How Florence Found: The Elan Valley

Its been a long time coming this post, but with the bank holiday looming and people planning last minute getaways or day trips out, I thought it was a good time to share what Pete and I got up to when we went away to Wales.

I’ve already written about The Drawing Room, the absolutely fabulous boutique restaurant with rooms that we LOVED and I would highly recommend, so do head on back there and have a look if you’re looking for somewhere to stay locally. In the mean time, here’s a few tips on what to do in the area.

The Elan Valley
The weather wasn’t brilliant while we were there, windy and a bit rainy, (hey, what’s changed in 4 months?) but after a ridiculously filling breakfast, we needed to walk off the excess and headed off to The Elan Valley to see the reservoirs and spectacular dams.

You can walk around all of them, but here is a map of the southern most reservoir, Caban Coch, which we intended to circumnavigate. On the day the wind was so gusty it blew our hats away and almost blew us over, so we opted for the lazy option, walked up the side of the dam and then drove to the next one to take photos! That was more than enough!

Gigrin Farm – Red Kite sanctuary.
Half way through our trip around the dams we wanted to get out of the wind and decided to check out the local Kite Sanctuary at Gigrin farm. I had my camera and fancied trying to take a few clever pictures (hopeless) and wherever Pete and I go we seem to do animal activities. It was fascinating as a big tractor brought a scooper full of meat and it was shovelled all over the field. The Kites circled, waiting, then swooped in to steal the meat. They were enormous and there were so many of them! Feeding is at 3pm March – October and it costs £4.50 to visit, or £2.00 for a child.

After Gigrin we headed back to the reservoirs to finish at the most northern dam then, grateful for the warm car we went back to The Drawing Room to get ready for dinner and warm up.

The next day was Sunday and we were leaving and planning on visiting Baileys Home and Garden (click the link to read all about it.) Although we were heading north, it was actually quicker for us to drive south then take the motorway back up north than return the way we came down the A roads.

On route to Baileys, we stopped in Hay-on-Wye, a town famous for its literary festival (held at the end of May if you’re in the area) and bookshops. It was well worth a wander and we stopped in several shops perusing the first editions and curiosities. There were also a number of map shops with very old maps and lithographs and junk or thrift stores. We picked up a map of Southport in the 1940’s for my step-Dad’s birthday for £8.

After that it was Baileys and home, after a very relaxing weekend. The area is so beautiful, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

Do you know anywhere local that you can recommend or have you been to any of the places I have mentioned? Do share any trip tips you have for the rest of the readers…


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6 thoughts on “How Florence Found: The Elan Valley

  1. Looks amazing Rebecca! Gorgeous landscape (and I rather like your hat, as a side note)!

    Those Red Kites are amazing! I almost yelped! I have a bit of a soft spot for our large, taloned, feathery friends. When I’m up at my allotment I often see one circling overhead and never fail to point it out to whoever’s nearby. If I see a hovering bird whilst we’re out and about I always mention it. No one else seems particularly interested. Don’t know what I’d do if I saw a whole [insert appropriate collective noun here] load of ’em!

  2. Hi Rebecca, thanks for this, I’ve been waiting for you to blog it now hubby and I are going to go there for our 2nd wedding anniversary. Hubby knows we’re going but we just need to book in a date when MIL can babysit the baby. Hopefully try late Summer as a belated trip.

    Just out of interest, is the Drawing Room within walking distance to some other pubs and restaurants, as we always like to have a little mini pub crawl on our weekends away. Well we used to anyway before the baby and seeing as we’ll be sans munchkin, it would be nice to do it again after a nice long walk? Any recommendations appreciated, thanks xx

    • Hi Inga,

      No, it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere! However, the vibe there is so relaxed it’s like you’re house guests, and so we felt very comfortable having a drink with a few magazines in the time between walking and getting ready for dinner. Also, if you check out the room we stayed in, it had an incredible roll top bath and we enjoyed a bottle of bubbles in that before heading down. It was a bit of a drunken weekend!

      Enjoy your couple time 🙂

      • Hi Rebecca, apologies for the late reply but thanks for the info, good to know in advance 🙂 really looking forward to going! x

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