A few months ago I was delighted to win a holiday weekend for two with Holiday Fellowship and chose to go to Wales. Our hotel, Nythfa House, was in Brecon, close to the Brecon Beacons. On our arrival we were greeted by the Manager and offered tea and biscuits in the pleasant conservatory, before going to our room. After a quick wash and brush up it was time to meet other new guests and join the Town Walk, a forty-five minute guided tour of Brecon that gave us a brief view of the town itself. Afterwards we all gathered in the bar for a welcome drink, while the guides presented their walks for the next day. There were three, graded as an easy 7 miles, a more difficult 10 miles and a longer one of 14 miles. There was also a discovery walk which appealed to us because it went to some of the well known waterfalls of the area and also included an afternoon walk to the Brecon National Park centre so we booked that one. Following an excellent evening meal we signed up for our choice of sandwiches for the next day and also decided on our meal choice for that evening’s dinner.
Saturday dawned wet and miserable but our bus was waiting and we set off promptly at nine-thirty. The walk was lovely despite some muddy and slippery descents as we walked along the river bank. Our guide waited patiently for the slower members of the group and pointed out various places of interest on the way, remains of industrial heritage long abandoned. Discovery walks are geared to places of historical or other interests so there were welcome pauses while the guide talked about them After our picnic lunch, our bus took us to another area where the afternoon walk included a climb up to the remains of a Norman castle surrounded by a moat and ended at Brecon National Centre. A cup of tea and a Welshcake finished off the walk nicely before our homeward journey.
That evening’s communal dinner was noisy and animated as we all exchanged our news of the day and planned tomorrow’s walks. Our ages ranged from twenty somethings to those in their eighties, some of whom were seasoned walkers and chose the hardest walks. As we sipped our coffee in the lounge afterwards, we listened to a talk about the first European Geopark of Wales, an area covering the western half of Brecon Beacons National Park.
We decided to do a self-guided walk on Sunday and took a map plan and directions from the selection in the information area. We also filled in a form detailing our plans for the day and our estimated return time. This we thought was an excellent way of checking that guests had not got lost. Once again we collected our sandwiches along with a selection of biscuits, fruit and nuts that we laid out on a long table in the hall. Our walk included a stretch of the river Wye and also the Brecon Canal and we finished at the canal basin, a pretty area near the theatre. The sun shone that day and we were able to sit outside with a drink and watch the gaily coloured barges as they came in and out. At dinner that evening we chatted to other guests, some of whom were leaving next day, like us and others who were remaining for the rest of the week. They were from all over the country and many of them had come alone or with a friend. There was a fun quiz in the evening but we opted for an early night.
There are HF sites available for guided walking holidays all over the UK and also in Europe. It is also possible to do self-guided walks or indeed, no walking at all if you prefer a Country House Escape. You can still use all the facilities and maps provided. It would be an easy drive to Dan-yr-Ogof, the National Showcaves Centre and to Hay-on-Wye, for example.
Nythfa house has an indoor swimming pool but we were too busy out of doors to use it.
Staff were helpful and knowledgeable and we appreciated their efforts to make sure we got the most out of our stay.
Accommodation was comfortable, consisting of a small, twin-bedded room and adjoining bathroom. Ours was in the annexe , a group of cabins with parking. Wifi was available in the main house.
Food All meals were excellent, the highlight of the weekend really.
Value for money- as our weekend was a prize it was free of course but looking at the brochure we thought the prices were reasonable, especially considering the care and attention paid to all guests and the lovely food!