John & Laura
Squirrels Nest is part of a 130-acre working family farm. Being surrounded by an open 900acre hill (Maelinaidd), it is as remote as you can be in rural Mid Wales.
Unfortunately, pets are prohibited due to the livestock and neighbouring farms.
John, Laura and their young children would be your hosts. Ray, John’s late father, started farming in 1966 with a flock of welsh ewes which have been continued and graze within the farms ground and up on Maelinaidd Hill.
John is a Carpenter by trade and shares his time working on various projects in the local area and helping on the farm. Laura is the Marketing Manager for Squirrel’s Nest and has recently established an online directory listing luxury accommodation called ‘ToWander UK’.
The farm has some fascinating history. There used to be lots of little farms dotted around, many of which have now merged into the bigger farms, and therefore no longer exist. Trawscwm was a small holding and by 1937, the dwelling had disappeared from census and no longer appears on an OS map.
Originally an independent kingdom, Maelinaidd became an area of great strategic importance after the Norman conquest of England, due to its position. It appears to have come under Norman control before 1093, but during the 12th century became a battleground between the Welsh Princes of the area, notably Cadwallon son of Madog ap Idnerth son of Elystan Glodrydd, and the Mortimer family.
In 1179 Prince Cadwallon was killed by the retainers of Roger Mortimer when he was returning from the court of king Henry II of England. Mortimer was imprisoned by the king for this and Maelinaidd was inherited by Cadwallon’s son, Maelgwn ap Cadwallon,
The struggle for the rule of Maelinaidd continued during the 13th century, involving the kings of England and Llywelyn the Great and Llywelyn son of Gruffudd of Gwynedd. A number of castles were built here, notably Cymaron and Tinboeth Castle.
The remains of Cymaron or now locally know as ‘Castle Cwm Aran’ is now privately owned and not open to viewings by the public. The castle was possibly founded during Mortimer’s conquest of the area in 1093. The monument comprises the remains of a motte and bailey castle. Its end is uncertain, but it may have been abandoned in favour of Tinboeth nearby.
Tinboeth was one of the castles held by Cadwallon son of Madog, Prince of Maelinaidd and later Elfael, and it is more than likely that it was his main residence. He had also founded nearby Abbey Cwm Hir in 1176 and was closely associated with the local parish and church of Llanbister. An information leaflet on the house is also located in the Out and About pack in the Treehouse.
Further information on the history of Maelinydd can be found at a website called Coflien, here you can determine where medieval sites of interest are. (http://www.coflein.gov.uk/)