Ecoamgueddfa in Wales

The Ecoamgueddfa is an ecomuseum in Wales that is located on the Pen Llŷn (Llŷn Peninsula) and it is the first ecomuseum to be developed in Wales. It is composed of seven sites which each corresponds to seven heritage organizations all acting together within a partnership. These organizations are; Nant Gwrtheyrn, Llŷn Maritime Museum, Felin Uchaf, Porth y Swnt, Plas yn Rhiw, Oriel Plas Glyn y Weddw, and Plas Heli.

A series of digital walks, available on a downloadable App, are based on the natural environment of Llŷn. The AONB Unit alongside the Llŷn Landscape Partnership are the developers of these walks. Followers of the walks enjoy the natural environment walking on public footpaths or open access land. The app provides information on the history, nature, and interesting features of the landscape as one journeys through it.

Site 1 – Nant Gwrtheyrn

Nant Gwrtheyrn, nicknamed ‘the Nant,’ is located in a  former quarrying village in North Wales on the northern coast of the Llŷn Peninsula. The village was abandoned in the 1970s after the closure of the quarries. They heyday of the quarry was from 1860 through 1920. A large and expensive renovation of the village was carried out between 2007 and 2010. This was possible through a grant aid from the European Commission, The Welsh Assembly Government, and The Heritage Lottery Fund. Included in the renovation project was the establishment of a residential centre and a visitor attraction at Nant Gwrtheyrn. The center is an educating resource hosting Welsh language courses for adults and intensive residential courses. Visitors are able to stay at or host a conference or wedding at the Nant as there are meal and accommodation services available. There are also a few self-catering cottages perfect for holiday accommodation. The Heritage Centre houses displays on the history of the village and the Welsh language and culture. Also to discover is a period house set in a Victorian quarry community and the unique wildlife of the coastal valley and beach area.

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Nant Gwrtheyrn in 1972. Image source: Kate Jewell [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Site 2 – Llŷn Maritime Museum

The Llŷn Maritime Museum is located inside of St. Mary’s Church which was founded during the 6th century and rebuilt between 1825 and 1827. Housed here is a special collection of maritime artifacts speaking to the building of local ships, the sailors, and the captains. Many sailors and captains are buried in the graveyard of St. Mary’s Church. The museum was established in 1977 by a small group of local volunteers. They wanted to better reveal the rich maritime heritage of the area. Unfortunately, in 2000, the museum was forced to close. Members of the community once again came together in 2007 and formed a committee to reopen the museum. The committee was successful in attaining funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund, the Welsh Assembly Government, Tir a Môr fund, AONB Llŷn, Nefyn Town Trust, Gwynedd Council and the Cyfenter fund.

Today, the museum houses a permanent exhibition, provides a stage for small performances, has a research space, and a cafe and shop. The museum offers free entry to all visitors. The museum also coordinates a varied program that includes guest lectures, temporary exhibitions, volunteer opportunities, and activities for children.

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Graveyard of St. Mary’s Church. Image source: By Llywelyn2000 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Site 3 – Felin Uchaf 

The Felin Uchaf is an eco-centre on the shores of the Irish Sea. The centre is a charity that oversees building and landscaping projects and acts as an educational centre. Involvement and cooperation are key strategies for the centre. Felin Uchaf offers a wide range of volunteer and training activities like organic gardening or skilled eco-building. The charity plans many cultural and social events with the aim of empowering and enriching the the lives of the youth and community at large. Beginning in 2004, the charity has been overseeing the transformation of a traditional Welsh farm into a Holistic Education Centre & Community Enterprise through a 15 year construction plan. The centre hopes to eventually establish an International Youth Initiative Programme. Felin Uchaf also has a business mentoring initiative and supports new green businesses. Go here for a nice aerial video of Felin Uchaf. 

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A view of the farm Felin Uchaf, and the former windmill known as Maelgwyn Mill at Bryn Du near Llanfaelog. Image Source: Stephen Elwyn RODDICK [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Site 4 – Porth y Swnt

Porth y Swnt is an interpretation centre in Aberdaron that uses poetry and art installations to showcase and convey the qualities, history, culture, and environment of theLlŷn Peninsula. The name translates to ‘Gateway to the Sound’ referring to the nearby Bardsey Sound. Visitors to Porth y Swnt will encounter local poetry, watch film and light projections, hear haunting sounds and see historic photos of the area. Porth y Swnt provides maps and recommendations for exploring outside of its installation and exhibition space. There are ancient hill forts and manganese mines, as well as nature’s offerings to explore and see.

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Former fishermen’s cottages above Y Swnt (The Sound). Image Copyright Eric Jones. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Site 5 – Plas yn Rhiw

Plas yn Rhiw is a manor house and ornamental garden. In 1938, the three Keating sisters restored the house. The manor offers wonderful views across Cardigan Bay. The manor itself is from the 16th century and has Georgian additions. The garden has flowering trees and shrubs, flower beds with box hedges and grass paths to wander.

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Plas yn Rhiw. Image source: Gordon Hatton [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Site 6 – Oriel Plas Glyn y Weddw

Glyn y Weddw translates to ‘Gallery in the Vale of the Widow,’ and is one of Wales’ most picturesque and oldest art venues. It is located in the village of Llanbedrog on the southern coast of the Llŷn Peninsula. The dower house was built in 1856 and 1857 for widow Lady Elizabeth Love Jones-Parry of Madryn Estate. It is a great example of a Victorian Gothic mansion. It has a grand Jacobean staircase, a hammer beam roof, and 10 airy gallery spaces. It was built to house the widow’s personal art collection. Today, it houses monthly exhibitions of artists from Wales and elsewhere. The Oriel Plas is a commercial gallery with all exhibited works being for sale. It has 6 exhibiting galleries. Workshops for adults and children, craft fairs, lectures, and music concerts are some of the many events hosted throughout the year.

The Winllan woodland has a network of paths weaving through it. These paths, after being closed for 70 years, are now open again. Part of the network includes the Wales Coastal Path. Also in the Winllan woodland, is a new amphitheater which acts as a stage for concerts, performances, workshops, and heritage interpretation.

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Glyn y Weddw. Image Copyright Alan Fryer. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
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Plas Glyn y Weddw: Tea room – interior. Image source: By Wolfgang Sauber (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Site 7 – Plas Heli

Plas Heli is a non-profit that operates the Welsh National Sailing Academy and events Centre. The Hub at Plas Heli plays home to Grwp Awyr Agored (Outdoor Activity Group), an umbrella organization for a number of different outdoor activity clubs in the Llŷn and Dwyfor areas. The Hub stores equipment enabling clubs to share resources and reduce costs. Plas Heli has meeting rooms available, a restaurant, a bar, and exhibition hall. The European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council, have supported the project.

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Plas Heli. Image Copyright Alan Fryer. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

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