The most remote hostel in Wales? and moths

Ty’n Cornel is said by some to be the most remote hostel/bunkhouse in Wales. I am not sure of this claim but it certainly is set in remote, wild and beautiful countryside in an area called the Elenydd. To quote from the Hostel website

“The Elenydd is an area in the southern Cambrian Mountains of mid-Wales, between Llanwrtyd Wells and Tregaron. It is a wild and beautiful place, with silence broken only by a gurgling stream, the bleating of sheep or the call of a bird. It is a wonderful area for outdoor activities like walking and cycling; an ideal place to escape from the pressures of the modern world.” 

The hostel is located about 7 miles from Llandewi Brefi, the village that featured in the TV show “Little Britain”, with ‘the only queer in the village’. As a result of this exposure the village frequently has its village sign stolen. This picture, taken last year, gives a feel of how remote the hostel is. You might be able to locate it in the small white ellipse drawn on the picture (you may need to click on the photo to see the ellipse!).

I drafted this sitting in the hostel with a mixed swallow and house martin squadron on patrol outside, with eight yellowhammers in the hedge and many other birds flitting around. It is just peaceful and tranquil with no signs or sounds of humans or their habitation aside from the hostel. Ty’n Cornel is surrounded by rolling hills with a few scattered sheep and very hardy cattle. I have spent the night at the hostel specially to take part in some moth census work. This might sound a lot more energetic than it actually is. I am only a helper/observer but what seems to be involved is placing a large, round, electrical plastic bowl outside at dusk and plugging it in, going to bed at the normal time and, in the morning turning the light off and looking inside the bowl to see what has collected; so not too strenuous.

The night was quite chilly, so not the best for the moths, but 6 different species collected in the trap, most of which had just one specimen. By far and away the most spectacular was a puss moth, a wonderful speckled white moth with the most intricate antennae. After identification and counting, the moths are carefully placed back in a shady place by a hedge to continue their quite short life as adults; mostly they apparently live only a few days as adults.

The bird life here is also quite exceptional. Yesterday afternoon, a rambler from The Netherlands passed by the hostel and, while we were chatting, three red kites, two buzzards and a raven were flying over the brows of nearby hills. Later, on a short walk, I spotted several whinchats, a few meadow pipits, some wheatear, chaffinches , a reed bunting, a hobby and some tits. The open country has some spectacular walks, here are a couple of photos I took while there.

Ty’n Cornel was sold in 2006 by the YHA and is currently leased to a charitable Trust who are keeping it going, entirely with volunteers. Currently the trust is trying to raise enough money to buy the hostel which will ensure it continues to provide shelter and accommodation in this remote and special area. If anyone is interested in finding out more please look at the website of the Trust http://www.elenydd-hostels.co.uk.

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