Autumn 2021

Autumn 2021

Autumn is at its peak here, the weather is mild and we’re just back from a beautiful straits walk through deciduous woodland. Across the water the trees are turning to their gorgeous warm autumnal colours, it makes us so appreciative that we live on this corner of Anglesey with an abundance of woodland.

And speaking of woodland, we’ve embarked on an ambitious project to clear and manage our woodland at the top of the property. In the spring there is a wonderful carpet of bluebells but as the woodland was so impenetrable and with scrappy shrubs along the edge, it was difficult to see in all its glory. There were innumerable sycamore saplings, brambles and ivy choking the woodland floor. Many days with a chainsaw has made a huge difference and there is now a view all the way up the hillside from the drive. This will allow the many and varied native species of trees, such as oak, holly and hawthorn, to thrive without the sycamore competition. There is a pile of cuttings the size of a small house; this will be chipped and used to line a new circular path, carbon capture in action! Working in the woods has confirmed that we have at least one shy red squirrel in residence.

In addition we have planted 850 spring bulbs along the edge, a mixture of bee and butterfly friendly, along with daffodils and tulips. Hopefully this will provide some colour from February to May (and possibly a rich food source for the squirrel!).

A few months ago we bought a brilliant little all electric mini which we love, and use for almost all of our journeys. We can now offer overnight charging to guests with electric and hybrid cars.

We are delighted that the local paintings we commissioned are complete and hanging in Seascape’s bedrooms. The first is of Aberffraw beach, one of our favourites, looking over to the mountains of the Llyn peninsular, done with a gorgeous palette of blues.

The second is of the sunrise from the terrace and beautifully captures the glowing morning light and sense of peace of the moment.

In other news; we’ve been mulling renaming the apartment for a while now. The name never did it justice as it suggested the idea of a top floor, maybe with a shared entrance, whereas it’s a purpose built, private and separate wing of our house, with its own outdoor space. After much deliberation we have settled on ‘Seascape’. The accommodation is beautifully appointed, spacious and comfortable but its wow factor is definitely the mesmerising and ever changing view. We wanted the name to encapsulate that, and the idea of it being of both the mountains and the sea. It was difficult! But we’re happy, and we hope you approve too.

We’re only now just starting to see a drop off in bookings after a what has turned out to be a great year, despite the shaky start. As ever, it’s wonderful to see so many returners. Incredibly more than 90% of our current 2022 bookings are from either returners or direct recommendations, and we love to see you back!

Summer 2021

Summer 2021

We’ve been in the news (sort of)! Firstly, whilst reading the news on the terrace we stumble across . . . the view from the terrace! The Guardian has deemed Bangor pier to be Britain’s best, and we’re not going to argue. It’s worth a detour if you have a spare hour or so, there are a few cafes and gift shops, and it’s a particularly lovely sight when the boats from Beaumaris sailing club are racing past. And you get a great view of our house! We reckon the accompanying photo was taken from the bench at the bottom of our garden:

Award winning Bangor pier
Award winning Bangor pier

Click here for the article in the Guardian.

It’s a lovely photo but I think some of guests have taken even better ones!

And secondly, the beautiful Welsh slate landscape of North Wales has become a UNESCO world heritage site. We always thought it was pretty special so very proud that it’s been recognised. Coed y Berclas is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with an unparalleled view across the strait at a world rated heritage sight. Yesterday our apartment guests were out sketching the view in the golden late afternoon light.

We’re fully booked here but not feeling too busy to be out and about, still exploring the island and Snowdonia. Everyone is so happy to arrive, and it still feels like the best job in the world. For those of you who have been in the last year I can report not only that the garage is now finished but it houses David’s lovingly crafted Caterham 7 (when he’s not roaring around the island.)

David's Caterham 7
David’s Caterham 7

One way the year has been like no other is that we have so many bookings for 2022 already, with most of May and June already booked in the apartment, and a few weeks booked for 2023! As ever, we don’t take a deposit until six months in advance so if you’d like to pencil a week in let us know. It’s always good to have something to look forward to!

Have a wonderful summer.

April 2021

April 2021

Ollie in the bluebells

Spring is more than in the air, the bluebells are dazzling and the orchard is in full blossom, and the earlier sense of optimism has come to fruition; it’s wonderful to have guests back again. We have old favourites (you know who you are 😊) and new faces, with hopefully the latter turning into the former over time.

Newborough beach from Llanddwyn Island

April has been brilliantly sunny and we’ve been out and about as much as ever. Having invested in electric bikes (best invention ever!) we’ve been more adventurous than ever, exploring Snowdonia. There are a multitude of astonishingly beautiful quiet tracks and lanes. Yesterday we cycled to Caernarfon for lunch in the sun in the picturesque cobbled castle square, edged by outdoor cafes and the castle itself; it felt positively European!

Over the winter we’ve thought about how to improve our guests’ stays and have done the following:

Improved the outdoor lighting

Cottage:

    • New bean bag sunloungers (already well received!)
    • Bigger, smart television
    • Blackout curtains in the main bedroom

Apartment:

    • Outdoor sofa set
    • TV upgrade to smart (via streaming stick)

Guest room:

    • TV upgrade to smart (via streaming stick)
    • Small sofa
    • Folding table and chairs for indoor or outdoor eating
LLanddwyn Island beacon

If you’ve been before we hope you approve! If there’s something you’d really like to have seen on that list then please let us know and we will definitely consider all suggestions.

As an ongoing project we are updating the artwork in the apartment and have commissioned some local seascapes (one actually from the terrace, couldn’t be more local!) from a very talented young artist. We’re really excited to have that underway and hopefully the finished results will feature in the next blog!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

As we start 2021 we hope you share our sense of optimism of good times ahead and brighter and safer days in the coming months. We are so thankful to have you as our guests, followers and friends.

We are taking bookings, but not deposits, for the coming year until the future is a bit clearer. Please get in touch if you’d like to pencil in some dates. When the days are short and cold, it’s always good to have something to look forward to!

Another year, another lockdown, but at least we can feel in our bones that in 2021 the clouds will clear, the sun will shine, and we can busy ourselves with what we love doing best, sharing this amazing place with our guests.

2020 was a year like no other but between lockdowns we were fully booked with faces familiar and new. It was good to meet you all, and we are so grateful for your support, friendship, visits and messages.

The mountains of Snowdonia are covered in snow and when the sun shines the view is spectacular. The wood has been chopped for the cottage wood burner for when guests can come; we love seeing the wisps of smoke from its chimney, knowing the inside will be super toasty and cosy.

View from the summit of Elidir Fawr View from the summit of Elidir Fawr

Love is in the air

Love is in the air

We had a Coed y Berclas first (for us!); love was in the air and guest Dan proposed to girlfriend Louise. She said yes! They are an absolutely delightful couple and we couldn’t be happier for them.

Dan and Louise
Dan and Louise

Coed y Berclas wins an award

Coed y Berclas wins an award

The winners of the Lux Magazine 2020 Resorts and Retreats Awards have just been announced and we are very pleased to have won in our category of ‘Best Luxury Self-Catering accommodation Provider, Anglesey’. Anglesey is beautiful with many fantastic places to stay and although we already know that what we offer is a bit special, it does make us feel proud that our hard work is recognised independently within the business.

Lux magazine logo
Lux magazine award

Now, more than ever, we want our guests to have a peaceful and relaxing break away from the stresses and uncertainty of everyday life and it’s such a ‘perk of the job’ to see so many of our guests returning time and again, so we know we’re doing something right, though that view certainly helps!

Just before sunrise, September
Just before sunrise, September

September 2020

September 2020

Unbeatable breakfast view from the apartment terrace
Unbeatable breakfast view from the apartment terrace

Summer is coming to an end and the orchard is groaning with apples and pears, and it’ll be a good year for sloes. After a strange but peaceful start to the year we’ve loved having guests back to share Coed y Berclas with us. We’ve been fully booked since lockdown was lifted and through September. We’ve met some genuinely lovely and interesting new guests but most are returners or recommendations, and it’s always great to welcome back familiar faces.

The guest room, which we refurbished and tentatively offered last year has been incredibly popular for short breaks, or as additional accommodation for apartment or cottage guests. To those of you who have stayed this summer I have breaking news, the milk fridge has been upgraded, now big enough for four bottles of wine!

For us, highlights of the summer have included watching a stunning Red Arrows display from the beach next to RAF Valley, who were practising prior to VJ Day celebrations. But just exploring the island is a joy, we’re always staggered by the coastline and how varied and beautiful it is. We walked on the coast path around Point Lynas on August bank holiday Monday on a beautiful day and saw more seals than people. The day before, we walked around Church Bay and discovered our new favourite cafe, the Wavecrest.

Our 2021 availability is now online. We don’t take a deposit until 6 months beforehand so if you’d like to pencil in a spring or summer date then we would reserve it for you and it would be risk free. And of course, as with this year, we would refund any forced Covid cancellations.

Thanks to Rebecca for this month’s photos!

Beautiful gate onto LLanddwyn Island, always magical
Beautiful gate onto LLanddwyn Island, always magical

The sky at night at Coed y Berclas

July 2020

Lovely guests Nicky and Pete returned to stay in the Apartment a couple of weeks ago. Pete was trying out his astro photography skills and we were amazed at his results. Yet another way to appreciate the marvellous views here.

Coed y Berclas starscape
Coed y Berclas starscape

Time-lapse star trails over Snowdonia
Time-lapse star trails over Snowdonia

Summer in the Coed y Berclas gardens

Summer in the Coed y Berclas gardens

June 2020

Still quiet here at Berclas! We had our daughter staying for 7 weeks, which was lovely but she has now left to start work as a new doctor. Our eldest son has swapped being an airline pilot for being a volunteer delivery driver for a food charity, we are really proud of them both for their different contributions in these times.

We’ve spent plenty of time outdoors, and despite being on a learning curve when it comes to gardening we have been stunned by how amazing the garden is looking this year. At the moment the peonies are fabulous and the water lilies are exquisite. We have all sorts of fruit appearing. In the orchard there are apples, pears, cherries, gooseberries, plums and sloes to which our cottage guests are very welcome to help themselves, and elsewhere we have figs, raspberries and tiny wild strawberries. All organic of course! The herb garden now has (possibly) the world’s largest sage bush, along with rosemary, thyme, chives, parsley, mint and borage (the cucumber flavoured flowers and leaves of which are a classic accompaniment for your Pimms). We’ve added a fantastic sage pasta recipe to the welcome file to encourage its use!

Water lilies on the terrace
Water lily in lower pond
Peony near the drive

We’re not sure if we’re just enjoyed being outside more in the last few months but the dawn to dusk birdsong has been spectacular this year. Our resident blackbird has been making his presence (and territory) known, and we have been entertained by our family of buzzards who live in our woodland beneath the house. We’ve had a super busy family of blue tits in the cottage bird box, mum and dad flying in and out non stop all day feeding the young. We have seen plenty of jays, thrushes, sparrows, wrens and finches. In the wildlife pond the newts are thriving and we experimented by adding some tadpoles into the mix a few weeks ago, so we’re waiting to see if they mature.

We have been working on our Covid procedures for when we reopen, and will let guests know before they arrive how our cleaning regime will be enhanced, and what we would ask of our guests to minimise chances of transmission.

Hopefully the end of this isolation is in sight and we are really looking forward to welcoming our guests back in the next weeks and months.

Jane and David

Isolation in Anglesey

Isolation in Anglesey

May 2020
It’s a strange time for all . . . in these uncharted times, whatever your situation, wherever you are, we hope you are well and safe.

We feel unbelievably lucky to be isolating here at Coed y Berclas. The amazing weather has helped! The view from the house changes all the time with the light on the water and mountains behind. In the last month the deciduous wood across the strait in Bangor has come into leaf, from brown to vibrant lime and now a multitude of greens. It’s so peaceful and (with the exception of the prolific birdsong) quiet. It doesn’t seem right to not share this with our guests.

We have taken advantage of the quietness on the island and done many local walks and have clocked up many miles cycling the deserted lanes, even the A roads are a delight to cycle on! The east peninsula of the island (around Penmon) is a network of undulating little lanes banked by spring flowers, joining pretty villages and around every corner the view has a backdrop of the sea, or Snowdonia, or both.

Yesterday we cycled on lanes and tracks along the strait, finishing with a stunning view of Caernarfon Castle across the water.

Foraging has been a new pastime; the banks of the Strait just below us are full of huge mussels at low tide (50% of the UK’s mussels are from here). Collecting them is easy, cleaning and preparing them takes a bit of time, but is very satisfying, as is eating them! We’re now just coming to the end of garlic leaf season and have made many, many pots of garlic leaf pesto which goes wonderfully with pasta, cheese on toast, dolloped into soup or as a crust on fish or meat. It’s so vibrantly green it HAS to be good for you!

We just love it here and hope to be able to share this special place with you at some point in 2020.