It is said that the house was built overnight by two outlaw brothers in the 15th century, this was done in order to establish legal ownership over house and land under law at the time. This is also known as tŷ unnos and is an old Welsh tradition 'Under ancient law, he who built a house between sunset and sunrise, with walls, roof and smoking chimney, could claim the freehold'. The Ugly House is the most celebrated example of this traditional Welsh law. Although there are a few that think that this building was built in the nineteenth century as a tourist attraction with one author at the the time writing 'Walking from Capel Curig to Betws-y-Coed and near to the two mile stone is one of the most picturesque cottages imaginable placed on the side of the hill above the bridge that crosses the River Llugwy and gives additional beauty to this romantic dell.
When it came near to the end of the 20th century the cottage had become run down and a derelict area as time had really took it's toll on it. But in 1988 it was bought by the Snowdonia Society. The buildings renovation was carried out by Peter Kirby. The building has a grade II listing and serves as housing of the Society's offices on the upper floor with the ground floor acting as a place to show the society's work and a little bit of history/information about the building for example how did it look in the 19th century. Furniture and artefacts are loaned from the museum of Wales and others by members or friends of the society.
The cottage is surrounded by 5 acres of garden, these were once neglected to the extent that they were possible the reason why the cottage got its name. But thanks to the ongoing up keep from the society has seen it turn into a delightful nature walk. The goal was to attract and sustain wildlife and are organically managed. Further improvements and add ons were made over the years such as new plants were added in order to attract some of the insect population and have seeds or berries to feed birds, also a wildlife pond being added in 2003 and a following smaller pond in 2005. Much more was done but these were just highlighted to show some of the things the society does.
Conwy Valley is only 4 miles away from Betws-y-Coed so you could easily get there from Snowdonia holiday homes nearby. There many cafés and restaurants in the village so if you are at the cottage and feel a bit peckish then you know where to go. The cottage is open to the public during the summer months and admission to the cottage is by a contribution to the honesty box, that supports the work of the Snowdonia Society.
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