Carreg Y Fedwen
Currently, we have all been living at Carreg Y Fedwen for over a year now. Carreg Y Fedwen is a 10 acre parcel of land on the north side of Moel Y Ci, not far from Bangor, and located amidst the beginnings of Snowdonia. A perfect location to be for anyone with love for the outdoors and with a passion for projects. During our stay here the land has changed ownership and was taken over by a cooperative last year. We are currently tenants here.
Last year, Arthur and I spent the summer in an old converted Mercedes bus on the land, which was the old Bethesda school bus with a considerable legacy behind it. I found work on a sheep farm and then took Arthurs job at the university because he left to China to fulfil an internship there mainly looking at insects. I quickly got into climbing and fell in love with the wonders and magic of North Wales. With the help of some friends we cleared a patch of land outside the bus to start a small garden, my life rhythm became very active and fulfilling, a cycle of gardening, work, climbing and random adventures. The weather was incredible that summer, the climbing was relentless, evening climbs into the late pink sunsets, a small garden laden with edible glory and the company of North Wales’ best to offer. I also built an outdoor shower beside the bus which used only cold water, but because the weather was so good I enjoyed it most of the time.
Towards the end of the summer Arthur returned from China and was set the task of organising the delivery of an old caravan to the land that we could move into, leaving the bus free for Raheela to move into, Arthurs beloved. Work at the university dried up and we settled for part time work as cleaners at Plas Y Brenin, the national mountain training centre to make ends meet. We hoped that work there would be a facilitator for us to enrol on courses to become outdoors instructors. In our spare time over the winter we started to teach crochet in Bangor, build a compost toilet, attend whatever wood working courses we could, we were also djing at Indy some nights, the best bouldering wall in North Wales. Raheela found work with the Confuscious Institute at the University through Sophie, a professor in conservation biology and a member of the cooperative.
Arthur and I finished the compost toilet at the start of the New Year and we commenced a traditional woodworking and felling course 2 days a week that lasted 12 weeks down in mid wales. This course was taught using traditional methods, without machines. It was a great opportunity to learn and also to get good firewood to keep ourselves warm over the cold months. We took various friends with us on this course too and a good friend of ours kindly hosted us for the nights we spent down there. We thinned various parcels of woodland, processed timber, made handles for tools, levelled an area and built a greenwood work medieval style table; we even found oyster mushrooms one day to feed the belly.
Soon after this we got 6 chickens on the land, shortly afterwards we shared the responsibilities of the chickens with the cooperative.
The next project to unroll at Carreg Y Fedwen was the garden. The small garden from the previous year had provided food throughout the spring in the form of different types of kale, radishes, purple sprouting broccoli and leeks. We left it to go wild and all the remaining plants blossomed and became what seemed a mini haven to host the humble buzz of many dancing bees. The other part of the garden, which was about twice the size got a serious make over, there were a couple of work party days organised with student volunteers and the cooperative. We also enrolled the help of many friends in the garden and it wouldn’t have been the same without them. After sowing and planting we laid a lawn. I remember we all had a good bout of garden paranoia early in the summer, the anxiety you get when you feel you are going to miss the planting season and don’t feel you have enough time, gardening was placed at the forefront of all activities and we more or less stopped climbing for a few weeks…! As well as the garden was the glass house, we had quite a collection of seeds after I’d attended a seed swap in Sheffield at the Urban farm there (LINK) and we grew a fair few varieties of tomatoes along with other plants. I’d saved some seeds from when I lived in different parts of the world, mainly Canada and Italy and we planted those too. Not everything worked, but that’s part of the joy.
During this time we also got work at Zipworld and gardening for a professional landscaper. A lot of the extra cash we got went into the van. Our time at Carreg Y Fedwen is spent mainly cooking, gardening, mixing vinyl, socialising, hosting couch surfers and enjoying being outdoors. Carreg Y Fedwen is a very exciting place to be and we look forward to the next projects, possibly Aquaponics.