Sun shine and cafe culture in Brecon

Cafe society     Flocking to Brecon in the sunshine there are constant smiles as visitors spy Tomos Twizzy charging outside the BBHC shop in High Street Superior.  There has been a soft blue tint over the mountains recently as if earth and sky are connected by the summer warmth.  We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else tonight to watch the conclusion of the Perseid meteor shower.  With some of the darkest skies in Britain and predictions of one shooting star a minute tonight at the climax (you may have to wait awhile) this dramatic show is yet another reason to stay in one of  the Brecon Beacons holiday cottages (mountains walks and waterfalls, warm welcomes and cosy fires, local food and village shows, history, geology and festivals throughout the year).

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Planned Week Ahead

Today I have been planning a week looking after niece no2 & the nephew – niece no 1 is off to guide camp in the Netherlands – we can have a few treats but it is not all about spending money … So far it goes like  Monday – picnic & adventure park & nature trail with the springer at Garwnant a forest park.

Tuesday – the morning at Llangorse Multi Activity Centre doing the junior challenge course & an hour’s training on the indoor climbing wall. That will be followed by a mooch around Llangorse lake & exploring the Crannog – maybe a rowing boat – we’ll see on that !

Llangorse Lake

Wednesday – a wild Wednesday session at The Old Railway Garden Centre to make a Miniature garden – these sessions last an hour & are great. We will probably do Pool Mania at Brecon Leisure too – have you worked out my plan is to tire them out !

Thursday – we’re going to do the educational bit & do a mill tour at Talgarth Mill & after a bowl of soup & home made bread in the mill bakery we’ll take the springer up to do the Witches Pool walk above Talgarth – takes approx 45 mins / one hour for little legs.

Friday will see us head off to Herefordshire to the Small Breeds Farm Park & Owl Centre – I’ve never been before but looks of friends rave about it. We may well pick our own strawberries from Oaklands on the way home.

Saturday sees Mum & Dad arrive to collect the rugrats but not until they have kayaked down the River Wye from Glasbury to Hay … We will also try & fit in our ‘Top of the World’ walk (Tor y Foel – they named it) & maybe the Brecon Mounatin Railway.

Brecon Mountain RailwayBrecon BeaconsSouthNarrow gaugeRailTransport

Sunday – I will be in recovery mode !

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A Photographer’s Insight: Weeks away for Wimbledon

Today is the first day of the 2015 Wimbledon Championship, the worlds first class event for top tennis pros, both male and female and will attract thousands of tennis fans from across the world. If you don’t have a ticket for it already, its an early morning start fro the queues or settle in to watch it from the comfort of an armchair.

OR…come and book a week or two at one of our beautiful holiday cottages and play a few sets of tennis in your very own private court whilst catching up on the main events at Wimbledon throughout the day.


We have 4 cottages with private courts and many more with community tennis courts around the corner.


Last year I shot the court at Aber Llech (sleeps 2), which has amazing views and excellent surface, a really good court to play on.

extaber_lech_coach_house aber_llech_tennis_court aber_llech_tennis_court2

Bryn Cain Coach House (Sleeps 4) and Alfred’s Bull Pen (Sleeps 4) are on the same country farm and share a hard tennis court, not perfect for a real enthusiast but is a good area to use for those starting out or wanting to knock a ball about.

bryn cain coach house brecon cottages alfreds bull pen brecon cottages
(From L to R: Bryncain Coach House & Alfred’s Bull Pen)

Penpont Courtyard Wing (sleep 14) also has it’s own hard tennis court which you can use and is excellent for large groups.


Other places like the Gables (sleeps 2), The Meeting Place (Sleeps 8), Hen Stabl (Sleeps 4), Boat Cottage (sleeps 2) all in Llangynidr, have use of the newly surfaced outside hard courts at the community center in the village for £5.00.

Talybont-on-Usk also has free courts for use of the public and are in the process of raising money to get the resurfaced and in a better condition.

Groves (Sleeps 3), Kiwi Cottage (Sleeps 5) and the Malt House Coach House (sleeps 4)

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The Waterfall

Family Fun beside the Stream! Tamsin Kids Web Jpegs-7425

Most of us have a popular vision of a stream.

The images we conjure up usually include clear highly oxygenated water tumbling along with bobbing dippers running from rock to rock .     The tiny Caerfanell river flows from Talybont reservoir into the River Usk.   The banks are accessible and wonderful for a picnic in the shade, and there are lines of Henry Vaughan’s poetry to discover on  the circular walk .  At the half-way point there is a ford to cross by a tiny pebble beach.  Pedestrian bridge available –  pooh sticks anyone?   There are often freestanding stone towers perched standing proud of the water marking the passage of other explorers until the power of the river topples them!  Everyone responds to the beauty of nature and  here in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains there are streams, rivers and a canal to enjoy as well as large and small pools of water and the largest freshwater lake in South Wales.

Cottages close to Caerfanell are Mill Cottage, Nantymyndd, Ty Watton, Fernlea, Groves Cottage, Anoushka’s, Kiwi Cottage and The Rest.

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Adele Nozedar at Hay Festival

Adele & Lizzie burst onto the stage with their floral vintage frocks & pretty smiles.The Audience immediately captivated – Adele held our attention & guided us through a fun and fascinating journey into each flower we may easily find in our garden whilst Lizzie set to work drawing beautifully. This combination of live illustration & garden talk proved a real hit. Lilly’s were thrown & the floor left strewn with petals. The show was a sell out and we were delighted to have been her sponsor. 

Photos to follow!

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Don’t leave your faithful friends behind when you holiday in the Brecon Beacons!

We love dogs! – most of us in the office have dogs and bring them to work (sorry postmen/women), and we thought we would share our five favourite dog-friendly cottages:

1. Basel Cottage, near Llandovery

Set in a valley two miles from Llandovery, this cottage sleeps up to four people plus two dogs. The property owner is so dog friendly that they are happy to provide a dog-sitting service at a small additional charge! From £426 per week.

2. Trosnant Cottage, near Brecon

With amazing views of the Brecon Beacons, this cottage sleeps three dogs and up to eight people. It boasts a spacious utility room with a drying area for muddy boots or paws! From £426 per week.

3. Gilestone Farm, Talybont-on-Usk

This Georgian farmhouse has seven bedrooms, sleeping up to 12 people and three dogs. There’s a boot room and downstairs bathroom to suit walkers, and the house is incredibly spacious and welcoming for families, friends and dogs. The property is just a few minutes walk into the village of Talybont-on-Usk with four pubs including the dog-friendly Star Inn, which has been named CAMRA pub of the year for seven consecutive years. From £1,265 per week.

4. Quizzer Cottage, near Abergavenny

This welsh hide-away welcomes two dogs and up to three people with one king room and one single room. The Skirrid Inn, reputedly Wales’ oldest pub, is just five minutes away offering great food and drink as well as a friendly welcome for dogs. Quizzer Cottage is a short drive from other top restaurants including The Walnut Tree and The Hardwick. From £394 per week.

5. Upper Penlan, Llanfilo

Set in the sleepy village of Llanfilo, this cottage sleeps eight people in four bedrooms and welcomes up to three dogs. Located between Brecon and Hay-on-Wye, there are plenty of walking options as well as local gastro pubs including the Felin Fach Griffin which welcome dogs. From £808 per week.

Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages currently offers 209 pet-friendly cottages which can be booked online or over the telephone. Each cottage on their website includes names of staff who have visited; you can be sure that many of those staff will have road-tested the cottage with their own dogs in tow!

Left to right: Trosnant Cottage, Basal Cottage, Gilestone Farm.

TrosnantBasel Gilestone

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A Photographer’s Insight: Spring in the Brecon Beacons and Interesting Owners.

I have been out and about lately around Hay-on-Wye shooting for Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages again which has taken me to some really beautiful spots! The other day I was above Talgarth at Maggie’s Barn, a sweet converted barn that is nestled in the hills. The owners, Bill and Sylvia couldn’t be nicer either. Bill an avid botanist and collector of seeds having created his own arboretum, lake with trout (and maybe salmon in the stream) and grasslands which all provide a wonderful habitat for song birds and wildlife.

Maggies Barn brecon beacons holiday cottages-4961 Maggies Barn brecon beacons holiday cottages-5027 Maggies Barn brecon beacons holiday cottages-4983 Maggies Barn brecon beacons holiday cottages-4894

(Photography: Lucy Gold, A few shots of the interiors of Maggie’s Barn)

After our shoot Bill offered to give us a guided tour of the grounds which are in one of the most dramatic landscapes I think we have been to. Set on the hill overlooking the Wye Valley, the mountains behind provide shelter and the best backdrop for the lake with its own nesting wild geese and the silence of nature to surround you.

Bill, is full of knowledge and will tell you everything he knows if you ask him. Tom and I had a lot of fun walking around the arboretum as he told stories of how he came across different plant species, the hundreds of daffodils he grows for Alzheimer’s research and were amazed at his ability to name every plant. There is even an ancient apple that has been named after him! An avid fisherman, he has taught his daughters and grand daughters to fish and gives fly fishing lessons to those keen to learn.
As well as all this, he knows what birds will nest where, and their nests, their grounds have around 100 nest boxes and while we were exploring the garden, we came across this Dunnock nest with its beautiful, turquoise blue eggs like little gems!

turquoise blue dunnock eggs at maggies barn in the Brecon Beacons

(Photography: Lucy Gold)

The sun was shining and it was lovely to be able to finish our shoot with such an interesting man.

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