Holiday at a rewilding sanctuary in the Arenig mountains near Bala
A rewilding sanctuary in the Arenig mountains near Bala – these holiday cottages are a real nature lover’s treat.
What responsibility do we have to the land we are fortunate to be the custodians of during our lifetime? It is a question that the owners of three beautiful holiday cottages near Bala –Tygwair Wen, Llaethdy Wen and Tylluan Wen – have given some significant thought to.
Since Gail and Jerry relocated from Henley on Thames to this idyllic hideaway in the Arenig mountains – just to the north of Bala in North Wales – they have been rewilding – or returning to nature – seven acres of land which surrounds their home and holiday cottages.
“You can’t live in countryside like this without it becoming a fundamental part of who you are”, Gail told us, explaining their motivation. “It has a way of finding its way into your soul.
The couple’s project has seen a transformation of land that had been eroded by years of sheep grazing – something which can, over time, have a significant impact on a landscape’s natural biodiversity.
Motivated by the desire to restore and re-establish native wild plants and creatures that had been lost, Gail and Jerry set about seeding wildflower meadows and planting copses of trees. They also excavated a 1300m2 lake, and installed bird and bug boxes to encourage new visitors.
“For any rewilding project to be successful, it has to be self-sustaining. That means we have to make sure we are encouraging creatures on every level of the food chain.”
And what a success this rewilding project has become. What had been relatively barren scrubland is now home to beautiful wildflower meadows, copses of young trees and a hilltop ‘llyn’ which teams with all sorts of life.
As well as delighting guests at their luxury holiday cottages (two of which sleep up to six guests; a third sleeps two) the rewilded land is also now home to two young tawny owls – Bill and Ben – which were rehomed from The Owls Trust in Llandudno.
The spring is marked by the return of house martins and swallows from Africa, and in the summer the lake comes alive with damsel flies, dragon flies and water beetles. It is a thriving and diverse natural community.
“All we wanted to do is to give nature a helping hand”, says Gail. “Looking out across these magnificent hills, watching the wildlife that now flies above and walks below, seeing the ebb and flow of life as the seasons change, it is life affirming, reassuring, and completely uplifting. It simply just makes you feel exceptionally content and happy.”