West Wales News Review — analysis with a sustainability slant

Self-sufficiency enthusiasts rush to buy cottage with zero mod cons

See also the Carmarthenshire Herald, July 29th, p.13

You won’t by troubled by incessant road noise. You won’t be hindered by doorstep canvassers. Few people will even find your doorstep, if you live at Llainfedw, Llanfynydd. Just in Llanfynydd, on the boundary with Talley’s community area.

Llainfedw is was for sale, a smallholding of almost six acres at the bargain price of £145,000. Still on the market? No, sold subject to contract almost immediately.

Yes, there’s a cottage. No, it doesn’t have main electricity or piped water. Drains? Er, no, but who needs drains with all that land surrounding you?

Estate agent inundated

Estate agent Martyn Buck of the Smallholding Centre, Brongest, near Newcastle Emlyn, said he has been inundated with calls and emails, and is glad it sold fast because responding to all the enquiries meant he had little time for anything else.  Even getting in touch with the owner to relay an offer was a major task. Well, “no mains services” means totally off-grid, no modern communications, and you can’t just drive up to the door. First you have to park and find the correct path. And then climb uphill for half a mile.

Above Llainfedw, at over 1,000 feet, is Crown Estate moorland. Below, there are neighbours:  the 70 to 80 downshifters, self-sufficiency enthusiasts and alternative lifestylers living on their own plots totalling about 200 acres in ‘Tipi Valley’, a collection of mainly temporary homes forming a community which has survived for 40 years despite all attempts of Dinefwr Borough Council and its successor, Carmarthenshire County Council, to force the occupants to move on. Tipi Valley is now ‘established’.

Potential for hydro power

The Smallholding Centre describes Llainfedw as “a self-sufficiency project in the making”, with potential for hydro power from a stream, a borehole (unused), lots of timber for firewood, gardens which were cultivated until recently, and a wooden building of 158 square feet used as a craft studio.


Llainfedw: accessed through a maze of narrow lanes and then a long path — but the cottage’s remoteness is a big draw

The cottage, old and stone, has two wood-burning stoves, two living rooms — one with a mezzanine platform — and potentially two bedrooms on the first floor. One of the living rooms has a kitchen corner, but water has to come from outside. There is a butt to collect rainwater from the roof.

The huge interest in Llainfedw – so inaccessible that regular commuting would be a nightmare, and even a shopping trip would need careful planning – highlights the revival of the 1970s self-sufficiency phenomenon, expressed in the TV series The Good Life. This time though, self-sufficiency with remoteness as an added twist.



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