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

Covid procedures and precautions at Coed y Berclas

Covid procedures and precautions at Coed y Berclas

Thank you for booking with us. This is to go some way to reassure you that we are doing all we can, and what we ask of you, to minimise risk of transmission between guests.
Providing a clean environment has always been a priority to us as we know how important it is to you too, but we have now re-evaluated and enhanced our procedures, closely following government guidelines. Covid-19 is mainly passed on between people who are in close contact. We will always maintain a distance in excess of 2m and always outside. Less commonly, the virus can also be transmitted by droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes onto a surface that is subsequently touched, and is then transmitted into the eyes or nose, hence the advice to wash hands frequently. Our cleaning regime is designed to minimise this risk.

Our cleaning regime is as follows:
Masks, aprons and gloves worn at all times.
Ensure all cleaning materials have been washed at high temperature before starting.
All hard surfaces double cleaned, firstly with hot water and detergent and secondly with an antiviral solution. Cleaning surfaces will include:
• All handles: doors, wardrobes, fridges, ovens, toasters, microwaves, kettle etc.
• All horizontal surfaces in all rooms, including beds.
• Loo seats and handles
• High-touch items: keys, TV remote control, taps, light switches/ pull-cords, washing machine and dishwasher doors and buttons etc.
• Waste / Recycle bins
• Fridge shelves
• Fruit bowls
• Dining chair seats and backs
• Hairdryers
• Stair and landing banisters
• Thermostats
• Lamp switches
• Bathroom toiletries

What we ask of you

Before you arrive: As far as possible please bring provisions with you to reduce local interactions. As in many tourist areas there are mixed feelings amongst locals about opening the area to tourists, so we ask you to be sensitive to that. We will email the welcome letter before arrival.
On Arrival: The half life of the virus depends on many variables, temperature and surface type being the main ones but is the order of about 5 hours. Hence the first evening and 24 hours of your stay is when we ask you to be particularly scrupulous in terms of handwashing. In this time please do not browse the books, DVDs, maps, games, magazines and visitors’ book. We will bag up the sofa scatter cushions and suggest you don’t use those for 24 hours, and will provide throws for the sofa that you can use for the first few days. If the changeover day is sunny we will UV treat the cushions in the sun, UV kills the virus in a few minutes, in which case the cushions will be safe on arrival.
In the last 24 hours of your stay please use the rubber gloves provided when unloading the dishwasher and putting things away.
On departure: On your last morning please ventilate the cottage / apartment as much as possible as you are packing up, especially the bedrooms. We don’t normally ask guests to strip the beds but we would really appreciate that. Please don’t remove the pillow protectors (under the pillow cases) and quilted mattress protectors unless they are marked (if so please bag those separately). We will provide a bag for bedding and a separate one for towels (which we will then quarantine for 48 hours before washing).

Please depart by 10am, leaving the keys on the dining table and the door ajar. Do ring the doorbell to say goodbye before heading off!

If you do develop Covid-19 related symptoms during your stay please consider leaving for home as soon as possible. If you develop symptoms in the 7 days after you return home then please let us know.

Jane
July 2020

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.

Cottage makeover

Cottage Makeover

April 2020
Over the winter we have been busy refurbishing the cottage. We are delighted that as a result we have been upgraded to a 5* rating by Visit Wales. The cottage has been completely redecorated and refurbished with new furniture. It still, of course, retains its cottage character with the log burner, oak floors, and bedrooms with exposed beams and open to the eaves, but is more fresh and contemporary (and feels strangely much more spacious!).

Visit the Cottage page for more photos.

New owners at Coed y Berclas, new Guest Room

New owners Jane and David at Coed y Berclas

Hello – we’re Jane and David and we are the delighted new owners of Coed y Berclas. Dorothy and Daf have moved on to embark on new adventures in life and we took over in November 2018. We are just so happy to have achieved a long held ambition to move to Anglesey from Cheshire. We wake up each morning amazed by the mesmerising and ever changing views.

We’ve had a hectic few months welcoming guests to the Cottage and Apartment, alongside finishing our work and selling up in Cheshire. But busy-ness is all so worth it as we settle into our new home. The house and views exceed anything we had ever dreamed of!

The Cottage and Apartment were taken over fully furnished so returning guests will feel right at home. The location of course is still as beautiful as ever. We are so grateful to Dorothy and Daf who have been very kind and generous with their time and expertise to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible for returning guests. We have had a wonderful season so far and it’s been an absolute delight to meet the most lovely people and share this place. It really feels like the best ‘job’ in the world.

New Guest Room at Coed y Berclas

In addition to moving we have converted Dorothy’s art studio in the main house into a spacious Guest Room. It is furnished in a similar style to the Apartment with solid oak furniture and has a very comfortable king size bed and en suite shower. The room has its own south-east facing terrace, with chairs and table, and private access from the lawn. The idea is it is available as additional accommodation to either the Cottage or the Apartment, or on its own. We have a daily and weekly rate so short stays can be easily arranged. Please contact us for details and photographs.

If you have stayed before then we would love to welcome you back. If this is your first visit then please come and experience the unique appeal of this very special and peaceful place.

Jane and David

Full Moon glistening in The Menai Strait

The full moon rose above the mountains of Snowdonia in a darkening azure sky

Moonlight glistening on the calm waters of the Menai Strait. As I watched from our kitchen, the scene was so absolutely beautiful, it dawned on me to take a photograph! Out on our terrace I took just one shot which you can see below. I stood there very still, watching the moon quietly.

Full moon glistening in the Menai Strait beside Bangor Pier

We are accustomed to stunning views from nearly every room in Coed y Berclas house. Occasionally we see a special, infrequently seen, image which stands out – like this moonlit night. The combination of full moon, clear sky, calm water and the lovely silvery reflection, definitely qualified as ‘special’.

The atmosphere we enjoy is affected by weather, time of day, state of tide and the magical water of the Menai Strait. In different seasons we step out onto the terrace listening to the birds, especially at this time of year. The dawn chorus begins very early in the day, reaches a crescendo, and doesn’t fade until daylight is done.

Summer activity

In the summer, we see boats of all types and sizes, drifting, sailing, fishing or racing, so embroidering the scene on the water. Members of the Royal Anglesey Yacht Club in Beaumaris sail and race their Fifes, in mid summer. The Fifes are locally made boats thus are excellent sailers for the Menai Strait. Here’s a shot of them passing Bangor Pier.

Fife class sailing yachts racing by Bangor Pier

We often eat meals out on our terrace, gazing at Snowdonia beyond the waters of the Menai Strait. We have been found sitting out there on blue sky days in January because its been so beautiful and warm.

However, none of this is relevant to last night, because the birds were quiet, and there were no boats moving. It felt as though everything was at peace while the beautiful full moon rose in that wonderfully clear sky, casting her gentle silver reflection on the calm waters of the Menai Strait.
It felt as though it was all just for me.

Dorothy
10 May 2017

Wildlife photography and squirrels by Duncan

Wildlife photography and squirrels by Duncan

Duncan’s wildlife photography

Some of Duncan’s wildlife photography can be seen here, taken on our island or just offshore.

The Apartment at Coed y Berclas is a favourite of Rachel and Duncan who come to relax in the magnificent view.

Anglesey boat trip

Their holiday weather was beautiful and, whilst travelling around Anglesey, took a boat trip along the Menai Strait to Penmon. They were lucky to see porpoises playing around the boat – and captured some shots to add to Duncan’s wildlife collection.

 
Wildlife image of a Tern off Anglesey
 
Wildlife image of porpoise off Anglesey

Dwynwen, Llanddwyn, Squirrels, My Art

Our guests also visited Llanddwyn; three miles of beautiful sandy beach fringed by woodland. A walk along the sand leads you to Ynys Llanddwyn (Dwynwen’s Isle). Dwynwen lived on the island in Celtic times. She is still the patron saint of lovers in Wales and her small chapel is a place of pilgrimage.

As a Textile Artist, some of my work has involved research into Celtic history and mythology. The Mabinogion character Branwen features in two of my works and Llanddwyn has a particular interest for me. Branwen 1 and Branwen 2

Dwynwen and llanddwyn
 
Duncan's squirrel image
 

Whilst walking through the woodland, our guests were lucky enough to see one of Anglesey’s red squirrels and Duncan took this lovely photograph. Grey squirrels have been removed and the red squirrel numbers have consolidated because Anglesey is an island. They are, after all, our native wildlife species so it is good to see them taking back their woodland territory.

The Hidden gardens

The Hidden Gardens at Plas Cadnant are about two miles from Coed y Berclas. Anthony and his partner have lovingly restored the original gardens over the past twenty years. Our Guests described the gardens as ‘a sheer delight’ photographing the calm pool and topiary as a reminder.

 
The Hidden gardens at Plas cadnant
 

We always look forward to welcoming returning guests to Coed y Berclas!

Dorothy
May 8th 2017

Sunshine and showers and Spring’s arrival

Sunshine and showers and Spring’s arrival

The holiday season is well under way here at Coed y Berclas with Sunshine and showers and Spring’s arrival.

Our guests in The Cottage and Apartment have had a good balance of sunshine and showers recently. We have had lovely comments in the Visitor’s book and lots of promises to return, clearly enjoying their holidays to the full.

We love greeting guests back time after time – they become friends.

 
Lovely comments in our visitors book. Spring's arrival!
 

Our vegetable patch

The sunshine and showers made gardening a challenge too. The weather is kinder with Spring’s arrival so birds are in full song. Our vegetable patch has been thoroughly weeded, and seeds are planted to feed us organic vegetables for the year ahead. Picking our own fruit and vegetables in our own garden is a joy. The fruit trees in the orchard have all flowered well and the spring blossoms were not harmed by winds or heavy showers. We should expect a good crop of fruit later in the year.

 
Sunshine and showers for our vegetable garden
 

Our orchard for guests

Guests staying in Coed y Berclas Holiday Cottage enjoy the orchard as part of their private gardens.

 
Flowering fruit trees herald Spring's arrival in Coed y Berclas's orchard
 

As this is a bank holiday weekend, we have seen many yachts sailing through the Menai Strait. One in particular makes an elegant and tranquil scene from our terrace. The yacht is a fine example of the legendary Nicholson 35. She is moored on the Menai Strait, and we can see her framed perfectly through the viewpoint in our woods.

 
Legendary Nicholson 35 yacht moored below Coed y Berclas
 

The birds at Coed y Berclas are incredibly busy as the days lengthen. They fly from branch to branch, singing and warding off interlopers, or search for bugs and worms in the grass. Everything seems so very alive – except this worm in the Song Thrush’s beak!. Whenever I’m working in the garden, I’m quickly joined by a robin, which comes incredibly close to snap up the worms I’m disturbing. It is a real privilege to be so involved with nature. There’s a lot of work to do in the garden in spring, but it’s wonderful to work outdoors… soak up the sunshine and dodge the showers!

 
Song Thrush gathering worms for its young spring arrivals on the lawn at Coed y Berclas
 

Dorothy
29th April 2017

There’s a lot to catch up on

There’s a lot to catch up on

It’s 10:00 am and I’m sitting down for a few stolen moments to write a blog – there’s a lot to catch up on.

 
The pink mussel boat plying the Menai Strait below Coed y Berclas
 

This morning the tide is high and there is a shimmer of light on the water in the gentle breeze. We watch more yachts sailing by, on the Menai Strait, as the season begins. The pink fishing boat, ‘Lottie Holly’, has just passed the end of Bangor Pier and is motoring south west, towards Caernarfon. The mountains of Snowdonia ar partly shrouded in cloud and the sun is playing hide and seek.

I hope the weather will be kind to me today, I need to finish preparing the vegetable patch for planting.

 
A new door on the cottage utility which keeps the leaves out
 

Daf has built a new door – from scratch! – for the Cottage utility. It looks wonderful and keeps the leaves out.

 

 

We have had a lot of work done on the lower banks at Coed y Berclas. They have been re-profiled and turfed. They are splendid. The only drawback is the amount of grass-cutting Daf will need to do but,as he says, it’s cheaper than the gym.

That’s a reminder to me that I should be digging the veg patch – great, the sun’s shining!

Dorothy
April 11th 2017