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. 🏴
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! ?