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Guest blog, St Davids Peninsula

Get the champagne ready…

Treleddyd Fawr Cottage  The story so far… #7

by Sarah Green, Curator and Treledddyd Fawr Cottage project manager

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After some debate about the final colour scheme with Martin the exterior of the cottage now has its final layer of colour – and is looking very good in its Ty Mawr Clean Yellow. The interior and external woodwork is the traditional Pembrokeshire soft blue (as close a match to the original front door as possible). The outbuildings, again as traditional are in a contrasting white, with dark red woodwork.

Phil and the team assure me this is just a joke …I will know it isn’t if they all disappear one day... just hope they got a good price..
Phil and the team assure me this is just a joke …I will know it isn’t if they all disappear one day… just hope they got a good price..
View between the outbuildings and the cottage with the well at the top.

View between the outbuildings and the cottage with the well at the top.

There are now some stone steps between the well and the ty bach leading up to the garden as the slope was quite difficult to negotiate particularly in damp Pembrokeshire weather. We have also replaced the little gate (as shown in the photograph of the cottage and garden taken in 1973) really to indicate that this is a private space at the back of the cottage.

Phil has made a fantastic job of putting the pump back together – finding some of the bits and pieces in the outbuildings.

Phil has made a fantastic job of putting the pump back together – finding some of the bits and pieces in the outbuildings.

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Sadly the pump is no longer connected to the well but it gives a vivid picture of life in the cottage before the advent of the ubiquitous blue polyethylene pipe. The platform to the right would have been where the bucket rested. (This arrangement replaced the earliest version where water was drawn directly from the well).

The door of the now fully functioning ty bach – this is the dark red of all the outbuilding woodwork.

The door of the now fully functioning ty bach – this is the dark red of all the outbuilding woodwork.

The roof is still in need of its recycled slates (just arrived from NT Castell Farm near Fishguard) and this will be the only building where the pegged slates will be visible without a lime wash/cement grouted finish.  It is impressive that the climbing rose has survived during all the building and excavation.

The garden bench – what a transformation

The garden bench – what a transformation

Rear view of the cottage showing the completed retaining wall with handy steps down for access and maintenance - Pembrokeshire hedge bank style (some very fine ones near the entrance to Southwood Farm).

Rear view of the cottage showing the completed retaining wall with handy steps down for access and maintenance – Pembrokeshire hedge bank style (some very fine ones near the entrance to Southwood Farm).

As this is quite a deep hole we needed this simple wooden fence along the top but we will plant behind it and it will eventually disappear (much as the post and wire along the back of the house had as we discovered when we first managed to cut our way into the neglected and very overgrown back garden last year). Our plans for the land around the cottage are very simple at the moment. There will be a big tidying up, regrading and de-compaction of the ground where needed, then topsoil will be laid over the whole of the back garden area and the small enclosure to the east of the cottage and outbuildings (home to the gas tank and sewerage plant) followed by grass seed. This will be a lawn mix in the garden area to the rear of the cottage and a wild flower mix concentrating on later flowering species to attract bumblebees etc elsewhere.

Looking into the kitchen, new oak fireproof door in place.

Looking into the kitchen, new oak fireproof door in place.

Bathroom ready for bath etc with blue marmoleum floor laid.

Bathroom ready for bath etc with blue marmoleum floor laid.

Stairs waiting for a runner from Middle Mill

Stairs waiting for a runner from Middle Mill

Gaps at the bases of the internal partition now repaired

Gaps at the bases of the internal partition now repaired

For some reason none of these pictures show any signs of human activity – just the odd Marie Celeste abandoned bucket and sander but truth is that the site has been buzzing – as can be seen in the record photographs. We are almost at a stage now to fire up the new boiler for the first time and check that our guests will be cosy over the winter.

We had an important group of visitors in June when Jo Horsley, Volunteering & Community Involvement consultant brought some of the people who have pledged support to the National Trust by leaving legacies in their wills.  At the same event it was very good to meet staff from Heelis, including Marcia Dover, Head of Legacy Administration, who had been so helpful when we were initially sorting out the long term future of the cottage.  We were very fortunate that it was a sparkling day and we could include a walk up the hill behind the cottage to see it in its wider landscape setting of the coast around the St Davids peninsula, including the tower of St Davids Cathedral emerging from the valley in the background. Local staff were invited to join the group for lunch after the visit and it was really enjoyable to have the time to talk and get their views on this new property and other National Trust visits they have made..

Later in June two of the central holiday cottages team ventured into West Wales to look at the new arrival on their books. This was most useful as they now have first-hand knowledge of the new property and, yes, they did like it a lot. And it does seem the end is in sight and we are all very mindful that we may have our first guests on 12th September… With that always in mind we have the first bit of furniture in place – which after much trial and error had to enter ignominiously through one of the Velux openings.

Looking from the dressing room to the bedroom beyond

Looking from the dressing room to the bedroom beyond

Alison Dalby, Senior Press Officer for the Trust is writing an article for the January NT magazine and has been for a preliminary recce and to have a quick chat with me and Phil. She has a number of people in mind to interview and a very clear idea of the structure of the article – so your phone may ring at any time! There will be a proper photo opportunity for the cottage once it is fully furnished and about to open for business.

And yes – at last – the soft furnishings. Amongst Lesley Taylor’s long list of useful contacts was David Palmer whose family furnishings business in Oxfordshire has a long involvement with the NT and who has already been amazingly helpful (and supportive to an amateur like me). He also has strong Pembrokeshire family connections so has been able to visit the cottage, measure up and make useful suggestions.

Hope someone is putting the champagne on ice – there has to be a celebration coming up but we’re not setting the date for that quite yet!

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Discussion

One thought on “Get the champagne ready…

  1. What a wonderful job you have all made of restoring this little cottage. We are coming to stay in November and are really looking forward to seeing Treleddyd Fawr for ourselves.

    Posted by Amanda Carter | October 22, 2016, 00:15

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