Welcome to the story of our summer holiday. I decided to write this, much like last year, to give a behind-the-scenes look at our holiday and the places we visited as there is only so much information you are able to give in an Instagram post.
For this summer’s holiday we visited Wales. We were originally looking for a place in Pembrokeshire as this is our usual Welsh holiday-location-choice but we were unable to find one that fitted with time off work, therefore we decided to try staying elsewhere in Wales and found a lovely place in Mid-Wales.
The Holiday Home
For our 2 week holiday in the Cambrian Mountains, we stayed in a lovely farmhouse near Devil’s Bridge. The view from the house was amazing and the inside was just as lovely. Our favourite part was the conservatory which allowed us to look out over the mountains and watch the variety of birds on the feeder (incl. blue tits, coal tits and a woodpecker) in the garden, all while sitting comfortably inside. The only downside was that the garden was not enclosed so Oscar had to be on his long line at all times when outside, although, this was bearable. Also, much to his horror, he wasn’t allowed in the pond!
Stupidly, I never took a wide angle photo of the view to give an idea of just how good it was, but I did take this photo with my 50mm lens while the sun was beginning to set and it gives a good look at the gorgeous landscape.
Our Favourite Walks
We were able to see this reservoir from our house and on our first full day we walked down to the water through some lovely, very green woods, complete with sheep. It wasn’t that much of a walk but was beautiful all the same.
Bwlch Nant Yr Arian
We visited the lovely Bwlch Nant Yr Arian on our second day and it immediately became our favourite place. This park is part of ‘National Resources Wales’ and is described as their “most popular woodland in mid Wales”. There are a few walks available, the purple ‘Barcud Trail’ is the easiest and takes you around the lake where the Red Kites are fed daily at 3pm, an amazing sight.
The walk takes about half an hour and is particularly beautiful in the evening. We never tried the yellow route but this is the ‘Miners Trail’ and is the middle difficulty walk. It follows an aqueduct that used to carry water to lead mines.
Finally, the red ‘Ridgetop Trail’ was our favourite of the walks. It takes you along the mountains, providing amazing views all the way and the chance to climb up to amazing viewpoints for great photo opportunities. The mountains were covered in heather which was particularly lovely for photos as we don’t have a lot of heather back home. We also liked that there was a café as it was nice to be able to get a hot drink after a walk and to watch the red kites if they were still around. It was also a great opportunity for Oscar to practise sitting still while we’re eating/drinking as he doesn’t get a lot of practice at this (he’s usually a bit too excitable to take to restaurants and this was good as we were able to sit outside). Bwlch Nant Yr Arian is a great place and I cannot recommend it enough if ever you’re in the area, even just for a little walk around the lake. Also if you can make it at 3pm, you’ll be able to see the Red Kites swooping down to collect their food and you’re able to get nice and close up!
Nant-y-moch Reservoir and Dam
Just a short scenic drive from where we were staying (featuring highland cattle), we visited this beautiful reservoir and dam during our first week. The expanse of water and the landscape is just breathtaking and it’s lovely to be able to walk/drive over the dam to fully appreciate the view. The reservoir is used to produce a large amount of hydroelectric power and the water used drains into Dinas Reservoir (mentioned above).
The Elan Valley is an area full of reservoirs, dams and rivers and was about an hour’s drive from the house. To get there, we (of course) took the scenic route through the mountains. Seeing the natural beauty of this place never gets old. As soon as you get into the Elan Valley, you start seeing the dams which, despite being large concrete structures, have a certain beauty to them, particularly in amongst the mountains and reservoirs and I enjoyed photographing them. We arrived at the visitor centre and checked out the shop and exhibition. We then took Oscar for a nice woodland walk from the visitor centre which takes you across a bridge opposite the Caban Coch dam and back down the other side of the river.
On our way home, we stopped off in a small car park next to a stream so Oscar could have a nice paddle and refreshing drink of mountain water. He had a lovely time (he’s easily pleased!)
Just wanted to add in a couple of food recommendations.
Featured in the BBC drama ‘Hinterland’, the Hafod Hotel, Devil’s Bridge, has a lovely restaurant attached. The menu features burgers, ribs and steak as well as fish and pasta, so there is a wide range and the restaurant prides itself on using locally sourced produce, I must say the food is delicious! We must have visited Haford about 4 times as it became a reliable place for a meal out. The restaurant is dog friendly but Oscar stayed in his crate as he can be a bit of a handful with a lot of people and a lot going on but he likes his crate so this is okay. There are also tables outside.
Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Café
This is not a place for a big meal but we loved having a drink and snack in this café after a fairly long walk. We can particularly recommend the scones with cream/butter and jam or the carrot cake. The café has a nice decking area outside with tables that are well spaced so if you have a slightly nervous dog or a dog you’re trying to train (or one that wants to say hello to every dog he sees), this can be a lot less stressful.
Red Kite Café
We popped in to the Red Kite Café on our last day for a delicious breakfast before our journey home-home. It was a real shame we only ended up going once, the food was lovely, and the sausages which are produced by a local butcher were gorgeous, it was a pity we weren’t able to bring any home! 😂
I hope you enjoyed reading all about our adventures and I hope my recommendations are helpful if ever you plan a trip to Ceredigion
Thank you for reading!