5 Star Grading for the New Apartment at Coed y Berclas

The new Apartment at Coed y Berclas is now ready to receive guests.

Both the Cottage and the Apartment have been graded this week by one of the inspectors from ‘Visit Wales’, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Tourism Department. The cottage has had 4 stars since we began letting it, some years ago, and we are very pleased to say that the Apartment has been awarded 5 stars (and a lot of compliments on the work we have done). It has been really enjoyable selecting all the furniture and textiles to decorate the Apartment, and watching its personality develop: now what we need is some guests to come and enjoy it.

Misty view of Bangor Pier

The views are wonderful – I know a lot of holiday websites boast this for their property, but look at the images to see the view from Coed y Berclas and decide for yourself – the sitting/dining room, and one of the two ensuite double bedrooms, look out directly across the Menai Strait, and Bangor Pier, to the Snowdonia Mountain range beyond, and you can lie in bed and watch the sun rise over the mountains.

Each of the rooms also has its own terraced area just outside the French windows.

The view from the cottage is partly occluded by the main house, which is just down hill from it, but opens to its full glory from the orchard, which is used only by cottage guests. We lived in the cottage as our children grew up and I well remember us all standing on the muddy patch (which became the orchard!) at millenium midnight, watching all the bonfires, fireworks and flares across the water. The reflections were wonderful too.

Speaking of fireworks, it’s getting very close to Bonfire Night in Beaumaris (Saturday 2nd November): the cottage is booked, but the Apartment is still available. The fireworks are always spectacular (a very good adjective for fireworks, n’est pas!)

Dining/Living room of our new apartment

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Magic Tile at Coed y Berclas

The magic tile at Coed y Berclas was not in the bathroom or the kitchen; ‘magic tile’ is the name of a specific layout in patchwork and quilting. Eileen, who was staying in our cottage with her husband and young son, was bought three days of ‘one to one’ tuition with me and she chose to make a Magic Tile Quilt over the three days.

She brought her own fuscia drawing and from that we went through all the stages to turn her pile of gorgeous fabrics into a very individual and lovely quilt top which was then layered and Eileen started machine quilting it. She will finish it in her own time and has promised me a photo of the finished piece which will appear in a later blog. Over the three days we covered a lot of different techniques but also enjoyed each others company and ‘put the world to rights’!

One to One workshop in quilting

One to one workshop in quilting


Spring 2010

Spring Snowdrops 2010

The snowdrops and crocuses are blooming together here at Coed y Berclas but, as yet, the camellias are refusing to open their buds – the temperatures have been a bit chilly lately, although, as we benefit from the warmth of the Gulf we haven’t had the cold weather suffered by much of the rest of Britain. Today we have a stunning blue sky and glorious, warm sunshine and are looking over at snow on the mountains, which are breathtakingly lovely. Recent guests, on a similar day, sat out in the Cottage orchard enjoying the early promise of Spring.

I’m looking forward to warmer weather arriving, not just because I love being outside on a lovely day but also because I want to be able to look out for red squirrels – I still haven’t seen one and here we are, living in ‘Red Squirrel Woodland’: there are plenty of signs up saying so! Fingers crossed!

Snow on Snowdonia Spring 2010


Cottage at Coed y Berclas has won the ATA Award ‘Best Self Catering Establishment of the Year 2010’

Anglesey Tourism Association award LOGO - Coed y Berclas Winner

Daf and I donned our best bib and tucker to attend the Anglesey Tourism Awards Dinner at Tre Ysgawen on the evening of Friday 29th January – Coed y Berclas was nominated in the category Best Self Catering Establishment of the Year.

It was a fantastic evening, in splendid surroundings, presided over by BBC presenter Rhun ap Iorwerth, with illustrious guests, Deputy First Minister for Wales, Ieuan Wyn Jones, Albert Owen, MP for Anglesey and speakers from Welsh tourism organisations. There were lots of old friends as well as new people to meet and the atmosphere was buzzing.

The perfect high point of our evening came with Coed y Berclas being announced as the winner in its category – Best Self Catering Establishment of the Year 2010. Take a look at the new logo; we’re very proud to be able to use it.

I now feel we have something to live up to and I’m looking at ways to improve what we can offer at Coed y Berclas: in fact, we’re about to replace the kitchen unit doors with solid oak, which feels like a good start!

A huge thank you has to go to Pip, Jane, Jo and everyone else at ATA involved in the organisation of this superb Awards evening.


Time to think of Christmas!

Haf Bach, Beaumaris Fireworks display, Christmas and New Year Festivities.

Why does it always happen that the schools start back and the weather almost immediately improves. Here in Wales there’s a name for this September/October phenomenon – it’s called Haf Bach (Little Summer) and sure enough we are having beautiful sunny days and clear starry nights here on Anglesey. My Mother, who was a Primary School teacher frequently asked why British school holidays include August which is one of the most temperamental months, just as likely to be rainy as sunny. She suggested May, June and July as much more reliable and our experience would absolutely back this up.

However, here at Coed y Berclas we are beginning to contemplate November with the Beaumaris Fireworks display, and December which are not too far away; although I refuse to count the number of ‘shopping days to Christmas’.

November brings the Beaumaris Bonfire and brilliant Firework Display

This year, the Beaumaris Fireworks display will be from about 6:30 – 7:50 on Saturday November 7th – have a look at our Tariff Page for availability of the Cottage and come along to join in the fun – Daf and I will certainly be there.

Snowy Cottage at Christmas!

Christmas Day and New Years Day are on Friday this year

We are not sticking to our usual Saturday ‘turn-round’. You can choose any days (minimum stay 3 nights) you wish to stay at Coed y Berclas over the Festive Season and anyone booking seven consecutive nights over this period will find a hamper filled with seasonal treats waiting for them.

Bring in the New Year at the midnight Firework Display at Beaumaris Castle just two miles from Coed y Berclas.


13th September 2009.

Classic British Sports Cars at Coed y Berclas.

A Morgan and a TR6 came to Coed y Berclas

We had a treat over the May Day bank holiday… Two beautiful classic cars swept down the drive at Coed y Berclas – a Morgan and a Triumph TR6 – all the more poignant for us as Daf once had a TR4A and I had a TR6 and subsequently a Triumph Stag; all wonderful British sports cars. They were then to be seen touring round Anglesey for the next few days and I’m sure a lot of heads were turned. Usually classic cars, like butterflies, hibernate, (snug in their garages – getting a lot of ‘hands on’ attention) then come out, as the days get longer and the weather kinder, to display their beauty in the sunshine. We look forward to more visits in the future. I’ve just realised I haven’t even mentioned their owners – well, they were all lovely too!


Quilt Workshops Anglesey

Dorothy Russell Quilting workshop on Anglesey

I’m now half way through the twelve session quilting course I’m teaching to a group of new quilters and I’m enjoying it hugely. They are all lovely; they’re getting on really well both with their work and with each other – and they want to carry on after this course – which is brilliant.

I hope lots of the quilts will be ready for the Llandygai Patchers’ Exhibition in Menai Bridge in August this year.

I also offer patchwork/quilting lessons to guests staying at Coed y Berclas Holiday Cottage but recently I had a request to teach a lady staying elsewhere on Anglesey – I hadn’t previously thought of offering quilt days to visitors other than those staying with us, but why not – so if you live on Anglesey or in North Wales or are visiting the area – wherever you’re staying – and you would like to enjoy a few hours of Patchwork and Quilting tuition, beginner or improver, give me a call or send an email.

In September I will be starting another twelve session Beginners Quilting Course too – Contact me for information and to put your name down.



A spring Daffodil

The snowdrops have now finished flowering and the daffodils are in full bloom especially on the aptly named ‘Daffodil Lawn’ which catches sunlight throughout the day. In fact, Coed y Berclas ushered in St David’s Day (March 1st) with a fanfare of the first yellow trumpets opening their smiling faces to the sun. These lovely blooms were well chosen as Wales’ national emblem. We brought one daffodil into the house where it glows in our kitchen against a backdrop of Snowdonia and the Menai Strait.

The Spring has begun here in earnest and the birds are busy, their song brightening our garden – I’ve been out there starting the seasonal tidying. There’s plenty to keep me busy and soon I’ll be out in the vegetable garden getting the seed potatoes in – I love going out mid summer, taking crops straight from our garden and into the kitchen. I don’t know whether they do taste better but they certainly seem to and they couldn’t be fresher. It always takes me back to my childhood, sent out to pick peas for Sunday lunch – there were always three for the bowl and one for me and I still eat a few while I’m picking – I refuse to cook any peas I’ve grown, they’re much better fresh!

Geese at Malltraeth Nature reserve

The days are lengthening now and Daf and I went back to Llyn Coed Mawr at Malltraeth – such a lovely peaceful place – and this time there were no fewer than ten egrets sitting together like sophisticated white mopheads resting in the last of the day’s sunlight. Two pairs of Canada geese noisily layed claim to the same small island, Mallard were ‘a dabbling, up tails all’, a couple of Gadwall glided silently along with the ‘peeping’ coot, while a group of Shovelers paired up to perform an intricate circle dance. The bright eyes of the Tufted Ducks caught our attention before they vanished under water to come up some distance away. A large Buzzard flew low over the water but none of the waterfowl seemed in the least bit disturbed. High in a tree two Raven sat motionless, surveying the scene below. I’m sure you can see why Llyn Coed Mawr is now one of our favourite places.


Posted: 2009-03-08

Red squirrels on Anglesey

An Anglesey squirrel

10th Feb 2009

We had a visit today from Craig Shuttleworth of Menter Mon. He is responsible for overseeing the development of the Red Squirrel population on Anglesey and we’re pleased to note that these lovely creatures are well settled in Pentraeth Forest and Newborough Warren. Not only that, they’ve been seen very near to Coed y Berclas and we’re assured that it’s only a matter of time before they are seen in our woodland.I can’t wait! The last time I saw a red squirrel was on a visit to the Lake District in the early 1980s.

Menter Mon’s work is supported by the Red Squirrel Survival Trust which has Prince Charles as its Patron. It is vital the grey squirrel is kept away from red squirrel settlements. Not only do they out-compete they also bring with them a pox to which they are immune but which brings a lingering and painful death to the reds. Just imagine how lovely it will be to wander through woodland and know that at any moment we might catch a glimpse of one of Britain’s most endearing native creatures.


Posted: 2009-02-11


Mon 26 Jan 2009… up tails all

Swans on our local lake

After a chilly day, which had started grey and threatening, moved on to short rain showers with a stunningly colourful rainbow set against a mostly-blue sky; Daf and I took a pleasant late afternoon walk along the lane to the the lake, timing it so we would arrive as the sun was slowly setting, sending beautiful pink, flame and mauve reflections twinkling and rippling across the slow surface of the water.

There are myriad lifeforms living in and around this old reservoir, most of which are shy of humans and keep themselves hidden. As we arrived, the coot and moor hens scattered in a noisy flurry of wings, settling again in the centre of the lake, safe from our intrusion.

However, as we stood quietly for some time, absorbing the tranquility, one of the pair of swans we frequently see here glided gently across the water towards us, leaving his mate, more timid, quietly circling near the other birds. Most elegant of birds, he serenely put on a display like an effortless ballet, all the time keeping an eye on his entranced audience – how lucky to be in the presence of such a magnificent creature.

Gaining courage, his mate joined him in a pas de deux more graceful than anything seen at Covent Garden. Finally, certain we were little threat they began feeding ‘up tails all’, not so elegant and rather amusing us, but still the control and gentility was striking. Eventually, in the gathering darkness, they glided away together and we turned from the lake to walk home to the warmth and comfort of Coed y Berclas.


Posted: 2009-02-01