This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (July 2018)
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The community is based on an 80 acres (32 ha) farm. It is currently home to 10 adults and 7 children who live in individual family flats around the farmyard. The land is farmed organically (although not certified, partly due to cost, mostly due to the belief that chemical farmers should pay for certification to show their food is safe rather than traditional, organic food growers incurring financial penalties) and the community is off-grid for supplies of water, electricity and wood for fuel - used for heating and cooking.
People work both locally and on-site to manage the farm and earn a living. The aim of the community is to live an environmentally sustainable and ethical lifestyle. Their three "pillars" are community, sustainability and education. In 2017 they owned four horses, three goats, four geese, four ducks and three beehives. The property is currently at risk of being sold by their landlord, unless £1/2 million is raised by 2020. They are currently looking for investors, income generating ideas and new members.
The community had been quietly set up by architectural historian Julian and wife Emma Orbach in 1993 in the foothills of Mynydd Carningli (Angel Mountain), near Newport, Pembrokeshire within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park without planning permission or publicity. The Orbachs initially renovated a rundown farmhouse and moved in with their three children. Other buildings including a roundhouse, later to become known as That Roundhouse with a turf roof, a wooden marquee, wood store and workshop had been built. The community in 1998 consisted of 12 adults and 10 children who were mainly vegetarian, grew their own crops and lived off the land.
The settlement of five straw bale buildings and one wooden geodesic dome was spotted from the air in 1998 and was reported to the authorities. The authorities identified fourteen infringements of planning regulations, including the lake, the cycle shed, the Dome, and the roundhouse. All infringements, except those relating to the Roundhouse, were solved or resolved. The cycle shed is still without planning permission.
In about 2001 the land was split in three parts, with ownership of the land around the disputed roundhouse being transferred to the Roundhouse Trust. Julian moved into town, but retained ownership of about 80 acres (320,000 m2) including the old farmhouse and outbuildings, which was leased to the Brithdir Mawr Housing Co-op. Emma adopted the rest, which is known as Tir Ysbrydol (spirit land), which also became involved in planning negotiations in relation to new and existing strawbale round huts and structures.
In 2015 Emma featured in an episode of Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild.
In 2016 the community was notified by Julian Orbach, the current owner, of his intention not to renew the lease from 2020. The community members have been offered first refusal to purchase the site at a price of £1 million. Members intend to raise the funds by selling shares worldwide.
- Aled Scourfield (2 September 2019). "Brithdir Mawr eco-community land 'to be sold' when lease ends". BBC News. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
- "Secret village to be pulled down". BBC News. 23 October 1998. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
- "The story so far - Part 1". That Roundhouse. Retrieved 14 April 2009.
- "History". Brithdir Mawr. Retrieved 12 April 2009.