Portmeirion peter's travels
I've wanted to visit Portmeirion in Wales ever since I saw a spread on it in a photo magazine in the early 1980's. The article mentioned that Portmeirion was where the TV series, "The Prisoner" was shot, and I thought "it wasn't just a set on some backlot, the Village does exist!" It's actually a resort built by an architect named Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis who bought the 70 acre estate and started laying out the site and constructing the primary buildings from 1925 to 1939. The idea was patterned on an idyllic Mediterranean village in a lush Welsh vale. A second phase, from 1954 to 1976, filled in the details of the design.
Walking up the mile long driveway (we walked everywhere in Wales), we noticed that the village of Minffordd snuggles right up to it, until you come to a short, tree filled gap just outside the gate.
Once through the gate you are transported to what appears to be a fantasy village of small to medium sized buildings clustered around a natural bowl which forms the town square. Gardens, walkways and buildings cascade down the slopes to the green, with its statuary and fountains.
No one lives in Portmeirion, but there are a number of apartments in select buildings which you can stay in. There's also a mansion just outside of the gates which has been converted into a luxury hotel.
The place has been architected in such a way that every doorway, every arch reveals a view that makes it difficult to take a bad picture. As a visitor you are lead by intriguing paths through scene after scene past glorious gardens and awe inspiring views.
Some of the buildings added during the second phase were salvaged from demolitions, prompting Clough to describe it as "a home for fallen buildings."
Incidentally, the gatehouse was the last building constructed, in Clough's 93rd year.
This was the first building Clough put in place in 1926.
Down a steep hill, the shoreline has a beautiful harbour with quaint buildings and a swimming pool for the residential guests.
Numerous mysterious stairways and paths invite exploration.
On the waterfront promenade, a boat made of concrete stands ready for amusement even when the tide is out.
Photogenically dispersed seating areas provide rest and tranquility.
There is a pleasant path along the water that leads out to the point (the site is a peninsula), where a faux lighthouse stands. There are gorgeous views out to sea and along the coast.
The coastline Is rugged, but when the tide is out miles of sand appear.
From the point a view to Porthmadog is revealed.
When you are tired of wandering the village lanes and gardens, there are also miles of trails through the dense woods of the peninsula. There are ponds, such as this Japanese themed pond, and there are more rugged walks.
Hidden deep in the forest there is even a pet cemetery with real slate headstones.
It was here we ran into a group of four seniors in their late seventies wandering the trails. They were from Yorkshire and were looking for this apparently well known cemetery.