based on the number of passengers

and their position inside the vehicle.

This system delivers a more serene

experience inside Velar, even

reducing driver tiredness, which

can be brought about by extended

exposure to low-frequency sound on

long journeys.

A new Cabin Air Filtration system

enhances the relaxing and clean

sanctuary inside Velar, reducing

levels of harmful particulates,

pollen and odours. The new system

filters out fine particulate matter,

allergens, pollen and even strong

smells. Activated via a ‘Purify’

button in the lower touchscreen,

it is capable of filtering ultrafine

particulates. Drivers and passengers

can be assured the air they breathe

inside the Range Rover Velar is

cleaner than the air outside.

Also available is the new secondgeneration

wearable Activity

Key, which can totally replace the

traditional key fob when necessary.

The water-resistant and shock-proof

wrist device now incorporates an

LCD watch and allows customers

to start, stop, lock and unlock the

vehicle, with no need to take a

traditional key fob out with them.

Additional new design features

include a new steering wheel design

which has integrated smart buttons

ready to receive the latest ADAS

software updates over-the-air. A

tactile new Drive Selector also

replaces the rotary gear selector.

The ‘Range Rover Velar Edition’

provides even more customer

choice and features a combination

of exterior and interior upgrades.

Based on the R-Dynamic SE

specification, enhancements include

a black contrast roof and matching

20-inch black alloy wheels. The

distinctive new special edition model

is available exclusively in Lantau

Bronze metallic paint, as well as the

new Hakuba Silver, Santorini Black

or Eiger Grey.

82 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk



West Wales Life&Style

84 westwaleslifeandstyle.co.uk

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