A Slow Living Weekend In Wales

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Ever since we met Matt has wanted to show off some of the scenery of Wales, from his day’s at University in Swansea and so we decided to take off one week in winter to see what we could discover.

Our journey

We headed up the A30 to the M5 to make our way to Wales, checking out all the landmark signs on our way for the places we want to see on another trip. Our adventure really started about 2 and half hours into our trip when in torrential rain our old cars passenger side wiper decided to have a fit, going half the speed of the other one eventually turned into a full stop. We hurriedly pulled over and with no mechanical skills or knowledge we poked around to see if anything was blocking it, luckily the rain eased and with one trusty wiper doing the job we continued on our adventure with the hope that the working one wouldn’t stop. As we found our way to the Severn Bridge the excitement really started to show as we stare at the Severn and the old bridge standing tall ready to be used when the wind dies down. Lou’s first trip into Wales, our smiles wide and the expectations of great adventures to come over the next 3 days. We cruise along the M40 anxiously waiting to see the all-important sign towards our final destination just outside Abergavenny, as we join the A4042 the scenery quickly changes to the Wales we want to explore

Where we stayed

After searching online we found The Cottage Company who had so many amazing places to stay, all we needed to do is work out where we wanted to be based. As soon as we saw The Old Stable we knew this was the place for us, just outside of the Brecon Beacons National Park and easy to get to. The accommodation was exactly what we needed with limited phone signal but with all the mod cons and wifi if we wanted. On arrival, we had all the firewood we needed to warm the place up and settle in after a long drive, with a bottle of wine and some snacks for dinner we settled in for the night listening to the storm outside. Funnily enough, all the power went out for the night and we settled down to scrabble by candlelight. There is a wood store just outside the cottage with logs supplied free of charge which made for a lovely touch. The stable itself is light and airy with high ceilings, rustic old walls, lovely solid wood flooring and we would happily go back here in a heartbeat.

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Things we did

Our first full day in Wales we made the drive along the south of the Breacon Beacons to Waterfall country, after a quick stop and read in the visitor centre we made our way into the woods chasing the sounds of rushing waters. We went in January which was great for us as the paths were so quiet and we barely saw anyone on our travels, there are a mixture of routes which vary in difficulty and length, we chose the longest route to try and see as many of the waterfalls as we could in the day we had. The going is pretty easy at the start and as you go deeper and deeper into Waterfall country the path narrows in places, a few drops to the river below here and there and wide openings as the ground levels off. Just as you start to think where the next waterfall is you start to hear that rushing water sound and before you know you pick up the pace to see what is making all that noise. An adventure I would recommend to anyone, a great way to get outside and explore something different.

With the heritage of Wales and the mining industry we decided to drive into the hills and head towards Big Pit, a fantastic attraction as you take the lift down into the mine. The first thing that gets you is the absolute pitch black, as the guide and ex-worker tell tales of the harsh life these miners and families used to endure you start to think just how easy life can be at times. We learnt so much in the few hours we were down in the depths of the mountain, an experience I would suggest anyone in the area to do.

Travel home mini adventure

As a surprise on the way home and to break up the journey Matt took us off the motorway and on the hunt for the Cheddar Gorge, we have passed it several times over the years but were always in a hurry to get home. This time we pulled in, parked up and had a mini adventure on the way home. It was pouring down with rain as we got there and the streets were empty with water flowing down the pavement. Undeterred we bought a day ticket to go and see what the caves had to offer, the colours are so hard to describe and really is a must see. Walking around underground listening to the drops of water as we read the information sheets explaining what we are looking at is incredible and you can lose hours wandering around the caves.

After the caves, we made the hike to the top of the hill to stretch the legs before we got back into the car and headed home for the last part of our journey. From now on we decided we will always add a mini adventure on our way home to make the holiday last just that little bit longer and see another part of the country that we had previously just driven right on bye.

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TravelLouise Robertson