With Wales virtually on my doorstep, it’s hard to believe it took me until the recent Easter period to cross the border, when the chance came to spend the weekend in an authentic Welsh shepherd hut. The invite came from Jayne and Chris, a charming couple who’ve swapped city life for a stunning, 5 acre, rural home, to live out a new dream in the Clwydian valley. The property – Ffynnon Beuno – is steeped in history and the pair have an abundance of wonderful tales to tell about it, which we swapped over a cup of tea… and a few glasses of wine. They have an admirable vision of becoming self-sufficient and are evidently passionate about utilising natural resources; Jayne’s homemade lavender soap, honey from their beehive and blankets made from the wool of their alpacas. With two additional huts on the horizon and plans to build an observatory to explore the valley’s star filled sky, Ffynnon Beuno is set to be a unique experience, with the couple sharing their home, its history and their way of life with their guests.
Location: Tremeirchion, Denbighshire, Wales
Price: ranges between £100-200 dependent on date
Our neighbours for the weekend were these (four) adorable little guys. Their fury faces greeted us each morning, although they did run away when I tried cuddling them.
Another highlight, was a tour of the limestone cave that’s set back into the hillside. Chris explained it’s the last Northern European Neanderthal occupied site in Europe, prior to their extinction. Several excavations have taken place, uncovering Neanderthal, cave lion and woolly mammoth teeth – pretty cool, huh?
Things to do…
Explore the bridleways – whether it’s on foot, mountain bike or horse, there’s plenty of local bridleways for anyone wanting to take advantage of the great outdoors.
Horse riding – horse owners are able to bring their trusty steeds along too, as Ffynnon Beuno offer stabling, turn out and grazing for only £25 a night – my only regret was not taking my own.
Conwy town – is a quaint little market town within the walls of Conwy castle. There’s plenty to keep you occupied; take a trip on the traditional tram, get lost in the huge outdoor maze or wander around the walls of the medieval castle.
Portmeirion – is such a magical place. It’s a little tourist village in Gwynedd, around an hour’s drive from Ffynnon Beuno. Designed around the atmosphere of the Mediterranean with Italian influenced architecture and playful fantasy relics, I was enchanted from the moment I stepped inside. The village played the setting to the 60’s tv show Prisoner and also hosts an annual music festival ever August, which looks out of this world.
Location: Minffordd, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, LL48 6ER
Price: Adults: £10 or £9 online | Children: £7 or £6.50 online | under 5’s go free
Where to eat…
Jayne and Chris offer various hampers for £20, one of which includes everything you need for that perfect alfresco BBQ. Delicious local produce enjoyed in such a charming setting – a cracking way to spend a summer’s evening.
The White House in Rhuallt is a 5-minute drive. Their a la carte menu spans the globe, featuring English, Greek and Italian dishes. Fine dining at it’s best and the floor to ceiling windows frame the wonderful views.
The Brookhouse Mill was our restaurant of choice for our last evening. Set it a 17th century mill, the menu boasts delicious dishes made with locally sourced produce.