What better place than the beautiful surroundings of Gregynog when meeting up with a friend.
Nestled in the hills of Mid Wales, by the village of Tregynog, Gregynog Hall sits in an estate of 750 acres including ancient woodlands and a national nature reserve. The original estate was a vast 18,000 acres, but much of the estate was broken up and farms, cottages and woodland were sold off in 1913.
There has been a house here since the 12th century, but the current mansion house was rebuilt in the 1820s in a mock-Tudor style. In 1920, the Davies sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret (granddaughters of the Welsh industrialist and Liberal politician, David Davies), acquired the property and set about turning it into the headquarters of their arts enterprise. They wanted to bring music, art and creative skills to the people of Wales, and they did!
The house was filled with music, art (including paintings by artists such as Van Gough and Monet), fine furniture and ceramics. In 1922 they established Gregynog Press (now known as Gwasg Greynog) – and produced high quality, limited edition books using traditional methods. In 1933, they established the Gregynog Music Festival (Gŵyl Gregynog), Wales’ oldest classical music festival, which is still going today (although it was understandably cancelled this year).
In the 1950s, Gregynog was bequeathed to the University of Wales. However, in June 2019, it was transferred to the Gregynog Trust with the hope of regenerating the hall and estate. It will be interesting to see what they do.
Unfortunately, due to the current virus restrictions, we were unable to go inside on our recent visit, but I have been inside before. I stayed overnight as part of a sixth form school trip a long, long time ago!
It was great to have a proper catch-up with my friend in such glorious surroundings. We took our time looking around the estate, but there is much more to see so a return visit will be in order soon. I would recommend printing off a copy of the map before you go, so you don’t miss anything.
Something to look out for is the giant hand sculpture by Francis Hewlett.
It’s certainly worth a visit. There are several walks you can do and sights to see. Usually, the cafe and gift shop would be open, but at the moment you would have to make do with taking a picnic.
Gregynog Hall, Tregynon, Nr. Newtown, Powys, SY16 3PL