Dol Gwydion Rises

In June 1996 four people, including two small children, moved into Dol Gwydion, a small house in Snowdonia. Two more people, including one child, moved into Plas Baladeulyn, the big house a few yards away. This was the beginning of Trigonos, 21 years ago this June and the families were those of the founders: Judy, Ros and Richard.

Dol Gwydion[1] was also known as the Stable Block, indicating its original purpose. It had been converted (rather poorly) into accommodation for the arts centre that preceded Trigonos. It was to be home for the next 5 years to one of the families who founded Trigonos.

After the family left the house and moved nearby into the village of Nantlle, Dol Gwydion was used mainly for students and volunteers who helped to look after the land, the accommodation and catering for our guests. As Trigonos grew and people from local villages were engaged in running the centre so the need for Dol Gwydion in this second role began to decline.

Occasionally it also provided shelter for guests who were washed out of their tent or who found that sharing a twin room with a stranger was simply too challenging. As the latter event became increasingly common we realised that tastes and needs were changing. Whereas ten years ago sharing a room was an acceptable norm this has become less and less the case. People want their own space.

In this way Dol Gwydion entered its third incarnation within Trigonos – providing 4 new bedrooms for our guests and enabling us to provide more single rooms. The project, led by a member of the Trigonos team (who was one of the original three children) and engaging outside contractors as needed, took six months. As the house was stripped of its old fittings, revealing decaying plaster and rotting timbers, it became clear that more work to the structure was required than planned. Nothing was to be covered over, which had clearly been the old way of “solving” problems. Consequently the cost or renovation was significantly above the estimate – around £50,000 in all.

Today we have four new rooms that are fresh, dry, well fitted out and, judging by early responses, give guests a really comfortable stay. The house has a small tea making space that will soon be joined by a room doubling as a break-out space for groups and a guests lounge in the evenings.

Meanwhile the families that moved into Dol Gwydion and the Plas 21 years ago still live in the village and are still involved in Trigonos.

[1]Dol Gwydion’ means Gwydion’s meadow. Gwydion is a key figure in the Mabinogi, a 12thC book of Welsh Mythology. One of the settings of the Mabinogi, and where Gwydion features, is in the area of Llyn Nantlle Uchaf (upper Nantlle Lake) on which Trigonos borders.

Richard