Under Starry Skies grew out of a dream, the seeds of which were sewn when we met, way back in 1995!
We share a love of being outdoors, walking, biking, travelling and exploring. Over the years we would head off camping in Wales, the West country or further afield, initially in a tiny 2 man tent and later in our campervan. We’ve always loved the freedom of travel and wild camping. We’ve loved exploring amazing campsites and hidden wild camp spots, as well as a fair number of music and arts festivals, both through Adam’s work as a live sound engineer and just for fun! For years we’d talk about leaving our life in the city and settling down somewhere rural where we could build unique cabins that would somehow blend into the landscape and be completely surrounded by nature.
We dreamt of designing and building simple, small dwellings which were in tune with their environment. They didn’t need to be big or fancy, just honest and earth friendly. Lou has a background in art and a passion for architecture and we share a curiosity and commitment to green, sustainable building practices and renewable energies. Adam is super practical and enjoys getting stuck in to making things happen! We wanted to create a business which could weave all this together, offering a beautiful and soulful place for like minded people to enjoy staying. And here we are, many years later. We’re pleased and proud to have realised our dreams!
In 2012 we found the perfect place, Llwynbwch, with its stunning rural location in the gem that is the Tywi valley, on the doorstep of Bannau Brecheiniog and a stone’s throw from arguably some of the most beautiful coastlines in the UK. We fell in love with this place immediately, with the wild feeling of the land, the ancient trees in the woodland, the array of wildlfowers, birds and deer and the beautiful Marlais river. We took over the farm in 2012 and have continued the guardianship of the land whilst creating Under Starry Skies. It’s been quite the adventure! Luckily for us, Llwynbwch Barn was already converted with very high Eco standards, meaning it didn’t take us long to make a few small changes and start inviting guests. Next were our ideas for Hafan cabin. We envisaged a little dwelling ‘close to nature’, completely off-grid and with more comfort, longevity and soul than a tent. We knew that each cabin should have its own space in its own meadowland, so that guests could truly experience the tranquility of the land with perfect privacy! The land here at Llwynbwch offers this with its hills and pathways.
We finished building Hafan in 2014, and followed shortly with Derwen, which opened in 2016. The two cabins snuggle back to back along the footpath which runs down to the river. Originally, guests came up to an extension on our home to use a bathroom and communal space. Over the years as things grew we quickly realised we needed a bigger space for this purpose. In 2020 we were finally ready to start designing and building Ty Mawr, our communal facilities building which we really enjoyed creating.
We both enjoy building projects, but want to extend huge thanks to our amazing friends who’ve helped us o n this journey; Andy, Hugh and Adam’s cousin Ed for help and knowledge with construction, along with electrician Nick, plumber Ben and planning advice from Jim and Jason and architectural design help from Mike. While we’re at it, thanks to James for website design, Andy for graphic design, Lisa for help with copy and editing, Adam’s brother Matthew for website updating and Adam’s mum Monique for the constant huge mountains of bedsheet ironing! It’s so very lovely to say that over half of these wonderfully creative friends live in our tiny village!
Our two children have grown up exploring the land at Llwynbwch, learning about plants, wildflowers and conservation first hand. We share the land with our 3 Exmoor ponies, Bear, Rosemarie and Jasper, who help us with the conservation grazing. You’ll probably also meet Murphy our friendly lurcher and Ninja, Bobcat and Burt the three cats!
We’re really passionate about our land and looking after it for future generations and this is why we believe in sustainable tourism. Having both travelled extensively, we know how important it is to aim for a good balance. Tourism plays a really important part in supporting the Welsh economy, but done without care it can take its toll on local communities and our environment. There’s always more to do, but we hope that year on year we’ve made progress, such as planting plenty of native trees and laying hedgerows. We had an electric vehicle charger installed for guests after a number of you arrived in ev cars and at the time we noted the huge lack of local infrastructure for ev vehicles.
We’re both active in our local community. Over the years Lou has worked with local primaries and as a community artist, while Adam is responsible for all things technical at the monthly community cinema ‘Sinema Sadwrn’. We are fortunate that Llansadwrn is a vibrant little village with a pub, community ‘Reading Room’ and church as well as lots of creative folk working in tucked away places, many of whom form part of the wider Under Starry Skies ‘family’, from farmers, veg growers, beekeepers and builders to web designers, artists, walking guides and architects!
We’ve both really enjoyed sharing Under Starry Skies with guests over the last 10 years and it’s so lovely when people return or send their friends. Diolch o galon/ heartfelt thanks!
We welcome feedback and will always do our best to accommodate requests if we can.