Whatever The Weather - August 2018

 New Woodland Seating Area

New Woodland Seating Area

We seem suddenly to have arrived at the closing weeks of peak holiday season and what a mixed bag of weather we have had. Drovers Retreat has been booked up throughout, with guests from all over the world - from USA to Poland, Korea to Belgium, Ireland and of course UK. So much to see and do both outdoors and in, that the seasonal eccentricities have not palled the enjoyment of our guests.
Apart from one poor ‘springtime’ visitor having to cut short her stay when snow began to pile up on her homeward route, everyone has carried on regardless of what the skies have surprised us with. The log-burner has rarely been lit over the last months when the cottage has been more of a haven of cool retreat from the hot summer days.
Charlie the builder took advantage of three days when our relatives were staying (and didn't mind the disruption) to make a new seating area at the back. Here you can now relax in a woodland view hide-away -  binoculars provided! Maybe light the BBQ or simply sit, glass of wine in hand, listening to the sound of birdsong and the gentle babble of the stream in the steep dingle below. (Of course, your children may prefer to split the silence with shrieks of delight over a game of table football in the barn!) We now look forward to crisp autumn days, or wellie splashing walks from the door over the stunning hills.
At ‘Drovers’ you can happily weather the weather, whatever!

Bluebells and Badgers - May 2018

 Woodland Badger Path

Woodland Badger Path

Some time ago when my grandson was small I told him how I had surprised a roe deer in the Radnor Forest, a stone’s throw from Drovers Retreat. Wide eyed he enquired ‘Did you ride it?’ And that was the magic, not only that he should picture me doing just that, but that he believed in my imagined lithe leap on to its back as it pranced through the undergrowth. Now not all our visitors like deer of course. One guest this weekend remarked he had quite enough of them in his garden. In the photo you can make out a well trodden path through our bluebell wood. This was created, not by humans but by the regular passage of badgers from our ancient sessile oak wood. You can trace their footprints across our lane and into the thick thorny bushes that skirt the field opposite. And not everyone likes badgers, especially cattle farmers. But here there are different kinds of magic for everyone. The wilderness of the Elan Valley or the music filled town of Presteigne nearby, the chance to play a boisterous game of table football in the wet weather barn or simply to enjoy the peace of a night by the log burner on a chilly evening. Julia’s visit in March was cut short by the snow but she had time to write in the guest book ‘Have fallen in love with the cottage and the area. A wonderful, quiet, relaxing place. Just the sound of the dog snoring, the fire crackling and the tawny owl calling...bliss!’ Then come and see for yourself!

Spring Tease - March 2018

 Rhiw Pool Frogspawn

Rhiw Pool Frogspawn

The arrival of spring keeps teasing! At once throwing drifts of snow over us then sneaking up with a warm sunny day that sets the birds all a twitter! Then suddenly a biting wind forces me inside to catch up on paperwork while lambs shiver under hedges. But today the sun is shining again and I must leave my desk. With a foreboding weekend forecast ahead I set my sights to the Radnor Forest, boot-shod and walking poles at hand, to mud-slide my way towards the hill. And what rewards I find at the peaceful dew pond by the forest. A heron rises from the reeded edge, but even then I am not alone. Suddenly a deep chorus of calling and beady frog eyes peep above the water. So this is the heron’s intended meal. Even after all the snow and ice, somehow, the frogspawn jelly clumps have survived. The forest is alive and spring is in the air and in my step.

Drovers Isn't Just For Christmas - January 2018

 Black Mixen Snow

Black Mixen Snow

Drovers Retreat isn’t just for Christmas! Although we have said goodbye to the last of a steady stream of guests over the festive period we already have people booking for the coming weeks and beyond. It is a great place for doing just what you enjoy. So many fabulous views to take in: I snapped this one in December, looking towards Black Mixen. I only had 5 minutes to spare and that’s all it took to walk from the front door and capture the snowy afternoon light. Guests love to trek up to the top of the ‘mountain’ - it is just over 2000ft- or take time over one of the more gentle walks. No car needed! Others snuggle down in front of the log burner, read and relax or, as a recent returning guest did, work on a guitar composition! As you turn off the main road you may surprise a couple of fallow deer en route to our bluebell wood, or have to slow down for a badger plodding down to the stream.
Our cosy barn conversion is not found ‘on a high street near you’, or in a glossy brochure. It is simply a treasure of tranquility. Experience it and you will have to keep coming back for more!

Winter Wander December 2017

Winter wander Dec 17.jpg

I walked out this morning to ‘beat the bounds’ of our smallholding. My BBC weather app gave little encouragement for a December walk in Wales- somewhere damp between low cloud and chilling wind. But it’s pointless letting weather forecasts dictate the day here, there are, more often than not, pleasant surprises along the way.
My steps soon brought me to the steep dingle and our stream that runs through. You can walk here when you stay at Drovers Retreat. Victorian labour first tamed the brook into a concrete channel during the building of the Elan Valley pipe-line to Birmingham, at the turn of the last century. Remnants of disused sheep dipping paraphernalia lie to the side while branches and leaves slip down creating weirs of rotting foliage. I have yet to meet a child under 80 who does not delight in messing about in a babbling brook. Before long my sleeve was wet from pulling out sticks and clearing the flow, I was warm and happy and half an hour had passed. Stretching my stiffening back I looked up at the beautifully engineered bridge, now nestling in our land. Once it supported pony and trap on the old main route to Knighton but the Austin 7 would have been one of the last cars to negotiate this corner. So much history to unearth and wonderful landscape to explore! Come and play – whatever your age and whatever the weather – it’s a very special place.

Autumn Invitation October 2017

What on Earth is going on with the world? Crazy things are all around, and not in the Dr.Seuss fun sense either. If you are feeling it’s impossible to right the wrongs of the world then maybe it’s time you booked a break. No, don’t go on an aeroplane! Come here for a bit of quiet reflection. The autumn colours are deepening, the air is clear and the spring water refreshing. If you want to make a noise, you can shout from the hills after an invigorating climb or shriek with delight as you score the winning goal at table football. Come rain or shine a stay at Drovers Retreat is here to put things back in perspective. Do it!