Summer Itinerary 2021

Itinerary of things to do in West Wales in Summer 2021

  • Avoid the crowds
  • Staycation
  • Room with a view

 

Falcondale Food  

Downloadable Guide


14 acres of lawns, gardens and woodland surrounds this country house on the outskirts of Lampeter

Superb, award winning produce from the local area used to create delicious dishes in the restaurant

Fall asleep to rustling trees and hooting owls in one of 17 unique rooms, and be awoken by birdsong in the mornings

We’ve created a suggested itinerary of things to do during your stay, take a look!


DAY 1 – EXPLORE

ON FOOT

There are two circular walks from the hotel, the Bluebell walk and Riverside walk. To avoid the crowds on the coastal path and in towns we would recommend taking a look at the top 11 Cambrian Mountains community trails, where there are OS maps and videos that show you what each trail has to offer. From woodland to reservoirs and rivers to hilltops there’s something for everyone.

BY BIKE

Should you be on your bike Lampeter is on Route 82 of the National Cycle Network. For leisurely mainly off road or quiet road cycling there is the 20 mile Ystwyth Trail, 17 mile Rheidol trail, 2 mile Aeron trail and 5 mile Teifi (Cardi bach) trail. All routes and maps can be found on Discover Ceredigion’s website.

IN YOUR CAR

Described by the AA as “one of the 10 best scenic drives in the world”, the B4518 road links Cwmystwyth and Rhayader. Another outstanding drovers’ route is the   exhilarating B4343 from Tregaron over Abergwesyn to Llanwrtyd Wells. These two spectacular routes can be completed in one day—an unforgettable Cambrian  Mountains circular of about 75 miles.


DAY 2 – GARDENING EXPERIENCE

NBGW

The National Botanical Gardens of Wales is a must see for gardening enthusiasts which features the worlds largest single span glasshouse at 110metres long, a large double walled garden, butterfly house, and a newly opened lakes and waterfalls trail leading around and through the Nature Reserve. Look out for special dog days usually on Mondays and Fridays.

CAE HIR

A family run Welsh garden with Dutch history just outside Lampeter with over 30 years knowledge to share and inspire you with. One of the original Magnificent 7 in RHS partner gardens “Great Gardens of West Wales”. You will meet the family during your visit. It is advisable to book in advance direct with Cae Hir.

LLANERCHAERON

A national trust property between Lampeter and Aberaeron Llanerchaeron not only has an elegant Georgian villa but a remarkably unaltered self-sufficient estate including a farm, walled gardens and lake. Check the National trust website for opening times, and whether pre-booking is required.


DAY 3 – ADVENTURE

CANOE

Your spectacular journey will take you through the Special Area of Conservation known as the Teifi Gorge, which was used for slate quarrying until the less usable slate that had been left in the river collected and blocked the gorge so that no motorised boats could navigate the river anymore. Half days (10am-2pm) and full days available.

WATERFALLS

Read about the legend of Devil’s bridge whilst experiencing Devil’s Punchbowl, Robbers Cave and Jacob’s ladder on the river Rheidol. Hafod is a woodland estate which became a destination for intrepid 18th century tourists in search of fashionable vistas and walks designed to delight and thrill. Cenarth makes for a picturesque setting and a pretty picnic spot, and a place to look out for salmon leaping over the falls.

SAFARI

Cambrian Safaris offer excursions into the Cambrian Mountains in a Land Rover,    accompanied by an experienced guide who can show you the best landscapes and scenery that Mid Wales has to offer. Pick ups can be arranged from Falcondale or Devil’s Bridge, with half and full day packages available at reasonable prices. Your dog can accompany you (with prior arrangement).


What if you need to cancel due to Covid?

We do not take deposits, and should your stay not be able to go ahead due to Covid-19 Government restrictions your booking can be changed without charge.


How to getaway on your Staycation?

Take a look at our latest Escapes & Offers: –


Download your own copy of the above itinerary here

Summer Itinerary 2021


 

Falcondale History

Apart from a house called Falcon Dale with a nearby service block, the current features do not show on the 1845 tithe map. The new layout was evidently conceived and executed as an entity. The earlier Falcon Dale was partly subsumed into the 1859 villa “New and spacious rooms and out-buildings surrounded the original house of Pant-y-Curyll (meaning valley of the sparrow hawk), anglicised into Falcondale for simplicity’s sake”, wrote Alice Harford.

It would be interesting to know the origins of the earlier property. One suggestion is that it was built for Richard Hart-Davies, who acquired the extensive Peterwell estates in 1812. His bankruptcy in 1819 passed them into the hands of the Harford family, among them his son-in-law J S Harford. The earlier Falcon Dale cannot have been significant; eminent personages engaged in discussing the establishment of St. David’s college in the early 1820s stayed at Derry Ormond, Highmead or even Abergwili rather than here in Lampeter.

The Italianate influence was perhaps deliberate; in 1850 Harford honeymooned in Italy, which was already familiar to his bride Mary von Bunsen, daughter of the Prussian ambassador to St James’s.

A second phase of building continued in the 1880s with the Model Home Farm, Maestir school, Maestir church and paired estate workers’ cottages, often hidden in woodland, were added to Harford’s growing list of ‘decent buildings’. Maestir school was moved (brick by brick) the Museum of Welsh Life in St Fagans near Cardiff. Located some 2 miles away from Falcondale, the school was originally called St Mary’s Board school. The school took the name from the church of St Mary’s; where the first school had been held until a new building was erected in 1880. Most of the families that lived near Maestir were in the employment of the Harford’s, and Sir Charles Harford built the school primarily for his workers’ children.

Location and Roads

Falcondale occupies a low bluff overlooking the Nant Creuddyn half mile north west of Lampeter. Now a hotel, it was built in 1859, in “Italian villa style on an unusually large scale”, according to Cadw. It sits on a small apron of formal terracing and faces south east, contemplating the Creuddyn valley as it approaches Lampeter (St Peter’s church tower provides an eye catcher).

Horizons are limited in this part of Ceredigion – the contours are intimate rather than sublime – but the modest hills offer attractive backdrops, and controlled effects can be achieved on a small scale. To leave Lampeter along the A482 and see Falcondale framed across the valley makes a striking picture. The house looks mature and established in its landscaped setting.

The tithe map of 1845 shows the old house approached directly from the main road; today’s north and south drives were non-existent. The original turnpike was suitably screened with trees and provided an opportunity for building two lodges, a modest cottage ‘in simplified Gothic style’ marking the old drive.

The new approach from the north is signalled by a striking building – sometimes called “the cockerel lodge” – whose low-pitched roof and deep eaves echo those of Falcondale. The visitor is then plunged into a wooded valley beside the Creuddyn for a considerable distance, which could be justified by the steepness of the valley sides at this point. The length of the drive has the effect of heightening the sense of anticipation, which is prolonged as the route loops behind the pleasure grounds, between the walled garden and the stable block, before turning to reveal the prospect of the open valley; a further turn is necessary before you glimpse the house contemplating this view.

Another Italianate design (Pontfaen lodge) at the southern approach from Lampeter is now modified beyond recognition. The South (from Lampeter) is more overtly grand from the start – the size of the fields and the grouping of trees hints at parkland, while the leisurely curves of the drive across the rising contours prepares the gaze for the sight of the façade in all its splendour. The remnants of an avenue of red chestnuts still punctuate the ribbon development of bungalows along the lower reaches of the drive.

Harford Family

Falcondale’s relatively modest scale and the background of its creators, the Harford family, make it an interesting case study in mid Victorian needs and aspirations. A concern with the ‘picturesque’ might be expected from the Blaise castle family, with its associations with John Nash and the Reptons. But John Battersby Harford’s aims in rescuing the Peterwell estates from decades of absenteeism and neglect were improved management tinged with philanthropy.

After reading for the bar, J B Harford decided in the late 1840s to settle at Falcondale “and gradually to bring order out of the chaos into which the estate has sunk, and to provide decent houses and buildings for the tenants”. This was not simply good business; in 1854 he wrote “If Falcondale were like Blaise Castle and Lampeter like Henbury, I might sit down quietly to enjoy the annual accession to my capital of ‘many hundreds a year’; but this… is completely out of the questions as long as cottages remain to be built and schools to be encouraged”.

The presence of a main road through the valley did not seem to have deterred J B Harford’s landscaping schemes, but a railway line would have been too much. J C Harford is said to have gone to a great deal of effort and expenditure in the early 1900s to ensure that the Aberaeron branch line was routed to the north through Silian rather than through Falcondale lands, but this is a rumour that needs to be checked out.

Much of Lampeter’s character is due to the improving ideas of the Harford family.

Gardens and Lakes

The pleasure grounds include many of the original walks, some ornamental rockwork in local quartz, an encaustic-floored shelter; a ‘shell house’ has now disappeared. Tucked into a North-facing slope is the icehouse. Other Victorian mod cons included a walled garden with glasshouses and frame yard.

The landscape we see was obviously designed for recreation and visual amenity in equal measure. The course of the Creuddyn was considerably altered – not least in the creation of Pond Wood, which was planned with many ornamental features. (Silting, strangling undergrowth and general neglect has now made this impenetrable). Maps of 1886 and 1887 show a pheasantry in Lodge Wood, as well as a ‘fishpond’ variously known as Falcondale Lake and Henfeddau Lake, with a boathouse.

Extensive woodland looks like plantation, but J B Harford enhanced this considerably, carefully using it to mould the terrain and adding shelterbelts, copses and strategically placed specimen trees.

Today the pleasure grounds have shrunk to smooth lawns and smart flowerbeds in the immediate vicinity of the house. A fine copper beech marks the start of the pleasure grounds at the south drive leading from Lampeter. Surviving Victorian conifers include a handful of varieties of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana in varying states of health, and Falcondale is one of only three gardens in the county to contain an incense cedar Calocedrus decurrens. Handsome fastigiated yews punctuate the lawns to the east of the house and a fine spreading bush of golden yew graces the lawn in front of the mansion. Birch, fothergilla, witch hazel and cornus are among the garden’s subtler plantings. A phalanx of colourful rhododendron cultivars helps to form a charming backdrop.

Recent History

The Harford family enjoyed Falcondale for just under a century. The estate was sold, largely to tenants, in the early 1950s and the woodland timber was reaped for short-term profit. The mansion became an old people’s home for 20 years, under the ownership of the county council, before being turned into a hotel by the Smith family. Chris and Lisa Hutton bought the business in 2000 from the Smith family and have been here ever since making changes and improvements every year.

 

 

Peterwell and Falcondale Estates Timeline

 

Peterwell / Ffynnonbedr

1600s               Estate founded by David Evans (son of Ieuan Goch of Dolau Gwyrddion and originally from Llechwedd Deri) who bought land and built first house

1691                 Daniel Evans “rebuilt his grandfather’s house at Peterwell using materials from Maesyfelin”. Died 1696: window Mary m. John Lloyd, who cam to live at Peterwell

c1713               Daughter Elizabeth m. Walter Lloyd of Foelallt, who came to live at Peterwell

1747     Son John succeeds to estates and begins expansion of Peterwell. Marries Elizabeth le Hoop/Heup but d. without issue

1755                 Herbert Lloyd (born 1720) succeeds his brother to Peterwell and Foelallt and Llechwedd Deri. (2nd wife Anne nee Powell of Nanteos and widow of Richard Stedman of Strata Florida lives mostly at Foelallt). Baronetcy 1763. Hectic political career and profligate lifestyle: ODNM quotes refs to him ass the “Vulture Knight”.

1769                 D. of Herbert Lloyd (suicide unfounded). Peterwell inherited by nephew John Adams of Whitland, who sank deeper into debt. Considers offering estate to Thomas Jones and (1780) to Edward Lovedon of Buscot Park (marries to Margaret Pryse of Gogerddan).

1776                 Bought by Albany Wallis who held original mortgage, but non-resident and house decays.

1781                 Sale of Peterwell furniture: FJ quotes catalogue: “late property of John Adams”: account dated 24.09.1781 lists rooms. ODNB says: “sold on 24 September 1781 to Albany Wallis”

c1798               Peterwell described as “ruinous”; 1801 and 1802 Travellers descriptions

1806                 Col Bailey Wallis, heir to Albany Wallis, sells Peterwell to Richard Hart Davis, banker of Bristol and partner in Harford Bank.

1807                 25 August: Sale of Peterwell estate (9408 acres) at Black Lion Inn: 5 days allowed for sale

1812                 Louisa, dr of Richard Hart Davis, m. John Scandrett Harford (1785-1866), author and art collector, and instrumental in founding St David’s College 1820

1811-13 RHD’s improvements noted by Walter Davies: RHD plants c395,000 trees “from Mr Hindes’s Nursery, Felindre”.

1819                 Bankruptcy of Richard Hart Davis: estate passes to John Scandrett Harford and his brother AG Harford-Battersby: “the Peterwells Estate, where Mr Hart Davis had done much judicious planting on the hill-sides”.

Falcondale (or Pant Y Curyll as name first appears)

Before 1820     First mention of Falcondale / Pant Y Curyll “Built by Daniel Evans, a Lampeter banker formerly of Llechwedd Deri and Peterwell”.

1820                 Falcondale described as “empty”; subsequently rented by vicar, John Williams, who ran boarding school for boys.

1831                 Falcondale shown on Colby’s map

  • David Evans, banker living at Falcondale; sworn in as burgess 1831

1840s               John Battersby Harford (nephew of JSH) decides to take on Falcondale to “bring order out of the chaos into which the estate had sunk and … provide decent houses and buildings for the tenants”

1845                 Tithe map shows “Falcon Dale” with service block nearby, approached by east drive from A482

1850                 JBH marries Mary Charlotte, daughter of Baron de Bunsen

1859                 Falcondale rebuilt to Italianate design by Talbot Bury

1862                 JBH opens fountain in Harford square providing clean water supply for town

 

1875                 Death of JBH. John Charles Harford (1860-1934) succeeds.

1905                 Mollie Harfod cuts first sod for Lampeter, Aberaeron and New Quay Light railway, (1911)

1916                 Death of John Henry Harford at Thiepval in WW1

1934                 Death of JC Harford. Sir Arthur Harford succeeds

1951                 Sale of Falcondale Estate, house bought by County Council and converted to old People’s home

c1975               Sold to HL Smith for conversion into hotel

2000                Sold to Chris and Lisa Hutton for continuing its life as a hotel

Green Policy

Be a Green Visitor

We understand that we have a responsibility to help protect and sustain the local, national and global environment. We take this responsibility very seriously and are already undertaking a number of energy saving measures in the hope of further diminishing our carbon footprint.

By working together as a team, we hope to increase awareness and understanding of these environmental issues to create a safe and clean environment for future generations.

We are undertaking the following actions to achieve this: –

  • We ensure legal compliance with environmental legislation and codes of best practice
  • We strive to continually improve our environmental and social performance
  • We seek to reduce pollution, emissions and waste produced by the hotel
  • We are reducing our consumption of energy, water and other resources
  • We aim to increase awareness of environmental issues with all employees and guests
  • We use locally sourced produce
  • We liase with the local community
  • We encourage the growth of biodiversity on our grounds and in the local area
  • We have joined the Green Tourism Business Scheme as an indicator of our sustainable practices

 

We would like to ask you to help us!

 

Mountain biking together 7 things to do when its raining

GREEN VISITOR

There are a number of ways in which you, as a guest, can reduce the impact of your stay on the environment.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Reduce pollution – take a walk instead of a drive
  • Reuse your towels and linen
  • Turn the lights off when you leave the room
  • Save electricity – try not to leave electrical equipment plugged in while out of the room – phone chargers still use electricity even if there is no phone to charge!
  • Turn the TV off completely – being left on standby still uses electricity
  • Conserve water – have a shower instead of a bath
  • Make sure the taps are fully turned off and not dripping
  • While you are here please buy local produce to support the local communities
  • Respect the environment – please do not litter

 

If you have any suggestions on how we can improve our standing as a Green Hotel please do not hesitate to voice them to a member of staff – we are always looking for new ideas!

Hannah & Jamie 1

Happy Couples – Hannah & Jamie

Hannah & Jamie

Your Story

Jamie and I met through a mutual friend of ours, after a few drinks, a few laughs, we became inseparable. After going to The Algarve for my sister’s hen do Jamie proposed at home as soon as I’d got back. (Apparently, he just couldn’t wait to ask!)

Venue

I work at The Falcondale and as soon as I started working here, I knew this is where I wanted to get married. The setting, the food but most importantly to me the running of a wedding! After working weddings here my biggest worry was service not going smoothly like in other weddings I’d been to. I know that Matthew runs every wedding with military precision and that I wouldn’t have to worry about anything going wrong and it didn’t. My dad stood on my train and ripped it and out came Matthew with a needle and thread to get it fixed quickly.

Ceremony

We got married in St Mary’s Church in Llanfair Clydogau which is just down the road from us. It’s where Jamie’s Tadcu is buried and it was important for him his Tadcu be there, and we could have Freya with us too which was perfect!

The Food

We had halloumi with mediterranean vegetables and chicken pate to start. Lamb roast for main and apple crumble with custard and blondie for dessert because that’s what we wanted. Don’t be afraid to pick what you want to have on the day – I did!

The Dress

My dress is Brooklyn by Ian Stuart. I’d seen a few dressed by Ian that I liked so went to his Blewcoat store in London to try it on. Originally, I wanted colour but as soon as I put on Brooklyn I just knew it was the one! It was powdered blue which made the lace sparkle and I couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful dress for me, in fact I’d only tried it on to rule out the shape. Equally as important as the dress were my shoes so I wore beautiful Harriet Wilde shoes which I designed when I went to London.

The Decoration

We didn’t have a theme or vibe per say we just chose things that we liked. From gin and rum bottles as vases on the tables to a table plan made from wine corks, or wooden spoons as table numbers like they do in the cafes back in Jersey. We just wanted ‘us’ and that’s what we got. My Mum was a God send; from helping me decorate the cake to making the flower girl dresses I really couldn’t have done it without her!

The Flowers

I’d met Llinos at Rhos yn Dela several times in wedding fayres so I knew her flowers were stunning and they were perfect on the day! Jamie had his heart set on daffodils so I grew some myself and Llinos made him a button hole, my bouquet and the church/ top table piece with them in. She was fantastic from start to finish and cannot recommend her highly enough!

Photographer – Who was your photographer and why?

Our photographer was Ashley Ward. We met both him and Sarah at numerous wedding fayres and we loved his style so knew he was who we wanted to capture our day. Ashley was fantastic from start to finish and made us feel so relaxed that we enjoyed getting our photograph taken! We had the photobooth in the evening which everyone loved too, especially my nieces. I can’t recommend Ashley enough; he went above and beyond to get our photos for us and even got bundled into a Landrover to take our bluebell photos.

Advice

I know everyone says it but don’t stress out over the little things. You’ll look back and smile at your husband making you 30 mins late for the church rehearsal because he was getting his hair done… One day…


Happy Couples

There are further wedding stories in which you can also read: –

OUR STORIES


Weddings at The Falcondale

Peek at our Wedding page for details on packages.

To book a showaround give us a call on 01570 422910 or email weddings@thefalcondale.co.uk

 

WEDDINGS

Weddings at The Falcondale

Wedding Trends

What wedding trends to look out for

 

Hoops and Circles

These have been popping up occasionally with DIY’ers mostly – covering Hula Hoops with ribbon before decorating with lots of greenery and white flowers. Can be seen as hanging installations, on top of mantlepieces and even bigger ones used as arbours to use as backdrops for your ceremony and vows.

Circular arch

Colour themes

More are seen to choose a range of colours from the same shade rather than sticking to one colour. This can transfer through to the bridesmaid’s dresses as well as table decorations. Pale shades of pink, blue, green, yellow can be accents amongst lots of greenery and white flowers which would tie the whole vibe together.

 

Princess

The royal wedding(s) effect is still being seen with lots of lace details and subtle embellishments on dresses. Meghan Markle’s natural make-up ties-in with the other trends for green spaces, the outdoors and back to nature. Though, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a tiara to make you feel extra special.

Wedding tiara

Outdoor Weddings

The laws for ceremonies are being relaxed and having spoken to Ceredigion registrars its an interesting prospect. With the new ruling the vows can take place in any outdoor location so long as its within easy walking distance of a licensed premises where the official signing of the registrar can take place. This change will alter the “how and where” for a lot of ceremonies coming up over the next few years.

Here at The Falcondale we have a licensed gazebo outside located on a hard surface perfect for ceremonies. You don’t need to worry about any moving around to sign the register as it can all happen in the same place. It may be best for you to come and view this for yourself.

Outdoor weddings

Bringing the outdoors in…

We are seeing more indoor trees, with Pretty Seats and Bows having the most spectacular pink blossom trees available for hire. Flower arrangements now have a lot more greenery with the odd accentuated colour in them – this trend is set to continue well into 2020. Combining the outdoor and indoor spaces with complementing accents, flower arrangements and even quirky signage can give your day a flow and ebb as the day progresses through the ceremony, photographs and dining.

 

Technical

It is inevitable that technology will become a bigger part of your day as they become more accessible. Photobooth mirrors are a fun part of most weddings, and photographs / videographers are very likely to have a drone available. Photo walls are very likely to become digitalised with projections of photos and videos onto white walls.

Cwtsh Camera Photo booth

 

Going Luxury

Vintage, boho chic and rustic are still on trend – however they are now leaning towards the luxury side. For a luxury vintage wedding think classic Rolls Royce, a bit of glitz on invites, lots of lace and blush colours. A luxury boho chic could include more movement with hanging silks or drapes, giant cushions for outdoor seating and an abundance of natural flowers. Luxury and rustic seem to be at odds with each other – the trend is moving towards the contrast of the rustic against more luxury items. The bigger the contrast the better.

 

Food Stations

Love them or hate them, these are set to continue: –

  • Donut walls
  • Sweet carts
  • BBQ
  • Hog roast
  • Build your own Burger
  • Pimp your prosecco
  • Cheese wheels with crackers
  • Spud bar
  • Pizza station

The list could be even longer!

Barrow for beers

Making your day Green

With the care of the environment being high on lots of people’s list today its no surprise to see this reflected in weddings. Using recycled paper for all your stationery requirements, buying from local suppliers rather than shipping across the world, and creating healthier menus. We believe these trends will become the norm in 10 years’ time.

 

Personalised signs

I’m pretty sure you’ve seen these! Usually wooden signs with quotes such as “don’t marry someone you can live with; marry someone you can’t live without”. It is now common to see these dotted around the venue, maybe hanging, leaning on doors/windows, and sometimes even lit-up in light boxes. These can even be had as neon signs.

Wedding sign

Your pet is your family

We would totally agree with this sentiment as we are a pet friendly venue. Having your pet take part in your big day is becoming more common. Your pet can be included in your photos (after all they are part of your family), and maybe arranging them to be your ring bearer for the ceremony.

A well-trained dog can act as a flower girl for your wedding

Weddings at The Falcondale

We would love the opportunity to talk to you about the possibility of hiring The Falcondale for your wedding. A brochure can provide you with the facts and figures but doesn’t come close to sharing the emotive feeling of being there, and for this reason we would highly recommend you arrange a private showaround.

WEDDING SHOWCASE

 

Peek at our Wedding page for details on packages and brochure.

To book a showaround give us a call on 01570 422910 or email weddings@thefalcondale.co.uk

WEDDINGS