The road markings disappeared along with our GPS signal, and our car came to a stop for a herd of sheep who’d escaped onto the road – it was clear we were driving deeper into the Welsh countryside.
To celebrate Dave’s parents’ birthdays, we headed to the stunning Brecon Beacons for a relaxing break with his family over the bank holiday weekend. Packing up after work on a Friday, we made the hour and a half drive from Cardiff to the cottage rented through Sugar & Loaf, a holiday site kind of like Airbnb, but exclusively for luxury countryside retreats in Wales and beyond.
I knew we were going somewhat off the beaten track, but I totally underestimated just how out-of-the-way it was – my diesel car chugged through the steep narrow lanes like a tractor, while road signs quickly became non-existent and blind corners were at every turn.
With just the name of the farm and a set of pretty specific, albeit confusing, directions at hand, we took a left into another country lane in hope it was the right one, and celebrated when we eventually came to the first of three wooden gates, as detailed in the instructions given.
Someone needs to get out of the car to open and close the gates as you go, which was just one of the novelties of being in the countryside that I probably enjoyed much more than someone who actually lived out here – the second being the sheep who happily roamed all around us.
We continued to follow the gravel roads and sharp bends until a stone cottage appeared in the distance, and finally parked up in the courtyard at the foot of the property. Looking out at the incredible view around us, I hoped for more than one reason that we’d arrived at the right place.
Dave headed straight to the property in search for the key, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the incredible view. You could barely make out the path which lead us here, let alone a neighbouring house, and the silence around was just pure bliss.
We walked up the steps towards the farmhouse after locating the key, and went inside to explore our home for the weekend.
Unsurprisingly, the cottage was absolutely stunning, with a rustic charm that blended perfectly with modern luxuries – wooden doors were locked with latches and string, an uneven concrete staircase spiralled upstairs to four bedrooms, and underfloor heating warmed your toes from the front door to the kitchen.
I consider myself very much of a city-girl, and could never really picture living out in the sticks or not having neighbours on either side (even though, typically, we’ve hardly ever spoken to ours, let alone know their names). But the view from the dining room’s panoramic windows was the kind that could turn a lifelong city dweller like me into a country bumpkin.
The rest of the restored farmhouse was just as lovely, but this was by far everybody’s favourite area, and where we spent the majority of our time – even the open fire log burner in the living room couldn’t tempt us away from the vista views, and the occasional herds of sheep who’d graze and wander right past the window!
Being so secluded meant our stay here was self-catered, and on our first night, we gathered around the dining room table over a homemade curry, and rested up before heading out to explore the area in the morning.
Patrishow Farm, where we were staying, is located in Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons National Park, with Abergavenny, Hay-on-Wye and the Black Mountains all close by. The guest book provided some great suggestions for walks in the area, and we headed off on our first route which began right from the back of the house to Crug Mawr.
It was difficult to make out a definitive path through the wild grass and bushes, so we ended up making our own way on an incline towards the general direction of the peak. It’s quite steep, and a modest challenge for un-athletic types like me, but the stunning view back to the cottage was a nice distraction the higher and higher you climbed.
Even though we weren’t that far away from the nearest town, the secludedness of the area made you feel like you’d totally escaped from the world – the wind carried the faint sound of sheep baas in the distance, wild horses grazed peacefully along the hills, and not a soul was to be seen for miles on end.
It was only when we reached the peak of Crug Mawr that we came across people for the first time since leaving the city, as a small group of hikers arrived from the opposite direction and continued down the trail in front of us.
After lunch back at the warm cottage, we headed out for another stroll to the nearby village church.
We crossed more open fields filled with sheep, and along the way, stopped to help reunite a young lamb with her family, after getting stuck on the other side of the fence.
The walk to the church was much shorter in comparison to the first, and within 30 minutes we’d arrived at the 14th century site. The church was small and quaint, and felt peaceful in its rural setting. Inside, medieval paintings decorated the white walls, with one image of a skeleton holding a sickle and hourglass, which is rumoured to have reappeared each time people have tried to cover it – spooky!
Even though I’m not religious, I could imagine gatherings in a setting like this being even more special than those held somewhere in the busy city.
With tired legs, we gathered back around our favourite spot in the cottage, and spent the night laughing, drinking, and playing immature card games together.
The last day
The next day was our last in Brecon, and as with any UK break, we were at the mercy of the British weather. The rain drizzled on and off throughout the day, but we left the cottage undeterred and headed into Crickhowell for lunch. We’d booked a table at the Bear pub, and enjoyed a really delicious and filling meal there, although the setting was slightly too formal for me.
Needing to walk off our food, we drove to Abergavenny next for a stroll through the town and castle grounds, before retreating back to the cottage one last time.
It’s so nice to go somewhere that feels so completely removed from the day to day grind, and Patrishow Farm was just the perfect setting to do nothing but relax in the peace and quiet – we didn’t turn on the TV once during our stay, and while there was limited wifi in the property, I wouldn’t have complained at all if there was none whatsoever.
If you’re looking for a remote getaway, you simply can’t go wrong with this one.
- Patrishow Farm sleeps eight, and costs around £700-£1000 for a three night stay
- A security deposit is also required when booking
- You can bring your pooch for an extra £20 per week – we paid for two but didn’t end up bringing either!
- You absolutely need a car to get there, and a confident driver to navigate the narrow lanes
- Bring some, if not all, the food you need – you won’t be able to ‘pop to the shops’ here
- If you’ve never been, I can also highly recommend checking out the Abergavenny Food Festival which takes over the town every September