As we draw towards the end of the year, we wanted to say a huge thank you to all our visitors, local suppliers, attractions and, of course, the countryside and weather for making 2014 a particularly special year. We feel honoured to have such a loyal, happy and fun-loving visitor base, it’s you who makes Fforest Fields a special place to escape to, so thank you.
Beyond the site there are some fantastic attractions and businesses who have welcomed visitors and locals alike. It just all works so well! So, as we sit here with christmas tunes softly playing in the background, the tree all lit up and freshly cooked mince pies sitting on the side, we thought we’d celebrate some of the local attractions, places and people who have made 2014 an absolute corker!
Susie and Celia
Where would we be without Susie and Celia? Susie works tirelessly making sure that the flowers, plants and trees on the site are healthy and happy. She is a wonderful creative soul who brings just the right splash of colour to each corner of the campsite. So thank you Susie. Then there is Celia, who keeps the loo block looking spic and span during the busy summer months and always has a smile on her face. A tremendous athlete, Celia has competed in several events this year, including representing Great Britain in the European Middle Distance triathlon in Mallorca. They are fantastic to work with and we’re not sure where we would be without them!
The Roast Ox
There are some great places to eat nearby, from proper pub food to gastro delights, takeaways, eat on your knees and, of course, delicious local produce for DIY BBQ delights. We have always received such support from our local pubs and want to thank them all for opening their doors wide to our visitors. This year we want to celebrate Tony and his faithful, cheerful team up at the Roast Ox in Painscastle. Not only is it one of favourite drives through Cregrina and out onto the open hill, but there are stunning 360 degree views across to Haybluff and Pen y Fan and in summer you are bound to hear a curlew singing. Then, as you drop down into the village of Painscastle, you are greeted by The Roast Ox. The food is exceptional, simple with a twist, totally delicious meats and mouthwatering puddings. There is always some good ale on tap and the welcome is so genuine.
The Elan Valley
The Elan Valley has provided so many of our visitors with space to walk and enjoy the stunning scenery and we don’t think it will ever drop off our thank you list! The dams are a sight to be seen and are majestic come rain or shine. The beautiful reservoirs and huge variety of walks in the area from tough climbs to easy going ambles ensures that the Elan Valley is a constant favourite. This year we also dropped in at the Penbont for some tea after a walk and were greeted with the friendliest welcome, delicious tea and seriously scrumptious home cooked food. Definitely one to add to the ‘to dos’ for 2015.
The Daisy Chain Event
Local cycling enthusiast and all round doer Bonna Williams brought her Daisy Chain mountain bike event to Fforest Fields again this year. The female friendly event sets out to provide a welcoming, non hostile environment for women cyclists to get on their bikes and enjoy a competitive event. There were sections to suit everybody from welcomed novices through to more experienced riders. We’re looking forward to seeing Bonna again in 2015!
We have several beautiful spots around the farm for those ‘sit and gaze’ moments. Leaving the campsite and walking up through the old trees in Terrible Hollow before branching left along one of the flattest farm tracks will bring you to Alison’s Bench. A perfect place for an evening stroll or a pit stop when walking the dogs. The view out over the top of the campsite below and across the valley to Carneddau, the Doldowlod Gap and Radnor Forest is lovely. Many happy moments have been shared at Alison’s Bench this year.
The Small Breeds Farm
Just over the border in Herefordshire is the much loved Small Breeds Farm, which has been going for over 20 years. There is a lovely collection of miniature, rare and extremely friendly creatures and it never fails to delight children and adults alike.There are miniature horses and Zebu (one of the smallest breeds of cows in the world), donkeys, owls, chipmunks, chinchillas ferrets and even a 3 inch 23 year old tortoise called Tilly. They have delighted Fforest Fields visitors in 2014 and we want to say a big thank you to the team for being so welcoming and for providing such a great day out.
The Winter Fair
In it’s 25th year, The Winter Fair 2014, proved to be a complete and resounding success. While still being a fatstock event for farming visitors to show off their prime stock, it also bustled with fantastic crafts and wares. From honey to sheepskins to welly boots to woodwork the standard of creative talent on display was fantastic and meant we went back two days in a row. Alongside this were the well-reared and beautifully turned out livestock, farriery displays and a wonderful firework show to mark this great event reaching its quarter century.
The Lakes at Fforest Fields
The two lakes at Fforest Fields have provided hundreds of happy moments this year and it brings the biggest smile to our faces knowing that they are such a loved part of the campsite. We’ve had little ones learning to swim with armbands, countless honeypots off the jetty, boats of many different shapes and sizes and, with patience, some good catches on the fishing lake. While they are an automatic go-to when the sun is shining and the water is warm (enough!) the lakes are also lovely to visit as the sun rises or sets, shedding golden colours and pinks across the water and providing many peaceful moments.
It is with heavy hearts that we learned that the Erwood Station Craft Centre was closing its doors this year. The wonderful local craft centre, with all offerings made very much in Wales has been a charming and much loved addition to the local landscape for nearly 30 years. So we wanted to say a huge and very special thank you this Christmas to the team and volunteers who have made this happy stop off a great place to visit and wish them good luck and happiness in their future ventures.
By far our busiest week of the year, and the closest we ever get to being ‘heaving’ but the Royal Welsh Show week this year was brilliant. People flooded in from all over Wales, the UK and beyond and use the campsite as a base for the daily 4 mile commute into the show. There was a great atmosphere on site and the sun shone brightly. Down the road, the show proved a huge success. The Royal Welsh Show is the largest agricultural show in Europe and this year welcomed over 200,000 visitors to lively showground with fantastic displays, competitions and farming/rural wares on sale. What an attraction to have just down the road from Fforest Fields! The 2015 show is on the 20th to 23rd of July 2015 and we are currently taking priority bookings at our 2014 rate, so if you fancy getting that into your diary give us a call!
Wyeside is the local arts centre is a brilliant venue for live and visual arts and cinema. It always has a varied programme and regular events, including music, dance, comedy and other creative visual arts. The staff and volunteers are very knowledgeable and super friendly, making sure you are well looked after from the second you step through the door. 2015 looks like another exciting year with opera, plays, ballet and exhibitions lined up to suit a wide variety of tastes. The Wyeside is a real jewel in the local crown and we want to thank them for a stonking 2014 and a wish them a creative and prosperous 2015.
The Drying Room
We had an inkling that creating a drying room in the new loo block would be popular, but we had no idea quite how popular! This little room has probably had the most visitors in 2014 and even outstrips demand for Ffynonnau Sausages. Happy parents have seen their sprogs splash in puddles or sit with their knees of wet cold grass without worrying that they’d have to find somewhere in their tent or nearby bushes to string it up to dry! The end of year clearout too provided all of us with new jumpers – so don’t forget to collect your bits and bobs from the drying room in 2015!
We have some fantastic local food producers and without the skill and knowledge of butchers like Eric & Anthony Bujok we would be up the creek without a paddle. The mouthwatering bacon you find in the campsite shop comes via E Bujok & Sons in Builth Wells. Beyond the bacon, they have provided us and our visitors with some delicious meat this year, perfect for BBQs and scrumptious moments sat round the fire.
Tucked away in a little courtyard in Builth Wells, enjoy a creamy hot chocolate or devilishly delicious tea cake while watching the world go by. The Cwtch cafe has become a favourite stop off for our visitors and is a great place to warm up and fill up before exploring Builth and beyond. There are an assortment of toys to keep the little ones occupied and such lovely staff who always make you feel right at home as soon as you walk through the door. THey can even do a little takeaway picnic so you can go and sit by the Wye and enjoy some good food. We wish them every success in 2015 and can’t wait to pop in for a cuppa in the new year.
Zach & Chai’s Thai Food
During the summer we asked local Thai Takeaway providers Zach & Chai to come and serve up their authentic and totally delicious food on the campsite at weekends. We started it just after the Royal Welsh Show week for those who didn’t fancy doing cooking. Nothing was ever too much bother for Zach & Chai and we feel so very fortunate that they not only live in the next door village but can cook up some of the best Thai food we’ve ever tasted!
We hope you have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year, we can’t wait to see you all in 2015!