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Review of Brynhonddu Country House, Brecon Beacons, Wales

Posted by at 03:55 on Friday 18 November 2011

>> For contact details and to check availability, see our full listing of: Brynhonddu Country House

Brynhonddu Country House is a cosy, family-run Country House B&B with fantastic views out over the Black Mountains, minutes from the famous Offa's Dyke walking path.

The exterior of Brynhonddu Country House, Wales. Photo: Tom WattsThe exterior of Brynhonddu Country House, Wales. Photo: Tom Watts

The accommodation
Owners Keith and Carol White have clearly put a lot of personality into Brynhonddu - as you walk up the stairs, you are met by countless family photographs and artworks - some impressive pieces were painted by their son, now living in Australia, hence the didgeridoo on the wall. As a result, Brynhonddu feels welcoming and lived-in, and it has been, on and off, since it was built in the 16th century. The history of the building and surrounding area is another area of importance for the owners, and you can opt for a brief history lesson with Keith after breakfast in the dining room. Each of the 4 rooms is cosy and comfortable, while the Cerise room in the loft is so quiet it seems almost removed from the rest of the house. The new self-catering section of the house is decidedly modern, with an open-plan living space, spacious double bedroom and wet room.
> See the full listing of The Retreat, Brynhonddu's 4* self-catering apartment

The comfortable double room. Photo: Tom WattsThe comfortable double room. Photo: Tom WattsThe activities
As it backs onto the famous Offa's Dyke walking path, Brynhonddu is ideally located for walkers. Originally built by Danish King Offa to repel the Welsh in 759AD, it now acts as a fantastic route offering great views of the surrounding Black Mountains. There's also the chance to cycle, mountain bike and even hang-glide nearby - ask the owners for information on renting bikes from Abergavenny. Just to the north of Brynhonddu, you can horse ride over the Llanthony Valley. If you make it all the way to Hay-on-Wye along Offa's Dyke, take the time to wander in and out of the numerous second-hand bookshops.

The food
The Brynhonddu breakfast menu boasts a good selection of local goodies. The full breakfast is a particular treat - the eggs come courtesy of the chickens that wander only a few feet away across the drive, the bacon is from local pigs, and the sausages are sourced from local butcher Edwards of Abergavenny. The jams are also delicious, most of which come straight from Mrs Phillips next door. A surprising number of restaurants and pubs lie within 1-2 miles of Brynhonddu, offering everything from hearty pub food to fine dining. The Pandy Inn is the closest, only a short walk away, and serves good pub food and local ale. Try a pint of the delicious Butty Bach ('Little Friend') ale to accompany one of the Welsh sausage dishes. Beware though, each sausage is apparently just under a pound in weight! Keith is happy to give guests a lift to their pub or restaurant of choice, and the wander back will take you through some beautifully quiet lanes.

Brynhonddu's library-cum-dining room. Photo: Tom WattsBrynhonddu's library-cum-dining room. Photo: Tom WattsWhat makes Brynhonddu green
Keith and Carol are understandably proud of their green credentials - an impressive selection of awards and certifications are on display in the hallway as you enter. They have invested in solar thermal energy, which they use to supplement their hot water usage, as well as solar PV panels that can be spied on the barn roof opposite. Impressively, all of the water comes from a natural spring and the commitment to recycling includes composting bins and, at one time, even a wormery. The area itself is covered by a Blanket Preservation Order that protects the 51 different species of tree growing on the premises, a collection the Whites (both former florists) are extremely proud of and are more than happy to talk through with guests. Interestingly, the leaves on the front door panels were created by a local craft business to represent the many species of trees on site.

How to get there
Take the train to Abergavenny (around 2 hours 30 minutes from London). From there, you can either get a taxi from the centre of Abergavenny to Brynhonddu, which should cost around £10,a or catch the bus that runs every two hours from Abergavenny to the Pandy Inn pub. From there it is a short ten-minute walk to Brynhonddu Country House.

The panels provide solar thermal energy. Photo: Tom WattsThe panels provide solar thermal energy. Photo: Tom WattsTop tip
Follow the winding Offa's Dyke up to Hay-on-Wye, or one of the numerous other paths along which you'll encounter sites of cultural interest - including a tiny church with a congregation of six. Have the owners help plan your journey over breakfast and spend the day wandering the hillsides, before stopping off at the Pandy Inn for a pint of Butty Bach.

Verdict
It is not surprising that Brynhonddu won the 'Best B&B in Wales' award as voted by overseas guests - this is an ideal accommodation for those looking to immerse themselves in Welsh history and culture. As Keith put it, there is "no one reason to come here", and the information he and Carol make available means it’s very easy to get out and enjoy the Brecon Beacons. Brynhonddu is warm, welcoming and an ideal base from which to get up and go - whatever your means of transport.

>> For contact details and to check availability, see our full listing of: Brynhonddu Country House

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Blogs posts categorised as 'Reviews' have been written with the support of one or more of the following: accommodation owner, activity provider, operator, equipment supplier, tourist board, protected landscape authority or other destination-focussed authority. The reviewer retains full editorial control of the work, which has been written in the reviewer's own words based on their experience of the accommodation, activity, equipment or destination.

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