Landmarks

We returned yesterday from a mini-break to North Wales, staying in a remote converted chapel in a valley near Betws-y-coed. Notwithstanding some shockingly (and, I have to say, uncharacteristically) poor map-reading on my part, we had a very pleasant weekend holed up in our little retreat, with remarkably clement weather for the odd wander.

16402825_10154233859326931_6356949188219365761_o

The place in question was owned by the Landmark Trust. If you’re not familiar with it, you really should be – I hadn’t encountered the organisation until a couple of years ago, when premature middle age and aversion to pub crawls compelled me to book one of their larger properties for my stag do. Its remit is simple: to buy up dilapidated buildings of historical and/or architectural interest, restore them, and then let them out to the public. It’s been going for over 50 years, but possibly needs some better PR – it deserves to be as well-known an institution as the National Trust, given the remarkable conservation effort involved in saving 200 old buildings.

None of the properties have wifi or a TV – instead, there’s a thoughtful selection of books, taking its cue from the location, and maybe a few board games. Many will have an open fire, which in itself can provide diversion for a whole evening. And of course there’s the sense of time not just slowing down but running backwards, as you contemplate the lives of those who once peopled your castle/gatehouse/fort/folly. There appear to be a handful of properties run by the Trust in Europe, but the organisational model should really be exported wholesale to other countries: just think of all those crumbling villas in Italy crying out for such attention!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s