Days Out · Photography

Out and About : Nant yr Arian.

What? Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre

Where? Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth

How much? Free entry, car parking is £1.50

When? Open all year round (apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day). Red kite feeding takes place at 2pm (3pm during British Summer Time).

There’s no Gallery prompt this week so I thought instead I’d take the opportunity to blog about my trip to the nearby forestry visitor centre to watch the red kites being fed. I recently bought a new camera and helped a friend to pick a new camera so we thought it would be an ideal time to try them out.

Feeding time.

We arrived at Nant yr Arian at about 2.3o giving us enough time to walk down to the lake side and around to the best vantage point to watch the feeding. There were thirty or forty people already mingling around, I spent a lot of time ogling other people’s cameras – lots of people were clearly there to take pictures.

We were aware as 3pm approached that the red kites were starting to circle over head, first the odd one and then a few more. We noticed the ranger appear on the other side of the lake, as soon as she started throwing the food out the skies filled with birds all swooping to get their share. It was an amazing sight, I switched between taking photos and just standing there watching the spectacle.

Always time for tea.
After the feeding slowed down to an occasional opportunistic swoop we carried on walking around the lake. We did the Barcud trail, a circuit approximately 1 km in length with only gentle slopes and a fairly even surface (the Forestry Commission website says that this is suitable for wheelchairs). We stopped at various points round the lake to take more photos, we also visited the kite hide and watched the late eaters from only a few metres away.

When we got back to the start we walked back up to the visitor centre and stopped for a very welcome cuppa. There’s a lovely big balcony area where you can sit with a drink and gaze out over the beautiful landscape – it was the perfect end to a really enjoyable afternoon.

Days Out

Out and About : Llanerchaeron.

What? Llanerchaeron.
Where? National Trust property approximately 5 miles outside Aberaeron.
How much? Adult £7.10, Child £3.60. Family tickets are available and reduced admission is available if you use a green method of transport.
When? The property is now open Wednesday – Sunday and will be open 7 days a week from 4th April.

Over the weekend I was entertaining a history loving friend. When I was searching for things to do in Ceredigion I discovered there was a National Trust property hidden away. We both love exploring old properties so I knew it was definitely a way for us to spend an afternoon.

The history bit.
Llanerchaeron is a minor gentry estate that dates back to the 18th-century. The house was passed down through the generations until it was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1989. When they took the house on it was in a poor state so they undertook the necessary restoration work and have returned it to its wonderful original state. In addition to the villa itself there is a courtyard that was used by the service staff with outhouses on the three non house sides of the square that were used for purposes including laundry, cheese storage and meat curing.

Walking round the house we were met at regular intervals by National Trust volunteers. They were all brilliant, they knew lots about the house, the contents of the rooms and the people who had lived in them. Some of the people we spoke to had been with the property since it had first been acquired, they were able to tell us about the restoration work – something we found fascinating.

A tranquil inspiration.
My favourite part of the house was a sitting room on the first floor. This circular room was decorated in a beautiful pale green and felt wonderfully calm and tranquil. Through the window you could see lovely views of the Welsh countryside. There was a desk against one wall and a couple of comfortable chairs. I could instantly picture myself working in this room. The lady who was the volunteer working on the first floor told us that it was a room that the ladies of the house used both for writing and for sewing. Whilst she was telling us about this I began to be able to picture the ladies and now feel tempted to write their story.

More to see than the house.
In addition to the house we were able to explore the walled gardens. At this time of the year they’re getting everything ready, many of the beds were clearly ready for things to be planted in them. I have been told that during the summer months the beds are always full, and the fruit and vegetables that they grow are available for sale. We also had a pleasant stroll around the lake, it has an island in the middle that made us both think of Swallows and Amazon.

We didn’t venture any further than this, but a short walk on from the house and gardens is the Home Farm complex – a working organic farm complete with animals.

I really feel like we uncovered a gem in Llanerchaeron. The house is beautifully restored and the volunteers are very knowledgeable and friendly. I shall certainly be visiting again next time someone comes to visit.