Continuing our spotlight on some of Mid Wales Tourism's longest standing members, in celebration of our 30th year, we're delighted to publish this piece from Alison Gallagher at Nannerth Country Holidays; quality self catering cottages on a working farm near Rhayader and The Elan Valley.
Thank you, Alison.
"We bought the 200 acre farm by sealed tender 33 years ago when it was in a derelict state. An old fashioned and very beautiful farm, Nannerth Fawr had no modern buildings and the farmhouse was without a bathroom, had no hot water and ancient wiring. Likewise the farm had collapsing fences and gates.
Over a few years we converted several of the stone and slate built farm buildings into three self catering properties and have been operating as a 4 star farm tourism business since about 1991. Our guests include families, couples and larger groups. Many guests return every year and have become friends. We think 27 years is the longest period a family has been coming here. We aim to make improvements to the cottages and the outdoor areas every year, so for example have added hot tubs to the properties in previous years. These are very popular but require a lot of work keeping them clean and in good condition.
Our guests love being on a traditional farm with sheep, goats and poultry outdoors and free and with farm activities such as shearing and haymaking occurring throughout the year. Children very much enjoy being able to feed and handle animals and they look forward to seeing our two friendly working cocker spaniels every year. Many guests spent much of their time exploring the farm and don’t need to go out in the car. We are linked to many cycle routes and are finding that cycling, mountain biking and other outdoor activities are increasingly popular.
We have maintained and increased the wilder areas on the farm and have our own private nature reserve. Wetlands, riverside, ancient woodlands and traditional hay meadows mean that we have a very biodiverse environment with many species of birds and animals. Dragonflies on the ponds are stunning and the woodlands are full of birds especially in May and June. To further improve the environment we have put up over 100 bird boxes and planted over 10,000 trees. A treehouse above a large badger sett provides a hide for badger watching.
Overall I would say that ‘too much to do and not enough time’ is our greatest challenge to running the business and this continues throughout most of the year. Keeping up with repairs and building work is an ever present challenge.
Historically the biggest challenge has been Foot and Mouth in 2001 which affected the tourism business and the farm, causing a large loss of income and a loss of some of our sheep flock. Currently Covid 19 is still a challenge, but we are busy with lots of bookings while maintaining precautions to keep everyone as safe as possible. The time spent doing routine sanitising and cleaning is very substantial. Likewise the admin for refunds, rebookings and vouchers has also been time consuming. Like everyone involved in hospitality we hope that staying in the UK and coming to Mid Wales will continue to be much more popular and we can all contribute to making our guests have a great time when they are here.
We feel it is crucial for trade bodies and Welsh Government to use the opportunity we now have to support and promote tourism in our area. Being a member of MWT is important to keep up to date with developments and promotions. We have found that there is always a helpful and friendly response to queries and an awareness of what is going on at policy making level.
Guests are usually lovely and a joy to get to know. Seeing longstanding guests and getting to know new ones is one of the best things about running our business. Chatting about farming and country life is also enjoyable and we find that most people are incredibly interested in how farming life and the community in our area works. We like to hear about their lifestyles as well!"
Self Catering Country Cottages Mid Wales, Holidays Powys | Nannerth Country Holidays
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