"Time let me play and be golden in the mercy of his means..."
   Dylan Thomas, Fern Hill


Autumn Woodland
The wood in Autumn.
Coed Dylan Idea
An idea for the centre.


In 1994, we bought 4.5 acres of land for Living Pictures to use to look after the environment and help people develop. In particular, those who are on the fringes of society. Those for whom the ‘Neural Typical’ structures of life aren’t necessarily that easy to access.

The name comes in part from our son, Dylan and also, Dylan Thomas, whose poem Fernhill (written about his Aunt’s farm not far from Coed Dylan) incapsulates the essence of what this piece of land is for us. A place of work and making, a place rich with a biodiverse landscape, a place to relax, recharge and reconnect. A place where artists, individuals and the environment are nurtured and developed.

We’ve started slowly, holding arts workshops on the land and practical projects, like our permaculture garden. We’ve been visited by various groups such as MIND Cymru, the Wallich Trust for Homeless Teenagers and the local primary school in Llangain. We’ve recycled large theatre sets; we’ve recycled wood from building sites and the local Tree Surgeons leave their wood chippings that would normally go to landfill for us to use for paths and mulching for our garden.

Our main partner are the students and staff from the Canolfan Elfed Unit at Queen Elizabeth High School who come out to the land every Thursday to take part in various activities that include learning about the natural environment, picking up skills relating to tools and gardening, cooking, having fun, relaxing and doing silly voices! (This last part led mainly by Robbie!)

We hope to grow Coed Dylan so that more groups can enjoy the benefits of this peaceful and inspiring land. Will be working hard this year to increase the number of groups we have out on the land and investigating large scale grants to see our vision come to fruition in the long-term, but we need your help in the short term…

We’re focusing on our work and projects with the students from Queen Elizabeth High School. The benefits of Coed Dylan have been immense for them, sometimes providing the highlight of their educational week.

"I don’t know how I’d go to school during the week if I didn’t have Coed Dylan to go to."
    – Student from the Canolfan Elfed Unit

We’ve completed a quarter of an acre permaculture garden space that includes a pond, a polytunnel, a rabbit fence, raised beds, compost bins and a compost loo – all created by bringing in local trades people to work alongside the young people and funded by various grants. Tesco’s Bags for Help run by Groundwork UK being key to all this and what we are doing now.

We are currently in the process of turning a shipping container that was left on the land into a dry shed area for the young people to work in during the wet/cold times…something that happens with a fair regularity in Wales! A place where they can sharpen tools, learn wood working skills using powered and handheld tools and working with recycled wood that has been saved from going into land fill. A place to learn that is out of the classroom, but still in nature, reasonably warm and DRY.

We’ve started work on the container. We’ve levelled it using large logs, and 8 people leaning and heaving on them to make the two-ton container level. The container will be insulated, boarded out inside with shelves for tool storage, a small wood burner for heat, a large, double glazed, recycled window for natural light and will be clad in Waney edge boarding to match the compost loo the young people built when creating the permaculture garden and polytunnel. And of course, we have other ideas on the boil that we’d like to see come to fruition this year…

How You Can Help