Explore Llanerchaeron mansion and the Aeron valley, pop into picturesque Aberaeron for lunch at the Harbourmaster (sit in the bar and have, crispy cockles and the crab linguine!!) then grab a honeycomb Icecream from the Hive before and stretch the legs along around the quayside deciding which boat you’ll have when you win the lottery…! Jump in the car and stop atthe Lime crab in Newquay for chips if you can fit them in?!
Enjoy the beach or walk along the cliff path over to Tresaith (for a pint in the Ship) and back. The Boy Ashore is our beach shack cafe and restaurant serving delicious simple takeaways in the day and really tasty seasonal plates in the evening.
Walk from Penbryn over the spectacular cliff path (expect a few hills) to Llangrannog for a pint in the Pentre and our favourite chip shop The Beach Hut.
Growing as a new favourite spot of ours. Take a walk on either side of the iron bridge, either along the Parog or along the north side of the estuary and to the beach. Swing back past Pwnc for tasty lunch and great coffee or a great pub lunch at the Golden Lion?
Close to home and a great local day out. Walk into Cardigan trhough the wild life reserve for some brunch/lunch, the Pizzatipi is great any time of day for all ages, bakery Bara Menyn is our favourite spot for brunch but Crwst and Stwidio 3 are just as great.
Finish the day watching the sun go down with Pizza and some great drinks at the Tipi.
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 and places to visit 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.
Traeth Bach, Ceredigion
Walk time: 45 mins
Drive from: fforest 25 mins / Manorafon 2 mins
Traeth Bach (Little Beach) is also known as Secret Beach, Llangrannog 2 & Morfa, depending on which local you're talking to!
This idyllic spot is one of the most beautiful secluded beaches we know. Its not the easiest to find... walkers tend to stumble across it along the Ceredigion cliff path in between Penbryn and Llangrannog, but we've been visiting this beach for many years.
Start Penbryn beach car park, head towards the beach, then find the sign for the footpath, its immediately on the right past the farmyard. Start your ascent up the hill, keep walking until you reach an open field, there's a small gap in the hedge which is your gateway to beach heaven! The final descent down to the beach is a scramble to find footholes, its exciting but be careful! Once on the golden sands, spend a few peaceful hours with the beach all to yourself. Rejoin the cliff path and follow on to Llangrannog or return to Penbryn the way you came.
Notes The towering cliff edges engulf the little cove as if sheltering it from the wind, making this beach a perfect spot for swimming, catching some rays & enjoying a picnic. The tidal island of Carreg-y-ty is on the north side and has a sea cave running right through it. Keep clear of the cave between August & October as seals may be using it to breed.
A collection of photos taken on the walk to Traeth Bach by Sian, fforest chief, and Jackson
Over the years, fforest has developed into a place to Stay Play Dream, an idyllic holiday destination where the outdoors is embraced and good food is enjoyed. But fforest has some lesser known offshoots that you may not be so familiar with...
A very special event that brings the best of fforest together, a holiday full of creative engagement with the vibe of a festival.
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.
8 course tasting feast celebrating the best of local produce from land and sea in the big barn at fforest farm.
We have had the pleasure of hosting fforest feasts since 2016. Over a long weekend we welcome friends from far and wide to come and share good food and great company. A special evening centred on a unique dining experience. You can come for the feast only or stay and be looked after for the whole weekend at fforest farm. Book now for the fforest Winter feast below.
'How do you start a fire in your organisation? The sort of fire that everyone can help to build, that everyone wants to sit around, wants to talk around, wants to dream around. A fire that grows.' - fforest chief
fforest is an experience and a place that encourages engagement, collaboration and creativity. Whether it’s a workshop, a retreat, a conference or a reward for a hard-working team we have the space and facilities to cater for corporate events of varying sizes. We can organise activities and entertainment, if you need a helping hand. We’ll provide amazing food and the best little pub in Wales. From boutique to festival, we have a style to meet most alternative briefs.
You may recognise our blankets & cushions when you stay with us, did you know you could take home your very own?
We design our own blankets and cushions which are woven at a local woollen mill, enamel mugs in four colourways & featuring the fforest logo, woollen socks designed by us and made by Corgi, vintage rucksacks, aprons made from surplus tents & tarps, tea towels – lots of things to make your stay at fforest cosier. These can all be purchased at our fforest online shop so you can take a little bit of fforest home with you.
10 years of unique events in 200 acres of bliss. 3 days of woodland, fields, festival, fun, no boundaries. A blank canvas.
fforest has hosted 150 weddings since 2008. Our venues have evolved as a celebration of the outdoors and an appreciation of the comfort offered by our indoor spaces. With the addition of the beautiful cedar barn and Ty Fforest farmhouse we are now able to host lavish weddings throughout the year, with guests staying on site and being treated to scrumptious fforest food throughout their stay.
fforest Glow camps
Inspiration, creativity & wellness. We have learnt that intimate retreats are full of the small things that can make a big difference.
Our Glow Camps are either creative or active retreats with a common theme: to share, support & inspire each other. We have always promoted "Active Relaxation" - clearing your mind through the challenge of learning new skills and the physical demands of a tough day's play. We also understand the luxury of just doing nothing. Sit on the deck, watch the deer, read a book, or just dream. Glow camps are the perfect combination of the two - physical challenge interspersed with relaxation and comfort.
The fforest gardens are as old as fforest, 10 years to be exact. From the very beginning we knew that if we were to be serving food, then we would grow what we could ourselves. And so, the fforest gardens were designed to provide fresh produce for our kitchen.
Our lovely gardener, Brook, gives an insight into the work she's currently doing in the fforest gardens; what she's been planting and why. Get your planting tips here!
Late Winter / Early Spring
The first thing to be done is sow the tomato and chilli seeds in a propagator to get a crop as early as possible. This is done in mid February. At the beginning of March I start sowing lettuce to grow in the polytunnel, and some flowers for the accommodation. Through mid to late March and April I'll start the sowing of chard, french beans, kale, cucumber, courgettes, beetroot and lettuce at roughly 2 week
intervals to try and get a continuous crop. In late April I'll sow squash for the autumn.
Late Winter and early Spring is when the set up for Spring planting needs to be done as well. The autumn fruiting raspberries are cut back to the ground to re-shoot. The other berries we have (blackcurrant, red currant, white currant) are also pruned at this time. We're also hoping to grow some strawberries this summer! The beds get mucked and fertilised. Garlic that was planted last autumn is fed with blood fish and bone feed. The polytunnel gets cleaned to try and get rid of any pests and diseases and also to try and maximise the light getting in.
The best thing about Summer in the polytunnel is the tomato plants! We grow about 120 plants; a mix of different varieties in red, green, yellow, orange, purple and even striped! My favourites are Dr. Carolyn Pink, Emerald green and Orange Banana. Nearly all the seeds we get are from Real Seeds, you can get some really interesting varieties from them and they have good germination rates. This year Sian had requested we grow some Japanese veg after their trip: Daikon - a white radish and Shiso - a herb that looks similar to nettle. Other things we grow for the kitchens are courgettes, chard, kale, lots of rocket and lettuce, oriental greens. This year I'm trying out an amazing squash I discovered at Glebelands which is Buttercup Squash.
Where we can we keep the gardens as organic as possible, using organic fertilisers and feeding the tomatoes with comfrey tea. We also use companion planting to try and deter pests, some companions are meant to encourage the growth of what they are planted with. Having good pollinator flowers around also encourages natural predators to pests such as the ladybug which eats aphids.
'With the cut flowers we have we're trying to grow a number which are good for insects, as their numbers are dwindling and their natural habitats are becoming ever smaller. It seems right to do our bit and provide some food and space for them.'
You may be familiar with Scottish bothies but did you know there are eight bothies tucked away in the Welsh hills?
Whilst hiking in the most remote places in the UK, you may not expect to find 5* accommodation or a camping site along the way but what you might find is a Great British Bothy. A form of shelter or accommodation with minimal or next to no facilities, it's free of charge and doesn't require a booking system - but you do have to beat others to a bed! Use them as checkpoints, lunch pitstops, over night stays or just for sitting down and airing your socks for an hour; adventurers in the wild tend to appreciate these four walls for something, whatever it may be.
'To maintain simple shelters in remote country for the use & benefit of all who love wild & lonely places.'
The Mountain Bothy Association is a charity-run organisation that works to maintain bothies all over the UK. Wales' bothies are mainly inland and in the North, here's a list of the eight bothies you can find in Wales, based on an MBA map:
Find a Welsh bothy
From North - South:
- Dulyn (not show on map, at most northern point near Bangor)
- Cae Amos
- Arenig Fawr
- Penrhos Isaf
- Nant Syddion
- Nant Rhys
- Lluest Cwmbach
- Grwyne Fawr
All mountain bothies are a no vehicle access area, most aren't equipped with fuel or water sources and nearest towns are generally miles away. We particularly like the look of Arenig Fawr in Snowdonia and Grwyne Fawr in the Brecon Beacons. Both situated in the midst of unspoiled and vast natural landscape; home to some of the most beautiful mountainous scenery in Wales.
Gwyrne Fawr Bothy, Brecon Beacons
We came across a great article recently on The Peel, written by Ivan Kilroe and featuring some beautiful photography documenting a hike to Gwyrne Fawr bothy.
Photography and words by Ivan Kilroe:
Travelling from the north as we were, you would be forgiven for missing the structure nestled at the mouth of the reservoir. Fortunately we had seen a few pictures of the shelter beforehand and could work out its position in relation to our surroundings.
Grwynn Fawr is a particularly small bothy overlooking the reservoir and sleeps a maximum of three people (cosily) on a mezzanine sleeping area. Its size means there is always the gamble of it already being occupied, so we made sure to be there extra early on in the afternoon to avoid disappointment. It would have been particularly unfortunate after carrying such a heavy bag of logs over the 4 mile route to be met with an already occupied bothy. Of course this would be a great present for the residents, but fortunately our efforts were rewarded and we secured the occupancy.
Inside the bothy there is a singular rectangular window that doesn't let much light in on a grey and overcast day like today, a miniature table, stone bench, chairs, and a small but exquisitely crafted stove that tapers into the flu.
We turn to the torches and headlamps to provide some illumination while we fix ourselves a wee dram of whisky to keep us going. The cold white light of the LED's does little to make the space feel homely, but once the fire is underway the bothy is transformed, and a warm comforting glow penetrates the dark corners of the room as we start to feel quite at home in this quaint little building nestled in the Welsh countryside.
Whenever I describe this kind of trip to someone who has no desire to do a trip like this, I'm often met with confusion and a complete lack of understanding as to the why? It's sometimes hard to convey, and I completely understand their sentiments when you describe the somewhat unappealing wintery scene. But there's something in being away from the distractions of modern life and all its convenience that makes me appreciate a few slightly burnt sausages in-between two slices of bread in a dimly lit room with a good friend and a dog sipping whisky into the night.
Read the full article here
'I think a really wholesome escape, if I may use that term - an escape to run from the crowded city lot to a place where one could plant a garden, raise chickens, pigs and the like - might perhaps add to the national wealth as well as our own good.' - Conrad E. Meinecke
Cabincraft and Outdoor Living is written for the man who has but 2 weeks vacation a year and takes his family with him, or, for the man who has a place in the country and wants to know how to do many things around the place himself. It teaches you how to build a log cabin, with diagrams featuring a bush-craft kit – and using axes, knives, rope and felled trees; how to furnish and beautify your cabin, with tips on cooking, bird listening and lighting fires and stoves. You will learn how to cook the most succulent outdoor dishes you ever dreamed about eating, you will learn how to design and make furniture, how to find water, how to make candles, how to take advantage of the signs that nature posts everywhere for your better living. It is just filled with everything you need to know about the good life in the great outdoors. It’s a poetic celebration of life lived outdoors.
'This is a good world and it will be just what we make of it.'
Read a bit more about the author here
On New Year’s Day 1978 I boarded a plane at Birmingham International Airport for the first flight of my life. I was wearing a beaten up suede jacket, first generation Converse All Stars, Levis and a white t-shirt. I had £40 in my wallet and not much in my bag. I was a spikey haired, post punk 20 year old art student going to live in Japan for a year.
I had been offered a job in a little design agency in Osaka between my 2nd and 3rd years of a design degree at St Martins. I was stepping into the unknown. I was to stay with the family of my employer for a month, after which an apartment would be found for me for the remainder of the year. After a month, Takeshi, Hiroko, his wife, Timomi, his 9 year old daughter and Takeshi’s grandparents asked me to meet them for what I thought was goodbye. In fact, what they wanted to do was ask me if I would consider staying with the family for the whole year.
I experienced the beauty, culture, architecture, design and food of Japan with eyes wide open, but most incredibly I was able to do this whilst being treated like a son by a Japanese family who had been complete strangers. That was a year that changed my life.
Over the years, bringing up my own family, I’ve told lots of stories about my time in Japan. Last November I was 60 years old. I decided the only way to celebrate was to take my family for a month to experience some of the things that I had loved in a place where I had been loved and looked after.
Thank you to Takeshi, Hiroko, Timomi and grandparents Fukuda.
Not long after we hopped off the plane in Osaka, arrived by train in Kyoto, wandered the streets in search of food markets, lunch and Temples... my eyes were very quickly drawn to the ground.
The pavements we were walking on, and the roads cars and lorries were driving over, had such amazingly decorative drain covers set into them. I had no idea of the story behind these wonderful pieces of design, but I became obsessed with spotting them in every new place we visited.
I soon learnt that Japanese manhole covers come in a variety of designs depending on their locality in Japan, utility type and the manufacturer of the manhole cover. It all started in the 1980s when Japan began modernising the sewage infrastructure in more rural areas. The expensive changes were met with resistance until one bureaucrat came up with an inspired and creative solution – give cities the opportunity to decorate their manholes and display their local pride.
How they're made
Artist Remo Camerota wrote a book about Drainspotting and explains how the drain covers are made. The Nagashima Foundry, which is the second largest in the country, makes about 400 manhole covers a day. The foundry has made over 6,000 different patterns in all. Nagashima, the president of the Nagashima Foundry, explains the process in Drainspotting:
“We carve the design on a piece of wood. Next we put sand on the wood pattern and make a negative sand pattern; then we pour melted iron into the pattern, clear up the iron, blast and paint the cover black. When we have colored ones they are done by hand and painted with a thick tree resin, colored from pigment. The tree resin sets rock hard and lasts much longer than paint.”
Read the full article featuring the book, Drainspotting by Remo Camerota to learn more about the beauty of Japanese drain covers here
Not surprisingly, the manhole covers have caught the imagination of a growing number of "Drainspotters" from around the world. There is a wonderful collection of them here
Some suggestions for anyone who is planning, or hopes to plan, their own trip to Japan. Click fullscreen on the map below to see a list of our recommended places to visit, with some notes about each destination.
There was something extremely therapeutic and relaxing about this masterclass in soba noodle-making; the rolling, shaping, cutting and placing... the whole process a sort of meditative practice for both maker and observer.
Our four-week trip comprised of a thousand special moments, one of our favourites was watching the process of making soba noodles. It was not planned or timed, simply offered in kindness. It came after we had eaten at this very modest family run restaurant the night before. Just us, no payment required, a special gift.
We watched him making flour and water into a pastry which he masterfully rolled and turned a perfect circle into a square, then folded and cut into thin noodles, which all fitted perfectly into a wooden tray.
Share in our Japanese sensory experience. The videos and photos below are from our personal archives; capturing a few moments that made our senses tingle... Relax & enjoy.
Up in the clouds
...and some zen photography...
10 years of unique events,
in 200 acres of bliss.
3 days of woodland, fields, festival, fun, glorious food, no boundaries or limits.
A blank canvas.
At fforest farm, across its 200 acres, a choice of event spaces from giant hat tipis, garden pavilions, dining & party barns and a tiny stone pub are exclusively yours for the whole wedding weekend.
Read a bit about the different spaces available at fforest farm...
The giant hat tipi
Proudly standing on the vast lawn in front of the Lodge, the Giant Hat Tipi is perhaps the most popular venue for humanist ceremonies. Adorned with twinkling lights and candle chandeliers, the wonder of this venue is distinct inside as well as out.
The immediate surrounding landscape is recognised by many as the most picturesque location of fforest farm.
This is perhaps why many couples choose to have their wedding photos on the lawn or in the glorious wheat field just a stones throw from the Tipi. With the option to open up the sides to let in more light, the Tipi can transform your wedding into an outdoor occasion yet still keep you warm and cosy under canvas.
The Cedar Barn
Newly renovated and available to host larger wedding parties, the Cedar Barn boasts high ceilings, a tin roof, a concrete floor and copper pillars that all create the feel of an industrial warehouse. However the reality is much softer; with the addition of cedar-clad walls, bespoke fforest oak chandeliers and huge steel-framed windows, the barn creates an openness as well as a cosiness all at once.
It's warm and welcoming. Exactly what we strived for when creating this huge space.
The Barn offers our guests the chance to host a wedding supper for large parties comfortably, yet still keeping that all-important intimacy and closeness.
The Lodge Barn
One of three spaces licensed for civil ceremonies on site, the split level Lodge Barn has always been a favourite for its open space. Rows of tables and benches make it a perfect venue to host a high-tea party or wedding supper for all guests.
It's a wholly intimate space in that the size of the barn never affects the cosy atmosphere inside.
Here you have the choice to decorate the barn's high beams. Many couples choose rows of bunting & fairy lights or flowers & foliage overhead.
The Garden Pavilion
Another licensed site, the open-sided Garden Pavilion is both an inside & outside space with the option to have guests seated outside whilst they watch the civil ceremony that's under cover.
A unique space in that it can bring the actual ceremony out into the open air.
The space can be easily reverted back to its normal setting: wooden arm chairs that circle around a warming fire bowl. A place for guests to sit, chat & relax.
The Bwthyn Pub
Civil ceremonies are most commonly held in our 200 year old stone pub. Its not surprising our brides & grooms are so taken by the Bwthyn: a small space reserved for intimate ceremonies where the immediate family and friends can witness the marriage.
Ceremonies in the Bwthyn are always warming.
A lot of love is held between these four walls.
Marry infront of the closest family & friends then celebrate with the whole wedding party afterwards. The Bwthyn's fully stocked bar is always a welcome addition.
We've only ever had one brave couple who chose the old Quarry as a location for their ceremony at fforest farm. We laid out chairs and created a stone altar, the overall effect was truly magical.
A favourite place for wedding photos thanks to the dramatic slate backdrop and surrounding greenery.
We would love to see another couple choose this setup for their wedding day. Reserved for the bold and brave.
Any time of year is perfect for a woodland wedding at fforest. Our range of indoor and outdoor spaces complements the landscape and can be adapted to make the most of what each season has to offer.
At the end of last Summer our very specials friends decided to surprise us all by choosing to elope at fforest farm. Less of a surprise for some of the fforest elves who had the real pleasure of witnessing such a beautiful and happy occasion.
A perfectly sunny day welcomed the bride & groom and their family & friends to fforest farm that day. Will, Kate and baby Bert did well to keep such big news a secret, choosing to tie the knot in front of just 14 of their closest family & friends. The ceremony was held in the cosy Bwthyn pub; fires lit, candles glowing, a warmth emanating from all around.
"We decided we wanted to be married but didn’t really want a huge wedding. We chose fforest because its like
home from home, really relaxed and beautiful, lots of outside space and amazing food. We liked the tiny intimate space of the pub it just felt really special."
- Kate, the bride
After confetti and a drinks reception, the newlyweds and their guests enjoyed a picnic lunch in the dining room of the Lodge; simple, delicious food and a tower of fresh macarons as an alternative wedding cake for dessert.
The day seemed effortless, both for Will & Kate and for the fforest elves.
We're not sure if it was Will & Kate's apparent relaxed attitude towards getting hitched, or perhaps it was their choice to do it in the simplest, most intimate way... Whatever it was, we've decided that magic happened when these two lovely people chose to celebrate love & life in their own, perfect way.
"It was the perfect little wedding for us at this moment, and we have planned a party 13 months later in the Cedar Barn! You need a little dancing at a wedding!"
Photography by Paul Fenrich
If you've been inspired by the idea of a smaller wedding, visit our website to see what options fforest could have for you.
The winter months are a chance to rejuvenate, to refresh the body & mind, ready to face the year ahead. If you're a couple who'd like to enjoy the quieter, more intimate times at fforest, a Hygge break over Valentine's might be just the thing.
Choose to check in on Valentine's day for a mid-week break or at the weekends either side, its the perfect opportunity for some quiet time before the February half-term. If you're not familiar with the term, Hygge refers to the Danish 'art of living well'; enjoying simple pleasures and immersing yourself in natural beauty are at the centre of fforest's Hygge.
If you're recently engaged or thinking about wedding plans, we'd love to invite you to use your Hygge break to discover what fforest has to offer. Relax, take a good look around our different wedding venues, ask us some questions, we'd love to hear from you.
A coastal walk, a beach to yourself, the warmth and crackle of a driftwood fire and a golden sunset are all quiet adventures to be enjoyed within easy reach. Between Fforest Farm and the adjoining wildlife reserve there are 500 acres to explore. Enjoy frosty, misty mornings, stunning starry skies at night. Listen to a deer roar, birdsong at dusk, and silence.
Our 200 year old tiny pub, Y Bwthyn, becomes your tiny pub during your stay. The fforest approach to the mini bar. The fire will be stoked, the bar stocked, the rest is up to you. Last man out makes the fire safe, switches the lights off and shuts the door.
Our hygge getaways are self catering, but we'll supply all the elements to help you create your own hygge. You can pre-order hampers of local cheeses or breakfast produce and warming curry or cassoulet to heat up in your kitchen.
We think fforest at this time of year is the perfect place to find your hygge. Skål!
Visit our Hygge website to learn more and to book here
Visit our fforest weddings website here
The name fforest camp probably conjures up images of fields and canvas and an outdoor summery vibe, and you're not far wrong. But there is so much more to fforest, and here are 10 very good reasons why it’s a great choice for a cosy winter wedding weekend with family and friends.
1. The Colours
Winter has its own palette. Subtle shades of white, blue and grey, which lend themselves beautifully as the backdrop to the soft pastels or rich jewel colours of a winter wedding. The clear crisp Pembrokeshire skies make you want to get outside and embrace the elements.
2. Your own pub
There’s a magical private pub at the heart of fforest, exclusively for the use of you and your guests. It also has a licence enabling you to get married in front of the inglenook fireplace. If the weather is against you it won’t matter as you go straight from ceremony to celebration without even having to step outside. Your guests can toast you with a fforest winter cocktail which, whether warm or spicy, will be guaranteed to kick-start the festivities.
3. THE FOOD
fforest food is seasonal and local, so with a winter wedding comes an appropriate change in menu. Slow-roasted lamb from our wood-fired oven with lovingly prepared locally grown vegetables, a table full of colourful sharing platters or a comforting tagine. The opportunities to create a memorable, intimate culinary experience for your celebration are limitless. Not so much fine dining, rather the best private dinner party you’ve ever hosted.
4. THE ATMOSPHERE
When the natural light starts to fade, fforest lighting comes into its own – candles and lanterns dotted around the heart of the camp, tealight chandeliers in the pub, festoon lighting along the pathways and the stunning heartwood halos in the farmhouse and domes, made from ancient heartwood from the standing dead branches of fforest oak trees.
5. RURAL COMFORT
The farmyard at fforest has ample en-suite accommodation for 30 resident guests in the newly renovated farmhouse and old stone crog lofts. The geodesic domes can be added as a romantic option, able to accommodate another 4 couples, with room for small children. For larger families and groups of friends, the katacabins have five single beds round a central stove with a covered outside seating area.
6. WELSH HERITAGE
Wherever there’s a sofa or bed at fforest, there’s a coldatnight Welsh blanket, designed by Sian and woven up-river at a traditional woolen mill. Being surrounded by beautiful Welsh textiles gives a satisfying sense of place and there is no better time to appreciate a fforest blanket than when it’s crisp and fresh outside and you’re warm and toasty inside.
Even in the height of summer we can’t wait for the sun to go down and the temperature to drop so that we can gather together some kindling and logs and start up a roaring fire. Whether it’s outdoor braziers, indoor wood-burning stoves or the big communal covered firepit, we are all drawn to the warmth and glow of a real fire and at fforest there is no shortage of them.
8. THE COAST
fforest is on the Pembrokeshire / Ceredigion border, adjacent to the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve and the magnificent Teifi gorge, and a short drive from the All Wales Coast Path. The area is stunning all year round, but in winter you often find you have a beach all to yourselves. The light is breathtaking and begs to be photographed.
9. THE CEDAR BARREL SAUNA
Saunas are amazing at any time, but they were designed to be appreciated when it’s at its coldest outside. Ours is made from sweet scented cedar and heated with a wood fire. For the brave, there’s a cold shower outside too.
10. THE FFOREST COMMUNITY
“There are no strangers here, just friends you haven‘t met yet“. No matter what time of year you visit, you will find the fforest elves are just as busy as their famous namesakes. fforest is not short of wonderful assets, but the fforest elves are undoubtedly what completes the experience, receiving constant praise for their knowledge, skill and unobtrusive service. And by the time you leave you’ll all be on first name terms.
Ivy on windowsills, wild flowers in vases scattered on dining tables, rose petals dusting the aisle... The possibilities for using flowers & foliage at a fforest wedding are endless, and we thought we'd seen it all! ...Until Forbesfield flower school introduced us to a concept that we'd never seen before in our 10 years of fforest weddings... flower bombs!
When Forbesfield came to fforest in the Autumn, they had something new and exciting to show us. Using the cedar barn as a backdrop, they showed us how to create an explosion of flowers & foliage to hang from the ceiling. A beautifully eye-catching, dramatic way to decorate a wedding space, with endless options in terms of design and aesthetic. We decided that these flower bombs would look the best over-head during the wedding feast, as a sort of chandelier of flowers. As you can see by the photos, the finished product is quite impressive.
Forbesfield wrote a blog piece about their visit to fforest:
At the end of October FFS dusted off our cosy jumpers and muddy boots, hopped in our van and headed way down West to host a workshop at the wonderful Fforest. If you aren't familiar with Fforest you will not know that it is the most inspiring place run by the warmest and most engaging people.
At it's most basic it's a place to camp and live off the land; it's a place to live the simple life. At it's most wonderful, Fforest is a place to relax, unwind and feel the nostalgia of childhood camping and the magic of it's idyllic setting. Fforest has many strings to it's bow, with weddings being one of a number of events that they host, so our first introduction was a few years back when we had a mutual bride who was getting hitched there.
So off we went black-sky-early one Monday morning, driving through the rain and mist of the Welshest of weather days, but as we've said, magic happens at Fforest and and so by the time we arrived the mist had cleared, the sun was up and and our students were waiting and a few little four legged friends also joined us to our absolute delight.
These ladies were brilliant; and we laughed a lot! They all had the makings of wonderful floral designers, creating wild and elegant hand-tieds and hanging installs like they were born to it using a mix of Dutch and Welsh foraged treasures. To watch what flowers and foliages each person selects, watch them build a design and see the cogs turning as they figure it out is by far the thing we love most about teaching and easily the most fulfilling.
We can't wait to return and create again at Fforest very, very soon.
Visit the Forbesfield website and read the full article here
We have hand-selected a few beauties from fforest general stores to help you with your gift-giving this Christmas. We have welsh textiles, kitchenware, homeware & fforest kid-ware in stock and ready for filling up those stockings!
The fforest scarf
100% wool and made very well at a small woollen mill near the banks of the Teifi, the same river that wraps around fforest farm. We have four beautiful colourways to choose from, blanket stitching all around the edges. You'll likely find fforest chief sporting one of these in the Winter months, he tries to mix up the colours daily.
No, we're not talking about the fforest elves, its these beautiful welsh wool blanket hot water bottles. Perfect for cosy Winter nights.
The classic fforest blanket
To keep and to treasure.
Our blankets are a labour of love; made very well in a small woollen mill on the banks of the river Teifi, the same river that wraps around fforest farm. Choose from a selection of beautiful colours: Berry red, pebble grey & charcoal.
Our smaller Baban blankets at £130 each
THE NEW & IMPROVED FFOREST MUG
You may have already guessed it, we do love our enamelware! Our fforest mugs have had a jazzy revamp and got all dressed up for Christmas. Available to preorder now.
£12.50 each or £40 for set of four
The king of all bread knives
We swear by this Opinel knife. Slicing bread will never be the same again. Throw in a printed T-towel for good measure!
Yours for £25.95
...and more great knifes
A perfect gift for any cook. Peeling, paring and prepping vegetables is so much more enjoyable when using beautiful tools. Sets available in two colours.
The Kids gift set
For all the young adventurers out there, we've put together this little bundle of explorer essentials. We have specially designed finger-friendly penknives for safe wood whittling & carving, a reindeer antler whistle for calling in the woods, and a cute hand powered penguin torch with ultra bright LED light and wrist strap, to help find your way in the dark.
£25 all in!
The mini chef's apron
Kit them out and get them ready for the kitchen with fforest elf aprons. Available in navy and red.
Ages 3-10, £14 each
...very very soon...
The ultimate Christmas socks! Designed by Sian and made in Wales by Corgi, who have been making socks since 1892! Stay tuned with this one, you won't want to miss out on these special beauties!
River Cottage head chef, food writer & author Gill Meller's first cookbook 'Gather' promotes the idea of cooking with seasonal, local & the freshest of ingredients. With recipes inspired by the landscape in which he lives and works, his cooking ethos is much akin to fforest's own.
Our fourth fforest feast was recently hosted in the big cedar barn, an 8 course meal showcasing the best of seasonal and local from land and sea. Dishes included locally caught crab, wild rabbit, heritage carrots, greens, leaves & herbs from our own fforest gardens and much, much more. We have always aspired to cook with only the freshest ingredients with the idea that our surrounding area, with its bountiful produce, deserves to be celebrated.
This is a concept beautifully enforced in Gill's cookery. 'Gather' includes 120 recipes that stress the importance of seasonality and locality in cooking:
'I like to think my cooking is a reflection of my surroundings. I take inspiration from the landscape, my locality, and the amazing farmers, growers and fisherman that produce the ingredients I use.'
Watch Gill as he cooks barley paella with squid and rabbit on the shores of a nearby beach. A recipe from his book, 'Gather'.
You can purchase your own copy of 'Gather' here
Perfect for Christmas; in tarts, brownies, on toast, or as a homemade gift, fforest's chef Michelle has perfected her salted caramel recipe to share with you.
250g granulated sugar
100g salted butter
150ml double cream
1-2 tbsp Maldon sea salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Choose a thick bottom pan with high sides and clean, non-wooden utensils to melt down the sugar
- Pour all the sugar into the pan and wait for it to brown, the outside will start to turn before the middle. Begin stirring the sugar once you see a brown rim to make sure it doesn't catch. Chef Michelle says its fine to stir as it helps the sugar melt evenly
- Watch the sugar closely as it can burn quickly, when you can no longer see sugar granules at the bottom of the pan, the sugar is ready for the other ingredients. The colour should be a golden brown
- Bang in the butter and whisk vigorously, the mixture will rise and spit so be careful!
- Pour in the cream and keep whisking, cook the mix out for 3-5 minutes
- Add the vanilla and salt, mix through, cook out for a few more minutes letting it bubble away to make sure all the salt dissolves
- Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool in the pan before pouring into hot sterile jars and sealing.
You can choose whichever jars you like for your salted caramel. To sterilise your jars, put them in the dishwasher or hand wash them thoroughly. After washing, use a teatowel to transfer them to an oven preheated to 80°C and leave them in there until completely dry. Remove the jars from the oven and place onto a teatowel, making sure they aren't in contact with cold surfaces, ready for the warm caramel to be poured in. Seal the jars tightly and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
We love to use this salted caramel recipe in our signature chocolate tarts, a desert we recently served at our fourth fforest feast. Gone in a flash!
The SOON project (Something Out Of Nothing) is a lifestyle magazine that, since its conception in 2015, has been showcasing & celebrating young talent from all over the country, and beyond.
From artists to thinkers, chefs to jewellery makers, the range of interesting people with beautiful stories to share is vast in this independent magazine. Run singlehandedly (and magnificently) by 19 year old Leia Morrison from west Wales, SOON is fast becoming a guide of who to watch and why. Insightful stories give a glimpse into the life & work of creatives who might be otherwise overlooked or under-acknowledged in the big wide world. SOON offers a platform to those just starting off, and even to those fully established, to celebrate and share great work and great ideas.
Leia visited the Pizzatipi this Summer to talk to brother no.1, Jackson, about how the Pizzatipi all began, what its like to work closely with family, and what brings so many young & eager people to the Tipi courtyard...
Read the feature below:
Sitting on the edge of the River Teifi in the small Welsh town of Cardigan, a band of brothers, along with a group of their pals, fire out homemade, fresh pizzas and hearty beers for the many, under a canvas tipi. Whether you’re catching up with a friend, celebrating a birthday or launching a magazine The Pizzatipi is the perfect spot for chilling out, watching the sunset and eating delicious food, all in an utterly creative and welcoming space.
What is The Pizzatipi and how did all begin?
The Pizzatipi is a little restaurant and pub in the middle of Cardigan on the Teifi. Our parents started it accidentally about 5 years ago when they made a pizza oven for a staff party. Now it’s run by my brothers, I and our band of merry friends. We’re open from Easter to Christmas and are on a mission to make the best Pizza we can.
It’s such a beautiful location, do you know what was here before?
Sail lofts, chandlery, a boat yard, a coal yard, a smugglers pub, an antiques shop, galleries, flats, offices and now a pizza temple!
One thing that is wonderful about The Pizzatipi is the support it gives to local companies/ start ups. You hire mainly young people and often host events with young guest caterers, like El Salsa, and hosted the SOON launch event… is your support of mainly young people intentional or subconscious? Is the young atmosphere a part of The Pizzatipi brand?
We don’t really think about it, doing all the different things brings all the different people to us and that’s great for business but its secondary. We want to see things happen and if we can help and get a burrito out of it… no brainer. We’re nothing without the staff and most of the senior staff have been with us since they were the youngest staff, I hope the younger staff stick with us too, they’re mainly at an age where we know they’ll go soon but as long as their younger sisters, brothers and friends come and work for us instead we’ll be OK!
What's your all-time favourite pizza flavour that's hit the oven here at the tipi?
We did a jet black squid ink base with razor clams caught by our dad and wild garlic picked by our mum. It was (fire emoji x3) but probably one of our worst sellers because it was so weird.
Jackson, you studied in Glasgow and have travelled quite a lot, what brought you back to Wales?
Family, Friends and Pizza!
On your instagrams (@coldatnight @fforest @pizzatipi), we’re always seeing you foraging away, do you source a lot of your ingredients locally?
We’re super lucky be surrounded by such fresh ingredients. From the sea, local growers, bakers, farmers we try and get as much of it on the menu as we can.
The Pizzatipi is now run, I do believe, by you and your brothers- what advice would you give to someone going into business with family?
Definitely do it – It’s the best and the worst, just try not to be family in work and work in family.
What's the busiest day you've probably ever had? How many pizzas do you reckon you sold?
At the beginning of this year we did 600...
We see you’ve recently expanded, it looks glorious! The Pizzatipi is obviously just growing and growing in success, what are your plans for the future?
A table on the river (smug emoji)
Finally, describe your brothers in pizza form, if they were pizzas what pizzas would they be and why?
Robbie is any pizza without cheese #backthebid #anti. Calder is a potato, perl las and chorizo pizza because he’s delicious and Teifi is steak on a pizza, perfectly rare.
Photography by Leia Morrison
See more from the SOON project here
'With many surfaces clad in pitched pine and slate, plenty of warm Welsh blankets and a 'chandelier' made from a sinuous branch of oak heartwood, the rustic style is reminiscent of the interiors at fforest. "Our house is where we did trial runs, where we experimented," Sian explains. "If it looked OK here, we'd polish the idea and then re-create it for a wider audience."'
Country Living magazine ventured to a small corner of west Wales to meet Sian at her home in Aberporth. A stone's throw from the beach, the old fisherman's cottage is a small haven in which to relax and escape, its also where most of Sian & James's ideas for fforest interiors were practiced and perfected.
Read the feature below:
'The first thing Sian Tucker does each morning is look out of the window above her bed. The view out to sea sets her up for the day, whether the weather is crisp and bright or the northeasterly winds are blowing. "In fact, windswept weather chimes with me," she says. "The only drawback is if it's raining and families are camping up the road – I can't relax until I know they're comfortable and dry."
By 'up the road', Sian is referring to guests at fforest, the eco camp that she and her partner James Lynch created when they moved to west Wales. It has since expanded (people now stay in loft spaces, cabins and a farmhouse alongside domes and bell tents), but the original spirit, of getting back to a simpler life outdoors, remains true.
It was that very urge to reconnect with nature in a special setting that inspired Sian and James's own escape from the capital in 2005. And it's how they ended up living here, in a village where all roads lead to the sea and their house is the last stop before the beach.
When they moved here with their four sons, Jackson, Robbie, Calder and Teifi, the family left behind a very different life in London's Shoreditch. In the Nineties, Sian was a textile designer and illustrator and James ran a design studio. Then he had a zeitgeist moment.
Following a hunch, James set about turning empty warehouses into loft spaces, initially for like-minded artists, designers, furniture makers and musicians.
When the bankers followed – and began to outnumber the creatives – it was time to move on and look for the next 'raw space'. Plan A was to try New Zealand, but on a family reconnaissance trip they found themselves asking, 'Why travel halfway around the globe to live in a wild, green and beautiful place when we have exactly that on our doorstep?'
Sian is from Wales and the couple already owned this house – then a far more rudimentary version of itself – as a holiday bolthole. "It was where we decamped every school holiday," she recalls. "The boys really loved the freedom of life here."
So, a week after returning from New Zealand, they bought a 200-acre farm beside the Teifi Gorge, which became fforest, and made this house their home. "Back then, the cottage was completely unmodernised, with no central heating," Sian says.
James designed the extension, giving them a large living space, which the family has always called the wooden room. His redesign also added the wide, panoramic window in their bedroom that provides inspiring views for Sian each morning. The single-storey building is made from green oak that has mellowed into a pale silver over the years, almost blending with the coastal setting. And its windows – in contrast to the old cottage – look towards the sea to embrace the big views. "Because it was a fisherman's home, the old house was all about facing away from the strong seaward winds," Sian says.
The kitchen sits in the original cottage and is where the couple usually end up at the end of a long day. "The stone walls are incredibly thick, which means it's always warm and cosy in there," she adds.
On windowsills, inside and out, sit piles of pebbles in greys and whites that echo the shades of the beach, and of the house itself. "Once you see a lovely stone, it's hard not to pop it in your pocket," Sian says. Surfaces are also home to her collections of enamelware, wooden bowls and handmade spoons.
With many surfaces clad in pitched pine and slate, plenty of warm Welsh blankets and a 'chandelier' made from a sinuous branch of oak heartwood, the rustic style is reminiscent of the interiors at fforest. "Our house is where we did trial runs, where we experimented," Sian explains. "If it looked OK here, we'd polish the idea and then re-create it for a wider audience."
Given Sian's background in textiles (her work has been bought by the V&A Museum and some hangs in the atrium of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in south-west London), she has always loved traditional Welsh wool blankets: "I used to pick them up at car boot sales, for us and then for our first guests." Eventually, she approached a local mill: "I adapted a vintage motif to make a design that's now used on our own blankets and cushions."
London life now feels miles away. Sian's drive home from work takes her past lush green hillsides and wooded vales until she rounds the corner and there's the sea. "As commutes go, this one is pretty special," she says, with a smile. "I feel incredibly lucky."'