The Next Adventure Begins

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
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Trip End Jun 01, 2011


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Where I stayed
Ty Bryn Bed & Breakfast, Llandgo
What I did
Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Flag of United Kingdom  , Wales,
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We've come a long way since our first post on Travelpod and, having stayed in 107 different beds during our Big Trip 2010/11, you would think we might be a bit fed up with guest houses? But no! In fact, we decided to turn things on their head a little and we grasped the opportunity to move to the countryside outside Bristol, to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty no less, and set up a business to provide accommodation for fellow travellers. And so here we are at Ty Bryn Bed & Breakfast, Llandogo, Monmouthshire, and what a journey it has been! 

It was in the winter of 2011 that we discovered a beautiful Victorian house called Tighnabruaich (Gaelic for house on the hill) in the riverside village of Llandogo, South East Wales, and we fell in love. The 120 year old house was gorgeous, the area was stunning, but it was the view that really took our breath away. The house stands 30 metres or so above the River Wye and looks directly up a long, straight stretch of the river, forested hill slopes on either side, wildlife in abundance. The river is still tidal here and on our first visit we watched as the turning spring tide released a mat of tree branches that drifted past the house and away around the next meander, on a journey that would lead it eventually out into the Bristol Channel. And that connection with the sea secured our connection to Tighnabruaich and Llandogo.
 
Since then we we have watched numerous tides ebb and flow, April floods bringing down huge tree trunks, mists rising from the water surface, Mayflies dancing and a pair of Otters exploring in broad daylight, sunrises turning the water orange, fishermen casting their lines, canoeists and kayakers cruising downstream and even a couple of jet-skiers. It's been a wonderful seven months on the river and we can't wait to see what the Autumn and Winter will bring! 

Above the river, on the hillsides around us we have been loving the innumerable trekking and cycling trails and getting really, really muddy. The Wye Valley Walk is accessible from our back garden gate and the Offa's Dyke National Trail is just over the river and can be joined at the bridges at Brockweir or Bigsweir. We are surrounded by castles (Chepstow, Raglan, Goodrich), historic towns (Monmouth, Chepstow) and the beautiful Tintern Abbey is just 2 miles down the road. And its a lively area with festivals (food, music, walking) and events on most of the time. 

But, it has been a hard seven months too. We spent a lot of time and energy getting the house, which we've since renamed Ty Bryn (same meaning but in Welsh) to where it is today. After the purchase, we spent five months renovating and refurbishing it. We had to gain planning permissions for a change of use, meet regulations, secure a grant, obtain tourism grades and accreditations, undertake training, have inspections and gain certifications, organise marketing and networking, join associations, set up administrative systems.....and that's all before we've opened! 

So we opened in July 2012 and I am pleased to report that, despite a terrible year for tourism in this area (if not for the UK as a whole), Ty Bryn Bed & Breakfast is doing OK and we're loving it. All our guests, so far, have been lovely and to top it all we've really enjoyed sharing our home, and our view, with others. I can honestly say it was the right move for us. For those considering B&B as a business, be under no illusion it is hard physical work (it does keep you fit!) and long hours, lots of cleaning toilets, changing beds and desk-based work too. But, to see the grins on the faces of guests who have just completed the Wordsworth Walk, get a kiss on the cheek from a departing guest, a compliment on your cooked breakfast and a kind comment in your visitors book, it is so rewarding. 

If you want any information or even to make a booking at Ty Bryn Bed & Breakfast visit www.wyevalleystay.co.uk. We are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tybryn and do take a moment to 'Like' us. Or if you want to know more about the process of setting up a B&B then do get in touch. 
 
Best wishes
Nickie

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