When I saw an advert flash in my newsfeed on Facebook for Trallwm Forest cottages near Beulah, I couldn’t resist taking a closer look. Beautiful romantic cottages, set in a beautiful forest; the perfect retreat, a fantastic getaway for anyone, but the perfect opportunity for me to book a long awaited holiday, and, big step in a new relationship, a first time break with my boyfriend.
What could be better for our first time romantic getaway than a beautiful secluded cottage with cosy roaring wood burner and hot tub under the stars? The fact that that the particular cottage I had my eye on, accepted dogs!
In our home away from home break, why shouldn’t my girls come with us – they had given my bloke the seal of approval the first time they met him? They would appreciate the roaring fire as much as we would, and appreciate it, they did!
During our short mid-week stay, we were spoiled to beautiful weather, which considering it was mid March, was a real treat! We had decided that the one day was going to be spent lazing in the garden and just enjoying the cottage. It was the most relaxing day any of us had had for a long time! The dogs chilled out by the fire all day, even getting so hot as to move away from the fire for a brief moment to go outside and appreciate the cool but sunny climate.
The other days were spent investigating the area – I say investigate, I lived in Mid Wales from the age of 8-30 so I knew the area well, my boyfriend, however; had never been anywhere quite so remote – or beautiful.
Our first day of adventure was spent exploring the forest around the cottage, the pre-spring smells were in the air and the dogs thoroughly enjoyed towing me up and down the steep inclines, rustling through pine cones and leaves and posing for photos. The walks on offer were vast, the girls were happy to keep on going but we were hungry and wanted to get back to our relaxation by the fire! Trallwm Forest Cottages even offer the hire of bikes if you are willing and more able than I, to go that bit further. Maybe next time I will give it a go…
Onto day two of investigating, a trip to Elan Valley, we took ourselves out of the “no signal, no wifi zone” of Trallwm Forest and on through the twists and turns (at this point my muscle memory of the roads and my lead foot made the bloke feel a bit queasy!) of the road from Beulah to Newbridge on Wye. Our phones beeped and flashed with the excitement of signal, 3G no less, before we headed into the wonderfully quirky town of Rhayader and then onto Elan Valley.
Our legs still ached from our forest walks the day before, so we opted to drive the dams rather than walk it all, but we stopped a plenty at each dam for photos, short walks on the set paths and to appreciate the scenery – all made better by the weather. This was our second trip to Elan Valley, the first in November which was a short and sweet stop by before visiting friends in Rhayader, thats a story of experimental flavoured vodka shots and music quizzes, perhaps for another time…
Both times on our trip to Elan Valley, however, the dams were dry and not overflowing, in November the water levels were the lowest I had ever seen them, in March, slightly fuller and almost teetering over the edge but not quite – the next time I’m calling ahead! It doesn’t make the place any less spectacular, the sheer size, the views, the peace and tranquillity can’t be knocked rain…or shine. I thought they said it always rains in Wales?!
Elan Valley with its wonderful walks and beautiful scenery is a great place to take the hounds, both my girls familiarised themselves with the sounds and smells, reintroducing themselves to sheep (we don’t get many in the Cotswolds!) and just generally enjoying themselves. All four of us were extremely pooped by the end of the day, so it was back to the cottage, woodburner lit, hot tub on. Whilst the dogs, and the bloke, snoozed peacefully, I enjoyed the night sky with my glass of vino and my bubbly hot tub.
A trip I won’t forget and one I will take again and again.