(Vale of Ffestiniog) - Steam trains on the doorstep with private platform onto Ffestiniog Railway. Surrounded by wild nature reserve and mountains.
Historic cottage high up in the foothills of Moelwyn Bach with a private platform onto the Ffestiniog Railway – just stick out a hand to hail a passing steam train. This is a secluded and idyllic location to step back in time and enjoy the rugged beauty of central Snowdonia surrounded by the nature reserve below and wild mountain above. The cottage sleeps 4 with 2 en-suite bedrooms and has a private garden (and garden room) with 5 cascading ponds.
The Ffestiniog Railway runs the 13 miles between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog stopping at Campbell’s Platform only for visitors of Campbell’s Cottage. Weekly rover tickets, unique to the property, are available at the bargain price of a daily rover ticket bought anywhere else.
The cottage was converted from stone barns in the 1960s to provide accommodation for the railway volunteers and known as ‘Dduallt Mess’. It has been significantly upgraded since then and comprises a double bedroom and a twin bedroom (both en suite), spacious lounge and a kitchen diner with entrance porch for storing boots and coats.
In addition there is an atmospheric garden room with scented plants that leads off the double bedroom. The cottage garden blooms at different times of year with azaleas, wisteria, rhododendrons and a yellow berry tree which birds feast on in the autumn. There are 5 cascading ponds, teeming with frogs and tadpoles in the spring, and a small waterfall flowing into the pond opposite the French windows of the kitchen diner. Our free range chickens often come begging at the cottage.
Kitchen facilities include an electric cooker, microwave, kettle, toaster, fridge, freezer, washing machine and a wide variety of pots, pans and dishes. There is a TV and DVD player with an extensive library of films and programmes of local interest. There is also a wide selection of books, games and jigsaws. For our younger visitors there is an option for Thomas the Tank bedding! Mobile phone reception is generally good.
Heating is by way of storage heaters and a coal-effect electric stove in the living room. In the winter months there is central heating.
Things to do
Many visitors reach the end of their holiday promising to return and do the things they couldn’t fit in. Riding the trains, visiting beaches and castles are the obvious delights but for many children feeding the chickens or watching the many wild birds at the bird table is another highlight.
Walking and trains
Footpaths and sheeptracks from Campbell’s Cottage will take you in all directions: up quiet, unspoilt craggy mountains; through ancient oak woodlands to a pub or restaurant; alongside humid gorges with whirlpools and waterfalls; through upland pastures with sheep and wild goats.
Longer excursions can be achieved with the help of the railway: a stroll from the harbour at Porthmadog and along the beach and coves at Borth y Gest; a walk amongst the atmospheric slate heritage around Blaenau Ffestiniog and a visit to the underground slate caverns at Llechwedd; an escape into the fantasy world of Portmeirion, the Italianate village used as a location for The Prisoner, just a mile’s walk from the railway. Or maybe just a shopping expedition to the traditional butcher where you can buy regional specialities such as salt marsh lamb and Welsh black beef. Or to The Purple Moose, our award winning local brewery
Even further afield there are train connections with the line covering the coast from Aberdyfi to Pwllheli and the scenic Conwy Valley line through the mountains to Llandudno. The Welsh Highland Railway can take you all the way from Porthmadog, past the foot of Snowdon to Caernarfon Castle.
Fishing and walking
If you like the idea of combining walking and fishing this is a paradise. High up in the mountains (about 90 minutes walk from Campbell’s Cottage) are several natural lakes with wild brown trout. Closer to home is the lake at Tanygrisiau (30 minutes walk) which is stocked with rainbow trout and at the right time of year sea trout and salmon can be caught on the Dwyryd which runs past the bottom of our drive. And of course there are plenty of fish in the sea, especially so when the dolphins drive in shoals of mackerel.
Being members of the Cambrian Angling Club and the ‘Fly Dressers Guild’ we will be happy to share local knowledge and can provide hand-made flies and fresh garden worms.
Biking, paddling and golf
It’s not all walking. Just a few miles down the road is Coed y Brenin, one of the greatest mountain bike centres in Britain and, apart from the car park, it’s free! Bikes for hire and excellent snacks are available in the visitor centre. Exciting plans are underway for a world class downhill biking centre above Blaenau Ffestiniog along with a network of other biking routes to suit all tastes.
With fast flowing mountain rivers, lakes, estuaries and miles of coastline there is tremendous paddling potential. For the more intrepid there is the national white water rafting centre about 40 minutes drive towards Bala. The centre provides excellent spectator sport from the comfort of its café beside a couple of the rapids.
Golf in the mountains above Ffestiniog, with battery operated fences to deter sheep from the greens, provides vigorous exercise and stunning views at a very affordable price. At the other end of the scale is the classic course of St Davids in the sand dunes at Harlech. Between the two is the links course at Porthmadog.
In summer 2012, a world class downhill biking centre opens above Blaenau Ffestiniog along with a network of other biking routes to suit all tastes. Also opening towards the end of the summer is the first Velorail in Britain which will run on the disused railway track from Blaenau to Llan Ffestiniog.
Vale of Ffestiniog
The Vale of Ffestiniog is one of the most beautiful places in the world steeped in heritage and rich in wildlife and nature. Streams, waterfalls and rivers race down off the mountains through ancient oak woodlands to the golden sands of the estuary.
Lord Lyttelton wrote in 1776 ....’Nothing remarkable occurred in our ride, until we came to Festiniog, the Vale before which is the most perfectly beautiful of all we had seen ..... with the woman one loves, with the friend of one’s heart, and a good study of books, one might pass an age there, and think it but a day.’
There is a dreamlike familiarity to the scenery which might be due in part to the area being used as a location for films such as First Knight and more recently, Clash of the Titans. The manor house has been used as a location for Most Haunted, Live the Dream as Seen on Screen and Y Tŷ Cymreig.
Availability and prices
Campbell’s Cottage is available throughout the year with change-over day on Friday and short breaks available outside of the main season.
Weekly prices are from £360 to £650 depending upon dates. Prices are inclusive of everything, including central heating in winter months, but excluding the weekly rover tickets for the railway. In 2009 these were available at £17.95 (adult) and £9.00 (child).
Getting here and accessibility
We are about 1.5 miles from the village of Maentwrog or The Oakeley Arms which is on the A487 towards Porthmadog.
Once on the single track road follow this for half a mile alongside the river. On the left hand side there is a stone sign for Plas y Dduallt. Open (and close) the gate then drive up a very steep hill for a further half mile through the ancient woodlands and keep a watchful eye on suicidal sheep!
Plas y Dduallt
Tan y Bwlch
Telephone 01766 590272