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Review of Cwmbiga Farm, Powys, Wales

Posted by at 03:25 on Wednesday 03 July 2013

Lucy Symons finds a perfect place to get away from it all – Cwmbiga Farm in Powys – where you can lollop by the pond or twitch to your heart's content in Cwmbiga’s own wetlands

>> For contact details and availability, see our full listing for Cwmbiga Farm

The front of Cwmbiga. Photo: Lucy SymonsThe front of Cwmbiga. Photo: Lucy Symons

The Setting
Really, really in the middle of nowhere, tucked in the Cambrian Mountains, you will find Cwmbiga Farm. Following directions along the former drovers' road (en route to the midlands) I passed through Staylittle (a former stopping off point for drovers on a mission, the name is literally an instruction). Even this village is far away from Cwmbiga and seemed only to consist of a single house and a post box; I carried on for several miles through the
Hafren Forest which is well managed and laid out for cycling and walking.

Free range sheep leapt out of the hedgerows and tried to get under my wheels. The Severn and Tyne reservoir is here – stunning, like something out of the Lake District. I travelled on a single lane track for three miles through the forest and out the other side and there was Cwmbiga, tucked on a hillside and surrounded by acres of farmland and forest. The gardens are well tended and there is a big pond and wet land area, you have the freedom to roam the entire estate, with dogs on leads and children under control. There is no telly and no wifi or mobile phone signal. This is a peaceful place where you can really get away from the hustle and bustle of a busy life.

Cwmbiga Farm, twin bedroom Photo: Lucy SymonsCwmbiga Farm, twin bedroom Photo: Lucy SymonsThe Rooms
Take your pick – Cwmbiga offers B&B or self catering. Two cottages are in the grounds, which each sleep seven: two double beds, twins and a single room, and two bathrooms all set around a giant common area for kitchen and dining and sitting. Well equipped and purpose built, these are super insulated and triple glazed with underfloor heating and a wood burner in each. The vast main living areas offer flexibility for a big group: a family, or perhaps a gaggle of keen walkers or cyclists or riders (you can stable your horses here, or pop them in the field with the sheep). Peter and Susan also have three en suite bedrooms in the house for B&B guests – two doubles and one twin room (or a super king if you zip the beds together). Grade 2 listed, the main house has been sympathetically modernised with a very light touch.

The Food
Used to catering for all kinds of dietary quirks, Peter produced gluten free Welsh cakes! I've never had such a thing but they were delish! Supper can be provided for the B&B guests if they so desire and breakfast is also catered for. Packed lunches can be whipped up for those hearty souls who plan on spending a day walking or biking. Sitting down to eat in the sun filled conservatory with a perfect view of the bird-feeder, populated by the myriad of the local feathered population was pretty close to heaven. All local produce is used, supporting the local economy. In the self-catering cottages, you are on your own mostly food-wise, but Susan can direct you to her favourite local providers... and will bake you a bara brith on arrival and possibly supper if you ask nicely. There are two bbqs in the grounds for the use of the cottages, although the lambs in the surrounding fields are all headed for Waitrose, so hands off. (I may well see them there.)

Breakfast at Cwmbiga. Photo Lucy SymonsBreakfast at Cwmbiga. Photo Lucy Symons

The Activities
The Hafren forest is on your doorstep, perfect for cycling and walking. You can rent a bike from Hafren Cycle Hire  and take to the cycle trail – in fact, route 8 goes practically past the front door. You are close to the Glyndwr's Way (a National Trail) and the 136 mile Wye Valley Walk. The Clywedog Reservoir, renowned for its fishing and sailing, is only a mile away. There is pony trekking at The Mill and clay pigeon shooting if you are a bit of a crack shot - in fact there are regular competitions at the Mid Wales Shooting Centre at Trefeglyws.  

Conservatory at Cwmbiga Photo: Lucy SymonsConservatory at Cwmbiga Photo: Lucy SymonsYou can watch the red kite being fed at Gigrin Farm, visit the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust and RSPB reserves nearby. For the keen twitcher, the bird watching at Cwmbiga is pretty great, too, so set yourself up in the hide in the wetlands garden for a few hours. Peter can always help you identify the birds, or you can borrow the resident gentle greyhound, Chloe, to take for a walk if you would like. The beach at Llanidloes is only 9 miles away if your buckets and spades need an outing.

Stargazing is excellent here. There is a drying room for your use and if she has the time, Susan has been known to do your washing if you need a few pairs of clean pants en route. If you are travelling light, onward transport of luggage an be arranged if that suits you. There is a bike store and a stable for your pony, and even a hose to wash off all the mud you may have accumulated.

The Green
There are 40 square metres of solar panels, a 50KW log fuelled boiler burning only locally sourced wood from the forestry commission, full on recycling and energy saving everything at Cwmbiga. All labour used for renovating the cottage and raising the self-catering cottages was local, from within a 15-mile radius. The holiday cottages have under floor heating, are highly insulated and supplementary heating is provided by wood burning stoves.  Where possible, all materials are sourced locally. Peter and Susan have planted over 1250 native broadleaf trees and they boast a colony of bees.

Cwmbiga pond and wild life Photo: Lucy SymonsCwmbiga pond and wild life Photo: Lucy Symons

How to get here by public transport
The closest train gets in to Caersws station which is about 12 miles away. If you arrive by train there is a taxi service recommended. Baggage transfer is a possibility if you arrive by foot or bike.

Top Tip
The self-catering cottages are accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. This is a great spot for an extended family break –there is enough variety of things to do in the immediate environment for everyone to be entertained without having to go anywhere else. Peter and Susan offer a 25% discount for any groups of four or fewer. Reading through the guestbook the comments consistently say that it is the personal welcome that makes such a difference here, along with the food and peace and quiet. And, by the way, the beds are super comfy and the showers are brilliant.

The self catering kitchen/dining room at Cwmbiga Photo: Lucy SymonsThe self catering kitchen/dining room at Cwmbiga Photo: Lucy Symons

Verdict
This is the perfect place to get away from it all. Come and lollop by the pond to watch the newts, or take up residence in the hide in Cwmbiga’s own wetlands and twitch to your heart's content. Walk or cycle or ride... but don't come here expecting wifi or mobile signal or to be able to pop out for a latte: it is seriously remote and gorgeously so.

>> For contact details and availability, see our full listing for Cwmbiga Farm

>> The Cwmbiga Farm is featured in our Greentraveller Guide to Mid Wales

Posted by Lucy Symons

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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