Plans for ‘shepherd’ and ‘hermit’ huts at an internationally-renowned Christian retreat in Pembrokeshire have been given the go-ahead by national park planners.

An application for five ‘hermit’ huts and one ‘shepherd’ hut at Ffald y Brenin Christian Retreat Centre and House of Prayer in the Gwaun Valley, near Fishguard, was submitted by Mr C Orchard.

All huts at the former hilltop farm are intended for use as meditational quiet spaces and are not intended to provide overnight accommodation, a report for planners stated, adding that the ‘hermit’ huts would be recessed into the hillside onsite.

The application statement by agent David Davis, of Dai2a Ltd said: “Ffald y Brenin, in the Gwaun Valley, is a Christian Retreat Centre and House of Prayer that was established in 1985 and has grown to become well-known globally.

“Over the years, Ffald y Brenin has brought welcome income to the area through its day visitors who stay locally when the Centre is full, as well as through conferences and other events held nearby, which use local guest houses and eating places. Twelve people are also employed locally by the Trust.

“Ffald y Brenin is now entering a new phase. Under new leadership, and despite the setbacks from the Covid lockdown, they want to re-emphasise the elements with which the charity was founded: restoration of the soul, community and prayer.

Tivyside Advertiser: An artist's impression of the proposed hermit huts, below and existing building.An artist's impression of the proposed hermit huts, below and existing building. (Image: Dai2a Ltd)

“The publicity that came with two books telling Ffald y Brenin’s story (The Grace Outpouring and The Way of Blessing) meant the site was sometimes overcrowded with day visitors, often traveling from abroad, interrupting the intended tranquillity of the environment.”

The application added: “The review of the original vision highlighted a need to provide several quiet spaces away from daily retreat activities and the comings and goings of day visitors. It is desirable for some of these to be in close proximity to the day facilities whilst still maintaining a degree of separation and privacy.

“These spaces can be simple, providing shelter from the elements and with a basic level of comfort, but they should not provide accommodation for overnight stays.”

A national park report for its planners said: “The proposed scheme is considered to be acceptable in terms of siting, scale, form, use and design. The development will conserve and enhance the special qualities of the National Park.”

Tivyside Advertiser:

The application was granted conditional approval.