In line with trying to become more eco-focussed this year, we decided that we wanted our holiday to follow the same principles, so we chose to stay at Owl Barn Retreat. This is a delightful barn conversion in a rural location about a mile from the village of Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant in Wales. It is a sustainable and eco-friendly holiday cottage which has achieved a gold award from the Green Business Tourist Scheme. This was how we discovered the cottage. I’m particularly impressed with the kitchen work surfaces having been constructed from recycled glass bottles.
From here, we were able to do several walks to the nearby villages of Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant and Penybontfawr, plus most magnificent of all, a longer walk from the cottage all the way to Pistyll Rhaeadr, the tallest waterfall in Wales which is in a remote area of the Berwyn Mountains. And of course we had to take a trip to CAT, the Centre for Alternative Technology, my third time there. We also enjoyed a walk from Lake Vyrnwy to a nearby smaller waterfall.
We were provided with Faith in Nature toiletries and Ecover, Ecoleaf and Method cleaning products, along with a tasty welcome pack of local food. We continued to try to buy locally with produce from the village butcher, Oswestry market, Llynclys Hall farm shop, plus Honeysuckle whole foods shop in Oswestry and Down to Earth in Llanfyllin. Zero trips to the supermarket on this holiday.
Recycling and composting are key at the cottage with separate clearly labelled bins for each type of recycling. I’m already aware how recycling varies from county to county. Here in Powys, there appears to be no recycling of tetra packs or metal jar lids. We did consider the possibility of bringing those back home but decided there probably wasn’t space in the car. But we did head home with an eco brick half filled.
And I loved relaxing in the wildlife garden watching the butterflies and listening to the birds. We’ve also seen rabbits, squirrels and a fox. Son2 has enjoyed using the telescope when it has been less cloudy and has spotted Arcturus. He also loved playing in the maze, which is another great area for wildlife with all the long grass and bracken.
It was a great feeling to be on the same wavelength as the owners. Anne phoned me a few days in advance of our holiday and told me things like there being a fishmonger at Oswestry market on Wednesdays. Just like I do here at home, Anne takes her own boxes to the butcher and fishmonger to avoid plastic. She was quite happy to leave me a supply of boxes to use, so we didn’t have to pack those.
We loved it so much at Owl Barn Retreat, that we have already booked two future stays there.
I’d love to hear your eco friendly holiday suggestions and tips please.
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I’ve been to an eco hotel in Wales and it was amazing. They even had their own duck to lay eggs so we had fresh duck eggs. It’s nice they provide you with Ecover products too. The hotel I went to collected rain water to help with toilet flushes.
What hotel was it. I’m always after good recommendations
This sounds like a great retreat. I’m always struck by how much recycling varies by location. We lived in Switzerland for 3 years, and they are very advanced regarding recycling and also in terms of limiting the packaging used by supermarkets. In fact, there had been a protest by shoppers who used to take all the external packaging off at the checkout, and leave it for the supermarkets to deal with, which resulted in supermarkets cutting down on packaging.. We were quite disappointed on moving back to the UK, as we still have quite a lot to do to catch up with best practices for waste.
I’ve read about people doing similar in UK this year so hopefully that will help here too
It sounds wonderful and the personal touches always make holidays seem more homely. Great photos too.
It is really fabulous there
So happy to have had your family stay. It is so special to know that my efforts to make the barn as eco friendly as possible have been appreciated. It is a little haven to us, that we aim to protect and and develop for future families to enjoy.
Thank you….you were a joy to have.
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And we loved visiting again last week. So nice to see in a different season
Owl Barn Retreat looks like a great place to stay, love the views.
It is fab, that is why we have booked to go again
Gorgeous photos, sounds like a great place
yes looking forward to visiting again