Fferm Castell Gwyrdd “Old Castle”
The start of a new journey always starts with the first
step. I took that over two years ago
when I put the money on the table and this place was purchased. Now it is time for it to move to the next
level where it can be of benefit to others.
OS Map Grid Ref SN39521611
600 Yards south of the present Green Castle
Mound and Bailey Castle (now just the Motte remaining).
The soil is good though after being grazed by horses it has needed a bit of work. Sheep and pigs as well as mowing and harvesting hay has brought the "commercial side" back to looking something like it should. The other side has been grazed by goats and they have munched their way through the brambles which threatened to take everything over.
In the times of the Welsh Princes the Parish of Llangain
past early on to the Normans, Alfred Dryne (or Dryve).
"Somewhere during the episcopate of Bernard of St Davids
(1115 – 1147) there was granted the prior and convert of St Peter, Carmarthen a
carucate of land in Egliskein together with a carucate of Pnetreway (Pen Twyi).
Man or Gain the caput of the manor."
In the 15 Century the small lordship of the
Manor Gain passed into the hands of an English family called “Rede” or “Read”. One of them built the new castle. Green Castle was continued, the original site
becoming “Old Castle”.
The 1917 report also stated that the remains of the motte
and baily were easily traceable. That
became known as “Old Castle”.
This place was known as Old Castle when I bought it but due to the neighbours complaining that our name was too close to theirs we had to change our name. The name Fferm Castle Gwyrdd was suggested which is Green Castle Farm. As this was originally Green Castle it seemed like the right name to choose. It differentiates us from Old Castle Farm which is neither Old Castle, nor a farm.
It certainly looks like the layout of a castle here. What we call “Home Field” has a lower “Estuary
Field” and the land falls away from this which provides a great “defensive”
spot and a good view of the estuary. A spring which has obviously been around way back into history would have been the reason for its location as well. A good water supply, a commanding view of the estuary and it is possible that it was either a natural feature or man made. We are yet to get a metal detector but it looks like the "treasure" was already found when a box of triangular gold coins were found back in history, some were sold in Carmarthen, some in Swansea.
The darkness rolled in.
How? Darkness is a lack of light. There was a very dark time here when I first arrived. It was a huge culture shock stepping away from owning two rather large houses to living in what ended up being a touring caravan!
We went through the storm and depression and the black dog had his fair share of time but with the onset of September the place is changing. The abandonment that occurred as part of it all is being cast aside and it is time for the place to take a step out of the darkness itself and "put the lights back on".
It would once have been a thriving community of a castle, motte and associated houses. When it was dry last year long house shapes could clearly be seen down on Estuary Field.
Fencing has been done and will be done. I'm very thankful to Glastir for its contribution. It is a fabulous thing that the Welsh Government are doing to encourage more hedgerows and how could I not become part of it? We have had the five acre field fenced with a central "Paddock" which could house animals if there is a need in the future. The new hedgerow is planted on the outside parallel to the original hedgerow which surrounds the field. This has created a "walk" where animals can be exercised under supervision. There is a small open area at the far side of the field and one day perhaps a caravan will be put there for meditation and contemplation. A request for another caravan has been put on Preloved or perhaps in the summer one of the tents could go there.
A sturdy fence has also been erected around "Hidden Valley", well the "animal" part of it. Beyond the gate at the bottom belongs to mystic fable, faeries and the wilds. It is an ancient woodland where the fallen logs are covered in moss and a chasm cut by the water course provides wonderfully amusing features for the imagination.
What do people want?
The answer is probably different things for different people. That is what makes the world an interesting
and vibrant place.
Life is what you make it.
If you constantly look for the negative then negative is what you will
find. We are hoping to find positive people who would like to live "with nature" and make this place a sustainable Sanctuary for animals and people.
That does mean taking the rough with the smooth. Some animals are grumpy by nature, just like people. They need understanding too but unlike people their effect on everyone else can be curtailed by fences and gates!
I’m also hoping for a bit of loaves and fishes could occur here in that if people know it is here and they have extra “stuff” that they will
donate it, like spades and gardening equipment etc. That may happen which means that we don’t have to
buy in the equipment so we don’t have to earn the money to buy the equipment! Volunteers (I'd rather call them "crew") may have their own equipment to bring as well to contribute.
SERENITY needs a Crew!
I can’t afford to pay a crew until money can be seen to be coming
in. But if anyone comes on board they become "family" and if they are in the same boat as us we hope that they will help out too and as this place flourishes, so will they. If it is successful (I'd rather say when) then I’d love to find
unemployed who have the skills and a wish to “believe”. This is yet another way to fight that black dog. This would have to be voluntarily until this
pulls itself into viable and then all can have a salary. I want to help those who will understand what it is "about" because
they have been “down”, then we can all climb back up into the light. The place could succeed and then everyone
gets paid and be in a paid job which they believe in and enjoy. Until then there are 16 hours a week that could be spent helping us!
What better way to deal with depression but obviously with
depression there will be days that people can’t do things. So I need twice the crew to cover those who
will be battling the black dog. That means that nobody gets stressed if they are unable to make it one day and if it is set up
well I’d be able to cover if nobody turns up one day!
Whether able bodied or disabled (either temporarily or permanent) there is always something you can do. It is up to us how we create this place.
I'd love to create a totally sustainable area where every animal and person could be catered for without outside influence. That doesn't mean that we won't shop at supermarkets! Why not? But it does mean that the theory should be there as an amusing and interesting concept that we can prove to others. That was part of the reasoning behind the "Nemesis Experience".
I used to love the TV show Cadfael and I had an idea for a “Cadfael”
style garden for wild flowers and herbs.
Created in the style of Cadfael as well so that the herbs can be used
for medicinal purposes either by those who work on the garden or sold dried to
those who want to use them for making incense and medicinal preparations. Having natural medicines has been part of our heritage. There is so much that nature can give if we give back. There are laws now which protect the wild flowers in woodlands. If everyone picked them they would be wiped out! So we thought why not cultivate (well give them a good place to live and sensitively take a few when needed) them. They can be dried, preserved and posted out to those who need them thus bringing an income to preserve this place! But, that will need gardeners who are willing to become knowledgeable as there is no such thing as a weed! It just may take a little bit of relocating those valiant plant souls who want to grow where we would rather they didn't!
Another area could be fenced off for this but in the “Medieval”
Designed to look good as well and for people to walk through. It is possible that the Re-enactment people
may do something charity wise up here to fundraise for us so having a garden,
people in costume and the option for those who might like to dress up on a
regular basis and “escape” to be able to.
Basically raised beds in wooden areas and a wooden fence
around it. I’ve got a book about Cadfael
and his garden and various gardening books.
I’d be happy to buy the seeds.
I have books and I’d be interested in laminating sheets with
information about each herb and what is it good for. We could put together and publish an information guide for anyone with a back garden or flower pots if there is interest.
SENSORY RELAXATION GARDEN
Herbs and Wild Flowers that are medicinal and relaxing may thrive in this garden. The idea I has to do it as per “The Witch’s
Garden" with the elements and relaxing areas to sit. The garden itself would be non denominational.
Incorporating wind chimes, water and the elements. The plants in their “quarters” and the
colours relating to the elements etc.
I have the book relating to this and it may make a lovely
place to sit and relax. To have a Zen garden and other relaxing “entities” as well as a “fairy” garden area, a Christian
It would be wonderful if all faiths could be represented in
one way or the other in a multi faith area.
At a very low point I had the flash of an image of representatives of all religions standing in a circle on Home Field in union asking for world peace. There can never be that new transition until the Temple of Solomon is built "On the Rock" in Jerusalem. This could be more theoretical than actual as Solomon is often referred to as wise, so until there is wisdom about "the Rock" there will never be peace i.e. until all religions can co-exist we will have a problem.
At The College of Psychic Studies the entity followed was referred to by everyone as "Spirit". All religions and faiths are welcome and can be represented in the garden but none shall take precedence over the other.
Originally this was going to be lavender bushes and a gravel
path but the cost is too high! So unless we can find a serious donation there are other ways.
Now I’m thinking beach stones building the labyrinth and a
healing circle of gemstones in the middle.
Perhaps people would like to bring beach stones and contribute to it if
it is drawn out in spray on the grass.
I have a book on Labrinth building.
Many years ago I did some spiritual travelling and I visited Lundy Island on a number of occasions. The church there is laid out in a different way to most churches which led me to hear about Chartres Cathedral which is laid out the same way. Chartres has a labyrinth on its floor. It is unlike the "normal" one as it also incorporates the elements. It is a complex design which would be a challenge to create.
All it needs are willing volunteers who are prepared to find
stones etc to come and work it out, draw it out and then lay the stones to make the “pattern”. I have a
lawnmower (it may need a bit of maintenance as it has been in the barn since I
got here!) which could mow the path to keep it walkable and a healing circle in
the middle where gemstones and stones can be placed for people and a “healing
page” on facebook where people can ask for healing and send healing to the
circle remotely. If someone would enjoy the "task" of keeping the grass mown then that could be new monument for the future.
Man cannot live on bread alone, but a bit of bread might be handy. If we are thinking along the sustainable lines then perhaps growing some spelt or wheat for bread might be a good idea. There is "heritage wheat" which could be a start. With a bit of help we could build a bread or pizza oven so that crew can have fresh bread to take home. The straw from the wheat or spelt would be most welcome for animal bedding for the winter which in turn will provide compost for the spring.
There is space for allotment style patches on the five acre field. There is plenty of goat compost on a regular
basis and if we can get carpets they can be laid down for no dig gardening next
I’ve a stack of books on gardening and a caravan which could
be used as a potting shed/tea hut. I
have started rounding up mugs and there is a tea urn. Would need to arrange power but that could be
via an extension cable or if someone is smart perhaps they could wire in solar
or wind power? I’ve a “broken” wind
turbine on the field and I could buy a caravan solar panel unless someone is
giving one away. Alternatively if a small shed could be erected there is a shepherds cooker which also does hot water. So plenty of options if that can be made to work and plenty of fallen wood in the woods for it.
Perhaps the new shop in town which sells nuts etc would be interested in selling our produce once we have produce and herbs etc to sell?
Many years ago I bought a couple of mixed breed goats. I then bought a couple of goats from a lady who was giving up. They weren't the best of goats but they were the best goats!
Now many years on (well about 12) it seems reasonable to turn this place into a goat sanctuary as I love goats but the idea of dairy and a bunch of "unknown" goats just doesn't seem right. That doesn't mean that the "non sanctuary goats" won't have kids and provide some milk for the crew. The Sanctuary goats are different, they come here to retire and I am fully expecting a lot of boys!
I really need volunteers to help to look after the
goats. They need to have their pens
cleaned out every morning and the area kept clean and their beds made for their return in the evening. There is going to be ongoing maintenance and there is maintenance needed now to keep them warm and dry and
if we get more guests we may need to spread out onto “Home Field” with more shelters for them.
I need volunteers to brush the goats and to walk with them
to tame them so that those who would like to come and walk them for therapy can have gentle happy goats to walk who are used to being walked.
I’m very much thinking along the lines of trying to avoid
having goats here if we can help the people who actually want to keep
them. That may mean keeping goats
temporarily while people get on their feet or allowing them to still look after
their goats while they are here until they can get into a position to have them back again. I’m
happy for any variation which helps the “Goat mums and dads” and the goats!
When I put in a paddock and hedgerow I left a “route” around
the outside for walking animals. This
needs to be kept clear but the more people walk it the less work it takes! There is a lovely peaceful area at the
end. If I get another “spare” caravan
there could be one there or a tent for sitting, meditating and escaping just to
be with the goats once the hedgerow is established!
MILK for Cheesemaking etc.
If there is help and interest I’d be happy to mate some of the goats and
have them available for milking etc. I prefer the 9-5 way of milking. A goat will put on more milk than her kid needs so basically we give her a good feed and "steal" some of her milk. As long as mum is healthy and the kid gets enough everyone is happy and she doesn't have to lose her kid. There is nothing more wonderful than watching mum and baby walking around the field together, the baby grows and she has her own family.
I have some cheesemaking equipment and if "the crew" are interested we could fundraise and take this to a level that we could produce our own cheese.
This links in with the puppets and we have the most amazing
huge teddy bear who has been donated. I
have an old “dog cart” which needs to be renovated and adapted so that a goat
can pull it. I bought it about six years ago but it is one of those "roundtoit" things. It has deteriorated but it is still basically functional. If someone was interested and could renovate it then we may be able to go to shows with the puppets and the bear to entertain with stories and puppet shows. I’ve got a Shetland pony
harness which could be adapted.
Thunderbird was abandoned as a kid. I bottle fed him and he’s a wether. He is going to be a big boy so he’ll be ideal
to pull the cart. He also loves people. He needs to be walked a bit more than I can spare
the time for. There is no need for him
to pull people in the cart, there is “Barnabas” the bear to sit in it or the
Hayday Puppet Theatre
The idea is storytelling by puppets. Books read by puppets. Stories read by puppets. Filmed for Youtube as fun projects for the creative.
The story of the Frixians easily incorporates this. They came here to protect and to educate so
they would be more than happy to tell stories and read stories. There are a few of them here now (wins on
Widget the original “Frixian” to return to Earth. She was asleep in the cryogenic unit on a
Time, Space and Dimension travelling machine and was woken up when the machine
malfunctioned. She woke up
Gadget – the Second Frixian to wake up.
Wizel – a Pixie (from the band) was also the pixie who went
on a great adventure and woke up The Weaver of Dreams who in turn re-created
the Toymaker. They found Mon-Key and now
they can open gateways and Frixians can return to the world to protect children
from the wicked Goblians. Wizel is a doll and part of the collection which used to be in the old tavern at the place I used to live.
Other Frixians include Fidget, Midget, Ratchet (the Mechanic
and Chainsaw wielder), Mallet (Security), Fillet (Cook), Pallet (Artist),
Billet (In charge of bookings) and Trinket (in charge of the Gift Shop).
Any of these puppets would be happy to be taken to the
little theatre to tell stories.
The Mini Theatre
This is a tiny quarry on the way to Hidden Valley. It must have had a roof at some point as it
has collapsed and the rusty metal is in the undergrowth. It really needs “rescuing” and could be made
into a lovely area if the ferns and moss is preserved.
An ancient Ash tree fell down, we’d love someone to make
this into a couple of storytelling chairs/Thrones. The chairs could be used for the person to
sit on with the puppet who is telling the story and the two thrones would be
useful for a “Midsummer Fairy Gathering” of people in
costume coming for storytelling and entertainment in the tiny quarry. I had the idea of inviting people to come
along to this “event”, there is a small ticket price to fundraise but they MUST
be wearing clothing they have got from the Cancer Research Shop in
Carmarthen. Long dresses, fairy clothing
Theatre & Cart etc.
The Hayday Theatre Company are trying to set up Puppet
Groups around the UK. That was the
original idea but I need to sort out here first. The idea there was to get a Lottery Grant for
portable equipment and set up mini theatres which can go to places like Fun
Parks, High Streets etc to bring extra interest (and get people back to the High
Streets). That will have to wait for a
while as I’ve taken on too much and that ends up in a “arrggh!” especially when
interest is great but actual action from everyone non-existent!
THE NEMESIS EXPERIENCE
This comes from the novel “Thunder in the Mountains” and is
based on the idea that an AI has decided that humans are the problem. He wants some to survive when those who are a
nuisance hopefully won’t. So he has set
up an evaluation camp. £60 per person
for the weekend.
But, can the humans who visit convince him that there is
more to humanity that meets his rather cold evaluating eye?
Therapy Games – different from the main game. The element of “Dark Future” could be removed
and it would just be a “get away from it all” weekend. A technological detox with entertainment
having to be social.
When the Sensory Garden is created it could incorporate a “pergola”
or somewhere under cover which I could set up my reiki bed (which is a portable
Not just for me, other people could see clients there.
I’m selling on Ebay “Serenitygoatsanctuary” and I’ve got a
shed which could be set up as a Gift Shop if there are people coming here. I could sell things that I make and have as
well as any items that visitors make (perhaps on a commission basis). It could become a mini crafts shop.
Being right next to Green Castle Woods perhaps visitors could
park in the Woods car park and go for a woodland walk ending up in tea and cake
here. The “Dog Field” is being fenced so
that dogs can’t get at the goats. That
would include the Sensory Garden and the Labyrinth. An area could be cleared for a “Party Tent”
that I have (if it is still viable!).
This is about 30ft long.
I have contacted Kellogs about using the back of their packets
for people to create artwork which they laminate and we attach to the fence for
an Art Exhibition. There is a right of
way with a walkway along it which we fenced off so the perfect place.
The walkway could do with mowing if anyone could get the
POETRY ON A POST
I was wondering about the possibility of people writing
poetry, laminating it and attaching it to the posts along the walkway.
Only ashes and tiny pets (e.g. Hamsters). Not everyone has a
garden and people move so if they would like to scatter the ashes where they
can return. I have the metal bits of a
bench, if someone could fix it there could be a bench to sit a while. It is on a right of way and just off the
Coast Path and leads up to here along the bottom of our big field.
PAINTING THE BARN WALL ART PROJECT
I’d happily run a competition to paint the barn wall with
something to do with Protection and the Gold Dragon, Fairies, Myth and Legends…
We would need to fundraise for the paint but a competition
for people to submit their designs and the winner gets to paint it. Perhaps a company would offer a prize for
added incentive or it could be a community project to paint it with everyone
adding their little bit.
I am sure that someone has a cross stitch pattern which
could take the artwork and turn it into squares so that everyone can join in to
KEEP FIT & WEIGHT LOSS
Detox camps where snacks are not available and meals are
GENTLE EXERCISE WALKS
The Footpath runs from Green Castle Woods, through the woods
and the Coastal Path to the bottom of our field, up our track and back to Green
Castle Woods Car Park. Perhaps groups would
be interested in a gentle group walk ending up with tea and cakes here?
Dogs are great for stress.
I have some lovely dogs who would love to go for a walk. There is a great walk around Green Castle
Woods. Dog Walkers would be able to park
in Green Castle Car Park and come here up the track and pick up the dog, take
him or her for a walk along a route which goes through Green Castle Woods,
along the Coast Path and back to here.
Perhaps they could incorporate brushing the dogs as well?
I do plan to have two dogs breeding every year but the rest
of the dogs have a “year off” or two.
They would love a walk. At the
moment they rip around the field and they will still do that but a bit extra
If someone wanted a dog over night then that could be possible. They could bring the dog back in the morning
and if they wanted a dog for the weekend they could, or take a dog on holiday. If this proved to be good therapy I could keep
more dogs here just for that. Anyone
taking a dog off of the place would have to be “vetted” and well known to us.
DAILY JOBS WE CAN ALWAYS APPRECIATE HELP WITH
Cleaning Goat House
Washing Dog Feed Bowls
Washing Goat Feed Bowls
DIY and Maintenance
And many more!