A cosy cabin in the Welsh wilderness

Jeff Travis at the Elan Valley in Wales
Jeff Travis at the Elan Valley in Wales

TRAVEL: Delays due to broken down vehicle on A27

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There are times when you yearn for the sun on your back in some far-flung sunny resort.

There are times you want to explore a historic city such as Paris or Rome.

And there are occasions when you just want to get away from it all without the hassle of airports and the hustle and bustle of civilisation.

Therein lies of the beauty of mid Wales.

Just a four-hour trip from Portsmouth, it is a land of stunning scenery, a patchwork of valleys, reservoirs, forests and castles – with very few people around compared to the ‘metropolis’ of Portsea Island.

Rather than lots of people, there are lots of sheep.

So it was quite fitting that myself and my partner stayed in a wooden cabin on a sheep farm.

Off the beaten track, Trewythen Lodges is a couple of miles from the pretty village of Llandinam in the county of Powys.

There are a selection of lodges clustered together on the working farm.

The two-bedroom lodge was impeccably clean and spacious, with all the modern fixtures and fittings, including two bathrooms and a kitchen diner.

Walking boots are mandatory for this holiday – as are swimming trunks.

Outside the lodge is your own personal hot tub, with views across the rolling hills.

The lodge also boasts a sauna. This was particularly handy as the winds are rather cold on the Welsh hills in March, so getting out of the hot tub involved a mad dash inside to the warmth.

Every morning I felt the ‘wow factor’ as I opened the curtains to this amazing vista.

The farmers who run the lodges, Ann and Paul, were a charming couple, full of useful information about what to do in the area.

This is the type of holiday where you can do as little or as much as you want.

It is away from busy life, but there are still a couple of supermarkets about 20 minutes away in Newtown.

Stocked up with food for the week, you could just read a book or listen to the radio and admire the picturesque views while you sip on mugs of tea or something a bit stronger.

We did plenty of ‘chillaxing’, but there’s lots to do if you are feeling a bit more energetic.

Powis Castle, a medieval fortress dating back to 1200, was a highlight for us.

Now run by the National Trust, it houses a magnificent collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture and tapestries.

The Elan Valley is a must for any visitor to this part of Wales.

It is a collection of dams and reservoirs, set in an area of outstanding natural scenery.

You can walk or drive for miles and not see another human being – just the odd sheep or a red kite.

A trip to the coast is worth the petrol, even if only to get a sense of the wilderness as you drive through valley after valley.

We did find Aberystwyth a little uninspiring, the graffiti on its ancient castle not helping matters.

Still, it has plenty of shops to look around, as well as steam train journeys into the countryside.

We drove up the coast and found mile upon mile of golden sands at Borth and Aberdovey.

The Dovey estuary was truly breathtaking.

This massive expanse of sand, surrounded by commanding green hills, makes you feel very small indeed.

Glamorous and exciting this part of Wales was not.

But it left me feeling thoroughly refreshed.