When most people are rushing along the M4, in either direction, trying to keep up with, and maybe ahead of, a busy schedule, it’s likely they are unaware that they are driving past a pocket of peace where the properties offer the lucky owners a slice of rural bliss.
A few miles north of junction 36 near Bridgend there is an idyllic island of wood, hills and water near the medieval village of Llangynwyd within the beautiful Llynfi valley.
Nestled within this mainly hidden slice of the south Wales valleys within the area known as Lower Llangynwyd is a historic corn mill thought to be over 220 years old called Melin Pontrhydcyff. And it is a very special property.
The property is thought to have been the last working corn mill in the Llynfi valley, and can also boast about its idyllic location, amongst the trees on a hillside with a sprinkling of neighbours and a huge dollop of unique and wonderful offerings to mesmerise you.
The location is a rural retreat but also close to amenities and facilities, so it offers the best of both worlds of a calm existence but within easy distance of convenience.
Maybe one of the most popular reasons to leave this idyllic home is to visit arguably the oldest pub in Wales, the Old House in Llangynwyd. See the top contenders for the oldest pub in Wales here and see if you agree the Old House wins the argument.
Back from your pie and pint experience at the Old House, it’s time to discover the beauty of this old and historic house and its unique surroundings.
It comes with about 2.8 acres of this beautiful area to call its own, so wandering around the private and pretty gardens, meadows and woodland that stretches to the Nant Cwm-Du river, could be your daily isolated solace as well as your multiple areas for socialising and partying – the best of both worlds again.
The garden and land is enough to fall in love with this character packed home, but while you’re strolling around your own private slice of the lush landscape, you will come across the most unique of garden features.
And there’s no danger you’ll miss spotting it – it’s the Cwm-du (Pont-Rhyd-Cyff) viaduct, a Grade II listed structure that marches across the landscape including across the bottom of this wonderful property’s long and lovely garden. Try beating that with a fountain, bird bath or collection of gnomes.
Being an old mill, the garden oozes charm constructed out of its past life, so there’s a picturesque mill pond with a sluice gate to control the waterflow over the water wheel that is a joy to find still in place. This is a dreamy spot to relax and, with that in mind, the clever owners have built a deck that protrudes out over the water; bliss.
To ensure that there are options for the hub of socialising experiences, there’s also a substantial, raised patio area that looks out over the woodland.
But what is a surprise to discover is that the mill can hold its own when it comes to income, not via corn milling now but by generating electricity. According to the estate agent the mill has a hydro-powered turbine, generating an average income of around £7,000 per year.
A turbine house has been constructed alongside the mill and adjacent to the river to house the hydro electric generating system, and is a block built, slate roofed structure to blend into the environment.
The system comprises an Ecowave crossflow turbine and single phase generator and control system, with water passing through the turbine and then into the river.
The turbine drives the generator which produces up to 12kw output. It powers the house, the four electric radiators controlled by the system, and the excess is put into the national grid.
The Feed In Tariff has ensured that the system has produced an annual tax free income of around £7,000 per year plus free electricity. Well done Melin Pontrhydcyff, you’re earning money as well as saving your owners a hefty energy bill too.
So this dream property just from the outside can rightly claim the descriptions of unique, distinctive and downright beautiful. But inside there are wonders to behold too.
The front door gets you straight into an entrance hall that opens into an inner dining room that is the centre of the house – a hub for grub. Next to this spacious room is maybe the home’s number one feature in the study, the mill machinery that is still in place and, quite rightly, has been showcased.
Joined by charming ceiling beams and a log burner in the stone fireplace, the original mill cogs, wheels and support structure are lit up behind sliding full-length glass doors. The mill workings have been renovated and restored to working order, with the agent saying it has actually recently ground flour.
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For mill enthusiasts who know more than most of us on mill workings, apparently still in place are the oak shaft connected to the waterwheel, the exposed mill stones, the pit wheel, wallower and great spur wheel. These turn gently and silently when water is running over the waterwheel that is fed by the millpond.
And the agent recons they have been doing so for many years – it has been estimated that the mill workings are over 250 years old but there are many indications that the structure is much older. What an incredible piece of history to have in your home, a feature that makes you the custodian of Wales’ past milling and property history.
Back to the central dining hall and an open archway flows into the kitchen, where a combination of natural materials such as wood and slate complement the rural location but within a modern design with all the integrated appliances that mean the cook gets compliments too.
The addition of a triangular window above the kitchen sink creates a perfect place to admire the tranquil garden, framed to perfection by this super-sized window. The kitchen has a pantry too and also leads into the garden via a utility area.
Back to the dining room and there’s a door to a spacious lounge that is the many relaxing zone at the mill, inside at least. Running from the front to the back of the house, the room has a wonderfully cosy atmosphere thanks to the robust stone fireplace housing a massive log burner.
The curve within the fireplace structure is a visually pleasing design that invites your eyes to continue along the wall to the fabulous round window. It’s not a homage to vintage children’s TV programme Play School looking through the round window, but a homage to the shape that has been so vital to this building’s past centuries; a circle.
The round window also provides a uniquely framed view of the garden and, coupled with sliding doors out onto the patio and another large window at the front of the house, the design of the room optimises light as well as visually and physically connecting to the glorious garden and land beyond.
Back again to the central dining room and ascending the bespoke oak staircase gets you to a spacious and light, open landing that features a tactile exposed stone wall to add to the charm.
On this first floor there are four double bedrooms that all offer their own unique perspective of the land as it rolls away from the house.
Each bedroom can also claim a distinctive look and feel, with one boasting exposed beams and a section of stone wall, and one offering a storage room as well as a wall of wardrobes.
The master bedroom can shout about precious views too but can add its own storage cupboard plus an ensuite shower room that joins the bathroom on this upper floor as handy and stylish facilities.
The mill is a joy to own and will be for the new owner a pleasure to live in as a custodian of its past, a wanderer of its absorbing and stunning land in the present, and a protector for its future; it truly is special. Melin Pontrhydcyff is for sale for £595,000 with Herbert R Thomas estate agents, call the Bridgend branch on 01656 660036 to find out more.