Plas Uchaf

Near Corwen, Denbighshire

Overview

A substantial hall-house which was built in about 1400 and is situated on the side of a low hill in the Dee valley, an area filled with scenery, wildlife and history. Few houses of this age survive in Wales and the quality of work at Plas Uchaf is exceptional. 

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • RemoteRemote
  • ShowerShower

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

Sleeps
4
4 nights from
£215 equivalent to £13.44 per person, per night

A rare example of a once common building type 

From the outside, it is hard to imagine the vast hall that exists within or the happy hours you will spend lying on the sofa staring at this structure that has been in place for over six centuries.

A display of medieval timber framing techniques

The hall is surprisingly grand, with a spere truss, two other moulded trusses, traces of a louvre, and wind and ridge braces – a roof of sophisticated carpentry. In the 16th century an immense fireplace was added, which, to a degree, heats this grand space. The fire and the hall are the twin spirits of Plas Uchaf, and at night, with the wooden ribs of the hall moving a little in the firelight, you can imagine that you are Jonah inside the whale. The bedrooms are upstairs amongst the ancient timbers.

It was in the last stages of dereliction when we arrived here, but the oak frames of medieval houses are remarkably tough, particularly where they have been smoked for generations by the open hearth. Its repair was still possible, and well worthwhile.

Floor Plans

‘Thank you Plas Uchaf, Landmark, Mrs Jones, the chap for the logs, Mr Evans the singing butcher, our farmer friend up the road who supplied fresh milk and eggs and many a chat, and farmer Tudor.'

From the logbook

Map & local info

Plas Uchaf sits on the side of a low hill in the Dee valley, near Corwen in the heart of the North Wales countryside. It is within easy reach of Snowdonia.

The Rhug farm shop first opened in 2003, offers a many high quality local, Welsh and organic products.

The breathtaking Lake Bala is 20 minutes drive from Plas Uchaf. Enjoy the stunning views on the Bala Lake Railway, or get involved with some watersports if you are feeling more energetic. 

Rug Chapel and Llanger Church are to be found nearby, both historic religious sites dating from the 17th century. 

Nearby Llangollen is a small town steeped in myth and legend. Llangollen Railway and trips along Llangollen Wharf are great ways to enjoy the area. 

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is a renowned choral music festival held annually; be sure not to miss this if your stay is in July. 

Close by is Chirk Castle (19 miles). You can gain free entry to it with a National Art Pass, which enables its 122,000 holders to enjoy free and discounted entry to over 225 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK. The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it on the ArtFund's website http://www.artfund.org/

For more information on things to see and do during your stay at Plas Uchaf, please see our Pinterest Map.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Plas Uchaf
Near Corwen, Denbighshire
Clear directions

‘Thank you Plas Uchaf, Landmark, Mrs Jones, the chap for the logs, Mr Evans the singing butcher, our farmer friend up the road who supplied fresh milk and eggs and many a chat, and farmer Tudor.'

From the logbook

FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a driveway off the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Ruabon – 16 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There are two / three parking spaces adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is air-sourced central heating in the house and underfloor heating in the main hall, complete with a multi-fuel stove.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    We do not supply fuel for this Landmark.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is an electric cooker, dishwasher and a microwave.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a free-standing shower unit and a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    No.
  • Does this Landmark have low headroom?

    No.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is an enclosed garden.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Built in the late 14th century

Built in the late 14th century, Plas Uchaf probably began as the seat of the barons of Cymmer, and was known as Plas o Kymmer. It was built as a hall house, open to the roof, with a main truss of elaborate and unusual design, which survives practically unaltered. The original house was probably timber-framed, with wings flanking the main hall and entrances in the north and south sides leading directly to the screens passage.

Peter Smith describes its original form as ‘a commoner type of hall where there is only one aisle truss sited as a screen between hall and passage….. The construction is mixed, box-framed aisle truss and cruck-framed central truss, the disparate elements linked by the general use of a king-post to carry the ridge.’ It would have been was a very grand house indeed; it was more ornate than most hall houses of the period and the craftsmanship was of the highest standard - very much a house of the aristocracy.

However, the form it presents today presents a radical reconstruction which took place in the 16th century, when the first floor was inserted with heavy moulded beams. The walls are now of stone rubble and the north and south entrances have four-centred arches and jambs typical of the 16th century. No trace of the west wing survives and the east part of the house was altered again in the 17th century.

In the late 16th century the barons of Cymmer moved to Gwerclas, a house nearby, and took the name of Hughes of Gwerclas; but Plas Uchaf remained in their possession and in 1707 it was listed by Edward Llwyd as being one of the houses of the gentry of Llangar. After that it embarked upon a steady decline that continued until 1972. By 1825, when the Gwerclas estate was sold, it seems to have been the farmhouse attached to the home farm.

It then became part of the Rûg estate belonging to Griffith Howel Vaughan. Between 1826 and 1885 it was first lived in by labourers and then by a tailor and his family. There is a tradition, locally, that at about this time the first floor room above the hall (that has now gone) was used as a religious meeting house. In 1913, it was described as a tenement, and in 1933, it was a gamekeeper’s house. The last people to live in Plas Uchaf were the Owens, who were there in 1960 and who now farm a few miles to the south.

In the early 1960’s Lord Newborough, the head of the family that had acquired Plas Uchaf in the early 19th century, sold the (then unlisted) house to Mr Lloyd Jones of Bala. The new owner sold the 16th century beams and panelling to America: in a way this was a pity, but it did also return Plas Uchaf to its original form: that of a medieval hall house, open to the roof. More unfortunately, having been virtually gutted, Plas Uchaf was left derelict for ten years.

Restoration

Realising its importance

Peter Smith, then Secretary of the RCHMW realised that the whole house was in grave danger and in 1964 he and Ffrancon Lloyd published an article in the Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, recording it fully and hoping that by drawing attention to its importance it might somehow be saved. There was an idea that parts of it might be removed to the Avoncroft Museum, but nothing materialised. Time went by and Plas Uchaf was rapidly turning into a ruin, but eventually Peter Smith acquired a valuable ally in Colonel A K Campbell of the Merioneth Legal Department.

In the end Mr Lloyd Jones presented it to Merioneth County Council, who approached Landmark Trust. Landmark took a long lease it from the Council. The roof, which was part corrugated iron, part broken slates, was replaced with slates. The big slates on the floor of the hall passage are original, the others were bought in to match. Much the biggest job was repairing the timber, the oak for the repairs coming from Llangollen and other local sources.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.