The Power of Flowers. fforest is known for its wildflowers, but even our informal arrangements need curation & design. Sian tells us why...

Why do we love flowers?

With their fragile and delicate perfection, beauty, colour and fragrant scent, flowers hold such delight and a special place in our emotions. They can trigger happiness and satisfaction. 

I have many joyful memories as a little girl always picking flowers. Putting together little posies to give to grandma, making rose petal perfume with my sister and daisy chains to wear on our heads. I can't remembering not always loving flowers. I tend to give preference to the wild ones that hide amongst the hedgerows and on the side of the footpath, the ones that many may even call weeds: tall teezle, rose campion, wild carrot, meadow sweet, knapweed and buttercup.

When we set up fforest it made sense and was important to me to welcome our guests with flowers when they arrived. Flowers bursting with seasonal colour, light and the scent of the surrounding fields and our garden.

So many occasions are celebrated with flowers: birthdays, weddings, congratulations, I love yous, thank yous, I'm sorrys...Flowers so frail and fleeting hold an amazing power, energy and positivity. Arriving at fforest for your holiday, event or wedding is something to celebrate with some simple flowers, a welcoming sight for people who appreciate nature and relish the bounty of the changing seasons. An ever-changing colourful display of leaf, flower, fruit and berry across the garden, hedgerow and fields. 

On arrival day, a lovely task is to walk the fields and garden, in-between the fruits, herbs and vegetables in the raised beds of the polytunnel, to pick a big basket full of flowers. These we arrange in the many pots, jugs and jars we've collected over the years at fforest. We present our little posies; flowers and foliage full of beauty, fragrance, frailty and folklore, and we hope that you appreciate them as much as we do.

I am very much a pick and plonk in the pot flower arranger. One thing I have observed and learnt over the years of fforest flower arranging is how the beautiful greenery that surrounds flowers is just as important. So much variation in texture and pattern, highlighting the pops of colour. 



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Printmaker Alan Kitching is blurring the boundaries between handcrafted & digital art

"The craft ethos is coming back into life somehow...people want to touch it again, they want to feel that someone's made this; it hasn't come from a machine or a factory, somebody's actually sat down and thought about it and used their eyes and their hands and they've made this thing..."

Listening to Alan Kitching talk about the practice and art of his craft is an inspiring thing. A leading practitioner in letterpress printing, typography and design, Alan uses only traditional methods for printing and refrains from using technology to aide his artistic process. Alan's knowledge, talent and ongoing passion for the authentic, age-old printing process is encouraging a resurgence in the design world. Many digital designers are especially looking to the qualities found in good craftsmanship to incorporate into the aesthetic of contemporary digital design.

Writers and critics have been calling it 'a renaissance of craftsmanship'. In an age where technology dominates almost every aspect of life, the past decade has welcomed the rapid return of the handmade quality, aesthetic & process into digital design. Alan has developed a style that allows him to move and work with the contemporary times but also to stay loyal to the element of craft. Something that, upon close observation, is always evident in his quite graphic work: the imperfect, tactile, subjective, human, natural qualities that can be found in craftsmanship.

His recent collaboration with Monotype is a perfect example of how Alan can adapt and thrive in the digital age. Two of the biggest typographic forces who are at the top of their game in their respective fields; one works with his hands, the other works with technology. Monotype are global trailblazers in type and home to some of the world's most popular typefaces including Times New Roman, Gill Sans and Arial. The collaboration with Alan is first and foremost a celebration of type, but it was also a chance to see what qualities the handcrafted element can bring to typefaces that were conceived digitally.

The collaboration process

Alan collaborated with Monotype to produce a collection of work that would pay tribute to five influential graphic designers of the past century: Tom Eckersley, Abram Games, FHK Henrion, Josef Müller-Brockmann and Paul Rand, honouring their life and work. He chose individual typefaces from the Monotype archives for each designer, he then created his own hand-cut letters out of card to be used on the printing press. He produced five pieces for the exhibition that all feature overlapping type; choosing distinct colours and compositions that would represent the work of each individual designer. The monographs were then mass screen-printed and made into leaflets to accompany the exhibition.

The finished pieces blur the line between handcrafted and digital art, even so, on close observation the craft element shines through in the finer details; a brush stroke or a tiny bleeding of ink into the paper, these are some of the unavoidable and beautiful qualities of handcrafted that can add depth and character to the art of digital design.

'The element of craft has been lost in design, to see Alan's work re-invents that.'

- James, Creative Director at Monotype

The final monographs by alan kitching / monotype

The final monographs by alan kitching / monotype

We have a fantastic print workshop coming up at Gather this year, run by our good friend Nick Hand. Have a go at this beautiful craft yourself & book tickets for Gather here

Alan's latest book, Alan Kitching: A Life in Letterpress, was released in April this year. Read more about the beautiful book & Alan himself in an article by It's Nice That

The video below shows a glimpse behind the scenes of the Kitching/Monotype collaboration process, well worth a watch!



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100 chairs in 100 days and its 100 ways, an extraordinary story of design by Martino Gamper

A recalled dialogue from some time ago:

Martino: I will make 100 chairs

åbäke: What, the same one 100 times?

M: No, they will be different. They’ll be actual size 3D sketching, somehow, you know, instead of drawing on a piece of paper.

å: Sounds great. Do it in 100 days then.

Renowned for his cross-disciplinary and culturally responsive approach to design, London-based Martino Gamper came to major acclaim with 100 Chairs in100 Days.

Some ten years ago, the London-based, Italian-born furniture designer initiated his project, 100 Chairs in 100 Days. He made a new chair a day for a hundred days by collaging together bits of chairs that he found discarded on the street or in friends’ homes. Blending found stylistic and structural elements, he generated perverse, poetic, and humorous hybrids. The project combined formal and functional questions with sociological and semiological ones. Or, as Gamper put it:

‘What happens to the status and potential of a plastic garden chair when it is upholstered with luxurious yellow suede?’ 

The project was all about being creative, but within restrictions—being limited to materials at hand and the time available, with the requirement that each new chair be unique. Gamper's ‘three-dimensional sketchbook’ brought him international recognition. The project was exhibited in London in 2007, at the Milan Triennale in 2009, and at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, in 2010.

'There is no perfect design and there is no über-design. Objects talk to us personally. Some might be more functional than others, and the emotional attachment is very individual.' 

buy the book here

buy the book here

Words adapted from an article from Martino Gamper's website, find it here



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Pembrokeshire puffins: How & when to spot them on Skomer Island

Photography by Alex Devol

'Ask the majority of visitors to Skomer Island what it is they want to see and the answer is almost certainly puffins.' They return to burrow every year in mid-April, the Atlantic puffin colony on Skomer Island is the largest in Southern Britain.

Best known for its large breeding seabird population, Skomer is not only home to puffins but also to around half the world's population of Manx shearwaters, among many other breeds. Huge numbers of seabirds use the island for nesting in the earth's impressive burrows, largely dug by the vast population of rabbits on the island. So when the birds move in during the Summer months, its a magical time for the public to come and see the wonder of Skomer for themselves. 

Limited to 250 visitors per day so that the crowds you see are strictly birds and not people, boat trips go to and from the island carrying adventurers of all ages to see the unique wildlife on Skomer. Its probably the puffins that get the most attention and due to the great conditions for nesting on the island, puffin numbers are on the up! Last year saw a 6% increase, from 21,349 in 2015 to a whopping 22,539 last year.

Mid-June to mid-July is the perfect time to spot plenty of these beautiful birds as puffin mums & dads are more regularly leaving the nest to find food for their growing chicks. The pufflings tend to stay underground for 6 weeks and will only surface when its time to fly the nest. This is usually during the last couple of weeks in July, and during the night, so you'd be very lucky to catch a glimpse of a little puffling! But generally speaking, its not too difficult to spot a puffin as they tend to be surprisingly unfazed by humans. With so many of them returning to nest each year on Skomer, you should be lucky enough to see plenty of these fabulous birds.

Visit the Skomer Island website here

This Wildlife Trust factsheet will provide all the puffin information you could possibly need. Read it here before your visit to Skomer Island.



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Alex Devol creates simple yet stunning pieces out of wood, have a go yourself at fforest Gather

One man and his tools. Working with complete respect towards the ever changing qualities of wood, Alex Devol, a friend of fforest & regular contributor at Gather, has an inspiring attitude towards the art of woodcraft.

His Gather workshops offer an opportunity to learn an extremely rewarding skill, finishing the day with a hand-carved piece that starts life as a simple block of wood. On top of that, Alex's workshops also open up a space to be transported elsewhere; lost in concentration, completely transfixed by the beauty of woodcraft:

'There is joy to be had working with materials both on a philosophical and physical level. Recently there has been a lot of talk about flow state within psychology; we know that when people are engaged in physical challenges or concentrating on what they are doing like weaving, they are in a meditative, relaxed state.'

- Alex Devol

A sense of accomplishment will always come from creating something from nothing; from being taught a new skill, enjoying it, and then coming away with a finished product that you're proud of. Alex's workshops combine two things that he finds most important: to be outside and to work with your hands. fforest can provide the idyllic location and Alex will use his expertise to guide you in creating a piece of functional art from wood.

'I find there is an inherent comfort and pride that comes from making things, but also in living with objects which have been made with care and time. When I drink coffee from hand made pottery I like to think of the clay as it was being thrown, I imagine the maker, the workshop, the mug taking shape. When I drink from a paper cup I think of nothing.'

- Alex Devol

Learn more about Gather and book tickets here

Take a look at the Wooden & Woven website here

A post shared by Alexander Devol (@woodwoven) on



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The Pizzatipi Beerfest: Wales's best beers & the tastiest pizzas in the world (probably)

Artboard 92.png

FOOD • FIRE • BEER • MUSIC • GOOD TIMES
Friday & Saturday, 23 & 24 June, 2017

From our riverside location at the heart of Cardigan town, the Pizzatipi Beerfest will be celebrating the best craft brewers in Wales for the third year in a row. The best beers together with great food, roaring fires & fantastic live music. Open to all age groups! 

After the success of our Barley Saturday event at the end of April we thought we'd give you some information early about our 3rd beer festival at the Pizzatipi, commencing on the 23rd of June. The event marks the grand opening of our busiest time of year at the Pizzatipi and what better way to welcome back the Summer than with plenty of beer, pizza & good times!

What to expect...

BEER & CIDER FROM THE BEST BREWERIES IN WALES:

MANTLE
BLUESTONE
PENLON
HANDMADE
SEREN
HALLETS
SKYBORRY
CAFFLE
TENBY
TINY REBEL
OTLEY
CRAFTY DEVIL
HOPCRAFT
MAD DOG
CWRW IÂL
WEST BY THREE
HEAVY INDUSTRY

LIVE GLASTONBURY + LIVE MUSIC:

Live acts TBC + live coverage of Glastonbury on Friday eve & all day Saturday

FFOREST FOOD STALLS:

Pizzatipi
fforest smoke house
Willy Whoppers Canteen


Tickets

Friday evening £3
Saturday (includes festival beer glass) £6
Weekend tickets (includes festival beer glass) £8

Entry on the door: +£2 to online price

 



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"Life always offers you a second chance, it's called tomorrow." Today we celebrate legendary Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas

Every year on the 14th of May, people all over the world come together to celebrate the life and work of the famous Welshman.

A Welsh poet and writer, Dylan is widely considered to be one of the most important Welsh lyricists of the 20th century, and this special day was created to celebrate his legacy. His work and stature has been much debated by critics and biographers since his death, however, he has always been particularly popular with the public which secured his fame during his life and after death.

Even though Dylan spent much of his later life travelling, he based himself and his family in the Boat House in Laugharne for the last four years of his life. He chose a small shed as his retreat and wrote many of his most famous works from the space that boasts incredible views of the Tâf Estuary. fforest chief adopted a similar workspace, refurbishing the old boat shed at his home in Aberporth into an office complete with beach & sea views.

'It is the building most closely associated with the poet, and the stability of a permanent home meant he enjoyed a creative renaissance.'

Dylan Day

Special events, workshops, performances, talks & much much more will be taking place all over the country and across the pond in honour of this incredible man. For a full list of events, visit the Literature Wales website.

In the meantime, read one of our favourite passages from one of Dylan's most famous works, 'Under Milk Wood', a 1953 radio drama for the BBC that was later adapted for the stage. The date of the first transmission was on the 14th of May, which is why 'Dylan Day' falls upon this day each year.

'The sunny slow lulling afternoon yawns and moons through the dozy town. The sea lolls, laps and idles in, with fishes sleeping in its lap. The meadows still as Sunday, the shut-eye tasselled bulls, the goat-and-daisy dingles, nap happy and lazy. The dumb duck-ponds snooze. Clouds sag and pillow on Llaregyb Hill. Pigs grunt in a wet wallow-bath, and smile as they snort and dream. They dream of the acorned swill of the world, the rooting for pig-fruit, the bagpipe dugs of the mother sow, the squeal and snuffle of yesses of the women pigs in rut. They mud-bask and snout in the pig-loving sun; their tails curl; they rollick and slobber and snore to deep, smug, after-swill sleep. Donkeys angelically drowse on Donkey Down.'

- Dylan Thomas, 'Under Milk Wood'



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Grab your seeds, trowels & pots, it's time to plant your sunflowers!

Its time to sow your sunflowers! Mid-April to the end of May is the perfect time to plant your sunflower seeds and with a bit of love and attention, your sunshine plant will flower in August. Here's all you need to know about planting & growing sunflowers...

Growing conditions

Sunflowers like to grow in full sun and in well-drained soil. Individual seed packets vary so make sure you read the instructions on the back before you start.

What to grow

You might want to choose a tall variety of sunflower such as 'American Giant', which can reach up to 4m tall, or a sunflower that is a little smaller such as 'Teddy Bear' (60-90cm) or 'Big Smile' (30cm).

What you need

  • Choose a packet of sunflower seeds - remember to look to see how tall it might grow
  • Gardening gloves
  • A rake
  • A trowel
  • Plant label & a pencil

How to grow

  • Sunflowers can be sown straight into the ground where they are going to flower, so make sure the space you are going to sow is weed free by using a trowel to remove the weeds.
  • Rake the soil to a fine tilth (a fine crumbly texture) and make some drills 12mm deep. Leave a10cm space between each seed.
  • Place the seed in carefully and cover them up with soil. Don't forget to water the seeds gently. As they grow, if the plants are crowded, thin them out to about 45cm apart leaving the strongest, tallest plants.
  • Be careful as slugs and snails like to eat the new shoots. You may want to protect the seedlings by cutting the top off a plastic bottle and placing it over your seedlings.
  • As your sunflower begins to grow taller than you, you will need to help support the stem. Place a cane near the stem, loosely tie the cane to the plant with string, this will help your sunflower stay tall in the sunshine and grow even bigger.
  • The only thing left to do is to watch your sunflower grow and grow and grow and grow...
photo by sian @coldatnight

photo by sian @coldatnight

Send us your photos so we can see your progress, and of course to show off your fully grown, giant sunflowers! Tag us @fforest on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter

Text is adapted form an article by The Royal Horticultural Society



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The world stars of beer are returning to the Mikkeller Beer Celebration in Copenhagen

In 2006 he was a math and physics teacher that started experimenting with hops, malt and yeast back home in his kitchen in Copenhagen. Today Mikkel Borg Bjergsø exports his micro brewed beer to 40 different countries and is internationally acclaimed as one of the most innovative and cutting edge brewers in the world.

Mikkeller's style of brewing is considered to be unique, since many of its beers are experimental with novel tastes. During its history, Mikkeller has released 800 different beers in a wide variety of styles, including several variations on the same beers. All of the various recipes are engineered at Mikkeller's own facility in Copenhagen but the beers are brewed in collaboration with various breweries, which is why Mikkeller is defined as a 'Microbrewery'. Yet there's nothing micro or small about the level of Mikkeller beer production...altogether, the company's annual output is 17,000 hectolitres of beer!

The Mikkeller Beer Celebration was founded in 2012 and takes place each year in May. A festival dedicated to great-tasting beer which mainly features small breweries from around the world. Generally, these breweries use the Celebration to premiere new beers, many create small one-off batches of special beer brewed specifically for the festival.

'Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen has quickly positioned itself as one of the most recognised beer festivals in the world – among both guests and breweries.'

On a "research" trip last year, fforest chief and son Jackson visited the festival to sample some of the world's best beers. Unfortunately they can't remember the names of their favourites...



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Wild Guide Scotland: friends of fforest release travel guidebook of Scotland's hidden treasures

New from the best selling Wild Guide Series, Wild Guide Scotland is a compendium of hidden places, outdoor adventures, local/artisanal food and inspiring places to stay featuring hundreds of ideas for the perfect adventure in the wilds and wonderlands of Scotland.

In 2015, three very talented photographers/adventurers/dreamers embarked upon a two-year trip to discover, explore & capture some of the most idyllic places in Scotland. Their findings and photographs have been published as a travel guidebook: Wild Guide Scotland, which features incredible photography and enchanting travel writing. The collection of secret spots, with charming descriptions and enticing imagery, is a perfect guide for those looking to find adventure in Scotland; to climb a little higher, walk a little further, and to see a whooole lot more. 

Follow Kimberley GrantDavid Boyson Cooper & Richard Gaston (the authors) on their websites & on Instagram to see some more stunning photography. Purchase Wild Guide Scotland here



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fforest's recommended places to eat, drink & buy fresh local produce

At fforest we can offer simple, good very tasty food and the right drinks; from breakfast to supper across our camps, restaurants and pubs. But in the local surrounding area, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants, pubs, cafes, and local markets & producers that offer some of the best food & drink in the west. In no particular order we've listed a few of our recommendations:

El salsa

Mexican street food of the highest and tastiest quality, El Salsa create authentic flavours and wholesome meals all from their mobile trailer kitchen. They're pretty hard to pin down these days having been snapped up by a number of festivals all over the country, but we're privileged to have them based in west Wales providing fabulously tasty festival-style food throughout the season. The founder, Laura Elsaesser, a qualified professional chef, is committed to sourcing ingredients locally; from farm fresh welsh beef, chicken & pork from the local butcher Golwg y mor in Aberporth, to her own home-grown tomatoes, chillies, tomatillos, salads & herbs. You won't find a fresher, healthier, tastier takeaway than El Salsa's. Follow them on Facebook to find out where to catch them.

Telephone 07772610561 Website

Crwst: The welsh micro bakers

Organic breads & seasonal patisserie style bakes all handmade by one highly skilled baker in his home kitchen. The people behind Crwst: Osian (the baker) and Catrin (the brain) are a young couple with a refreshing creativity that shows in their baked goods but also their micro baker concept. When they say micro they mean one baker and small-scaled yet skilled production all from their home kitchen. Find their produce in local shops (Siop Cilgerran, very near fforest farm or The Carrot Cruncher, Newcastle Emlyn - to name a couple!) OR find them every Thursday & Saturday at the Cardigan Guildhall market from 10am. This is where you'll find the fforest office elves every Thursday, without fail!

Telephone 01239 842 338 Website
 

The beach hut

The best fish and chips on the west coast, The Beach Hut Llangrannog is a family run chippy & cafe/restaurant. Its location is as close to the sea as you could possibly get, sat inside the cosy restaurant you will feel as if you're dining right on the beach. Open daily throughout the season to grab your fish & chips, a wholesome lunch or a tasty supper, or a tea & a slice of cake if you're just passing through. If you're staying at Manorafon, you could walk the beautiful coastal path from Penbryn to Llangrannog, working up an appetite for The Beach Hut at the finish line.

 Telephone 01239 654642  Website 
 

bara menyn

A bakehouse in Cardigan town centre. One of our favourites - freshly baked bread, great food & coffee. Their simple menu is based around their freshly baked sourdough and is constantly changing. In fact, you rarely get the same thing twice. The bread has the crumb, chew and flavour of dreams and we would be lost without it. Daily specials range from seasonal veg-packed soups, fresh fish pâtés, exceptional sarnies & herby salsas, all accompanied by the trademark Bara Menyn breads.

Telephone 01239 621863 Website

cardigan bay brownies

Its hard to beat a good homemade brownie, but local baker Nerys brings all the warmth, comfort and deliciousness of great home-baking to the people of Cardigan and beyond. We love her brownies so much that we asked her to collaborate on a new flavour for the Pizzatipi, and so this season, we welcome the arrival of the beetroot, salted caramel & dark chocolate brownie. Nerys has a humbling approach to home-baking and even though she has ridiculous numbers of brownies to bake on a daily basis, she always calls in the help of her two sons to taste-test. Due to popular demand, her bakes are now available to buy online, CBB also attends a regular slot at The Guildhall market in Cardigan, catch Nerys there every Thursday & Saturday from 10am, or come to the Pizzatipi to sample our new flavour!

Telephone 07403624801 Website

Mandy fish*

*also known as Cardigan Bay Fish. Len and Mandy Walters have been processing fish and shellfish caught by their own vessels for the past 14 years. Cardigan Bay is home to a vast array of wonderful fish and shellfish, says Mandy: "Wild bass, lobster, mackerel and crabs are only some of the flavoursome and healthy produce that can be found on our doorstep." And she means that literally, their home in St Dogmeals often opens up to the public when a fresh haul arrives. Villagers listen out for Mandy's voice shouting, "I'm out the back!" But if you've been listening out and have still heard nothing, perhaps a more reliable place to buy from Cardigan Bay Fish is the Local Producers Market in St Dogmeals. There you will find Mandy from 10-1 every Tuesday.

Telephone 01239 621043  Website

Glebelands market garden

A six acre holding situated between Cardigan & St Dogmaels, Glebelands are experts in growing and selling veg. Think farm shop/allotment, this is the perfect place to buy seasonal, locally grown vegetables & leafy greens. Supplier of salad to the Pizzatipi, the freshest of leaves in all shapes, sizes & tastes. We eat the lovely edible orange flowers too. As well as growing and selling luscious produce, Glebelands are also committed to promoting sustainable food production. They offer information to those interested in the vital work of sustainable food production and can give sound advice to those setting up market gardens.

Telephone 07511 546701 Website 

bessie's

A hidden gem in the Gwaun Valley - Pembrokeshire's secret wooden valley.  Bessie's (the Dyffryn Arms) is like stepping back in time with beer served from jugs through a hatch in what feels like someones living room. Not the sort of place you'd necessarily expect to find in Alastair Sawday's Pubs & Inns of England & Wales, but that said it does make it into The Rough Guide to Wales, where it manages to rate even higher than St David's Cathedral as one of the places to visit in the country. No matter what time of year you visit, Bessie is always sitting behind the bar wearing a dirty apron and a black mitten (fingerless in summer), ready for a chat. "We are all just passers-by in this life and I am happy to talk to anyone," she says.

Address Gwaun Valley Road, Pontfaen, Pembrokeshire, SA65 9SG Telephone 01348 881305



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Hidden gems of wild west Wales

Ok, so they're not exactly secret, but they are places that perhaps few people know about, especially those who are visiting from faraway lands. As locals, we fforest elves love to explore the lengths of our coastline, vast countryside & woodlands, and if we happen to stumble across something quite special, the tendency is to keep it a bit of a secret! But some places are just too good not to share and with word spreading fast about a few of our top secret spots, we thought we'd tell you about some and, most importantly, how to reach them.

Traeth Bach

A short walk from Manorafon/ Penbryn, this spectacular coastal walk will bring you to Llangrannog eventually, but stop off half way and you will arrive at one of the most beautiful secluded beaches we know, 'Traeth Bach' (Little Beach), known to the locals as the secret beach. Its a difficult scamble down, but well worth it.

Walk time 45 mins Drive from fforest 25 mins /Manorafon 2mins Start Penbryn car park, head towards beach, then footpath past farmyard immediately on the right up to the hills. Notes take a picnic and spend the day in the most beautiful and relaxing surroundings, and have it all to yourself!

 

The witches cauldron

A high level coastal path walk with sheer drops and fascinating rock formations, you will arrive at the witches cauldron at the end of the walk- you can't miss it. A towering, collapsed cavern in which you can swim or canoe (both easily). Its a beautiful little sun trap on a good day; your own salty swimming pool complete with rock diving board. Take care with young children.

Walk time 1-2 hours Drive from fforest 20 mins /Manorafon 30mins Start in the village of Moylegrove, follow footpath signs for Ceibwr beach and from there head west on the coast path. Notes favourite spot for seals

 

Rosebush Quarry

Its only a very short walk to reach this spot. From the outside, you would never expect to find such a gem hidden at the centre of Rosebush quarry. Surrounded by rock and slate, the small freshwater lake is a calming and tranquil place. The translucent emerald green water is perfect for a swim but be warned, its pretty cold!

Walk time 10 mins Drive from fforest 20 mins /Manorafon 35mins Start at Tafarn sinc in Rosebush follow track for about 500m the quarry is nestled among the mounds to your right. Notes The quarry is equally as beautiful in rain or shine but visit on a warm sunny day and you will experience some truly magical scenery

 

Ffynone Waterfalls

Nestled deep in the Ffynnone woods is a beautiful clearing and impressive waterfall. Located in a secluded valley, ranging from fairly flat valley bottom to steep valley sides, the woods have four rivers and remnants of an ancient woodland - including veteran oaks - mainly located around the river system.


Walk time 30mins - 1 hour Drive from fforest 15 mins /Manorafon 30mins Start at The Nags Head pub in Abercych follow the lane with the pub on your right, you will reach a carpark enter the wood from here, follow the path & discover the waterfall deep in the centre of the woods Notes The falls are just deep enough to enjoy a chilly swim

 

baby seal beach

Also known as Pirate Cove / Rum Island, this beach is so secret that we don't even know how to give proper directions. Somewhere along the coastal path between Aberporth and Mwnt lies a tiny beach, home to many a seal and her pup. You have to choose the one and only way down to the beach off the path, very difficult to find, only a handful of walkers have dared to venture down the ridiculously steep cliff edge. If you do find the secret pathway, follow the zigzag all the way down where you will find yourself between two cliffs. A small waterfall trickles down from above, forming a river at the bottom that flows off the rocks, onto the beach and into the sea. Follow this river and you will find the beach. So if you see this seal, your best bet of finding the bay is to ask him for directions!



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fforest's favourite beaches on the coast of Ceredigion

If you're staying with us at fforest, you will no doubt have a busy itinerary already planned: Snoozing in front of the woodburner, sweating it out in the sauna, drinking welsh beers in the Bwthyn, eating delicious food in the lodge or venturing out to the Pizzatipi, exploring the surrounding fields & woodlands or staring blissfully into middle distance. Exhausting. Meanwhile, for the super energetic, all around us are some fantastic walks, beaches, places to visit and activities to try whilst you’re staying with us at either fforest, Manorafon or the Granary Lofts. So we've put together some easy guides featuring some of our favourite local spots to help you with your adventure planning.

Scroll down to see our chosen top 5 beaches on the Ceredigion coastline.

Penbryn


Penbryn beach is one of Ceredigion's most popular beaches and is virtually on Manorafon's doorstep. Owned by the National Trust, Penbryn lies between Tresaith and Llangrannog, two other popular coves linked by the Wales Coast Path, and a network of quiet wooded lanes. Walk time 30mins through the woods Drive from fforest 20mins /Manorafon 2mins Start at the national trust car park. From there head towards the woodland footpath and arrive at the beach at the end Notes On very low tide, explore the right hand side of the beach - beautiful rock formations, pools & cliff edges and a fabulous spot to watch the sun setting over the sea.

 

Mwnt


Visiting Mwnt's tiny secluded beach and climbing Mwnt is a highlight for many of our guests. Take a walk on the beach or climb Mwnt mountain, there are spectacular views all around. 
Walk time 30mins Drive from fforest 15 mins /Manorafon 30mins Start at the national trust car park. From there head straight up the hill or bear right and walk around the lower path for frequent views of seals and dolphins. Notes The sunset view from the top of Mwnt is something not to be missed.

 

Llangrannog


Llangrannog is probably the most picturesque seaside town of Ceredigion and the small beach there is just as beautiful. On low tide walk over to the right and discover Llangrannog part two, but be careful not to get cut off over there on high tide!
Drive from fforest 25mins/Manorafon 5mins Notes 'Carreg Bica' is the defining feature of Llangrannog beach. Its big, bold & wave-shaped, and is probably the most photographed rock of west Wales.

 

Ceibwr


A quieter beach just outside of Cardigan, its a perfect place to relax and have a picnic lunch with family & friends. If you're feeling adventurous, walk the cliff path to the witches cauldron, one of our favourite secret spots. Drive from fforest 15mins /Manorafon 20mins Start in the village of Moylegrove, follow footpath signs for Ceibwr beach and from there head west on the coast path to eventually reach the witches cauldron. Notes favourite spot for seals.

 

Aberporth


Aberporth beach will always hold a special place at the heart of fforest; it being the home of fforest chief and Sian. With two separate beaches, the right hand side is our favourite. Its also the backdrop to fforest chief's office shed.
Drive from fforest 15mins/Manorafon 5mins Notes The sunsets over the estuary are pretty spectacular.



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Who knew you could ski in west Wales?! Discover days out in the area with friends & family

A Bay to remember

Guided boat trips to bring you closer to the wildlife of Cardigan Bay: Dolphin, seal and sea bird watching tours. A Bay to Remember use modern purpose built vessels with the latest environmentally friendly engines and safety equipment that offer a safe and exhilarating experience suitable for all ages. Their booking office is located just outside the entrance to the Pizzatipi, some boat trips depart from this riverside location too.

Telephone 01239 623558  Website

Cardigan wildlife reserve

The stunning Teifi Marshes is one of the best wetland sites in Wales, with thousands of starlings coming in to roost and performing a glorious murmuration over the marshes before descending to roost. Families will love exploring the nature trails on foot or on two wheels, and discovering the abundance of wildlife around the marshes and the Welsh Wildlife Centre.

Telephone  01239 621600  Website

Castell henllys

Evocative Iron Age settlement set in the rugged, magical landscape of North Pembrokeshire. You can see how people lived in the Iron Age, what their houses looked like, how they dressed and how they went about their daily life. Enter the roundhouses and step back into the past, soak up the atmosphere of a bygone era and imagine what life must have been like for our ancestors.  

Telephone 01239 891319 Website

Heritage Canoes

The River Teifi has some of the most breathtaking otherwise unreachable stretches in Wales, Heritage Canoes has the only commercial contract to take you there. Winding towards the sea, the deep, tidal Teifi Gorge is a unique environment where fresh and salt waters meet and the species it is home to forms one of the most varied aquatic landscapes in the country. The gorge offers safe, gentle river paddling in open canoes for people of all ages and abilities. With the river flowing lazily past ancient woodland and wildlife habitats, a canoe trip should be high on your list of must-do’s on your holiday. 

Telephone 01239 623633 Website

Urdd centre

Fancy skiing in West Wales? You can do just that! Not far from Manorafon, the Urdd Centre is just outside of Llangrannong & has a dry ski slope, horse-riding, go-karts, indoor swimming pool & lots more.

Telephone 01239 652140 Website

National Wool museum

Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding history. Re-opened in 2004 following major re-development, this flagship museum is a exciting place to visit with something for everyone to enjoy. Families can have fun following the specially designed trail, 'A Woolly Tale', and create their own guide to making and using woollen cloth, trying their hand at carding, spinning and sewing along the way.

Telephone 0300 1112333 Website

THEATR MWLDAN

Mwldan is a vibrant arts and entertainment complex situated in the centre of Cardigan. It presents a year-round diverse and eclectic professional programme of national and international artistic activity across a wide range of artforms, including drama, music, dance, film, literature, opera, visual and applied arts. They also have one of best film programmes in Wales, offering over 3,000 screenings a year including both mainstream and specialist film releases.

Telephone 01239 621200 Website

Folly Farm

Folly Farm is a fun-packed day out for families with toddlers & young children. It's not just a farm either - it also has a zoo with penguins, lions, zebras & giraffes. For those wet days that we occasionally get in West Wales there is plenty to do indoors here too including the jolly barn & adventure playground.

Telphone 01834 812731 Website



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The sons of fforest. Meet the brothers running the Pizzatipi with their band of merry pals

 

'It started with cardboard dough and good times'

 

2009
The Pizzatipi started in 2009 between the 2 warehouses across the river from the Pizzatipi. Outside the then Cafe, now our offices, Mum & Dad (Sian & James) invited some friends over to make pizzas in an oven built by local craftsman/baker Tom Bean. Really, no one had a clue what they were doing (see image of rolling base with a wine bottle) but the pizza was amazing and they had a laugh.

2010
We broke that oven pretty quickly so the next year we bought a new one from a man in Gloucestershire and set it up in the now Pizzatipi courtyard offering people to make their own pizzas... Terrible idea, absolute mayhem. Dad was on the paddle raging in front of a fire hotter than the sun. The Pizzatipi nearly died an early death.

2011-2013
We got another oven, the same ones we have now, and we went from just Friday nights to Thurs-Saturday nights with a small menu & a booze license. We had bar in the corner of the room with a cool box full of Pen Lon beers and Gwynt Y Ddraig ciders.

2014
A top Aussy bloke called Josh joined us and we opened from Mon-Saturday, got a fridge for the beers and started to get pretty busy, constantly not making enough dough.

2015
We took over where Josh left off and merged the cafe and Pizzatipi into 1.

2016
We opened 7 days a week through the summer and we hardly slept.

2017
We're buying our first proper oven! Hopefully 2017 will be just as busy as last year and we'll have a big ol' oven to get those pizzas fired out! Over the past couple of years we have been so pleased to welcome back and recognise some familiar faces; from friends & family to holiday makers & fforest dreamers, and never forgetting our loyal local customers. This year we've asked some of the best of local food producers to collaborate with us: Jack from Bara Menyn makes a special sourdough for us which can be used as your pizza base if you so wish, and Nerys from Cardigan Bay Brownies created a new flavour of brownie for us and so beetroot, salted caramel & dark chocolate will be your delicious desert this year.

The way of the Pizzatipi

We make everything on site within the confines of our riverside courtyard. From freshly made dough & focaccia to our basil-packed pizza sauce, we cook and prepare with our own fair hands every day to make sure everything is as fresh as can be. Perfecting a few things have taken some time; like the perfect spiral of sauce on a freshly rolled base, our secret dough recipe (that we keep locked in a safe), or the crunch of a golden crust fresh out the oven. We are constantly learning and growing and hoping that our customers enjoy our pizzas as much as we do.

 

The Brothers

The four brothers in charge all have their own parts to play. Teifi (youngest,18yrs) is the dough boy, everyday he prepares each individual pizza base ready for rolling. He is also in charge of baking the daily cloud bread. Teifi's favourite pizza is a meatball & chilli with a few bits of red onion. Calder (20yrs) is king paddler. As well as being top dog in the pizza shack, he is mostly in charge of not burning your pizza. Calder loves a simple pizza with blobs of fresh pesto. Robbie (21yrs) is the leading pizza topper, he can top a pizza in a record time of 4.6 seconds. Robbie's preferred pizza changes daily as he always chooses from the specials board. Jackson (oldest, 26yrs) does a bit of everything but mainly oils the bearings. He enjoys a simple mozzarella with fresh basil & a burnt crust.

The Pizzatipi is open seasonally from 12-9pm everyday with special events planned throughout Summer and live music every weekend.
Come and say hi!

Visit the website here

The photos above were taken by our friends from Flatspot when they visited fforest and the Pizzatipi in July 2016. They took a good look around fforest farm and the Tipi, took some great photos of the brothers at work and even collaborated on a limited edition Flatspot pizza (meatball, red onion, gherkin, chilli + a sesame seed crust - wow!)



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Looking to trees, flowers & seaweed, Hazel Stark uses all natural dyes for her textiles

Hazel is a London based designer-maker creating unique textiles through natural processes. In researching and developing her natural dyeing methods, Hazel has tried and tested formulas that can produce exquisite colours. She works with only natural ingredients: from trees, plants & flowers to seaweed.

Hazel decided to leave the big smoke to spend a Summer with us working as a Pizzatipi chef; helping to come up with tasty salads, desserts and pizza specials. That was three years ago and she's been a great friend of fforest ever since. We are huge admirers of Hazel's work. We got to learn lots about it during the time she spent with us at the Pizzatipi, so it was a no-brainer that we should invite her to share her knowledge and artistic skill with us and our fforest Gather guests.

Last year, Hazel led her brilliant natural dyeing and indigo dyeing workshops at fforest farm; foraging for plants and flowers to then be used to dye fabric. Hazel's workshops are insightful and fulfilling as a result of dyeing fabrics naturally with plants and flowers foraged by your own hands. You learn so much and are astonished at the array of beautiful colours you can produce from natural dyeing recipes. We're very excited to have Hazel back with us for both weeks of Gather this August.

Nettle, blackberry & ragwort



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Illtud Llyr Dunsford: A humble Welsh farmer sharing his passion for charcuterie 

Illtud Llys Dunsford is not only an award winning Charcutier and a Nuffield scholar, he is committed to and passionate about conscious food production. 

Recently made chairman of the slow food movement in Wales, his products are delicious and wonderful and of the highest quality. We are very lucky to have had him at fforest to teach us all about charcuterie and sausage making at Gather last year, he will be joining us again for both weeks in August for his second year as a fforest Gather contributor - we cannot wait! 

Read a short history of Illtud's first steps in starting his now thriving business...

'So how did this little business come about? Well, firstly I should introduce myself – I’m Illtud Llyr Dunsford, it’s a bit of a mouthful I know! I’m sometimes known as Illtud, sometimes as Llyr and quite often known by my nickname ‘Bob’ too. I’m from a farming family, and we’ve been rearing animals here in Carmarthenshire for a couple of centuries now. Although I was born and brought up in Cardiff, my weekends and holidays were spent on the family farm, and when the opportunity arose, I moved to the farm to live in 2004.
As a family we’d always reared animals for ourselves – turkeys, chickens, ducks, lamb, beef and pork. Having a real passion for cooking it seemed like a natural progression for me to take over the reigns when it came to processing our animals. One animal in particular had a special place in my heart – the pig. We’d always salted our pork in the traditional Carmarthenshire method, encasing the animal in salt in a slate tray before hanging and air drying. Using traditional family recipes as a base I expanded my repertoire of produce and developed various new processes. Some things worked and some didn’t, but I loved the thrill of experimentation.
One year I salted a leg, but unfortunately I hadn’t managed to get enough salt around the bone which resulted in a miss-cure – the following year I decided to de-bone the leg, splitting it in two prior to salting. Unbeknown to me, I was making a variation of Culatello, one of the most prized Italian air dried meats. I was heartened to think, a few years later when I found out about Culatello, that at some point an Italian farmer had probably had the very same problem as me and had decided to take the logical path of splitting the leg.
My working career couldn’t have been further from charcuterie production – I’d initially trained as a photographer, then moved to work in the film industry for the Wales Screen Commission, attracting film productions to Wales. During my time there I worked on over 150 different productions and was very fortunate to work on some pretty big projects including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1 and Pt 2, Robin Hood, Stardust and Doctor Who.
For a few years I’d been looking to start a business from the farm – it’s where I’m happiest, so during the winter of 2010 I made the decision to leave my job and start up Charcutier Ltd. That’s when the work really began, I spent the next twelve months researching processes, developing products and attending every kind of training event I could find. I’ve been a devotee of the St John mantra – Nose to Tail Eating and I wanted to find a whole gamut of products that would make use of ‘everything but the squeal’. Thanks to the Welsh Government’s Re-Act Scheme I secured grant aid to attend a series of training courses including attending the 33rd Annual Sausage and Processed Meats Course at Iowa State University in the USA. There I got to rub shoulders with a range of professionals, ranging from small producers like myself to the biggest meat processing companies in the World. Later in the year I returned to the US as part of a Hybu Cig Cymru/Meat Promotion Wales Livestock Scholarship, I spent just over four weeks looking at both livestock rearing and pork processing and blogged about it during the trip. I also managed to squeeze in a trip to the Parma Ham Festival in Langhirano in September 2011, a must see for any air dried meat devotee.
I’ve continued to research and undertook a further Italian trip to Perugia in 2012, specifically to the famed town of Norcia renowned throughout Italy for its butcheries. The trip also allowed me to look at some bespoke equipment for the Italian salumi industry and later that same year I visited Germany for that same purpose. I continued with my studies in 2013 with a visit to see Kate Hill at her cooking school in Gascony, and took a tour of the French Basque region to learn about Bayonne Ham and the Basque Pig. Thanks to a Taste Local bursary I also visited Denmark to look at the full pork supply chain from small niche Organic pork units to intensive systems.
So what of the future? A range of products have already been developed at the Food Centre Wales and we’re still working on a few others to get them ready for the market. Planning permission has been secured and our new on-farm facility will be built in 2014. We’re already doing direct deliveries of fresh produce and selling at Farmers Markets, so if you fancy trying the produce, get in touch!'

find out more about Gather and book your tickets here

Visit the Charcutier website here



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'Evil' Gordon finds exciting ways to share his love of bread, beer & fire

A very good friend of fforest, Gordon (a.k.a 'Evil' Gordon) works for the revolutionary company,
Beer Bods, and is also a keen home-baker. 

At Gather, Gordon has lead workshops involving bread, beer & fire, effectively combining his love of all these three things simultaneously. From beer-cocktails to sourdough taster sessions, he has exciting ways of sharing his passion for food & drink in a setting where he feels most comfortable: the great outdoors. His baking workshops focus on cooking with fire and include dough-making tutorials & baking breads in fforest's outdoor, woodfired clay ovens.

Gordon will be joining us again for both weeks of Gather in August and we couldn't be more excited!

find out more about Gather and book your tickets here



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Discovery & adventure in the great outdoors; Gather brings the best of fforest together

For 10 years fforest has been creating great family adventures, hosting great events, building creative workshops and promoting the outdoors in our magical kingdom. In our big tents or barns, we’ve had incredible speakers, performers, adventurers, artists and renegades. We’ve looked after thousands of people at over 100 events; intimate events where everyone knows, or gets to know, everyone else. It’s time to create an event that brings the best of fforest together, a holiday full of creative engagement with the vibe of a festival...

The fforest Gather.

Two week long family friendly gatherings with emphasis on engagement, exchange and fun. The great outdoors, activity for mind, soul and body, creativity and simple pleasures have always been bound to what we offer. At Gather, a revolving cast will provide workshops, creative play and outdoor activity in the day; films, live music, DJs and performers in the evenings. 

Details:
Choose between one of two weeks (or come for a fortnight!) 
Gather 2016 weeks are:
Monday August 14th to Sunday 20th &
Monday August 21st to Sunday 27th

Daytime:
All workshops, talks, walks, performances and activities are included in the ticket price. First come, first served but without the worry of missing out:
Illustration; painting; writing; field recording; fly-tying; printmaking; cooking with fire; axe & knife craft; yoga and wellness; drumming; beer cocktail classes; fforest garden lessons; chocolate making; forest school sessions; den building; tree climbing; canoeing; wild swimming.

Evening music:
Heard, overheard, listened to, talked about, spun, performed. 
Music and DJs form the backdrop to the Gather evenings.

fforest accommodation:
Pitch a tent or treat yourself to a bit of luxury, every aspect of your good night’s sleep has been thought of at Gather. For just 2 weeks of the year we offer you the chance to bring your own tent to fforest. Tent Pitches are a massive 5x8m and you are welcome to have as many tents in your pitch as you like. 
OR, have a look through our range of accommodation to decide which is best for you. We have Domes, Crog Lofts, Katacabins & Campshacks, find out more here.

Staying at fforest is always an event. Gather will make the best of all fforest has to offer.

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Nick Hand revives & celebrates the artisan craft of letterpress printing

Nick brings age-old machinery, technique & skill to his Gather workshops. Now considered an artisan craft, letterpress printing is beautifully revived and celebrated by Nick and his letterpress team, and then shared with our eager Gather guests.

Nick will be joining us for the 2nd time at Gather this year. He will teach you all about the art of printing with presses, an authentic mode of printing that is often overlooked in today's digital world. But it is an art-form that should never be forgotten. Printing in this way creates more than just a beautiful finished product, it becomes an art from start to finish. Every element of the process needs artistic attention: choosing your paper, letters, ink, composition... a satisfying and utterly fascinating workshop with beautiful outcomes.

A bit more about The Letterpress Collective...

Bringing slumbering presses back to life to engage with artists, writers and community projects in Bristol. The Letterpress Collective teaching both type composition and printing skills.
The Letterpress Collective has spent 2013 gathering beautiful wood and lead type as well as collecting amazing printing presses including a lovely Heidelberg Windmill Platen (winched out of the store MShed by dockside crane), a Stephenson Blake proofing press and a set of nice little Adana hand presses.
Silently, and without anyone really noticing, the last commercial letterpress printer shut its doors in Bristol in 2012 after maybe 600 years of continuous work in the city. This is our chance to learn from the last of the printers and compositors in the city so that a new generation can understand and learn the thrill of working a small press and seeing your creation in ink on paper.

find out more about Gather and book your tickets here

Visit the letterpress collective website here



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Book here