Coed Y Bleiddiau : a halt on the Blaenau Ffestiniog Railway

smart new roof

High in the breathtaking scenery of the Snowdonia National Park, this charming little cottage was built in 1863 for Henry Hovendon, Superintendent of the Ffestiniog Railway. Today, it is decaying; the lathe and plaster ceilings have collapsed from water penetration, and the floors and joinery are rotten. Abandoned for nearly a decade and recently listed Grade II, Coed y Bleiddiau’s remote setting has left it impractical for modern daily life.”

Thus begins the Landmark Trust‘s appeal for donations to the fund to save Coed Y Bleidiau. This little cottage in the woods has a fascinating history.

approaching CyB

The property “Wood of the Wolves” was built by the Railway in 1863 for its manager Henry Hovenden who lived here with his wife and 7 children. By 1913 it was no longer required by the railway and was let as a holiday home initially to a bank manager and in 1922 to the composer Granville Bantock who co-founded the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Sir Thomas Beecham and Joseph Chamberlain and counted amongst his friends Richard Strauss, Sir Henry Wood and Edward Elgar.

Caroline explains

Caroline Stanford

The Landmark’s Historian, Caroline Stanford, told us several interesting stories connected with Bantock’s visitors and subsequent leaseholders.

Inside the house Richard Burton, Landmark’s Project Manager, showed us around and explained the Trust’s proposals for the house and its rooms.

slate tiles

The Rear Extension added soon after the house was built will stay. Note the heap of slate tiles.

outside cloaks

Re-roofed Outside Toilet


The Solid Fuel Stove will be cleaned up but possibly not used

kitchen sink

A new kitchen sink will be installed

kitchen wall cupboards

Shelves will replace the 1950s cupboards

grd floor dble bedrm

Ground Floor Double Bedroom

below CyB

Amazing 19th century railway construction work

Access to the property will be by rail, naturally. There is a 25 foot platform immediately outside the front gate but parking is 400m away downhill in the valley. Luckily, there is electricity and running water.

CyB platform

CyB sign

Slate was the raison d’etre of the Ffestiniog Railway – and it is all around

our vintage train

What a way to arrive at … and leave your holiday home


Please shut the gate when leaving


Ffestiniog Railway : A Magical Combination of Spectacular Landscape and Historic Railway

Ffestiniog Railway poster

Last Saturday dawned bright and sunny and the day stayed perfect in every way throughout. I crept quietly out of Gladstone’s Library at 10 past 6 in the morning and arrived at Porthmadog Harbour Station Car Park at about 20 to 8. This was a day to remember! I was invited by two friends who are patrons of The Landmark Trust to ride the Ffestiniog Railway and view the ruined property which the Trust are about set to restore in partnership with the Railway.

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A Limestone Walk : Mam Tor and The Winnats

book and map

Peak District Walks by John Merrill (1976)

Decisions! Decisions! Which walk should I choose? I found it difficult to decide between one which started from the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate and another which began in Castleton. The variety offered by the Mam Tor walk won the day and we set off bright and early last Saturday for the 14 mile drive to Castleton. This was to be a totally different walk from the day before – no literary connections. But then we parked up and there, towering above us, was Peveril Castle. Of course, ‘Peveril of the Peak‘ by Sir Walter Scott.

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Stepping into the pages of Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Robin Hood: The Jane Eyre Hathersage Trail

It’s hard to believe that our younger son has been living at his cottage on the edge of Sheffield with the Peak District and Ladybower Reservoir on his doorstep for three years already. His neighbour owns a holiday rental cottage in the same terrace and I finally managed a few nights stay there last weekend. The location has the best of both worlds – near to the vibrant and cultured city of Sheffield and yet just a short drive from the beautiful Derbyshire Dales/Peak District National Park. The outlook from the cottage is pastoral and peaceful. And there is perhaps too much choice when it comes to excursions to fill three full days.


North Lees Hall

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In the Steps of the Saints : A Trail of Gower Churches

On a previous visit to South Wales I picked up an older edition of this leaflet. My original copy has no date and listed only 15 churches. The new leaflet now includes 17 the additional 2 being Wernffrwd, St David’s and Penclawdd, St Gwynour. Both in north Gower and neither of which we visited. Quotations, in italics, are taken from my Churches Trail leaflet.

Gower Church Trail


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