Saturday, 7 December 2013

Blogvert Alert....

I didn't really know what to call this Blog, it is definitely a blog about where I grew up (well 4-18 anyway, it's still under debate as to when I actually grew up) in West Wales but it is also most definitely an advert.

So what is it advertising? Well it is for my parent's (Pete and Pam's) vacant holiday cottages in the aforementioned West Wales, specifically St. Dogmaels (Llandudoch) on the picturesque Tivy estuary. 

In case you don't want to read too far this is the rough gist of whats available before I start to waffle on.

KILN BROOK COTTAGE - The usual price for Christmas week is £576, this has been discounted to £461 via their agents web page and is available directly from Pete and Pam for the bargain price of £350. Here is a link to the agents website - Kiln Brook Cottage. If you are interested, please don't book via this link but call them directly (details to follow). Christmas week is from 21st December to 28th December. New years week is also available from 28th December to 4th January for £400, discounted from the original £695. Oh and that's not a per couple price but for the whole place (two good sized doubles)

THE MOORINGS -  The usual price for Christmas week is £495, this has been discounted to £396 via their agents web page and is available directly for the bargain price of £280. No, seriously! a detached one double bed bungalow with private garden and parking over Christmas week! Here is a link to the agents website - The Moorings. Again don't book via this link the discount is direct with Mum and Dad only. The available dates are the same as Kiln Brook Cottage. The Moorings is also available for New years week at £400 discounted from £585.

SMALL PRINT - Dogs (2 max) £10 each; Electric charged as per usage (charged at cost); 20% Deposit, balance due six weeks before holiday start date

Contact details
Home phone -  01239 614308
Email -
Mums (Pam) mobile - 07792 690950
Dads mobile (Pete) - don't bother, I think it has only been switched on twice!
Or email me (James) and I'll pass it on/answer any questions -

So that's some of the facts and figures out of the way now for some of the waffley bloggey bit. The things that the agent wont/can't say and loads more about the places and the locality.

The Cottages

Kiln Brook Cottage

I think that this is a great sharers place for a break away. The layout is very airy and great use has been made of the open plan communal spaces. I've hired discount price holiday cottages only to find that they are very cobbled together and if you are sharing with a couple of friends nothing is worse. I guess the reason that it is so well laid out is that Dad built it with his friend Gordon Bennet (no - I'm being serious) for phase one, and local builder and family friend Jim for phase two. The first floor has two similarly sized, well appointed double rooms separated by the shower room and landing areas. The ground floor flows from living to dining to kitchen space without interruption and is bordered front and rear with private patio dining areas, gardens and parking. This makes the inside space very communal with plenty of room for preparing meals, relaxing in the lounge or, settling on the settle (yes a genuine Welsh settle used by generations of the Ward family) and catch up with the broad-sheets. The view from the rear is rural, looking over the raised garden, towards some of Pembrokeshires beautiful hills and their hidden footpaths. In fact we walked the circular route from the front door up the hills and back down through the village of St Dogmaels last time we visited in Winter. The view from the front of the holiday home however, is breathtaking. Across the road is the river wall. Kiln Brook is smack on the Tivy Estuary. Put on your coat over your jammies and take your early morning cuppa over and sit on the wall watching the tide ebb or flow. It's lovely, I've done it many a time. 

The Front of Kiln Brook

This Photo Makes Me Very Thirsty

Can't Guarantee There Will Be Many Boats Out Over Winter

That Cottage Was Where Nelson Housed One Of His 'Bits On The Side'

You Can Walk A Little Further Around The Estuary To The Left Before It Gets Wet

Raised Rear Garden

Front Bedroom

Rear Bedroom

The Moorings

I am a bit of fan of this perfect little home. You will note the exquisite exterior paintwork (at least it was a couple of years ago) painted by Deb and I on a very sunny morning with two of our worst hangovers in living memory (more about the local in a mo). It has everything you need in a compact, easy to look after space. OK it hasn't got the direct views from the windows of the river but has a great westerly outlook towards the hills. That river wall is still within walking distance though but this time you pass by a grassed picnic area with benches overlooking the mooring pontoon (it was a rickety old thing made by Clive next door when I were a lad - out of scaffold planks too.) It has again been designed and rebuilt by Dad (the cottage... not the pontoon) to give a warm open plan feel and more than enough space for a couple and pooch/s. The garden has a good sized raised patio that gives you enough of an estuary view to remind you where you are. Parking isn't a problem here either but if you have any particular needs, give the folks a call they will be happy to help.

That's Mum And Dad's Place In The Background

Lounge With Access To The Garden

Light And Airy

Ohhh, You Can Even Do Your Washing On Your Christmas Hols

Last Time We Were Here Rage Against The Machine Was Christmas No. 1

War Paint Corner

Back Gate In The Corner Is A Shortcut To Kiln Brook Cottage

Satellite TV In Case It's Raining (What In Wales...Never!) 

There Is A Lovely Footpath Across That Hill Up To The Top Of The Village 

One of the great features of both properties that the agency hasn't got the facility to portray is that from the private garden of Kiln Brook, a gate leads to the back of Mum and Dads garden (that they are happy for you to cross) and within no more than a dozen yards is the back gate of the Moorings Cottage and subject to availability both cottages can be hired together giving a two double bedroom semi, and a one double bedroom detached!

So as you can see the cottages are great, but we've hired great cottages before that are in the middle of nowhere and your plans of an idyllic stroll up the local (well, it would be rude not to) are scuppered because it is a drive away. So whats out and about locally, as in within a mile.

Glanteifion, St. Dogmaels (Llandudoch) and Surround

You really don't have to go far for some beautiful countryside. The Teifi estuary (Tivy is the English spelling) slipway is directly opposite mum and dad's garden. Head left and you will arrive at an access gateway to the stony shoreline within a hundred yards. Carry on for another mile up the road and you pass the Webley Hotel and the widest part of the estuary before arriving at Poppit sands. Poppit has a good mile or so of soft sandy beaches, bordered by sand dunes (part of which was planted by the class of 1981 St Dogmaels Primary school - one of my few claims to fame) and rocky outcrops with pools of wildlife. Across Cardigan Bay lies Cardigan Island.

The new pontoon - safer than scaffold boards

The End Of The Estuary And The Start Of Poppit Beach And The Bay

And From Above

Cardigan Island From The End Of Poppit Beach

Heading upstream from Kiln brook cottage you pass the first 'local' the Ferry Inn. It has changed from all recognition since I first worked in the kitchens there in the spring of 1985. The more recent extensions have created large dining areas with outside seating looking over the river and managed to retain a lot of the character of the old 1800's building. Its still a great place to go but not the same as it was when Alan would find me a quiet place to sit and have a pint on my break (I don't think the licensing laws were the same back then)  I haven't eaten there for a number of years, so if you do decide to rent one of mum and dad's places, just check with them for local recommendations - they do have forty years of local knowledge after all.

The facilities of St Dogmaels are within 3/4 mile with a good convenience store (Cecils garage/petrol station years ago) and Bowens (great) chippie. Along the way you pass by The Teifi Netpool Inn (at least you do if you have taken the Greig raised river side path - or its a few hundred yards off the main road) and the last, and I believe oldest of the remaining village pubs, The White Hart (1769) on the way out of the village. There is even a working flour mill.

The village does have some history though, and at the end of Church Lane (Location of our first Welsh home and later Nan's place) is the back gate to St Thomas's Church (the scene of many a family service) which leads in to the 12th Century Tironian Abbey which is of course.... well I don't really know, this isn't a history lesson, try Wiki!

St Thomas's with the Abbey in the foreground

The village is founded on it's maritime heritage and I have been given permission to copy an excerpt from Glen Johnson's web site, a guy I went to school with and now a local historian and a font of all knowledge, in fact he is the Heritage Officer at the Coach House, just inside the Abbey grounds. Glen's site can be found here and has loads of gritty info about local properties not just in St Dogs. but across the area. To illustrate some local history I have chosen Glen's article about a house that my Aunty and cousins lived in when they first moved to Wales in the late '70s. I had thought that it was just another average terrace on the high street until I read some of Glen's work a few months ago and found out that it was named after the 76 ton brigantine Milo.

Milo - High Street

Captain James James (b 24th April 1825), master of the “Milo” lived here with his father, Captain James, master of the schooner “Margaret”. The building is named after the ship built in 1840 at Bristol, lengthened at Cardigan in 1856 and wrecked in 1882. In 1851 the house may have been occupied by Mary James, 50, a married woman. In 1856 the 76-ton St. Dogmaels brigantine, ‘Milo’, was converted into a schooner at Cardigan. In 1871 the following persons lived here: James James, 57, maltster; Mary James, 77, his mother, widow; Mary Rees, 20, general servant; and Mary Selby, 17, scholar. In 1871-91 Captain James James lived here. In 1876 Captain James James was the owner of the 68-ton ‘Milo’. In May 1876 he owned shares in the Cardigan Mercantile Company. In 1881 the following persons lived here: James James, 55, master mariner; Eliza James, 42, his wife, housekeeping; James Richard James, 10, their son; David G. James, 8, son; Frederick James, 4, son; and Benjamin R. James, 1, son. The ‘Milo’ was wrecked in a collision near Belfast on 12th May 1882. The crew were saved. - From a quick google it looks like Milo is the subject of a painting from 1856 held in a gallery in Nova Scotia 

James was a popular name at the time, and one that I share with dad, Peter James, and his dad Jim.

Slightly Further Afield

Only just though. You are bound to want a few shops, cafes, restaurants, takeaways and maybe even a little bit more culture without going too far out. The closest town is Cardigan, a pretty ancient market town is about half an hour's walk away. The road and modern foot bridge cross the river and town snakes up the hill past the Grosvenor pub (You'll find a pub about every fifth building as you head up the high street) at about 1.5 miles from the cottages. And if you don't want to take the car or walk there is a decent bus service available within 50 yards of your front door. If St Dogmaels has a good dose of historic property Cardigan trumps it big time - Cardigan Castle, possibly (Big P) was the site of King Arthur's Camelot - no seriously, Glen has recently written about it here. 

In the other direction, past Poppit beach there aren't too many inhabitants but the coast here is now firmly part of the Pembrokshire Footpath - 186 miles and over 35,000 ft of ascents and descents (more than enough to burn off the Christmas pud). Even if you have only got a little bit of time to explore this area get the guys to give you directions to Moylegrove, for me the start of the path proper (although it officially starts - you guessed it, right outside the cottages)

Just Around The Corner From Moylegrove Beach 

The coast north of Cardigan is equally impressive. Starting at Gwbert and heading up towards the Cliff Hotel (next to Cardigan Island) is the absolute best vantage point for sunsets - no interruptions until Ireland! Footpaths take you around the headland past Cardigan Island and give you a first glimpse of the conical Mwnt hill. Astute readers will notice that Mwnt is spelt without a vowel. Well it is in English but in the Welsh language 'W' is a vowel! What's that all about? (also F is a V as there is no V in the Welsh alphabet and Ff is F - confused? I was still spelling river with an 'f' until about three years ago!)

Mwnt Hill From the Coast Path

The bays and beaches of Aberporth, Tresaith (excellent foodie pub) and Llangranog are all very different in character and make a great combined day out with Llangranog (where my cousin and his family live) being only about 15 miles from St Dogmaels. Although the area within 15 miles of the cottages should keep you entertained for many visits, the south coast of Wales in particular Tenby and Solva, and the trio of Nolton Haven, Broad Haven and Little Haven can't be ignored, but can all be found within about 30 miles.

So after all that waffle don't forget that the cottages are available for this Christmas and New Year from £280.


News just in... if you have committed yourselves to your Christmas plans discounts are available into the new year. Kiln Brook - £300 per week and The Moorings £220 (offer excl school holidays). And as a special bonus anyone booking the Christmas week as a result of my Blogvert will get a pint in the Ferry Inn (wine or fruit based drink for the ladies) from me and Deb coz we will be down there for the week as well!


If you've enjoyed my ramblings and think that there is a chance that someone in your readership may benefit from a discounted holiday in a beautiful location, please bung a link on your blog - I'd be very grateful.


  1. What a beautiful place, and how lovely that you'll be there over the xmas period. Good luck with the marketing, I think you did a great job. Luv jacquie

  2. Thanks for that Jacquie, look forward to meeting up again soon - J