Event Reports

The Ceredigion Association of National Trust Members arrange an annual programme of events. These include formal meetings with guest speakers, coffee mornings, afternoon teas, day trips to National Trust properties and weeks away.

Below are reports from some of these events.

Event Reports - 2017



We decided to vary our usual Christmas Celebrations at CANTM this year, for many years we have kept to the same format of a Lessons and Carols service followed by sherry and mince pies in a church. This year we decided to try something different and all thirty three people who attended enjoyed it enormously. We met at first on the morning of December 5th in the Carriage Courtyard in Llanerchaeron for a cup of coffee, biscuits and a chance to chat and catch up with friends and meet fellow members as well as welcoming guests. We then proceeded to the house at Llanerchaeron and were able to enjoy seeing the lovely festive decorations to the ground floor. The theme was ‘The Night Before Christmas’ and the National Trust staff had excelled themselves with decorating the house – complete with a snowscene through an imaginary window on the stairs and a ghost minus its head!

Some festive songs and carols were sung in the hall before returning to the Carriage Courtyard for sherry and mincepies. We also had a reading of the poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’ – all of which contributed to a most enjoyable event capturing the spirit of the forthcoming Seasonal Festivities and the decorations both in the house and the Carriage Courtyard created the pleasant ambience to start the celebration of the Christmas period.

November Meeting

Wednesday, 15th November 2017

Our November meeting had been planned in the usual format of a relaxing delicious lunch and an interesting talk from a good speaker. For November 2017 Professor Colin Eldridge had arranged a three course lunch in the delightful surroundings of Lampeter University. This lovely old building situated on the banks of the Teify boasts a long academic history and its Hall is an attractive as well as historical setting for an interesting and stimulating talk. Those that had booked for the event had chosen their menus and went to Lampeter expecting to hear Mark Baker talk about the renovation programme of Gwrych Castle, near Abergele. Mark Baker is the founder of the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, an organisation established in 2002 to renovate the ruins of Gwrych Castle to their former glory. However, things did not go quite according to plan.

On arrival at Lampeter it became apparent that Mark Baker had unfortunately been taken to hospital and was consequently unable to attend. However, we were very lucky that Professor Eldridge was able to save the day and give us a very interesting talk in Mark Baker’s place, although the talk was not about Gwrych Castle but on the 4th Duke of Newcastle. He bought the Hafod Estate after Thomas Johnes and although many people are familiar with the history of the Hafod Estate in Cwm Ystwyth, most people associate the history of Hafod with Thomas Johnes and are unaware of developments that followed his ownership.

A flamboyant and highly political character, the 4th Duke of Newcastle was unpopular as he was a vehement opponent of both Catholic Emancipation and Electoral Reform - hot topics in early nineteenth century Britain. He had a large family with numerous children and his main home was in the Nottingham area where he was an unpopular landlord prone to evicting tenants with consequent vandalism and damage being carried out on his English properties. It can only be imagined why he would want to buy the Hafod Estate in such a remote part of West Wales, perhaps the peaceful rural setting appealed to him and he does appear to have enjoyed a better relationship with his tenants in Wales than in Nottingham. He was responsible for building the Hafod Hotel which is still in Devil’s Bridge to day, whereas the house at Hafod, alas, has long disappeared. Despite his enormous wealth, the Duke seemed to have money problems galore and he was left to raise a large family of 14 children after his wife died in childbirth. Consequently Hafod was not in his family for long and did not pass on to any of his heirs but it was interesting to hear another piece of history about Hafod and to learn that the Hafod Hotel, the result of a short tenure by the 4th Duke of Newcastle at Hafod is still a successful hostelry.

We are indeed grateful to Professor Eldridge for providing us with such and interesting and fascinating talk at very short notice. We then enjoyed a delicious three course lunch in the University Dining Room.

Day trip to the Brecon Mountain Centre and the Brecon Mountain Railway


Thursday 7th SEPTEMBER 2017

There is nothing quite like mountains and a narrow gauge railways to capture the imagination and we were fortunate that we were able to enjoy a day out in which both of these were prominent features. A sizeable group of 35 people left Aberystwyth and we travelled by coach to the Brecon Beacons Mountain Centre near Libanus where coffee and cakes were enjoyed on our arrival in the Tea Rooms at the Centre. Some two hours were spent in the Centre where a variety of activities were enjoyed by all.

The Mountain Centre is the official Visitor’s Centre of the Brecon Beacons National Park, it has a wealth of information and literature about the famous Beacons and it is situated on St Illtyd’s Common with its own pleasant gardens and grounds with fine views of Pen y Fan, the highest land point in Southern Britain. Unfortunately, we were unable to appreciate the full majesty of Pen y Fan as it was shrouded in mist throughout our period of time at the Centre but those that watched the informative film of the National Park would have seen what is present under the mist! Many enjoyed the film, narrated by Iolo Williams, it gives an insight into the vast area the Brecon Beacons covers, its geology, the conservation work carried out there and how the environment is cared for, as well as, of course, the magnificent views which sadly were denied us. Other members were able to enjoy a walk across St. Illtyd’s Common and many visited the shop with its interesting collection of arts and crafts made by local artists and crafts people. At least one of the local artists is always present in the centre shop at all times and this gives an opportunity to engage with local craftspeople.

After lunch we boarded the coach and headed for the Pant Terminus of the Brecon Mountain Railway near Merthyr Tydfil to board the 2.30pm train to Torpantau. This is a delightful narrow gauge railway complete with steam locomotives and railway carriages that transport one to a bygone age. The original Brecon and Merthyr Railway ran from 1859 to 1964 through the Brecon Beacons and included the Torpantau Tunnel, which at 1,313 feet above sea level is the highest railway tunnel in the United Kingdom. After falling into disuse and disrepair restoration work on the railway commenced in 1979 and today the line runs for 5 miles between Pant and Torpantau. It gives lovely views of the Brecon Beacons and the beautiful Pontsticill Reservoir. On the descent from Torpantau, the train stops at Pontsticill station for half an hour where a visit to the Steam Museum can be enjoyed.

After returning to Pant we had the opportunity for light refreshments before our return journey to Aberystwyth after a delightful day, touched for many with more than a hint of nostalgia.

Saturday 1st July 2017

About 30 members gathered for tea, sandwiches and cakes on a sunny Saturday afternoon, at the beginning of July. The rain held off until we had all gone home.

Richard Hogger manned the produce stall, Barbara Hogger made delicious sandwiches, Judy Lile made the tea or coffee, Colin Eldridge made sure there were enough clean cups by washing-up, Lesley Evans-Worthing sold raffle tickets, many others helped to make it an enjoyable afternoon.


The total made was £270.00

Brecon-Mountain-Railway Brecon-Mountain-Railway

Tuesday 21st February 2017

The Winter Warmer meeting in February did just that – coffee and biscuits were followed by a talk given by the Reverend Hywel Jones, who is an authority on the Welsh Saint St. Padarn and the foundation of the early Christian Church in Llanbadarn over a thousand years ago. Delicious Cawl and Welsh Cakes for lunch brought us back to the 21st Century and the raffle helped yet again to swell the funds raised for the Trust.


The total made was £287.00

Monday 23rd January 2017

CANTM’’S first meeting of 2017 was the popular Coffee Morning on January 23rd. which always sets the New Year off in a jolly fashion. Our speaker was Erwyd Howells. His fund of stories from his life as a shepherd was fascinating, entertaining and illustrated with historical artifacts, which had us all guessing as to their uses. The Annual Savouries Stall, run by CANTM members, did not disappoint, tempting us to spend, spend, spend and raise much needed funds for the National Trust. The superb raffle helped as well.


The total made was £293.10

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