During her Easter 2017 weekend break, whist venturing along the beautiful Pembrokeshire coastline, our Swansea team member Chloe made an unexpected visit to our supplier Melin Tregwynt.
Situated between St Davids and Fishguard and surrounded by beautiful Welsh countryside, it proved to be a wonderful day out, and really interesting for us to see where some of our products are made.
So, to kick off our Meet the Maker series, Chloe decided to pay another visit; to see the looms in action and find out what beautiful Welsh woollen goodies they have to offer!
Melin Tregwynt’s History
As one of the oldest woollen mills in Wales, Melin Tregwynt mill was built in the 17th Century. Originally owned by the Harris family of Tregwynt Mansion, the original use of the mill was to grind corn before being turned into a pandy mill. Pandy mills were used a step in woollen cloth-making process, as a method of removing any impurities in the wool.
For over 100 years the mill was used as part of the weaving process, but has been known as Melin Tregwynt since 1912; when Henry Giffiths bought the mill and created the company that we know today. Before this it was known as Dyffryn Mill, translating to Valley Mill in English (what are the odds!)
Passed down through three generations, the company is now run by Eifion and Amanda Griffiths, who took over the mill in 1986. Currently Melin Tregwynt employs over 30 local people, who use their incredible skills and knowledge to run the mill, millshop and cafe, and to help keep the tradition of Welsh weaving in Pembrokeshire alive.
Welsh double-cloth blankets are known as ‘Tapestry’ blankets and have been woven in Wales since the 18th Century. Hard-wearing, double-cloth was used a warm and practical material for items such as bed covers.
Nowadays, Tapestry blankets are seen as an iconic Welsh product, and we love having them in our store!
Plan Your Visit
Melin Tregwynt is open for the public to visit 7 days a week and is a popular attraction in the area. The Millshop and newly renovated cafe are open Monday to Sunday, whilst the mill itself is open Monday to Friday 9am until 4.30pm. You can find all of the imformation about visiting the mill and opening times at https://melintregwynt.co.uk/visit-us/#find-us.
The first time I visited was on a weekend, so was unable to see the looms in action. However, if you do make a weekend visit, the mill is still open for visitors to look around.
This time, I visited mid-week and planned my visit around the mills workings hours. During working hours, the whole mill is open to the public, including the cone winding room, the warping and weaving room, and store rooms.
Visitors will find a production schedule to the entrance of the mill; a lovely touch so that visitors understand what they are watching.
I was lucky enough to see one of our bestsellers, Knot Garden in Gorse, being woven on one of the large power looms. Seeing the skill that goes into producing the simple, high quality and timeless patterns is incredible.
All of the fabrics that woven at the mill are used to create home wares and clothing. Visitors can purchase these beautiful items in the millshop, which is located right next to the mill itself. Upholstery fabrics and off-cuts can also be purchased in the shop, for all of your creative projects.
It is incredible to be able to see the fabric go from reels of yarn to products on the shelf. Their floor to ceiling display of throws and blankets is very impressive; you just can’t resist them when you see their huge selection of designs and colours.
And it’s not just their own woollen products that they sell! You will find some other familiar products in the shop, including our own Welsh slate items.
Make A Day Of It
Although the mill itself is quite small, there is plenty to do to make your visit a full day out.
Inside the shop, the newly renovated cafe is now open. With light snacks, hearty lunchtime meals and a children’s menu, there are plenty of options to feed the whole family for a reasonable price.
If you venture down through the mill’s grounds, you may notice signs for the beach. About 20 minutes walk or a 5 minute drive away, there are two small beaches which will make the perfect spot to enjoy a packed lunch.
Melin Tregwynt is located right in the middle of St Davids and Fishguard; two beautiful places to visit with the family.
Fishguard has plenty of things to offer on a day out, from simply watching the ferries in Fishguard port, to shopping and visiting the galleries and museums in the bay.
I would highly recommend visiting Strumble Head, near Fishguard; a wonderful place to watch seals and dolphins off the coast and to appreciate the beauty of the Welsh coastline.
This time I visited St Davids, on my way home from Melin Tregwynt. The smallest city in Britain, St Davids is buzzing with activity; with loads of independent shops, delis full ofamazing food and Farmers Markets. St Davids Cathedral and Bishop Palace are also a must see if you are in the area!
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit more about our wonderful supplier, Melin Tregwynt, and that we have inspired you to venture to the mill to see it for yourselves!
Keep an eye out for our next Meet the Maker post; to learn more about our suppliers and the wonderful products that are handmade in Wales.