A popular hotel on the Mid Wales coast has shared some of its favourite walks and waterfalls to enjoy this autumn.
The 59-bedroom Trefeddian Hotel in Aberdyfi, Southern Snowdonia - https://www.trefwales.com/ - also has three self-catering properties, surrounded by valleys and mountains.
“Travelling by foot is the perfect way to see some of the beauty this area has to offer off the beaten track,” said Anne-Marie Catling-Hughes from the Trefeddian. The hotel provides a comprehensive walks’ guide for guests, listing some of the local routes and trails.
“There are walks for all, from gentle strolls to mountain adventures. The Wales Coast Path runs parallel to the hotel, a golden opportunity to experience the open but intricate coastline. By following the path, you can enjoy the splendour of the area’s diverse landscape; there are small coves and long, sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and wild heathland to explore.
Favourites include a walk along the Broad Water just outside Tywyn. “Beautiful views and an abundance of birdlife make for a wonderful walk taking you to Ynysmaengwyn,” said Anne-Marie.
“The estate covers a large area with the remains of many old buildings in and around the beautiful woodlands. There are also many walks straight from the front door of the hotel. A short walk down to the beach will lead you either into Aberdyfi one way, or to Tywyn the other.
“Dolgoch Falls are the closest waterfalls to the hotel, just a short drive away or a trip on the famous Talyllyn Railway. Dolgoch forms a series of waterfalls which cascade down a beautiful, rocky ravine in the mountainside to a deep pool below.
The Trefeddian’s favourite walks and waterfalls can be read in full on the Visit Mid Wales blog: Step into Autumn at The Trefeddian Hotel | Visit Mid Wales
Anne-Marie said Autumn breaks are available from the Trefeddian Hotel, as she encouraged visitors to visit the coast and experience all the wonders Aberdyfi has to offer.
The hotel is offering 10% off all bookings from October 30 to December 11, 2022.
The Trefeddian Hotel is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
A food historian has exciting plans in store for Newtown’s brand new community and visitor centre as she aims to appeal to local people, groups and visitors alike.
Bubbling Stove Bistro Ltd, owned and run by Seren Charrington-Hollins, has secured the catering franchise at Hafan Yr Afon which is set to initially open to the public on the weekend of September 3 and 4 to coincide with Newtown Food Festival.
Seren and her team will be offering refreshments, cream teas, icecreams and afternoon tea over the weekend, allowing them to showcase their cakes, locally sourced tea, coffee, wines, dairy and other produce.
To allow the fitting of additional kitchen equipment, Hafan Yr Afon will then close until the official opening with a full menu on Saturday, September 10.
Bubbling Stove Bistro Ltd is creating 10 full and part-time jobs at the new environmentally sustainable building on the banks of the River Severn alongside Back Lane car park.
A chef, food historian and author, who has appeared on multiple TV shows, Seren will be offering a seasonal menu focused on the best local and Welsh produce. Her new venture will cater for community groups, local residents, visitors, weddings, events and festivals.
Bubbling Stove Bistro will be open from 9am to 4pm from Monday to Wednesday, 9am to 6pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 10am to 3pm on Sunday. Food will be served daily, accompanied by a fine selection of wines, craft beers, teas and coffee.
“We are not trying to replicate the existing food offering in Newtown which has some great places to eat and to have a coffee and cake,” explained Seren. “We are bringing something new to Newtown, with competitively priced specials changing daily, small plates and small versions of meals to suit all budgets.
“We want to offer food at a fair price and engage local suppliers wherever we can. Our all day menu will change seasonally and will be tailored to give our diners the perfect choice for dining out with friends and family.
“We are committed to sourcing local food and drink wherever possible and also to showcasing the best Welsh artisan producers. We are fortunate to be working with great tea blenders, coffee roasters, vineyards and more from the local area.”
The menu will include Dutch pancakes, bubble waffles, home-made pizzas and other food items targeted at young people together with plant-based, gluten and allergen free options.
“We are situated in the middle of parkland and we want to engage young people so that they feel it’s a place for them,” added Seren, a mother of five children.
She and her team are planning a youth café when they get settled in, together with Grow, Cook, Learn sessions to show young people and families how to grow and cook produce, thereby helping them to save money and reduce food waste.
Seren has also contacted local community groups with the aim of providing an accessible, quiet meeting place for people with a wide range of disabilities and sensory difficulties, together with their carers.
Dogs will be welcome and special treats, such as Bottom Sniffer beer and canine ice cream will be available for them. People with muddy boots and those out exercising in Newtown’s green spaces and on the River Severn will be warmly welcomed.
Forming an attractive gateway to Newtown’s green and blue spaces, Hafan Yr Afon has been built by Open Newtown, community focused development trust, with funding and support from the Welsh Government, National Lottery Community Fund Wales, Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council and Powys County Council.
Open Newtown describes the new building as a welcome break, an attraction and a new experience, encouraging people to explore river walks and areas of natural beauty.
This project received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
In addition to winning the franchise for Hafan Yr Afon, Seren has been shortlisted in three categories of this year’s Great British Food Awards, twice for her dark chocolate brownies and Seren's Traditional Pickled Onions. The results will be announced on October 28.
Seren Charrington-Hollins, owner of Bubbling Stove Bistro Ltd, the catering franchisee at Hafan Yr Afon.
Llety Cariad, the latest luxury holiday home built by Plas Robin Rural Retreats which has received a coveted ‘Six Star’ grading.
The owners of a luxury holiday homes business in Mid Wales are seeing stars after receiving the top grading from Sykes Cottages, one of the UK's leading holiday lettings agencies.
David and Carol Parry, who own Plas Robin Rural Retreats in the village of Llandyssil, near Montgomery, are thrilled to have been awarded a highly coveted 'Six Star' grading. It’s one of only 37 holiday homes in the UK from Sykes Cottages’ portfolio of more than 20,000 properties to achieve this grading.
Plas Robin Rural Retreats now comprises three luxury holiday homes, originally designed by a leading Scottish architect based in Perthshire.
The homes have been built by highly skilled local tradesmen and builder, Nigel Thomas, using the finest locally sourced materials wherever possible, including Herefordshire stone, reclaimed Welsh slates and timber grown in Mid Wales.
The beautiful view from the balcony at Llety Cariad.
The Six Stars grading was awarded to the recently completed holiday home 'Llety Cariad', which is an impressive two storey property with expansive grounds and terracing.
The property comprises many unique and bespoke features such as a Himalayan Salt Sauna, a spa style bathroom and bi fold windows across both storeys which open onto a wrap-around balcony, offering uninterrupted views to the glorious Severn Valley and beyond.
David and Carol Parry.
David, a farmer's son who inherited the land several years ago, said: "My wife and I always had a vision of creating a unique holiday destination in this beautiful part of Montgomeryshire.
“My father, Edward, was very much a traditional farmer and did that job extremely well. I am now very excited to be creating our own mark upon the land which has been in the family since the early 1900s.
“We were over the moon to receive this prestigious rating from Sykes Cottages.”
The Parry family has further plans in the pipeline for the business which include a current planning application for a luxurious and secluded romantic retreat just for two, a wild-water swimming lake and holistic therapy treatments.
Plas Robin Rural Retreats is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent membership organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
Online bookings are now being taken for a historic Mid Wales market town restaurant, which is set to reopen with an exciting new dining experience on September 5, following refurbishment.
Whilst the restaurant at Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen, situated in Llanidloes town centre, has been closed for a month, the property’s seven en-suite bedrooms have still been busy welcoming guests this summer.
An experienced, new head chef, Paul Fox, has been appointed to lead a team of talented apprentices at the training restaurant with rooms, which is owned by Cambrian Training Company, Wales’ leading apprenticeship provider to the hospitality industry.
The restaurant has 50 covers, including four outdoor dining pods each with a table for six. To book a table go to www.trewythenhotel.wales/book-a-table .The restaurant will be open from Monday to Friday, 11.45am - 8.30pm, while the rooms will be open seven days a week.
Paul, 60, who trained in the Army Catering Corps with Cambrian Training Company’s managing director Arwyn Watkins, is looking forward to working with apprentices to introduce a modern dining experience at Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen.
The new menu offering will be sharing platters and small and large plates to create a casual, relaxed dining experience to be shared with friends and family. Paul and his team will showcase quality, Welsh, seasonal produce.
Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen, which opened in May last year, will focus on developing apprentices to become the next generation of chefs and front of house staff for the hospitality industry.
“Our mission from the outset has been to establish a training restaurant with rooms to develop and nurture a team to showcase Welsh produce,” said Arwyn, who is president of the Culinary Association of Wales.
“We will be focussing not only on apprentices but also food and drink producers that we work with across Wales. We shall be trying, wherever possible, to use as much locally sourced produce as we can.
“We will also be open to apprentices from other businesses to spend a learning day at Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen because some apprentices don’t get the opportunity to cook at this level.
“Paul will be sharing his vast experience and knowledge, ranging from fine dining to contract catering and events, with apprentices to develop the head chefs of the future.
“The apprentices will not only learn how to cook but also develop their kitchen management skills. I am really positive and excited about the potential of this business.”
A conversation with Arwyn earlier this summer resulted in Paul being offered the job in Llanidloes. “I love the whole ethos of Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen being a place for young people to learn,” he said.
“It’s not about me; it’s about me coaching, mentoring and developing the apprentices. We are trying to create menus and recipes that all our apprentices can cook and we will be encouraging them to contribute their own ideas.
“We will be offering a very casual way of eating, not the formality of fine dining. It’s an exciting new adventure for all of us but the apprentices are up for it.
“Customers can look forward to young people from the town producing a modern dining experience for them using quality Welsh produce. The emphasis on Welsh produce and Welsh suppliers is everything that I believe in.”
Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen is keen to play its part in establishing Llanidloes, the first town on the River Severn, as a popular tourist destination, at the gateway to the Cambrian Mountains.
Award-winning film ‘Staying (Aros Mae)’, which was filmed in the Elan and Claerwen Valleys, near Rhayader in 2019, was screened in the town on Saturday to thank the community who helped make it.
Written and directed by previous Elan Valley artist-in-residence Zillah Bowes, ‘Staying (Aros Mae)’ features members of the community as cast, including Stephen and Kerena Pugh who were chosen to play farmer Huw and his wife Megan.
The short fiction film is about Ruth, played by actor and 9Bach singer Lisa Jên Brown, a newly divorced gallery manager selling her city home, who sees a video of a sheepdog for sale and visits Huw and Megan in the hills.
The film captures a way of life in the Valley, where neighbouring farmers come together to gather sheep on horseback and quad bikes in the remote and beautiful landscape.
Most of the filming took place at Marchnant Farm, managed by farmer Steven Lewis and his partner Chris. Their sheepdog Mick is a star of the film, which was screened at The Lion Royal Hotel, Rhayader last Saturday evening.
Zillah lived in the Elan Valley for a year before shooting the film and got to know the tenant farmers and their way of life, while working on her long-term photography project Green Dark. She also spent time getting to know farmer Stephen Pugh and his wife Kerena to prepare them for the roles as Huw and Megan.
Stephen and Kerena, who live in Nantmel where they farm and run Lȏn Lodges tourism business, were introduced to her by one of the film’s three executive producers, Peter Cox, who lives near Rhayader.
Kerena had acted before in the Rhayader Young Farmers productions and both she and her husband played part in the Rhayader Community Play written by Peter.
“We spent six months getting to know Zillah and understanding the storyline,” explained Kerena. “Our characters in the film were fictional and we had to take on the roles of Huw and Megan working as a farming couple.
“This film is very atmospheric because Zillah wanted to capture the feeling and essential qualities of everyday life in the Valley.
“We were involved in four days of filming and had never done anything like that before. We enjoyed the experience and it was quite a privilege to be asked to work with such accomplished professionals as Jack Thomas-O’Brien from Sixteen Films and cinematographer Robbie Ryan, to name but a few of the amazing team.
“Zillah gave a lovely speech thanking the community before the film was screened on Saturday. It has been screened around the world and shown at over 15 film festivals.”
Stephen added: “Zillah wanted to capture life today in the Valley as authentically as possible. So much research went into the film and the onus was on us to do justice to the Valley farmers.
“Credit goes to Steven and Chris Lewis because they gave up so much of their time.”
‘Staying (Aros Mae)’ has received widespread international recognition, winning awards at BAFTA and BIFA-qualifying film festivals including Grand Jury Prize at Premiers Plan Angers Film Festival and Special Mention at Encounters Film Festival.
The film was produced by Jack Thomas-O’Brien at Sixteen Films in conjunction with Ffilm Cymru Wales, BFI NETWORK Wales and BBC Cymru Wales, and is due to be broadcast on BBC Wales later this year and then available on iPlayer.
‘Staying’ won Special Mention at Encounters Film Festival in 2021. The jury commented: "The jury would also like to give a special mention to Zillah Bowes’ ‘Staying (Aros Mae)’ for the sensitivity and complexity of her storytelling.
“In ‘Staying (Aros Mae)’ Bowes immerses us in the quiet and idyl world of Mid Wales, a world devoid of stereotypical heroes or villains and instead populated by three-dimensional characters all dealing with their own particular inner struggles and repressions.
“Bowes’ empathy for her characters is evident in her use of image and sound to weave a naturalistic filmic tapestry that suspends judgements and instead, encourages exploration and questions."
Redmond Bacon, who interviewed Zillah on Directors Notes, said: "The contrast between city and rural life has rarely been as keenly observed than in Zillah Bowes’ ‘Staying (Aros Mae)’.
“While its Cardiff-set scenes feel cool and clinical, the countryside opens up both the perspective of the film and the emotions of its central character – captivatingly embodied by Welsh actor and 9Bach singer Lisa Jên Brown – journeying to find a Border Collie in the wake of a break-up.
“At times approximating a western, the film uses the landscape in deep and evocative ways.”
Temporary changes, brought in to help pubs, cafes and restaurants take advantage of the warm weather and operate outside, are extended and will be made permanent next year.
Temporary changes brought in during COVID-19 which make it quicker, easier and cheaper for business to get a licence to serve food and drink on pavements and pedestrianised roads have been extended.
The extension will continue until the changes are made permanent in the spring.
The general manager of Talyllyn Railway has praised the “significant contribution” made to the world’s first preserved railway by women who have been volunteering for a combined total of 1,300 years.
Stuart Williams revealed that the railway has around 100 female volunteers. “I think we set the benchmark for having such a diverse volunteer base and we are much better for having the female touch,” he said.
“Heritage Railways can be male dominated but we seem to have bucked that trend. Passengers love seeing women especially on the footplate which happens very regularly on the Talyllyn.
“We could run the whole railway with female volunteers quite easily and I don’t think there are many railways that can say that.”
His comments come after Talyllyn Railway recently run a special train to celebrate the contribution made by its women volunteers since 1951, which amounts to a combined total of 1,300 years.
The ‘Talyllyn Women’ train was boarded by 80 women and some of their partners for a celebration with cakes at Abergynolwyn. The driver and fireman were Rachel Palfreyman and Christine Homer respectively - the first all-female locomotive crew on Talyllyn Railway in 1995 - and the guard was Louisa Warren, who started volunteering in 1975.
Women have played an active role since Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society began the railway preservation movement in 1951.
During the early days, Sonia, wife of founder Tom Rolt, helped run the Wharf office and Barbara, wife of locomotive engineer David Curwen, worked as a guard.
Women have since supported the railway in a variety of way. Nowadays, it’s not unusual to see trains crewed by women and they also work as controllers, blockmen and station assistants.
It’s also likely that parts of the engine and carriages on the train have been maintained and painted by women who volunteer in most of the other non-operational areas of the railway as well.
The celebration train was sparked by a conversation between Barbara Fuller and Sarah Thomas, who both have 50 years of volunteering to their names. They discovered that women volunteers have worked on the railway for a combined total of 1,300 years.
All the women who boarded the celebration train received a specially designed ‘Talyllyn Women’ enamel badge and Mayor of Tywyn, Councillor Eileen Jones presented some volunteers with long service awards.
Photos credit: Phil Tugwell.
First Minister Mark Drakeford with Stuart Owen and Gary Mitchell from Open Newtown and the team who will be running Hafan Yr Afon community and visitor centre.
First Minister Mark Drakeford praised a new community and visitor centre and the enthusiasm and commitment of the people behind it during a visit to Newtown on Tuesday.
Describing Hafan Yr Afon as a “striking, landmark building”, Mr Drakeford said he was impressed by its riverside, town centre location and the use of quality, sustainable materials in its construction.
The new centre, located on the banks of the River Severn alongside Back Lane car park, forms an attractive gateway to Newtown’s green and blue spaces.
Hafan Yr Afon, which is due to open to the public later this month, has been built by community focused development trust Open Newtown with funding and support from the Welsh Government, National Lottery Community Fund Wales, Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council and Powys County Council.
Whilst viewing the River Severn and town centre from the building’s first floor balcony, Mr Drakeford said: “It looks like a landmark building. Even in the brief time I have been walking round, you are really struck by the quality of the craftsmanship, the fantastic access to natural light and the way it is built out of sustainable materials.
First Minister Mark Drakeford with invited guests during his visit to Hafan Yr Afon.
“That is something that is going to make the building somewhere people will want to visit and it will quickly establish itself as an important facility right in the centre of town.
“Town centres are very important to people and they give strong messages about the worthiness of where they live. This new building is part of our town centre regeneration plans across Wales but it also manages to combine a whole load of things that are to do with sustainability, active travel and making places fit for the future.
“What is striking here is the fact that the building fulfils a series of different purposes. Being close to the bus station, cycle store on Cycle Route 81 and the new health and wellbeing centre, it has a lot going for it.
“I have been impressed by the enthusiasm of the people that I have met today and their commitment to make it happen. The building is wonderful but if you don’t have the people to go alongside it then buildings don’t do the trick by themselves.
“Newtown is a brilliant example of creative people working co-operatively to get things done.”
Newtown’s Mayor Councillor John Byrne said he hopes that Hafan Yr Afon’s town centre location will help to attract more people and facilities to the town.
“It’s a very impressive building and a good example of the collaboration and progressive work between the town council, Welsh Government and Open Newtown.
“It really makes the most of the views and the locality of the riverbank will create opportunities for canoeists.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford with Stuart Owen from Open Newtown on the first floor balcony at Hafan Yr Afon.
Stuart Owen from Open Newtown said: “We were delighted to welcome the First Minister to Hafan Yr Afon and to get such positive feedback from him about this major development for Newtown.
“We are very excited about the potential of this environmentally sustainable building. It will help Open Newtown continue to deliver its ethos of wellbeing, kindness, sanctuary, inclusiveness and biodiversity, whilst promoting outdoor activities.
“We are passionate about involving young people, supporting a community youth cafe and will continue to deliver and support local events.”
Cardi Bay Vodka, a new release by Eccentric Spirits.
Eccentric Spirits, distilled at award-winning Ceredigion distillery, In The Welsh Wind, has launched its first Welsh vodka product, Cardi Bay Vodka.
From the label to the tasting notes, this Welsh flavoured vodka is inspired by the gorse which grows along the Ceredigion coastline, with a flavour profile infused with hints of coconut and vanilla.
Cardi Bay Vodka was launched at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show recently and received hugely positive feedback from showgoers.
Ellen Wakelam, co-founder and director of In The Welsh Wind Distillery which makes the Eccentric Spirit range, said: “After releasing our Black Batch Rum into our Eccentric Spirits range, we knew that we wanted to launch different spirits within the range, including a flavoured vodka.
“We wanted the vodka’s botanical profile to celebrate Cardigan Bay and, as we began to reminisce on our 1,000-mile walk around Wales, we were inspired by the gorse which stands sentinel along the Ceredigion coastline.
“The aroma of gorse is full of vanilla and coconut, making it the perfect inspiration for Cardi Bay Vodka’s flavour and label design.
“From the initial distillations and tasting sessions to approving the label design, this project has been a long time in the making. We are thrilled to be launching Cardi Bay Vodka and are also over the moon with the positive feedback gathered so far!”
Cardi Bay Vodka can be purchased through the Eccentric Spirits (https://www.eccentricgin.co.uk/ ) and In The Welsh Wind (https://inthewelshwind.co.uk/ ) websites and at the distillery, based in Tan-y-Groes and Bar 45 in Cardigan which are also open as bottle shops.
The reception area at Love2Stay Mid Wales resort
A multi-million pound, luxury glamping resort focused on the health and wellbeing of its ‘staycationing’ guests has opened its doors at a beautiful Mid Wales location.
Overlooking the picturesque upper Severn Valley at Caersws, near Newtown, Love2Stay Mid Wales aims to make visitors feel totally in harmony with nature by helping them to relax and unwind in the peaceful location.
The £7.5 million resort, which is being developed in three phases, has an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam and treatment rooms, well-equipped fitness suite, reception area, coffee shop and outdoor beach area as its centrepiece.
The first phase of development includes 31 luxury glamping lodges, each with their own hot tub, two play areas for children of different ages, a nature play area and a recreational lake for water sports.
All the accommodation, which includes a dozen Black Barns, six Woodland Lodges, nine Hillside Cabins and four Wren’s Nest double lodges, is available to be booked online by visiting the Love2Stay Mid Wales profile on Hoseasons.
When fully developed, the resort will have 125 glamping lodges which will allow families and couples to escape from their busy lives into the tranquillity of the Mid Wales countryside.
The impressive indoor swimming pool at the new Love2Stay Mid Wales resort.
Designed to maximise its valley side location, the resort is the Mid Wales equivalent of the original, successful Love2Stay resort in Shrewsbury, which is operated by Salop Leisure.
Up to 30 jobs are being created by Love2Stay Mid Wales, which has appointed Lukasz and Eloise Gutowski as resort managers and Laura Wilde as marketing officer.
The resort is now looking to recruit new team members for front of house and coffee shop positions. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Lukasz and Eloise have previously worked in the leisure industry in Europe and North West Wales whilst Laura previously worked for Salop Leisure and Love2Stay in Shrewsbury.
Free wi-fi is available across the resort but Love2Stay Mid Wales wants to encourage guests to put away their digital devices and spend quality time together enjoying the facilities, the spectacular scenery and the great outdoors.
The 28-acre site, on which the resort is being developed, was previously home to Mid Wales Golf Centre.
“Following eight months of hard work, we are delighted to be launching Love2Stay Mid Wales and look forward to welcoming our first guests to our luxury resort,” said Trevor Bebb, who owns the resort with his wife Patricia.
“The resort has been carefully designed to give the glamping lodges a great view over the Severn Valley and surrounding countryside. We are keen to work with other local businesses to ensure that we all benefit from this development and I would like to thank everybody who has supported us.
“Our guests will be encouraged to explore the local villages of Caersws and Llandinam, the nearby towns of Newtown and Llanidloes and the many attractions that Mid Wales has to offer.”
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