So that was it. Our short break at the border of England and Wales. We really enjoyed kicking back, relaxing and not doing much. The shepherd’s hut was brilliant, the area lovely and we spent three days almost completely outside apart from when we slept at night.
Merlin loved it, too. Sitting outside with us. Most of the time he was lying in the grass listening to the sounds, sniffing the smells and watching birds and bugs circling around.
A few excursions to stretch the legs and see some of the area. It is a bit of a hidden gem amongst hidden gems. White space on the map. Elan valley in the West, the Shropshire Hills in the North and the Brecon Beacons in the South draw the few crowds that are not at the South coast, in Snowdonia or the Lake District.
You have to look under the cover of what looks unassuming at first. The area you always go through to go somewhere else exciting and never stop cause there doesn’t seem to be anything of interest. Yet there is.
We found an unexpected number of 15th century houses still intact today. So many that there are villages coined “black and white” and a 40 mile trail connecting some of them. We found vast bits of woodland to wander through, breathe in the scent rich air full of bird twitter. Low hills yet with stunning views over the undulating landscape. And a considerable number of highly regarded restaurants/pubs offering fantastic food in a cosy setting.
And we’ve only just scratched the surface. So we were a bit sad to leave Friday morning. Packed up and left everything as we found it. Then take away coffees in Presteigne to prep us for a late morning walk around Wapley Hill. Another woodland walk only a 10 minute drive away.
We losely followed the signposted trail to the iron age hill fort choosing the paths that looked nice without going in the opposite direction. Only met a couple of people or so and were otherwise completely alone again. Merlin obviously enjoying running around and sniffing, us once more enjoying the fresh air, smells and sounds.
The path climbed gently up to the hill fort which like so many had been reclaimed by nature and you wouldn’t know it was there unless someone told you.
Back to the car from there with towering green-blue arborvitae lining the path. Quite the sight!
Another 10 minute drive brought us to Prembridge, a village on the Black and White Trail. Had a coffee and then did a short loop through the village. Well worth the stop and truly amazing to see so many of the black and white houses crowded together and in such good nick!
Back onto the road. One hour to Monmouth for a late lunch around 2:30pm. Then another hour and a bit with some traffic in Bristol before we were back home. All three of us just very tired.
Quickly unloaded the car and went straight for a snooze all of us 😂. Good to have a weekend ahead of us and not go straight back to work. The two weeks off felt much longer than they were. Next trip is planned for late August, so not too much of a wait.