There Is an Alternative to Paying Thousands in Rent…

But are sustainability, simplicity, and spirit enough to live in a 21st century world?

Felipe Araujo


I arrived at Brithdir Mawr on a gray Tuesday afternoon in autumn. I am deep in West Wales on the slopes of the beautiful Pembrokeshire National Coast Park, green hills stretching out as far as the eye can see. The air is sweet with the scent of wet grass.

One of a growing number of communities living sustainably and off-grid in the UK, Brithdir Mawr is home to 13 adults and five children. At the entrance of the main stone house, there’s a pile of battered-looking Wellington boots in every size and color, all caked in mud. It has been raining for seven days straight. “Welcome to Wales,” one residents shrugs.

I’ve wrapped myself up in four layers of clothing by the time Claire and Charl, two escapees from London, give me a tour of the place. They show me the ducks, the goats, the vegetable plot. Charl stops in his tracks a couple of times. “Look at that view! Can you believe it?”

Brithdir Mawr’s main farmhouse building. Photo: Felipe Araujo

The young South African couple were Londoners for nine years. When I ask them why they decided…