Oh, to Live in the Most Picturesque Island Hamlets

United Kingdom: Wales Dinas town
Dinas in Wales, United Kingdom
Jon Whittle

ISLANDS editor Robert Stephens and photographer Jon Whittle filed this latest Dispatch from their trip through Wales.

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The towns of Wales are the very definition of "tight communities." We've biked through a hamlet comprising six homes and walked through several others where a one-lane path is the only access in and out. But this has been the best bird's-eye view of Welsh life, up toward the Preseli Mountains above the village of Dinas. The parcels of land are broken into puzzle pieces, some fat and square and some as thin and truncated as an apostrophe, all sides separated by hedge rows. The soil available in the small parcels is usually just enough for the landowner to grow a few crops or raise a dozen sheep or so. But occasionally we'll see the Warren Buffet parcel, where hundreds of acres serve as open pasture for who-knows-how-many sheep. It's an awesome sight simply because it's rare to see a hedge-less field.