Richard Hammond takes the ferry from Portsmouth across to Santander in Northern Spain to visit the inspiring Posada del Valle 19th-century stone farmhouse.
In a nutshell:
A tranquil in quiet family-run hotel on an organic farm near Arriondas by the Picos de Europa national park - between the sea and the mountains.
Rooms: 12 rooms
Price: Self-catering from €63.20/night
Meals: Breakfast €9 per person; Dinner €28.50 per person
Open: year round
Good to know: Babies and Children welcome; popular with walkers & birdwatchers; close to beaches of eastern Asturias; nearby towns Cangas de Onis & Llanes
Good for green: Walkers & Cyclists Welcome; Owners provide produce from their organic orchards and vegetable garden for breakfast and dinner; EEC registered organic farm; Good for vegetarians.
Watch a video of Posada del Valle:
Richard's Review of Posada del Valle:
The Setting: Posada del Valle is a 19th-century stone farmhouse near Arriondas by the Picos de Europa national park. It was once the home of a parish priest, which the English owners have turned it into a certified organic farm where rare breed sheep graze among 18 acres of wild meadow and the electricity is bought in from renewable sources. There's juice from the apple orchard, fresh home-baked bread and veg from the terraced garden for evening meals in a glass-fronted dining-room.
The Rooms: The 12 bedrooms are ensuite with stone walls and windows that originate from the building’s past role as a priest’s farmhouse.
The Food: Homemade apple juice and bread for breakfast, while in the evening the imaginative daily changing set menu (based on seasonality and availability) includes a soup, salad (much of it picked just hours before it is served), main course (with a vegetarian option), dessert or a selection of local cheeses. About a third of the food is produced from the farm, another third from a specialist organic distributor and 15% of the rest is from certified-organic local small producers. The owners also bake all their own bread, cakes and desserts.Over 98% of all the products used in the hotel restaurant are certified organic.
Activities: Read about the locality in the small library or curl up in front of an open fire in the comfortable lounge that was converted from the farm's original stables. Listen to the distant sound of the mountain goat bells and admire the views from the large gallery windows of the lush valley below. This is prime walking country - there are 40 self-guided walks in the area from gentle strolls to mountain treks. The posada is close to the sandy beaches of the Cantabrian coast, but go to the many inland rivers for canoeing and canyoning, or into the mountains for horse-riding and mountain-biking. The farmhouse is a 3km walk from Arriondas, which is four hours by bus from Bilbao, two hours from Santander. For more ideas of what to do in the area, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Green Spain.
Solar panels for hot water and central heating
Low energy appliances throughout
Rainwater is used to irrigate crops
Use of water is minimised using low flow rate showers and taps and water-efficient toilets
Recycling of paper, glass and plastic, and compost available for organic waste
Get to Posada del Valle the low carbon way: It is possible to reach Northern Spain by public transport from the UK. See our guide to London to Santander by train and ferry. From Santander, you can either get a bus (about 2 hours with Alsa) or hop on the FEV train to Ariondas (about 3 hours) from where it's a short taxi ride to the hotel (about €6-7.)
Verdict: There's a country inn feeling to this family-run organic farmstay that the owner Nigel has carefully developed over many years. Large airy stone rooms with wonderful views over the lush valley. While the accommodation is comfortable (and the organic food delicious), it's the location that will take your breath away - in a terrific position between the mountains of the Picos de Europa and the beautiful beaches of eastern Asturias.
Top Tip: Watch our video of Green Spain to see some of the things you can do in the region (we visited Posada del Valle while we filmed this!):
Book a Holiday at Posada del Valle:
Email Nigel: email@example.com or call him on: +34 985 84 11 57.
Mention 'Green Traveller' when you book and receive some fresh organic produce during your stay!