We have always described ourselves as being in the heart of the beautiful Mid Wales countryside, and the new Natural Mid Wales map shows just how much wildlife we are surrounded by!
The nearest nature reserve – Gilfach RWT – is just down the road from us, and you really can see salmon leaping in late autumn. There is usually a pair of Red Kites soaring high above the cottages, and a combination of leaving the grass long and regular winter feeding means that we have a many wild birds in our grounds.
You can download and print a bigger version of the map, and of course there is a copy in the welcome folder of each cottage.
Looking for outdoor activities in the Cambrian Mountains? The Cambrian Mountains Initiative have a great interactive map which includes walking tours, mountain biking, horse riding, and even paragliding. There are also lists of food & drink spots, shopping and the many attractions around the area.
The Perseid meteor shower is due to peak around the 12th to 13th of August this year. Because there is a new moon, the night skies will be nice and dark meaning that we should be able to see shooting stars over Wye View again – provided that there isn’t too much cloud of course!
The meteor shower is an annual event, and is caused by the Earth moving through particles of the Swift-Tuttle comet which burn up in our atmosphere and look to us like fast moving shooting stars. Because they appear to come from the Perseus constellation, they are called the Perseids.
Sharp-eyed watchers have already reported some Perseid meteors this year, and the combination of little cloud cover, the new moon and our wonderful dark skies here in Mid Wales should mean that there will be plenty to see in the nights around the peak.
In past years we have driven to the heart of the Elan Valley, near the Pen-y-garreg dam, where at midnight there are no lights visible for miles around – and seeing the stars reflected in the reservoir and the milky way overhead is breathtaking.
Visit Wales re-assess the grading of self catering cottages every two years, to make sure that standard are maintained. We are delighted that we have been awarded four stars again, with the assessor commenting on our high standard of housekeeping! We have also been included in the Cyclists Welcome and Walkers Welcome schemes – we will be posting more about that soon.
The Elan Valley is a great day out at any time, but on open days you can visit the inside of one of the dams between 1pm and 4pm.
The dates for 2018 are as follows:
Wednesday 4th April
Wednesday 30th May
Saturday 30th June
Tuesday 31st July
Tuesday 14th August
Saturday 1st September
Thursday 1st November
This is your chance to venture into the Pen y Garreg Dam and up to the central tower. You’ll enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Reservoir wall – and learn about the feat of engineering that made Elan.
Park at Penbont car park (adjacent to the Penbont House Tea Room) and take a walk through the woodland, up the steps to the dam entrance.
There are steps inside the dam which may be wet and in some areas there are low light levels. Children should be carefully supervised at all times.
Minimum donation £1 for adults and children. All proceeds go to WaterAid.
Are you a fan of the Hinterland (Y Gwyll) series on BBC Wales and S4C? The third (and final) series returns to BBC Wales on Wednesday 5th of April at 9pm. If you live outside Wales, tune to channel 964 / 976 (HD) on Freesat, or 952 / 978 (HD) on Sky.
The series is shot in and around Aberystwyth and the Cambrian Mountains, and many of the stunning rural locations are shown on this interactive map of the area – it has been updated for the new series.
Hinterland Location Map
Many of these locations are within a 30 minute drive of Wye View, and this map provides a great excuse for a drive through the Cambrian Mountains!
Natural Resources of Wales have spent many hours carrying the Google Street View Trekker backpack around the paths of Bwlch Nant yr Arian. The result is a high-quality 360 degree Streetview of the paths around the site, so you can see the fantastic views of the Cambrian Mountains and plan your visit!
There is a gallery of all of the Natural Resources of Wales Street Views or you can go straight to the map for Bwlch Nant yr Arian and drag the yellow man from the bottom right corner to one of the trails on the map.
Bwlch Nant yr Arian features walking, mountain biking and running trails, and new this year is an MTB skills track – opens 4th March 2017.
It is also worth planning your visit around the 2pm (3pm during British Summer Time) Red Kite Feeding – down by the lake you can typically see 80 or more Red Kites diving down to pick up food. The feeding only lasts around 15 minutes though, so make sure you are on time!
We have been busy making some changes to the cottages to help maintain our high feedback scores and improve our guests’ experience. Here’s what we have been up to.
Last year we renewed the slate roof over Wye and Severn Cottages. This was to install insulation and repair broken slates, and where possible level out the bumps & dips in the roof. Most of the slate was reused, but we did have to purchase reclaimed Welsh slates for around 15% of the roof to match. The result is much cosier and more energy efficient cottages.
We have also begun pointing the walls – in some cases they are in their original 150-year old state, so this is well overdue!
Throughout all four cottages we have replaced the carpeting with a more neutral, tweed beige carpet. We think it looks great and hope that you agree!
We have updated the WiFi network with new equipment to improve link stability.
In Elan, Severn and Wye Cottages we have repainted the skirting boards, architrave and banisters, which we think lightens the rooms. We have also redecorated the walls and ceilings upstairs in Hafren, Severn and Wye – and we will be doing the rest in Spring / Summer 2017. While we were decorating, we spotted “1847” carved into a roof truss in Severn Cottage – this is almost certainly the year that the barn was built.
Part of our 4 star Visit Wales grading is based on an assessment of the look and feel of the cottages; we hope that you agree that the changes we have made are positive and will help us maintain our standard.
We are delighted to announce that Wye View has achieved Visit Wales four star awards for all of our self catering cottages.
The assessment uses the British Common Standards for Self Catering, which requires that all critical areas of the property – cleanliness, public areas, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen must each achieve a grade commensurate with the overall rating.
We have worked hard over the past year improving equipment and decoration in the cottages, and are delighted that we have reached our target of four stars!
In September 2014 the Top Gear crew visited the Elan Valley to film an item about the Landrover Defender. Richard Hammond uses the Landrover with a winch to a make a heart-stopping ascent of the Claerwen dam in the Elan valley, recreating an advert from the 1980s for the Landrover 90.
Six dams were built as part of the Elan Valley project which started in 1893, although Dol-y-Mynach, also on the River Claerwen, was never completed. Today the dams provide 360 million litres of water a day to Birmingham. The Elan Valley offers spectacular views and can be reached in around 15 minutes from Wye View – well worth a day out!
You can see the Top Gear programme at 8pm on Sunday the 15th of February.
Visitors to Wye View may have the opportunity to see the Geminids meteor shower, on Saturday 13 December from around 9pm – subject to weather. With some of the darkest skies in the UK, this remote part of mid Wales is the perfect location for amateur astronomers to observe this shower. Wrap up warm and watch the skies!