If you need to get away from the rat race and have a yen for hills, trees and utter silence, may I suggest Pentop Cottage. When my sister and her husband were looking for a base from which to climb Snowdon they found this via a search for the ‘best cottages in Wales’. It looked incredibly pretty and the location photo on the website was simply a photo of a forest of trees with an arrow pointing at the very centre. So in the spirit of adventure and in order to get far away from the madding crowd, four of us booked it for three nights. We later found out it had been featured in a Buzzfeed article entitled ’22 Remote Places In Britain To Escape From Humanity.’
And remote it was. To get there we drove through a tiny village then took a single track road into the forest and up a mountain path until we reached a clearing to find our little stone cottage nestled into the hillside. As we tumbled wearily from our car, we were greeted by perfect thick silence you only find in the forest. Late afternoon sunlight dappled gently through the trees, and we walked through a wooden gate to find a little wooden front door surrounded by roses. Yes it was that idyllic. If Snow White had appeared at this point, with a basket of apples, I don’t think we would have been remotely surprised.
The cottage itself was a good mix of period charm and modern updates. Thick stone walls, wooden floors, wooden shutters and a wood burning stove ticked all the ‘character’ boxes whilst central heating, a modern walk-in shower and unlimited hot water kept us warm and happy. That said, it was a stone cottage, so the ground floor rooms didn’t ever really shake the cool, shady feeling during the day. As such the wood burning stove, welsh blankets and thick drapes at the front and back door were essential. But even that just added to the holiday spirit – lighting a fire at 4pm in August seemed quite fun and a great excuse to sit down in front of it and read a book!
The upstairs rooms, however, were a very different story. The main bedroom was a bright, cosy attic conversion that was flooded with light all day long thanks to two skylights above the bed. At night these became the perfect place to stargaze from and to watch the bats wheeling above (the cottage is a ‘dark skies area’ so the stars are in abundance.) Also on the top floor was a family bathroom with original beams and another skylight to draw down as much light as possible, so in the morning the room was filled with sunshine.
Sometimes though, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference, and on arrival it was lovely to find the owners had been in before we arrived to switch on the lights and leave a handwritten welcome note on the scrubbed pine table alongside a bowl of fresh eggs, a loaf of sourdough bread and a couple of bottles of local cider. There were also lots of other lovely little things to discover, like the wooden chest full of board games in the living room and a supply of freshly-ground coffee in the kitchen cupboard. There was also an outdoor ‘adventure room’ for drying off muddy clothes and bikes that had a cosy armchair tucked into one corner with a fully stocked bookshelf within easy reach.
Outside, the garden was an oasis of wildflowers with a backdrop of deep forest; a little mown path carved a swathe through the flowers to lead up to a bench and fire pit for sunny evenings (although it wasn’t quite warm enough for us to enjoy this time.) A large wood pile was stocked with seasoned logs and kindling for the fire and a couple of deck chairs were stacked up, ready for the sun to emerge. Because of the remote location the gardens were a wildlife haven too. A nest of tiny birds kept up a constant chatter under the front door porch and there were bees and butterflies flitting around all day long.
There was so much to keep me and my camera happy! The four days went by so quickly, and there were many walks we planned to do that we didn’t get around to, mainly because the house itself was so pretty and the location to restful that it seemed a shame to leave it. So we spent several lazy mornings and relaxing evenings sitting in the house and garden, reading, talking, eating and enjoying the peace and quiet.
You can find out more about Pentop Cottage here.
All photos: Victoria Harrison
*Note – I was not a guest of Pentop Cottage and this is not a sponsored post*