I took Rhys Sinnett, Plaid candidate for the Assembly election in Preseli, into the hidden heart of Pembrokeshire.
We travelled the low and high roads of the dramatic GwaunValley, filled with sheep, mists, and steep forest. Interestingly among the smattering of homes, farms and businesses there are almost as many businesses as houses, and this is just a sample of our rural economy which is surprisingly diverse and resilient, but ‘goes under the radar’.
We bumped down a track to Lodor farm shop arriving to a busy scene of 4 staff packing and processing their quality free-range pork, lamb, beef and bacon. Nothing could be more local. We learned of the challenges of recession, but came away inspired by the extended family’s quiet skill and determination.
We climbed to the heights of Ffald y Brenin Christian retreat. The car-park was packed, there had been no quiet month for a year. Thousands come here for spiritual revitalisation, they say they take a spiritual shield with them when they have to return to their work in cities throughout the UK and abroad. The centre on the pinnacle of the valley was designed by Pembrokeshire architect Christopher Day whose insights into the ensoulment of places is renowned across the world. The round chapel where prayer takes place four times a day, communicates a holy spirit to even the most sceptical. Businesses have sprung up in the surrounding area to provide accommodation to the guests whose numbers exceed the centre’s capacity.