Tuesday, October 27, 2009

House-Hunting in Wales: part 1

Having sold our current accommodation (subject to contract), our plan is to buy a house which sits on some high plateau in magnificent isolation, with ample grounds and mountain views and country walks outside our gate.

So far, our search in mid-Wales has proved a mite disappointing.

Rhayader looking south

We arrived in Rhayader at 12.45 today (three and a half hours driving from Andover). After lunch in one of the attractive pubs, we did the two estate agents and after a brief tourist drive to see the reservoirs of the Elan valley (very scenic - don't buy downstream) we took a look at five properties.

To be honest, none of them was particularly inspiring. They were either mini-developments in a nearby village (no 'splendid isolation') or rather undistinguished bungalows fringed by barbed wire in a rural sheep-farming landscape. Somehow it didn't quite capture our dream.

We didn't go for the cottage with this view

Mid-afternoon we abandoned the picturesque, tourist-friendly but tiny Rhayader and drove to Llandrindod Wells, a pleasant Victorian town around 12 miles away which somewhat resembles Georgian Bath. It is however surrounded by valley farms, another house-hunt disappointment. We therefore proceed straight down to Brecon across the mountains, where we saw groups of soldiers being put through their paces. There was a heavy military presence above 2,000 feet.

Clare in this evening's Brecon Chinese restaurant

Brecon has a good feel about it, pleasant shops and restaurants and a cheerful occupied street life. Half-term probably has something to do with it. We ate at the local Chinese which was good, and we're currently ensconced in the George Hotel. Tomorrow we'll be checking whether there are properties for sale nestled in the Brecon Beacons.