BBC2 Wales has a wonderful Secret Wales programme at 7pm on Thursdays. They recently featured Capel-y-ffin which is the peaceful venue for our lovely Welsh mountain retreat holidays
I first started working in the Capel-y-ffin valley nearly 10 years ago and it’s always felt magic to me. But there’s a much broader picture than that. The valley and its surroundings has been attracting people and providing a very special atmosphere for many centuries.
This BBC2 programme captured so much of the feel of the place, that I’ve transcribed every word… which was a real pleasure to do! So here’s the first part of the story about one of Wales – and the world’s – best kept secrets.
Presenter: Sara Edwards:
“I’ve come to a place that attracts visitors in their thousands every year. Hay on Wye is one of the best known towns in Britain, thanks to the world famous literary festival held here every year. But what many of the people who visit here won’t realise is that just a few miles down the road is one of Wales’ best kept secrets.
If you take the small turning at the edge of town, you’ll find yourself on one of the most beautiful road journeys in the world.
The road from Hay on Wye to Capel-y-ffin runs alongside Offas Dyke and is truly spectacular. It’s said that William and Dorothy Wordsworth used to enjoy walking here, Gerald of Wales commented on the hushed atmosphere and Bruce Chatwin called this area one of the emotional centres of his life.
“I’ve driven along so many mountain roads up and down Wales but so far I don’t think that many of them compare with this stretch, there’s a huge long stretch of stunning beauty here…. it’s completely unspoilt.
When you finally get to Capel-y-ffin, there’s little to mark it apart from hundreds of other pretty little country villages around Wales. But Capel-y-ffin is different. There’s something special about the atmosphere here. It’s beautiful, tranquil and timeless. And at the heart of the village, is this simple but pretty church with room for only 20 souls.
There are just some places in the world aren’t there, that have that rare, almost indefinable quality whether it’s because of their beauty, or remoteness or just something else that you just can’t quite put your finger on. Well this certainly falls into that category.
Throughout the ages, Capel-y-ffin has attracted mystics and writers and artists or all sorts. And when you finally get here and sense the magic of the place, it’s not hard to see why.”
Visit www.more-to.org for details of holiday escapes in this beautiful valley and enjoy a bit of tranquil timelessness for yourself.
Photos by Sarah Maliphant and Mahnaz Banian, May 2010