Sunday 7 June 2020

Pentre Bach under Lockdown!

Well 2020 has been a year like no other. Like the rest of the country, we've been under strict lockdown since the end of March. We closed our gates on Sunday the 22nd of March when our last guests left, after a weekend celebrating an 80th birthday. At the moment we have no idea of when we'll be able to open our doors again.
However we've not been sitting around twiddling our thumbs. In the first few days we both wrote out a long list of 'things to do' that we usually have to fit in around and between bookings, and over the last 11 weeks we've worked our way through this list. The weather has been very kind to us so we've been able to complete most of our outside jobs. 

We've emptied out, cleaned and refilled the ponds by the patio and in the fruit garden.
Mike has painted most of the outside of the windows (some inside as well) - a huge job!
6 garden gates painted.
Vegetable garden dug over and planted up.
Fruit garden cleared of ivy and brambles.
Drive powerwashed.
Gutters cleared.
All flower beds dug over and weeded.
Ivy removed from walls.
The lawns treated and regularly cut.
Hedges regularly trimmed.
Vanity cabinets in en suite rooms varnished.
Table tennis room floor repainted.
Etc ., etc.

What a shame guests weren't able to see our fantastic displays of daffodils then bluebells. They were particularly stunning this year.

Last year we were unfortunate to lose 3 out of 4 of our bee colonies to wasps so we were reduced to one hive. However in the last three weeks we've been alerted to 5 swarms in the village. We managed to collect 4 (the 5th ended up in a chimney so not accessible). We were able to rehouse 3 swarms and gave the 4th to a neighbour who had an empty hive ready and waiting.

We're so lucky to be locked down in such a beautiful area and be able to take exercise by walking from our own front door. We've managed to explore footpaths and parts of the Wales Coast Path in and around Llwyngwril that we've never walked before. The views from above the village range to Snowdon in the north and the Bardsey Island in the west.


Now we're beginning to think about what we need to do to be able to welcome back guests when we're safely allowed to do so.
We will possibly have to ask guests to arrive a little later on arrival day and leave a little earlier on departure day to allow us more time to do a deep clean of all surfaces that can be touched. Certain items such as games will be removed and guests will be asked to put any books that they touch in a box to be kept separate for a period of time afterwards.
The table tennis room will only be able to be used when we have a single family group.
There are many more aspects that we'll have to consider over the next few weeks before we can open our doors again but we do hope that guests will be able to come back in the not too distant future to enjoy a stay at beautiful Pentre Bach.

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Concerned about your carbon footprint? Give your car a rest! Part 2

In part 1 we explored various excursions, journeys and walks that you can take, heading north from Llwyngwril, without using a car.
This time we're looking at where you can go and what you can do, if you head in a southerly direction from the village.
By train (remember to hold your hand out to stop the train as its a request stop!) the first station you will come to is Tonfanau. Note the unusual bat box on the old station wall.

During the Second World War an army base was created near the village. Around 600 men were stationed at the camp, which specialised in training personnel in anti-aircraft artillery.
In 1972, the base was reopened and used as a refugee centre. Over 3,000 Ugandan Asians, fleeing from persecution by Idi Amin, were housed there for six months before being settled elsewhere. In fact a few years ago we had one family staying at Pentre Bach, who were descendants of some of those refugees, and they'd wanted to see where their parents and grandparents had lived when they'd first arrived in Wales.
Further inland is a one mile race track that is used for motor bike races one Sunday a month.

If you carry on heading south from the station you will cross over the impressive Tonfanau Bridge, which was installed as part of the Wales Coastal Path over the Dysynni Estuary.
Once over this bridge you can head inland along the edge of Broadwater and the Dysynni River , through the delightful woodlands that form part of Ynysymaengwyn Caravan Park. 

You will then emerge onto the main road between Bryncrug and Tywyn, where you can catch the No 28 bus back to Llwyngwril or otherwise continue further inland along the beautiful Dysynni Valley and perhaps as far as Bird Rock (Craig y Aderyn)! This is where a large number of nesting cormorants and choughs can be found.

An alternative to heading inland would be to carry on heading south to the seaside town of Tywyn. Of course you can always continue on the train and get off at Tywyn station. The town boasts an excellent beach that stretches all the way to Aberdyfi. Tywyn isn't perhaps the prettiest of towns but there are a number of independent shops to browse and many cafes and restaurants where you can refuel and spend some time.There is also the famous Tal y Llwyn railway  The Talyllyn Railway ( Rheilffordd Talyllyn) is a narrow gauge railway in Wales running for 7 14 miles from Tywyn to Nant Gwernol near the village of Abergynolwyn. There is a cafes at both ends , as well as an interesting museum and shop in Tywyn.
Of course we can't forget about the amazing Magic Lantern Cinema in Tywyn This wonderfully preserved old cinema has been in existence since 1893 and nowadays shows all the most up to date films as well as Live Screenings.

So you can walk from Tywyn to Aberdyfi along the wide sandy beach or of course carry along on the Cambrian line to one of the two stations that serve Aberdyfi. Aberdyfi is a lovely little seaside town with many individual shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs. Children particularly enjoy the traditional seaside pastime of catching crabs off the pier.

One of our favourite walks is one of Derek, the weatherman's walks, a 6 mile circular walk that starts and ends on the beach in Aberfyfi.

If you continue on the Cambrian line you can get off at Aberdyfi Junction where you can catch a connection to the university city of Aberystwyth or carry on to the market town of Machynlleth. Here there is the lovely art gallery MOMA, and many antique shops and vegetarian cafes (lots of non veggie as well!).

If you prefer to take the bus, then the number 28 stops at places such as Bryncrug, Abergynolwyn, Talyllyn lake and Corris, starting points for some spectacular walks.
So lots of reasons to leave your car behind. Enjoy.

Thursday 18 April 2019

What our guests say about us

 A wonderful weekend at Pentre Bach

Absolutely stunning place - perfect for a celebration with good friends! Mike and Wilma were so friendly and helpful and I would thoroughly recommend this place to anyone for a weekend of rest, relaxation, fun and adventure in equal parts! Loved every minute of our stay here and will be back in the future! Thank you Mike and Wilma!
Jennifer N, 
Milton Keynes, April 2019

Fantastic Cosy Pet Friendly Cottage (Y Popty)
Fantastic, cosy. well equipped cottage with sea & mountain views. Enclosed field for safe dog walking Request train stop to Barmouth or Aberdovey only 5mins walk away 20min drive to Cadair Idris,lots of family fun had over New Year period Definately be back soon, to climb Cadair in the sunshine. 
Ryan B, Dec 2018

Lovely cottage (Y Llaethdy)

Well equipped cottage, beautifully decorated, cosy, perfect for our relaxing weekend. Thank you Mike and Wilma!
Kenyon8, Manchester,  Dec 2018

New year with family

Wilma and Mike greeted us and gave us all the information we needed for our stay, along with cake and mulled wine. Our party ranged in age from 7 months to 85 years old and we all had a fantastic time. There is plenty of room to spend together and apart! The grounds are great for dogs too. Very clean and well maintained we would all love to come again, thank you Wilma and Mike
The Field family Dec 2018

Pentre Bach - Fabulous Place

We absolutely love this place. It’s our third visit and will continue to return. Facilities fabulous, location fabulous, Mike & Wilma fabulous and so friendly. The place is spotless every time we visit. Great for family get together or groups of friends. Oct 2018

A trip down memory lane with family
A fabulous stay in what used to be my grandparents house and it was made all the more special by sharing it with my children and grandchildren. The little ones loved running about outside and being so close to the sea we had lovely walks there,as well. Seeing the knitted figures dotted around the village was wonderful. The house was warm and cosy and had all the amenities we needed. Thank You Mike and Wilma
Warrington,  Oct 2018

Perfect place to celebrate

Spent the weekend here for my 30th with about 20 friends and it was perfect! Beautiful location, fantastic hosts and the house has everything you could need. Have been before and will go again! ❤️
amylgallant,Norwich,  Sept 2018

We want to live there!

Peace and tranquility. Stunning gardens and house & cottages suit all sizes of parties and ages. Village pub, shop and beach in walking distance. Short drives to small towns with all amenities. Amazing walks from estuary to mountain. Smudge our spaniel has her friend Nellie there too! We’ve just booked our sixth stay in less than 2 years!

Karenbeasley13, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sept 2018

Our summer holiday 2018

We had an amazing week at Pentre Bach in summer 2018. The house was beautiful, well equipped and spacious. The garden and views were stunning as well as the village. The owners were very accommodating, really friendly and helpful throughout our stay. We went on many evening walks through the village and to the beach to watch the sunset. The walk around the village was very memorable with all the beautiful crochet done by locals.. very unique and pretty. Loads of nearby places to visit, lovely beaches and mountain walks.. One of our favourite places to stay so far, with a family of 18 it was perfect. Will definitely be returning for our family holiday soon..

Southport,  Aug 2018

Great place for a family gathering

Stayed here for a special birthday celebration with family members from aged from 13 to 82 and it was fabulous for everyone. Make use of supermarket deliveries and use the well equipped kitchen or BBQ as you won't want to leave this beautiful location.
Sonia S, Aug 2018
PS The photos aren't connected to the reviews but are of past guests enjoying themselves at Pentre Bach.

Sunday 10 March 2019

Concerned about your carbon footprint? Give your car a rest! Part 1

Why not give your car a rest when you come to Pentre Bach?
Many of our guests travel a long way to come on holiday to Pentre Bach, taking many hours to get here, but once you're here , why not park the car and forget about it for the duration of your stay?
Llwyngwril is ideally situated along the route of the beautiful Cambrian Coast Railway Line, which runs from Aberystwyth in the south, round to Pwllheli on the Llyn Peninsula. Whichever direction you choose to go, the route is absolutely stunning, as the line hugs the coastline for much of the way.
Along the route there are many interesting little towns and villages to explore, from Machynlleth , Aberdyfi and Tywyn to the south , and Barmouth, Dyffryn Ardudwy, Harlech, Minffordd (for Portmeirion), Porthmadog and  Criccieth to the north.
But why not explore the surrounding area close by?
You could just hop on the train (remember to put your hand out to ask the train to stop in Llwyngwril as its just a request stop!) to the next station along the line, Fairbourne and enjoy a walk along to the end of the Penrhyn Point where you could take the little ferry across the estuary to Barmouth. Or just spend time on Fairbourne's lovely sandy beach. There's also probably one of the best located 9 -hole golf courses in the country situated behind the dunes. Children would also enjoy riding on the little narrow gauge railway, that goes to Penrhyn Point and back again.

Instead of catching the train back to Llwyngwril, one option is to walk back along the Wales Coastal Path, which would take you past the Blue Lake, above Friog, which is well worth a visit. 

If you take the Cambrian Railway train to the next stop at Morfa Mawddach then you have the option of walking or cycling along the Mawddach Trail

This trail stretches from Barmouth to Dolgellau and for much of the way hugs the edge of the beautiful Mawddach Estuary. You can even stop off for some refreshment at the newly refurbished George III along the way. If you walk or cycle over the bridge to Barmouth, make sure you have a camera with you, as you will be tempted to take many shots of the stunning Mawddach Estuary and the famous Clock House as you cross.

Once you get to Barmouth then you can spend hours browsing the shops, eating and drinking in the many tea shops and pubs (we recommend the Last Inn), eating fish and chips from The Mermaid on the prom or even taking donkey rides on the wide sandy beaches.

Or if you want to stay away from the crowds, then climb up the steep steps to your right as you enter the town and follow the Panorama Walk

You'll eventually be rewarded when you arrive at a bench on the top of a hill with amazing views over the estuary. 

Then its back down to Barmouth for a well deserved pint and either a walk back across the bridge to the Morfa Mawddach station or you could catch the train back to Llwyngwril from Barmouth Station.

If you take the train a bit further up the line to Tal y Bont then you could do the southern section of the Ardudwy Way , which is 8 miles long and takes you over the hills back to the Mawddach Estuary and eventually Barmouth, taking in some beautiful scenery along the way.

If you want to go inland to Dolgellau then you could catch the no 28 bus , which runs from Tywyn to Dolgellau. You'll have plenty of time to explore this lovely little town, partake of some lunch in one of the many cafes, restaurants or pub, before catching the bus back again to the village. The bus stop is a 5 minute walk from Pentre Bach.

Next time we'll explore where the train or bus can take you if you travel south from Llwyngwril.

Sunday 9 September 2018

Another Buzzy Bees Year

Well its been another eventful year with the bees at Pentre Bach!

At the end of 2017 we finished the year with three colonies of bees, having collected two swarms earlier in the year. Unfortunately by the end of the winter in 2018 (remember the Beast from the East?!) we'd lost one of our colonies due to the extreme cold.

 However as the year went on and the weather improved , the two remaining colonies expanded and continued to thrive. The bees were able to get out to forage and start to make and store honey. We added a super (a section of frames where the bees can store honey , while the queen is excluded from this part and cannot therefore lay eggs here) to each hive and kept an eye on them. The wonderful weather in early summer was a real boost to the bees.

We did have one incident in early summer when we had a windy spell, which along with a rotting table upon which one hive was standing, caused the hive to lean over quite precariously. The whole hive in fact, was in danger of toppling over and completely collapsing. Unfortunately I was away at the time so Mike had to deal with it by himself. He had to remove each section one at a time from the table, remove the offending table and then carefully restack each section on a new surface. Quite a feat, by himself, dressed in a bee suit , in sweltering hot weather. As far as we know, no bees were lost in this operation!

One evening in late June we were alerted to a possible swarm in Heidi and Sion's garden in Godre'r Gaer. We were unable to go and have a look until the next morning when unfortunately by that time most of the bees had decided to move on and just a few stragglers and a bit of comb were left in the hedge.
So we posted a message on Facebook asking locals to keep a look out for the nomadic bees. Sure enough, the next day , we were informed by Pam and Roy, next to y Ganolfan, that there was a swarm in their Eucalyptus tree. So off we went with our bee suits, smoker and cardboard box. The bees were suspended very conveniently from one branch in an upside-down cone shape. We were then able to easily drop the majority of them into the box then leave them there for an hour or so, so that any stragglers could follow into the box where the queen was more than certain to be. Later that afternoon we sealed up the box and took them back to Pentre Bach where we 'persuaded' them to move into our nice empty hive.
Unfortunately they didn't seem to like the nice new empty hive as I found out a couple of days later when I checked up on them. The hive was empty again! They had scarpered!

So another request was put out on Facebook to look out for our bees with the wanderlust.
A surprisingly long week or so later (where had they been during this time?) we heard from Pam and Roy again that the bees were back in their Eucalyptus tree! So along we went, did the deed yet again and dropped the bees into the cardboard box (along with a bit of Eucalyptus branch for luck) and left the box in the garden to allow the rest to follow at their leisure.
We'd just got back to our house to get ready to watch England play Sweden in the quarter finals of the World Cup when we spotted another message on Facebook about another swarm in the Longworth's garden in Ffordd y Crynwyr. So off we went again, this time with a bit more haste, and found another swarm , again conveniently hanging in a couple of clumps from branches of a rose bush. We dropped them into another cardboard box and left it there , promising to be back later that afternoon (well over two hours later by the time England and Sweden got through their penalty kicks!).

Why do bees swarm?
There are various reasons why bees might swarm. It could be that the colony has just outgrown their present accommodation and decides to look for somewhere roomier to live,
It could also be that the existing queen is getting a bit past-it so the colony decides to raise some new queens. The first queen to emerge will subsequently kill any other queens that emerge as there can only be one queen in a colony. The old queen is then forced to leave but takes a big chunk of the colony with her, and tries to find new accommodation. Sad, isn't it?

Where have the swarms come from?
Well they could have come from one of my hives or they could be wild bees, or even come from further afield.

Are swarms dangerous?
The bees who leave a hive will have prepared themselves by gorging on honey before they leave, as they will not have ready-made stores to use wherever they end up, so they are likely to be sleepy and docile and just looking for somewhere to rest before moving on. They are unlikely to be aggressive if left alone.

Anyway, back to the story ……
We collected both boxes and transferred the first swarm (from the Eucalyptus tree) into the empty hive again. The second swarm (from the rose bush) had to be deposited into a polystyrene Nuc box (a box for small colonies or for transporting bees) and placed near the other hives. The decision as to where they would be housed on a more permanent basis would wait to see if either or both swarms were prepared to stay put.  A couple of weeks later and both swarms had stayed put. The colony in the Nuc box were quickly outgrowing their new home so we had to buy a complete new hive for them. It comes as flat pack so a few days later, after the hive had arrived and been assembled, we were able to transfer the bees into their new home. 

Happily all four colonies have stayed put. They continued to enjoy the great weather and at the end of July we were able to remove a number of frames and extract some honey. Of course we always have to ensure that we leave enough supplies for the bees to use themselves, when the weather isn't so good and they can't get out to forage.
Let's hope we don't have a repeat of The Beast from the East this winter and that all four colonies survive.

Oh and if anyone else finds a swarm in their garden, get in touch with  in Arthog because we don't have any more room!

Sunday 24 June 2018

More reasons for visiting Pentre Bach

In 2014 we blogged about  Why do people come to Pentre Bach/Llwyngwril? Reasons included military plane spotting, weddings, Stag/Hen parties, the celebration of a civil partnership, Guide Leaders' training weekend, family gatherings and of course the celebration of significant birthdays and anniversaries.

Family gatherings and the celebration of significant birthdays continue to be the most common reasons why guests book Pentre Bach House or one of the smaller cottages. In fact some family gatherings recently have included family members coming from as far away as Germany and even New Zealand!
Last weekend all our properties were booked by a large family celebrating their grandmother's 80th birthday.

However we do get people coming to this beautiful part of the world for very different reasons. Since the Wales Coast Path was launched in 2012, we've experienced an increasing number people who've booked one of our cottages to use as a base to explore some sections of the coastal path north and south of Llwyngwril. The path actually passes the end of our drive and guests can always use the Cambrian Coast rail line to reach further away sections.
This weekend we've hosted a group from Buckinghamshire who have come to climb Snowdon, even though we tried to encourage them to choose our local mountain Cader Idris instead!

Last week we had a couple staying in Y Llaethdy who were participating in a Veterans' Golf tournament at nearby Aberdyfi Golf Course. Another couple enjoyed their honeymoon here and enjoyed many spectacularly romantic sunsets while sitting on the bench overlooking Cardigan Bay. Congratulations to Sinead and Hayley-Jane! This was the photograph taken by the golfing couple.

Last year we had a group who were here to take part in a Writing Course. Hopefully they were inspired by the stunning scenery around here!

Sadly we had one family who came for a weekend in order to scatter their parents' ashes, some up at Cregennan Lakes and some off Barmouth Bridge, where their parents had spent many happy holidays. 

We've got one lady who's booked a week later this year, who used to holiday here with her aunt who lived in Pentre Bach over 40 years ago! No doubt she will see a few changes.

And finally we are getting more and more people who come to Llwyngwril to see the now famous yarnbombing. 

Why did you come to Pentre Bach? We'd love to hear from anyone who's stayed here who had a different reason for choosing to come here.

Saturday 2 June 2018

Lots of events coming up in and around Llwyngwril this summer!

Well possibly the best experience that you can have in north Wales this summer is right here in Llwyngwril. From now until the end of October prepare to be entertained and amazed, just by walking around our village. The ladies (and a few men) have been working hard to create the wonderful knitted and crocheted displays that can be seen all around the village. Gwril is back of course on his perch on the bridge, where he belongs. Make sure that you buy a guide from outside the village shop to ensure that you don't miss out anything. All donations go to raise funds for the local Community Centre.

First event coming up soon , not to be missed is the Three Peaks Yacht Race starting from Barmouth on Saturday the 9th of June. 

This has to be the most extreme way to complete the three peaks challenge - climbing the highest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland.  The start from Barmouth is preceded by a procession of the yachts from the harbour to the start line off shore with events, stalls and music on the quayside. You can always watch the boats leave the harbour from just across the water on Fairbourne beach.

RNLI Dog Show  on the 24th of June 
2pm at the boathouse. Classes for large, medium and small dogs. There will even be awards for the dog with the waggiest tail - and for the dog that looks most like its owner! 

Mawddach Paddlesports Festival
over the weekend of the 30th of June and 1st of July
Join in the fun at the Paddlesports festival. There are two days of canoe, kayak and Celtic longboat events in the dramatic setting of the Mawddach estuary and Barmouth harbour.  There will be races in various boats, demonstrations, development sessions, an opportunity to try Stand-up Paddle Boarding as well as trade stands and entertainment on the harbourside.

Kite Festival
7th & 8th July 2018 A colourful and spectacular display of kites and other wonderful flying creations. On the beach opposite the Lifeboat Station.

Talyllyn Railway, Tywyn
host many events throughout the summer. See their website for lots of information about these events, including a beer festival and Teddy Bear's Picnic.

Fairbourne  Steam Railway

For foodies there is the 

For athletes there is the annual RACE THE TRAIN event  in Tywyn on Saturday the 18th of August.
See the website for more information.

And last but certainly not least is 
Llwyngwril Art Club's
Annual Exhibition
at y Ganolfan, Llwyngwril
over the weekend of the 25th and 26th of August.
Don't miss it!