Ty'r Onnen Treehouse - Tal-Y-Bont, Wales
Going off-grid in the idyllic Welsh countryside
It is safe to say we now live in a world heavily reliant on technology for communication, work and everything day-to-day such as paying bills or buying stuff. What if there was a way to strip that back though and have a bubble of time where all this simply doesn't matter? That's what we aimed to find out when we headed to Ty'r Onnen Treehouse in Wales.
My mind in recent months had been busy to say the least, with work and the every day stresses of life. Normally, I'd find the time to have a break but through no fault of anyone other than myself for putting it off, I'd failed to do so. Things had got on top of me and I was feeling mentally burnt out - which isn't good and I was ready for some rest. Cue a 40th birthday present (I'm a Bonfire Night baby) to an off-grid treehouse in the middle of Wales. What better way to turn off, regroup and take time out from it all?
Ty'r Onnen Treehouse is located just outside of Tal-Y-Bont near Aberystwyth and Machynlleth right over near the coast of Wales. A short drive off the A487 plunges you deep into the countryside and you can physically watch the signal on your phone cough and splutter before finally fading out as you near the treehouse's location.
We advise booking directly with the owners on their website which can be found at:
What Is There?
If you watched Channel 4's 'Cabin In The Wilds' then you may have seen the work of Carwyn Lloyd-Jones. His Dragon's Eye design won the show, and he has also been featured on George Clarke's Amazing Spaces. The Ty'r Onnen Treehouse is also his handiwork which is designed in the shape of a shell so that it gives off a naturally soft appearance and works in harmony with the surroundings.
To get to it, from your private car park spot you need to cross a field on foot (a trolley will be waiting at the parking bay to help you carry your luggage to the treehouse - great idea and really useful!). Top Tip: If it has been raining, wear your wellies from the car. At night some solar lights will guide you along over the field so you don't lose your way. As a side note on directions, you are given such great instructions ahead of your arrival that it is impossible to miss any turn, sign or gate travelling up out of Tal-Y-Bont right up to the front door.
The treehouse is set under a large ash tree and alongside a babbling stream. Aside from the odd caw from a crow or baa/moo from nearby grazing sheep and cattle, the flow of the stream is the only thing you will hear the entire time you are here. It is bliss.
The house is zero carbon, with solar panels providing power to lights and USB sockets to charge devices. There is a gas stove and hob, fresh running water and an en suite bathroom (with piping hot shower) and king-sized bed.
Heat comes from a wood-burning stove. Sarah and Rhodri provide a basket of chopped wood on arrival along with firelighters and matches. Should you get through the wood there is plenty more in the shed outside along with an axe for chopping. It it is quite cathartic spending half an hour doing this. If you go in winter months, you'll definitely need to!
On the balcony that runs around the treehouse, there are viewpoints out over the fields in the valley (which you are welcome to explore) as well as being right next to woodland with the stream running through. Sitting here listening to it is extremely relaxing.
For the braver amongst you, there is an outdoor shower. Let your inhibitions go and try it! You aren't overlooked and on a fresh November morning, a steaming hot shower outside is amazing!
For summer months, there's a barbecue and outdoor seating under the tree. The owners also provide various things such as board games, books and yoga mats (which was really appreciated) along with a welcome pack of eggs from the organic farm, bread, bottled drinks, biscuits and a coolbox with milk in. The coolbox is pretty sizey and keeps cool for up to 4 days. We'd brought enough provisions to last the 2 night stay to get the full effect of being off grid and away from society rather than having to break it up by travelling down into town.
If you climb up into the next field, there is a bench where you can get a phone signal should you absolutely have to. We used it once, basically to let family and friends know we'd arrived safely.
Within a few hours of arriving I'd forgotten about there being no TV, no Netflix to binge on or no internet. Given I am guilty of scrolling through Twitter or Instagram probably longer than is necessary every day, this was quite the paradigm shift.
What you get in its place though is time. Time to relax, time to reflect, time to be grateful for what is important and time to forget about what isn't. If meditation is your thing, the sound of only nature or the crackle of wood from the burner gives you an ideal setting to switch off and focus on yourself.
My mind had been racing at a million miles an hour in recent weeks, and this was a well timed opportunity to dial down the speed and filter out irrelevant thoughts I'd let come to the fore for no real reason other than it being something else to worry or get frustrated about.
A cup of chai on the balcony, taking in the countryside, or watching sheepdogs herding or even a few wild horses charging about on the hilltop is great for putting things into perspective. Maybe even do some yoga. The vantage point over the countryside is ideal for it!
My favourite time was at night. I'd set myself a mini bucket list with it being my 40th year, and on that was to get a photo of the Milky Way. I'd never actually seen it before other than on TV or in photographs. Living in a town with light pollution means you only see a fraction of what is in the sky, and all attempts up to this point to capture it whilst out in the countryside had failed. There had been clouds on and off during the day, but it all seemed to burn away at night and found myself stood in a field bathed in moonlight looking at millions of stars. I didn't need a camera lens to see it, the Milky Way stretched overhead in a long dusty band across the sky. It was glorious.
There are no blinds on the many windows in the treehouse. I thought I'd find this a problem, but actually I felt it was of huge benefit. The relaxing environment meant not only did you fall asleep naturally, but the light coming in at dawn also helped you wake naturally too. It was some of the best nights sleep I've ever had.
Would You Go Back?
Without a doubt. This place is amazing. Easily one of the best places I've stayed in and I already want to go back there. If you are looking for something different, something a little outside your comfort zone (though trust me, this place is VERY comfy) then I'd definitely recommend a stay at Ty'r Onnen. Going off-grid is the experience you might not think you need, but I can assure you, a few days without your laptops, phones and apps will relax you both physically and mentally and quite possibly give you a different perspective on what matters in life.
Check out the short video below of the treehouse and surrounding countryside I captured on the drone to give you a feel of just how remote and relaxing this place is. We can't wait to go back.
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