Before moving to Wales, I had never heard of a cwtch (pronounced koutch here in Carmarthenshire) and did not know it would become one of my favourite words. Although there is no exact translation into English, its closest would be a hug or a cuddle. I would add, a cwtch often involves snuggling up on a cosy spot under a blanket (that last bit is my own interpretation based on experience of chilly evenings watching the stars). One thing I know after five years in Wales; We love to cwtch!
Living in a woodland means we cwtch a great deal. I had not previously understood the relationship between trees and the desire to hug my husband (and many of my friends), but since we have lived here our cwtching has increased significantly. Standing in the woods, listening to the sounds of the water over the rocks as it runs into the pond, or watching a buzzard circle above us through the tops of the birch and alder, we seem to end up cwtching. We seem to find greater peace when we do this.
I have always been confident in the idea that the touch of another person, when wanted and when given with the right motivation and intention, is healing and enhancing. In my work as an Independent Celebrant, I often leave clients with a hug after we’ve spoken about someone they’ve loved deeply and who has recently passed. I am also lucky enough to help couples renew their vows and again, a hug as an expression of thanks and love for being part of their special day, says I have made a connection that mattered, that touched them. A cwtch can convey so much.
When we designed the Charcoal hut, we took the idea of a Cwtch and thought how we could create a space that made everyone feel like the hut was giving them a cwtch – making them feel safe, protected, cosy and warm. We’re always thrilled when we’re told by guests this is how they feel about the hut.
When you visit Wales, you’ll see there are lots of items for the home with the word cwtch on them, and now you’ll know what it means. The first one I bought was a small heart with the words “anyone can cuddle, but only the Welsh can cwtch”. I’m pleased to say that, with the right setting, we can all learn and enjoy this wonderful Welsh tradition.