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Review and Video of Upper Middle Road Farm, Mid Wales

Posted by Paul Miles at 10:51 on Friday 07 June 2013

The quiet hillside location and the owners’ inspirational green living and homemade bara brith on arrival impress Paul Miles during his stay at Upper Middle Road Farm.

>> For contact details and availability, see our full listing for Upper Middle Road Farm

Karen and Danny grow as much of their own produce as possible. Photo: Paul MilesKaren and Danny grow as much of their own produce as possible. Photo: Paul MilesThe Setting

You reach this small-holding belonging to Danny and Karen Kelleher along single-track country lanes, the type where grass grows in the centre and the banks and hedges tower high on either side. At farm gates, you glimpse views across pastures to a distant village and, beyond, the Black Mountains erupting out of a patchwork of fields.

Cosy cottage double. Photo: Paul MilesCosy cottage double. Photo: Paul MilesThe Rooms
The two guest rooms – one double, one twin – welcome you as a kindly, educated great aunt might: floral wallpaper and bedding, crochet work, shelves of books about history and wildlife, tea and coffee-making with fine china cups. Beds are comfortably firm and it’s blissfully quiet, with no traffic noise. The double has a washbasin and toilet with a bathroom downstairs while the twin has a small en-suite shower room. The double looks towards the mountains while the twin room looks out across back garden and fields. There’s a log-burner in the living room that Karen and Danny like to share with guests.

The Food
It was an awareness of the importance of what we eat and a desire to grow their own food that brought the couple to this hillside over 30 years ago. Farming their five acres organically, they keep sheep for meat and wool (that Karen spins and felts) and a dozen hens. The back garden supplies them with an estimated 90% of their fruit and vegetables – from asparagus to zucchini. Karen makes bread and breakfast preserves (try the cape gooseberry, yum) and cooks vegetarian options such as Welsh rarebit with eggs. I had mine with laverbread – Welsh seaweed. Meaty options include bacon from the local butcher. Evening meals (their lamb is delicious) are provided on request.

Danny and Karen outside their summerhouse. Photo: Paul MilesDanny and Karen outside their summerhouse. Photo: Paul MilesThe Activities

There are electric bikes available, free of charge, useful for exploring steep country lanes. The village of Boughrood, with a pub and pretty church, is a pleasant walk away. There are footpaths over surrounding farms and hills. Fly fishing and canoeing on the River Wye can be arranged. Hay-on-Wye, with its bookshops and festival, is just eight miles away. Otherwise, enjoy garden, summerhouse and barbecue area followed by star gazing through a telescope. Karen can teach you how to spin wool and give organic gardening tips while Danny can tell you more about their green endeavours.

Tackle the hills on an electric bike. Photo: Paul MilesTackle the hills on an electric bike. Photo: Paul MilesThe Green
Danny and Karen have found that minimising their carbon footprint saves money. Instead of spending on heating oil, they buy sustainably harvested pine trees from a plantation just three miles away. He feeds the wood into a high-tech efficient boiler that heats the water and radiators in the well-insulated house. “We spend a fraction of what we used to spend on oil,” says Danny who also recycles used vegetable oil to fuel their cars. There’s a bank of solar PV panels that provide most of their electricity and the rest comes from Good Energy. Most fruit and vegetables and the lamb are home grown.  All waste is recycled.

How to get there by public transport
The easiest way is to take the train to Cardiff and then bus T4 from Cardiff for a two-hour journey to Boughrood, from where it’s just a mile to walk to Upper Middle Road Farm (or they will collect you). Otherwise, take your bike on the train to Abergavenny, from where it’s a pleasant but challenging ride of over 30 miles on back roads.

Top Tip
Don’t miss out on the offer of free use of electric bikes: it’s a pleasant way to explore. Erwood train station, with its craft centre, café and riverside walk is an easy five miles away.

Verdict
Perfect for anyone who appreciates a peaceful location with plentiful walks on the doorstep and a taste of the Good Life.

Green view towards the Black Mountains. Photo: Paul MilesGreen view towards the Black Mountains. Photo: Paul Miles

Disclosure

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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