Information for Group Leaders
Here are a few pointers to help you when considering making a booking at Cae Mabon.
During a year about half a dozen events are organised by Cae Mabon. These include working parties, open weeks and two or three special themed workshops or retreats.
The rest of the time – from mid March to early November – Cae Mabon is available to be booked as a venue for gatherings, retreats, workshops and events. There are usually about 35 such bookings during the year. These include youth environmental camps; workshops on singing, dance, poetry and storytelling; meditation, yoga, green spirituality, pagan, druidic, shamanic and sacred landscape retreats; men’s groups and women’s groups; stag do’s, hen do’s and weddings; business intensives; educational programmes; gatherings of families and friends; soulful quests…
If you are interested in making a booking for something like this it’s advisable to be in touch early to give you the best chance of getting the date of your choice. Most bookings come in between July and October for the following year.
If you can come on weekdays that will increase the chance you’ll get the dates you want. Occasionally, if there are no weekday bookings, we allow individuals and couples to come on a special rate. This may also be possible during the off-season (mid November to mid March).
When you make a group booking of Cae Mabon you have exclusive use of the place.
See below for information on how to make a booking.
Click here for more detailed
From the main B4547 road near Brynrefail you have to drive up a narrow winding road (the Fachwen lane) for about a mile. One hundred yards after passing a phone box on your left you come to a sharp turning to the right. There is a small, faded sign saying Cae Mabon. Turn onto this track and head slowly down the hill. Take care, as it’s bumpy in places. You’ll pass a couple of cottages and go under an old bridge. Nearly half a mile down you’ll see a Cae Mabon Car Park sign. There are two levels. Go to the lower level if there is space.
From here it is about a 200-metre walk to the Retreat Centre. Go under the arch, over the stream, down some steps, along the path by the mossy wall and through an old iron gate. Carry on past the ducks and the vegetable garden into the apple orchard with the pilgrims’ bench. A little further and you’re there. It’s downhill all the way. This is fine coming in but it means it’s uphill all the way out. So it’s good to think about travelling light, as everything that comes in (except food) has to be carried out. It is possible to drive down to the Centre, but only in 4-wheel drive. Occasionally we can transport goods, bags or the infirm up and down but we can’t guarantee it.
WHAT YOU GET
We have seven beautiful eco-dwellings providing the following accommodation:
HOGAN: 4 singles, can be made into doubles. TOTAL 4
LONGHOUSE: One double, one bunk bed. TOTAL 4
COB COTTAGE: One double, one bunk bed and one small single. TOTAL 5
LODGE: 4 sincles, can be made into doubles. TOTAL 4
CHALET: One single, one bunk bed and a small loft that sleeps one comfortably, 2 at a squeeze. TOTAL 4
HOBIT HUT: One double, one single. TOTAL 3
CABIN: One double or twin room. TOTAL 2
One single room. TOTAL 1
See under Structures and Dwellings for pictures and more info on each place.
This provides 26 beds, which can stretch to 28. A couple of the spaces can easily fit extra mattresses in on the floor, so generally we regard the maximum as 30.
However there is also room for people to sleep in the Roundhouse (3 or 4) and we have room to put up two or three small tents. In the summer we may have up a Yurt and/or Geodome, which can accommodate 4 to 8 people between them. And sometimes we have people staying in camper vans in the car park. So on some occasions, weddings for example, we can squeeze in more than 40 people. But those are exceptional times.
BEDS AND BEDDING
Cae Mabon is not a chi-chi spa resort with en suite facilities and all the mod cons. Rather it is elegant and elemental, unusual and unique, magical and mythic. Beauty and poetry abound.
We provide comfortable beds with top sheets, pillows (with pillow protectors) and a spare blanket. But guests have to being their own bedding, preferably sleeping bags. We are not in a position to wash every sheet between every group. Top sheets are laundered on a rotational basis. Therefore if guests bring a duvet instead of a sleeping bag they may wish to bring a top sheet as well. They may like to bring a pillowcase. They definitely need to bring a towel.
KITCHEN, COOKING AND WASTE
The Kitchen is small but equipped with a Rangemaster cooker with a gas hob and an electric oven; a large fridge freezer; cooking pots and pans; crockery, cutlery and utensils, all enough to cater for up to 30 people. There are storage shelves for ingredients and usually salt, pepper, herbs, spices, tea and coffee. But if you are self-catering it is recommended that you bring all you need. We provide tea towels, washing up liquid and surface cleaners.
There is a small herb garden close to the kitchen and you are welcome to use some of these herbs in season.
The washing up area is outside the Kitchen under a lean-to. There is a large Belfast sink, a small hot water heater for washing up (please turn off when not needed to conserve energy) and the main water tap. By the Kitchen door are four recycling bins for glass, metal, plastic and paper. We also recycle tetrapak cartons. There are two composting bins: one for duck food (leftovers and food scraps but not onion skins, banana and orange peel, teabags), the second for any other organic matter that can be composted. Then there is a stainless steel bin with a black bin bag for anything that doesn’t fall into the above categories and has to be taken to landfill.
It’s a complicated old business dealing with waste these days. Used to be much easier when we didn’t have to think about it! It does mean that we recommend you think about how you can reduce packaging and other potential waste items before you come.
We also ask that you keep the Kitchen clean. This means washing, drying and putting away dishes, cleaning the oven and cooker top after use, removing items from the fridge before leaving, keeping surfaces and the floor clean. We much appreciate your cooperation on this matter.
The Barn is the main eating and meeting room. Tables and chairs can be re-arranged according to need. We can generally sit about 20 plus people around tables to eat and a similar number in a circle of chairs to meet.
This is also the space sometimes used for dance and yoga. On those occasions most of the furniture has to be removed. Chairs and cushions go into the Roundhouse. Tables are kept outside under a tarpaulin in event of rain.
In spring 2011 the floor was sanded and oiled for the first time since it was laid 15 years before. This makes it even more enjoyable as a dance and yoga surface. See for further details.
LOOS, WASHROOM, SHOWER, HOT TUB
See for full details of these structures.
As a group leader please familiarise yourself with the working of these facilities.
The main Composting Loo is for general use. There is a smaller Dunny uphill for the use of those staying in the Cabin only. Guests are requested to add a handful of sawdust into the loo after each use and to close the seat. Also please close the doors. The water in the tap is rainwater collected from roof and strictly for hand washing only. Do not drink!
The Washroom is connected to the Chalet and contains two sinks, each with hot and cold running water. The water here and in the shower is heated by a gas powered instant water heater system located in the washroom. Please don’t alter the settings on the heater unit as they are fixed for optimal functioning of the system. The Washroom has a solar powered light; the switch for it is on the left hand side. You may like to know that the slate top in the washroom is made from a recycled billiard table. Please remind your guests to take their towels home with them.
We have one Shower located in the rustic, thatched hut by the river. To activate the hot water, please turn the shower knob on fully. This ignites the hot water heater and provides a hot, elemental showering experience. Please encourage your participants to bring biodegradable shower soaps and shampoos as ultimately the wastewater finds its way back into the river. Only having one shower means that it is advisable for groups to spread showering throughout the day to avoid congestion. We plan to add a second shower in due course.
The cedar Hot Tub is very popular at Cae Mabon. We endeavour to have the tub cleaned and filled before a group’s arrival. However we don’t light the fire to heat the water unless specifically asked to do so. Detailed instructions on how to use and care for the Hot Tub are pinned nearby. Please be sure you allocate one or two of your group to be responsible for looking after the Hot Tub. Advise them to familiarise themselves with the instructions. Take care that the plug isn’t accidentally pulled out when the stove is hot. This happened once and ten minutes later the woodwork was burning and the aluminium stove was melting. We had to have another stove made specially. Not cheap! If you are here for more than a weekend it will need to be cleaned. We also appreciate it if you can clean and refill it as part of the clean up before leaving.
Most groups coming to Cae Mabon are self-catering. We encourage you to buy food locally See Links for contact details of local organic food producers who can take an order in advance of your stay.
If you would prefer your group to be catered for we have links with local cooks who can provide high quality vegetarian food. Please ask for current rates.
CLEAN UP TIME
We hugely appreciate it if you are able to clean the dwelling spaces, the Barn, the Kitchen and the Hot Tub before leaving. This may require the allocation of a couple of hours at the end of your time here. Some may find this onerous but for most it fits with the ethos of the place. Cleaning and tidying up is a way of caring for a place. We try to make it feel cared for when you arrive. We hope you will care for in return before you leave.
Please remind people to take all their possessions with them. And also, if things have been moved around during your stay we ask you to put them back to where they came from.
If you’d like to go ahead with a booking please call 01286 871542 or email us on stating the nature of your group and the dates you’d like to book. It helps if you have more than one option on dates. We will then send you a document outlining the current rates for hiring Cae Mabon as a venue. Once we’ve agreed dates we’ll need a deposit of approximately one third of the minimum total to secure the booking.
If you haven’t been to Cae Mabon before – you may want to come purely as the result of word of mouth or from looking at the website – we do recommend you make an early visit so that you know what you’re letting yourself in for!