We were expecting to have a quiet, uneventful New Year’s Eve this year with Wales being in lockdown and having to cancel our cottage guests. But we woke up to the most stunning sight on New Year’s Eve morning.
It had snowed overnight…and was still coming down quite fast. This was our first proper snow since we moved here in March so we were very excited to see the change in the landscape.
On New Year’s Day we went for a longer walk up in the hills behind the cottages. We have permission for ourselves and our guests to walk here from the farmer who owns the land.
We were the first ones to walk on the snow…apart from the foxes, hares and rabbits! We could see their tracks. We walked to the top of the hill behind us and then round into the field behind that where there is a byway that goes even higher. The snow got deeper the higher we went.
Walking further down the track you come to the road which then leads you in a circle back to the cottages. The hill back up is steep at the end, but it is worth it! The circular route we took was 5 miles altogether, starting and finishing at the cottage door.
What a fabulous start to 2021 – lets hope once the lockdowns are over and the virus is under control we can welcome more guests to share the beauty of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire with us. 🏴
Monday 6th July was the first time we were allowed to travel more than 5 miles from home in Wales since the week after we moved here in March. We took the opportunity to explore the lovely beaches at Aberporth. It was really quiet with just a few families and surfers. So lovely to feel the sea breeze on our faces! The drive is very picturesque too and it only took us 40 minutes from the cottages.
Aberporth lies at the southern end of Cardigan Bay about six miles north of Cardigan and ten miles south of New Quay. It overlooks two sandy beaches both with European Blue Flag status.
Dyffryn Beach is to the west of the headland and Dolwen Beach to the east. Aberporth Beach is often used to describe both of these beaches together.
The beaches both have soft golden sand and shelve gently into the sea. They were both pretty quiet when we were there which is unusual for July. Probably because tourists weren’t allowed to visit until the following week .
We went in the afternoon when it was low tide, so there was more space to walk and we got to explore the rocks and rock pools. 🦀 🦐
We walked on Dyffryn Beach as we had Ziggy with us – dogs aren’t allowed on Dolwen in the Summer months.
We also had a wander up the hill into the town and then walked down through a small wooded area back to the beach. A very pleasant stroll with views over the beaches.
We couldn’t go onto Dolwen beach as dogs aren’t allowed in Summer.
The shops and cafes were still closed when we visited this time, but we went back a couple of weeks later and it was much busier with tourists and everything was open. We enjoyed a lovely salted caramel ice cream 😋
I’m pretty sure we will never again see Aberporth so quiet in July…but come the Autumn when the crowds of tourists get smaller, we think it will be a great place to walk and chill out for an afternoon.
Another month in lockdown…but we can’t complain with such glorious weather and stunning views. We’ve continued staying close to home enjoying our gardens and meadows.
We’ve also been busy with decorating Woodpecker Cottage and renovating the bathroom.
Shopping for new furnishings has all had to be done online, but thankfully we have managed to get most things we need delivered. We’ve invested in quality Egyptian cotton bedding for a touch of luxury and it’s been great fun choosing the decor. Can’t wait to get the decorating finished and get the rooms dressed so we can take some new pictures!
It has been a frustrating month for everyone with limits on travel and seeing loved ones. Here in Wales, restrictions have been extra severe as we had to stay very local. So we’ve not been able to explore all the amazing places around us yet. We are, however, making the most of our location which is a constant delight to us. If you wake up early, you are rewarded with some remarkable sights.
On clear days you can see the Cambrian Mountains in the distance which is magical and there is often mist in the valley below us which gradually lifts as the sun rises.
The views are enchanting at any time of day and we have had another month of unbelievable sunshine and summer temperatures. ?
It has even been warm enough for BBQs and dinner in the garden this month.
Then to round off the evening, a glorious sunset.
Happily, we are going to be allowed more freedom in June – we have to continue to stay local, but we are allowed to drive to go for a walk so we can start visiting some of the beautiful spaces around us. Can’t wait to share them with you!
Spring has arrived with a flourish of colour! All the trees are coming to life and flowers are exploding into bloom. It is always my favourite season, but this year, living at Coedmor Fach I feel so much more connected to nature and the changes happening around us. We’re still in lockdown so we’re making the most of our immediate surroundings.
The weather has continued to be amazing with temperatures even hitting the low 20s. Such a shame that we couldn’t have guests here to enjoy it! The gardens are starting to get more colour too with some beautiful flowers blossoming.
Our beech tree drive has really come to life! The leaves have turned it into a beautiful green tree tunnel – the perfect welcoming entrance to the cottages. It’s not quite as dramatic as The Dark Hedges but we love it. We counted 51 trees on the left hand side – and we haven’t counted the other side yet…?
It is a photographer’s paradise here with so many photo-opportunities every day. We have gorgeous landscapes and wild flowers in abundance.
April has been full of sun and colour and surprisingly warm enough for sundowners and picnics in the meadow after a hard day of decorating the cottages.
When we were planning our Big Move to Wales we did some exploring around the area and the beaches and harbour towns of Cardigan Bay were one of the deciding factors in us choosing to move to Lampeter. So for our first trip out we really wanted to take Ziggy to Penbryn Beach. We had been before in September when we had our second viewing of the Cottages so we already knew what a magical place it is.
“Social Distancing” was already in force but we weren’t yet in lockdown, so we were allowed to head to the beach for our daily exercise. Penbryn is looked after by the National Trust, so there is a proper car park which you pay a couple of pounds for and this goes towards the upkeep (and there are loos there too). The beach is a walk downhill – you have two choices here. You can walk down the road or go through the woodland. We chose to go the road route as we wanted to get to the beach asap.
As you reach the beach there is a stream that runs right down into the sea. Ziggy couldn’t wait to get wet…he loves water but won’t swim – he panics if he goes out of his depth. When we lived in Reading we were so far from the sea that we only took Ziggy to the beach once. He loved it, but couldn’t understand why the water tastes so bad ? At Penbryn he went crazy running on the sand – he loved the wide open space…and we were virtually the only ones there.
There are caves at the far end of the beach – worth exploring but they don’t go very deep.
The beach is about a mile long so you can have a decent walk along it. We took the scenic route back up to the car park through the enchanted valley. It really is a wonderful walk although it is quite steep in places. But there’s no rush. Take your time and enjoy the meandering pathways that take you through woodland and fern-clad terrain with a stream babbling below you.
Then just as you thought it couldn’t get any better, you come upon a bridge and a waterfall! Seriously, if fairies are real, this is where they live. ?♀️
Penbryn is about a 40 minute scenic drive from our cottages. If you want to make a full day of it you can also get onto the Wales Coast Path from Penbryn for a longer walk. See more about Penbryn Beach (and the clip from a James Bond movie filmed there) in our Natural Wonders section: Penbryn Beach
During lockdown we have had plenty to keep us busy but we have also set aside time to explore the countryside around the cottages. In Wales, lockdown rules are especially strict and at the moment we are only allowed to go out once per day for exercise and it has to be very close to home – no driving to get to a beauty spot for walking.
Just as well that we live in such a gorgeous place then! ? At this time of year when the meadows behind our cottages are empty or just have sheep, the farmer who owns them doesn’t mind us walking up the hill to get some exercise…and more stunning views. As you get higher even more of the landscape opens up.
Right at the top is an old abandoned slate quarry and the panorama is so amazing from up there it is worth the effort to climb the hill.
The gorse bushes are now blooming and the colours are unreal. ? We have been blessed with some perfect weather and the bluest of skies. It is so calming spending time just taking it all in and stopping to look at the colours and smell the flowers. Did you know that gorse flowers smell like Pina Colada? ?Why did I never know this before? It is quite an intoxicating aroma – very coconutty!
Being surrounded by nature does make you slow down – it is so therapeutic. We have so many different birds around us. Red Kites and Buzzards circle overhead and the songs of the robin, coal tit, willow warbler and wren are so musical. We even have a resident hare that visits the farmland behind our picnic meadow – we see him most mornings if we are out early enough.
We have discovered a few different circular walks that you can do right from the cottages so if you want to stretch your legs and connect with nature when you come to stay we can give you directions…or you can just explore and find them for yourself! ?
Overnight we have gone from owning an average-sized easily maintained garden to having over 4 acres of land to tend to. Leigh always dreamed of having enough grass to justify getting a ride-on lawnmower. He soon realised that a ride-on wouldn’t cut the mustard with four paddocks to manage.
His trusty petrol mower is great for trimming the path in the picnic meadow, but for our large paddock we had to call in the experts 🐑
Thankfully one of our new neighbours has a flock of sheep that she was happy for us to borrow.
It gives her pasture time to recover while they stuff their faces with our prime juicy grass! Win-win 😁
Ziggy wasn’t sure what to make of them at first, but he’s getting used to having new wooly friends (I think he’s a bit scared of a couple of the feistier girls actually). They are such characters and often come and stare up at our window as if they want us to come out and play.
I do love having them here as they are so entertaining and they are doing a sterling job on that grass ☘️ We need to keep them for a few weeks and I’m sure we’ll have them back again later in the year – they are the best lawnmowers in the world!
They say “Nothing worth having comes easy”. Well, our relocation to Wales has certainly been eventful! After 6 months of conveyancing and collapsing chains, we finally moved into our new home on 17th March 2020, ready to take over the running of Coedmor Cottages and enjoy all the amazing places Mid-West Wales has to offer. 6 days later, we found ourselves in lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Not the start to our new life in the country we were hoping for…but we could be in a worse place!
We are disappointed that we had to cancel the bookings already in the diary for March & April. But looking on the bright side, it means that we have extra time to work on the cottages before we have any guests to stay. We have spent our first 2 weeks settling in, exploring the beautiful walks that we can do from our doorstep and writing the new Coedmor Cottages website.
We managed one trip out to Penbryn Beach a couple of days before lockdown…we won’t be allowed to drive anywhere for walks for a while so we’re glad we had one visit to the seaside to keep us going.
Social distancing is tough for everyone but we feel blessed that we moved before the restrictions started and we are in such a beautiful place. We have 4 acres of our own land to wander and have already spotted a pair of Red Kites building a nest in the valley below. There is so much open land around us it is easy to walk without seeing another soul.
We’re going to start work on renovating Woodpecker & Red Kite cottages – new furniture and furnishings and a new shower for Woodpecker too. Interiors are a big passion of mine, so I can’t wait to get started! 👩🎨