Plas Tan y Bwlch

Public Courses, Plas Tan y Bwlch

Plas Tan y Bwlch


We are pleased to be able to offer you new and exciting courses this year led by new local experts as well as a wide range of other popular courses led by our regular team of enthusiastic tutors who have a wealth of experience and knowledge on different subjects between them.

Our courses are open to everyone, and no background knowledge is required in most cases only an interest in the subject and a willingness to learn.

Below is a list of links to all of our courses, and are categorised in groups according to subject. They are:

« Craft
« History and Archaeology
« Wildlife
« Painting and Illustration
« Photography
« Special Interest
« Professional Training


Porth Meudwy

NEW! The Llŷn Coastal Path

26 July to 31 July 2020

Walk some of the most dramatic sections of the Coastal Path and learn about the wildlife, local history, smugglers, shipwrecks and much more in the areas visited.

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Ffestiniog Railway

NEW! Exploring Snowdonia from the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways

14 September to 18 September 2020

A short course exploring the area using the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways to join up walks. Your leader will give an insight into some of the history, landscape and fauna and flora along the route.

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Cader Idris from Foel Caerynwch

Walking for Welsh Learners

18 September to 20 September 2020

This course is to give participants the opportunity to learn something about the history of the area and some of the folklore while practicing their Welsh. The course leader is a professional Welsh tutor and will take time to explain words, their meaning and use.

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Miners' Track, Snowdon

New Year Walking

8 January to 12 January 2021

A good way to burn off Christmas flab and enjoy the wonderful winter scenery of Eryri. Varied walks with plentiful references to local history and what makes this fine environment tick.

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Spinning Wheel (© SNPA)

Spindle Spinning for Beginners

17 July to 19 July 2020

Join one of the foremost spindle spinners in the UK for a weekend mastering the ancient art of spindle spinning. You will be guided through the steps needed to produce a yarn from spinning a single to plying. Everything you need will be provided.

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Leather Making

17 July to 19 July 2020

Leather is a wonderful medium to work with and personalisation can be as broad as an individual’s imagination. You will learn about leather and how to use the various tools. We will make various items and a project of your choice. Selections of leather, suede and studs, fasteners etc will be available to purchase.

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Cross Stitch (© SNPA)

Cross Stitch Workshop

31 August to 4 September 2020

An opportunity to design and stitch your own cross-stitch in inspirational surroundings. Although there is an emphasis on design and originality, you are welcome to bring along projects that you enjoy which are not necessarily original. Visits to skilled needlecraft enthusiasts in their own surroundings will further enhance and contribute to your enjoyment, skills and knowledge.

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Spinning Wheel (© SNPA)

NEW! The Long and the Short

9 October to 11 October 2020

The long is Linen/flax and the short is cotton. Each have their own challenges and beauty. Spend the weekend discovering the techniques needed for preparing and spinning each. Learn how to dress a distaff and try your hand at charkha spinning.

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Spinning Wheel (© SNPA)

NEW! Wheel Spinning

12 February to 14 February 2021

This is a weekend for improving and perfecting your techniques. For example - would you like to master Long Draw or Navajo Plying? This weekend will allow you to immerse yourself in your craft and give you the chance to concentrate on an area of your choice.

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History and Archaeology

Quarry 3

Practical Industrial Archaeology

21 June to 27 June 2020

There is still much to learn about the all-important slate industry, now nominated for World Heritage status.

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Ty Mawr Wybrnant

NEW! Sacred Places in Snowdonia

10 July to 12 July 2020

From prehistoric megaliths to chapels and churches our exploration of these religious and ritual spaces will include visits to ancient Ardudwy and the cluster of exceptional places of Christian worship in the Conwy valley.

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About Welsh (© SNPA)

About Welsh

24 July to 26 July 2020

Are you looking for a gateway into the Welsh language, literature and song from earliest times to the present day? This course will explore some quirks of the Welsh language and literature in a fun and accessible way. It is suitable for people with no previous knowledge of Welsh, but also aims to give new insights to welsh speakers of all levels.

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Early Railways (© SNPA)

Heritage Railways

9 August to 15 August 2020

A long-established and friendly course, which offers the opportunity to spend a week travelling and exploring the preserved railways of North and Mid Wales. Visits to the railways together with behind-the-scenes visit to the workshops. The course will look at current and proposed developments of the railways, which are located in spectacular scenery. There will also be Illustrative evening talks on relevant railway topics.

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Robert Graves

NEW! In the Footsteps of Robert Graves

4 September to 6 September 2020

R. von Ranke Graves (1895 - 1985), poet and historical novelist, rock climber and Army officer has strong links to Snowdonia. His family holidayed in Harlech, He wandered the foothills of the Rhinogydd and climbed in Snowdonia. We shall visit some of 'his places' and explore the presence of this terrain in his early life.

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Slates to the Sea (© SNPA)

NEW! The Slate Industry of Gwynedd

11 September to 13 September 2020

The slate industry of Gwynedd is now under consideration by UNESCO for World Heritage status. This course examines how it’s powerful and impressive landscapes and its hardy people have been depicted in paintings, engravings, photography, film and other visual media, and how they made possible a strong indigenous artistic tradition reflected in the slate carvings and in modern artistic forms.

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About Welsh (© SNPA)

About Welsh

9 October to 11 October 2020

Are you looking for a gateway into Welsh language, literature and song from earliest times to the present day? This course will explore some quirks of welsh language and literature in a fun and accessible way. It is suitable for people with no previous knowledge of Welsh, but also aims to give new insights to welsh speakers of all levels.

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Pont Scethin (© SNPA)

NEW! Drovers and Drovers Roads

18 October to 23 October 2020

Walk some wonderful drover roads through Eryri’s dramatic landscape and learn about the social history, logistics and dangers from highway robbers faced by drovers when taking animals to distant markets in the pre-railway era.

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Castell Harlech

Hillforts and Welsh Castles

30 October to 1 November 2020

Walking in the foothills of Snowdonia discovering the hillforts and castles of the Welsh Prince’s. Led by Catrin Roberts, participants will hear some of the history and folklore of the castles and hillforts of the area.

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Plas Tan y Bwlch

NEW! The Tan y Bwlch Estate and the Families that built it

30 October to 1 November 2020

Spend a weekend in the Plas learning about the history surrounding the Tan y Bwlch estate. Where did their money come from and how did they spend it? There will be lectures about the families that built up the estate and site visits to see some of their work.

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Folklore (© SNPA)


5 February to 7 February 2021

For over 40 years at the Plas this popular annual convention has fired people’s interest in Welsh folk-lore in all its forms. Run jointly with Cymdeithas Llafar Gwlad.

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Slates to the Sea (© SNPA)

Slate: Transport

14 February to 19 February 2021

The transport of slate, both within and outside the quarry, was an essential component in the successful production and selling of roofing slate. The course will attempt to investigate this important aspect of the slate industry with appropriate lectures and site visits.

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Cantre'r Gwaelod (© SNPA)

Tales of the Mabinogion

12 March to 14 March 2021

Wales’ cycle of tales of the Mabinogion are among the ‘finest flowering of Medieval European literature’. Many of the named sites in some of the tales are within easy reach of the Plas, and we will visit them.

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Merlod Carneddau

NEW! Wildlife in June

1 June to 5 June 2020

A series of walks in different habitats, coastal, woodlands and mountain, at the best time of year for wildlife. Variety will be the name of the game, with plentiful references to the history and folk-lore of what we see.

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Wild Garlic

NEW! Plants and their uses

5 June to 7 June 2020

Join us on a weekend of learning more about creating body products using plants from the local area. We'll enjoy walking through fields, woodlands and gardens gathering relevant plants before setting too to learn how to make balms, tinctures and scrubs beneficial to the body.

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Trees (© SNPA)

A Closer Look at Trees

10 July to 12 July 2020

This is an informative, entertaining and enjoyable introduction into the world of trees. Aimed at non-professionals it will cover native trees, evergreens, deciduous trees, ornamental garden trees and conifers.

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Butterfly (© British Wildlife)

Butterflies and Moths

20 July to 24 July 2020

Enjoy this opportunity to see many late summer butterflies on the Great Orme, Llandudno including Wall Brown, Grayling, Brown Argus and a chance of Silver Studded Blue and Dark Green Fritillary. Electric observation lights will be operated in the grounds at Plas in the hope of attracting Barred Chestnut, Dusky Thorn, Black Arches, Canary Shouldered Thorn and Sallow Kitten. Over 100 species of moth are frequently recorded on courses at Plas.

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Fly fishing (© Pixabay)

Fly Fishing

9 August to 14 August 2020

Why not join World Fly Casting Champion and TV presenter Hywel Morgan on this wonderful fishing experience in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park.

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Autumn in Plas Tan y Bwlch (© SNPA)

Autumn in the Gardens of Snowdonia

26 October to 30 October 2020

A fascinating autumn course on the gardens of Snowdonia and North Wales led by gardens expert Tony Russell.

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Northern Lapwing (© Wikimedia)

Winter Birds

15 February to 19 February 2021

By now the winter bird population will be at its maximum. From the Plas we have easy access to several good estuaries, fine coastal cliffs and inland lakes and wetlands.

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Painting and Illustration

Art - Plas Tan y Bwlch

Buildings and Gardens in Pen and Wash

5 June to 7 June 2020

The aim of this painting course is to explore techniques with watercolours and ink.

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Howard Coles

NEW! Creative Landscape Painting

10 June to 14 June 2020

A short enjoyable course that provides opportunities to paint from aspects of the landscape at a beautiful time of the year. Encouraged to work with confidence and style in any media and with a diverse and imaginative approach to instruction, demonstration and practice, and the aim is that students of all abilities find the combination of tuition and landscape rewarding and enjoyable.

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Art 4

Drawing and Painting in Pen, Ink and Watercolour

10 July to 12 July 2020

A lovely combination of black outlining and transparent colour washes, pen work gives added strength to a picture and sharpens detail and textures. A steel nib can be loaded with watercolour as well as ink. Pen and watercolour is an excellent combination.

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Painting Flora and Fauna – Plants and Pollinators

26 July to 31 July 2020

If you are interested in combining botanical art with natural history and wildlife painting, then this is the course for you. Back by popular demand Simon will be giving a practical course showing painting techniques in both gouache (preferred for wildlife) and watercolour.

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Art 3

“Outside the Box” Transforming Your Art

2 August to 7 August 2020

Mae'r gweithdy hwn yn arddangos dull creadigol i fyfyrwyr sy'n teimlo bod eu gwaith paentio angen bywiogrwydd a'r egni a ddangosir mewn celf gyfoes gan gynnwys gwaith haniaethol

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Painting in Snowdonia

31 August to 4 September 2020

A course of painting and drawing out doors in the varied Snowdonia landscape, with the accent on its weather – from sunny calm to cloud-filled drama. A chance for you to find an artistic response to nature’s changing moods in the hills, on the coast, along the estuary and river banks. Outdoor studies will serve as inspiration for studio compositions and experiments.

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Art 10

Drawing and Painting in Mixed Media

18 September to 20 September 2020

The emphasis will be on the colourful autumn scene. With woodlands, lakes and gardens all around us, there is much to entice the artist inside us. Work with any media you like, be it watercolour, pen & ink, acrylic, pastel, oils, collage, the choice is yours and you can combine various media as well. We will work in beautiful surroundings. Build up confidence and skill with one to one tuition.

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Butterfly Art

Society of Botanical Artists Diploma Course

4 October to 9 October 2020

This course will cover botanical drawing and painting techniques. Observational skills are a very important part of botanical art so students will be encouraged to work from life by making detailed studies of plants, leaves, fruit or vegetable specimens. Course organizer Simon Williams will tutor on a practical one-to-one basis giving guidance on observations, colours suggestions and how to paint from initial base coats to more controlled techniques in rendering textures, contour definitions and colour transitions. Watercolour and gouache mediums can be used on this Course. Please feel free to make the most of this opportunity whether you are a current SBA Diploma student, past student or an aspiring artist not part of the Diploma course and keen to learn new techniques.

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Art - Picture of a Flower

Botanical Art in Coloured Pencil: Nature’s Patterns

9 October to 11 October 2020

A chance to study the plant structures and patterns left in autumn by observing the lingering skeletons of flowers and leaves or the variety of nuts, seed pods, seeds or lichen covered branches.

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Mixed Media (© SNPA)

Exploring with Mixed Media

16 October to 18 October 2020

This exciting course is for painters who are willing to explore new ideas and experiment with a variety of media. Working on paper and canvas and by combining paint, craft papers, tissue papers, inks, acrylics, textured materials and organic materials, interesting and exciting results can be achieved. Landscapes, flowers and still life are subjects that will be covered. Composition, planning tone and colour, painting skills and techniques are all areas that will be demonstrated and practiced throughout this course.

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Dolbadarn Castle

Spring Painting Experience!

12 March to 16 March 2021

A painting course /workshop, which will enable you to relax and enjoy a few days exploring a variety of subjects and painting media. Direction and guidance is be given throughout the course in the form of demonstrations and one to one tuition, enabling you to develop your artwork at your own pace. Composition, planning your work, drawing and painting skills, tone colour theory are all areas that are covered. This is a great opportunity to develop and practice your skills, experiment and explore new ideas and medium with like-minded people and under the guidance of an experienced and patient tutor.

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NEW! Natural Light in Snowdonia

19 October to 23 October 2020

This is the time of the year most associated with colour, spectacular in the trees and sunsets over the sea. This course invites you to come and explore the basic constituent of the photographer’s world. Share thoughts and actions with those of like mind. Discover the many facets of light so often full of frustration and joy!

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Special Interest

Model Railway

NEW! Toy Trains and Model Railways

7 August to 9 August 2020

Playing with toy trains and building model railways have been popular activities for nearly two hundred years. Many model railways have been inspired by the landscape of Snowdonia and by its slate industry. This course takes a serious and unsentimental look at having fun and learning about railways through miniature versions, and will examine gender, childhood and growing up - and an often cut-throat industry!

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Lounge (© Kristina Banholzer)

Friends Weekend

2 October to 4 October 2020

Over the weekend, there will be a choice of activities: a chance to relax, entertainment and an opportunity to catch up with old Friends, as well as the AGM.

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Chamber Music (© Pixabay)

Chamber Music

23 October to 25 October 2020

Following three highly successful string orchestra courses, this musical weekend will again be conducted and tutored by Louise Latham from Manchester.

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Drum for Fun!

9 April to 11 April 2021

Drumming is great fun, very focusing and a powerful way of making music with other people.

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We are thankful for the continued support of our customers, new and old over the last few years and hope that we can welcome you on one of the courses included on this site.

Plas Tan y Bwlch Team

Most courses, except those obviously held indoors, involve walking at various levels of strenuousness. Our experienced course leaders can assess the ability of participants and pitch the activity accordingly, taking into account the vagaries of the weather and other conditions. The individual detailed course programme indicates the level of fitness required.

Our Courses

The fee for your course covers accommodation, all meals from dinner on the day of arrival to lunch on the day of departure, tuition and transport on field visits. A few courses may incur additional charges for admissions and extra travel; this will be clearly indicated on the individual course programme.


Bookings can be made online or by completing the official booking form and sending it with a non-returnable deposit of £50 (cheques to be made payable to Snowdonia National Park Authority). You will receive acknowledgement of your booking and a programme for the course. The balance of the course fee becomes due six weeks before the start of the course.

Non Residents

Non Residents are welcome to join any course for whole or part days if it is not full. The day fee is £45 plus optional meals - lunch £15.50, packed lunch £7.15 and dinner £18.50.

Cancellation Conditions

In the event of cancellation the following charges will be applied.

  • Cancelling more than 6 weeks before the course - deposit only
  • Cancelling between 6 and 4 weeks before the course - 60% of the course fees
  • Cancelling less than 4 weeks before the course - 80% of the course fees
  • Non-arrival or curtailment - full fees

We recommend that you take out your own holiday cancellation insurance. If it becomes necessary for us to cancel the course you will be informed in good time and a full refund of fees and deposit will be made. Recreational courses include V.A.T. at the standard rate.


Return visit - this is available on your second and subsequent residential attendance on a public course.

Introducing a friend - to qualify, introduce a friend as a first time attendee to any residential course chosen from this programme. Send your friend’s booking form with your own. To claim either discount tick the appropriate box on your booking form.

The following discounts are available:

  • £20.00 off courses up to 3 days
  • £50.00 off courses of 4 days or more