A gloriously quirky romantic retreat, surrounded by spectacular Welsh landscapes
This eclectic little cottage is the cosiest of hideaways, a traditional 19thC stone barn set on a 70-acre non-working farm overlooking Brecon Beacons National Park. Walks from the front door lead up through ancient oak woodlands and past tumbling waterfalls, before you reach the top where views stretch forever; a stunning patchwork of copper, brown and emerald, interspersed by the craggy Cambrian Mountains. Drives through the nearby valleys are even better, past deep rivers and heather-strewn hillsides: genuinely breathtaking and you’re unlikely to see another soul.
Trundle back down and straight into the village pub for a pint, where you’ll be greeted as friends. But however warm the welcome, you’ll be keen to get back to your cottage, and revel in its gorgeously quirky décor. The stunning stained glass windows, salvaged by the previous artist owner. The exposed wooden beams. The peacock-blue Chesterfield and the rolltop bathtub with a purpose-built ledge for wine glasses. The owners restored and renovated every inch of this cottage on their own, teaching themselves how to plumb, tile and do electrics as they went. They’re an inspiring and truly lovely couple, and this place is incredibly special.
Getting here: you can train to Llandovery, from where the owners will collect you, but you’ll likely want to drive here and have a car/bikes to explore.
The owners are hugely conscious about their impact on the planet. They have a Green electricity tariff, which means that all energy comes from renewable sources, and a full recycling programme. The log burner is fuelled by their own woodland, and during 2019 they planted 130 trees, which will each sequester 15 tonnes of carbon over their lifetime as part of their aim to achieve net zero as a business. Water is pure, filtered Welsh spring water, from deep within the mountains, and the farm’s traditional hay meadows are a rich habitat for wildlife. Most unusually, the sumptuous eco duvet is made of fibres from recycled plastic bottles, which feels as good as feathers, but has half the resource impact of microfiber duvets.
- There are 70 private acres to explore. Hike up the farm’s hill for incredible views and a hidden valley of waterfalls, which you’ll have all to yourself. The crystal-clear mountain stream, The Gwenlais, runs right through the farm.
- You’re 3 miles from the border of Brecon Beacon National Park, with its stunning wild scenery. And while there are quite a few visitors, the nearby Fans are quieter than Pen Y Fan.
- Bring bikes and whiz down the red route at Cwm Rhaeadr,or try two of the most-famous bike trails in Wales – the Brecon Beacons Gap and the Doethie Valley.
- Take a dip in the River Towy; there’s a glorious wild swimming spot.
- This is a Dark Skies area with blankets of stars and you can see the Milky Way from your doorstep on a clear night.
- Drive through the wilds of the Cambrian Mountains, stopping off to visit the most remote chapel in Wales and explore the Victorian reservoirs of the spellbinding Elan Valley.
- Two of Wales’ best gardens are nearby: the Botanic Gardens of Wales and Aberglasney, and there are a couple of brilliant foodie havens in between for lunch: Y Polyn or Wrights Food Emporium.