West Wales: Real reviews from real people!

If you’re looking for real reviews of an area you’d like to visit, we’ve got some fantastic genuine experiences from visitors to West Wales to share with you.

Here are some of the entries from the photo competition we ran last year to give you an idea of what’s on offer in this little corner of hidden treasures!

Young boy in a rockpool

two Atlantic Puffins beak to beak

a man stood on top of rocks in the mountains

If you have a West Wales photo you’d like to share just tag us using #westwalesholidaycottages on Instagram or you are welcome to post it to us on our Facebook page.

We absolutely love seeing what you get up to here, and what you discover. Our favourite afternoon activity is gathering around a desk with our 3pm cup of tea and seeing all the magical memories people have made in this little gem of Wales that we all love so much!

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We’ve been shortlisted in the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards 2018!

We’re excited to tell you that we have been shortlisted as finalists in the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards 2018 in the ‘Best Impact Marketing Campaign’ category.

Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards 2018 shortlisted

The category is sponsored by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and judging for the winner will take place between 12-27 February 2018.

Keep an eye out for the results after the awards ceremony on Saturday 21 April 2018!

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Win a holiday at Cardigan Castle!

You can now enter our latest free prize draw to win a holiday at The Coach-house.

It’s part of historic Cardigan Castle, which won Channel 4’s restoration of the year title in 2016 following a £14 million restoration project.

The luxurious accommodation on offer at Cardigan Castle is in great demand – even more so since it was showcased in the TV programme, so this is a unique opportunity to win a holiday at such a significant place in Welsh culture.Collection of images related to Cardigan Castle and The Coach-house

The Coach-house is an accessible, wheelchair-friendly holiday apartment for 2 set in the grounds of Cardigan Castle. The former coach-house has been beautifully converted for you to enjoy a relaxing holiday in spectacular surroundings, with an enclosed patio garden.

Enter now for your chance to win. Just fill in the entry form on our website.

The winner can choose a 3-night stay in 2018 from a Friday to Monday subject to availability and outside of school holidays. Closing date for entries is 31 January 2018.

Good luck!

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We’re hiring! Business Manager wanted

Cwmrhaffau Farmhouse

We are looking for a Business Manager to join our team. If you like the idea of working on the West Wales coast as part of a small team committed to offering an effective and efficient online booking service, please read on.

The Position

A new opportunity has arisen for a highly-motivated Business Manager to play a key role in the administration and leadership of West Wales Holiday Cottages, starting as soon as possible. Our new Business Manager will work with the Senior Partner to learn about the company with a view to playing a major role in running the business. The role will include leading and nurturing our small team, building relationships with clients, identifying opportunities for innovation and development, business planning, and reporting progress to the Senior Partner.

The Company

West Wales Holiday Cottages is a family run business providing online advertising and booking for over 750 independently-owned holiday cottages in Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. The company is based on the Cardigan Bay coast at Sarnau in Ceredigion and consists of 4 partners and 5 staff: 3 full-time and 2 part-time. Established for 12 years, we are committed to providing an outstanding level of service, doing business in an ethical way and promoting West Wales to the benefit of the local community.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Managing, supporting and developing our tight-knit team
  • Ensuring delivery of exceptional standards of customer service
  • Co-ordinating and overseeing the various aspects of the business
  • Visiting and advising new and existing customers
  • Identifying opportunities for innovation and development
  • Upholding the image and values of our company at all times
  • Reporting business progress to the Senior Partner
  • Monitoring market conditions, e-commerce trends and competitors’ products
  • Maintaining an in-depth knowledge of the tourism sector and emerging trends that may highlight areas for improvement, risks or opportunities

You’ll be passionate about:

  • Supporting our team
  • Developing and building our profitable business
  • Doing business in an ethical way
  • Benefitting our local community

It’s essential that you:

  • Have managerial experience
  • Work well in a team
  • Can handle multiple projects and tasks
  • Are able to organize processes and people
  • Are good at problem-solving
  • Pay close attention to detail
  • Have excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Have excellent interpersonal skills
  • Have high-level proficiency with spreadsheets, word-processing, email, etc
  • Can understand and analyse data to identify options and make recommendations
  • Keep accurate records

It’s desirable that you:

  • Have a car and can drive to meet clients
  • Have a degree
  • Can speak Welsh
  • Have knowledge of the local area and/or tourism

Salary and Holidays

Starting salary range: £24,720 to £36,680 depending on experience, to be reviewed after one year.

Hours: This is a full-time permanent post, subject to successful completion of a 6-month probationary period. It averages 40 hours per week including breaks; flexible working patterns available by negotiation.

Holiday allowance: Your annual holiday allowance is 32 days which includes an extra allowance for Bank Holidays. You will be required to take holiday over our Christmas shutdown period which uses a total of 2.5 days of your allowance.

HOW TO APPLY

Please email a letter of application and your CV to the Senior Partner, David Witt, at david@westwalesholidaycottages.co.uk

Closing date is 7 January 2018.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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We’re supporting Cardigan Foodbank

WWHC staff loading the car for delivery to Cardigan foodbank today.Staff and Senior Partmer of West Wales Holiday Cottages loading items for Cardigan Foodbank into the boot of a car

The foodbank provide a list of what they urgently need, it helps them greatly to have what they know will be useful to those who need it. Donations are helpful now so that the foodbank can plan ahead to provide support at Christmas and the coming months.

Demand is, sadly, increasing in our area – if you are interested you might like to contact a local foodbank to find out how best you can help. You can find details of your local foodbank on The Trussell Trust’s website.

 

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Six free places to visit in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire is a popular holiday destination in West Wales and some of our hidden gems are so beautiful, they are completely priceless!

Here are 6 of our favourite free Pembrokeshire attractions:

The Blue LagoonBlue Lagoon Abereiddi Pembrokeshire

These deep greeny-blue waters are surrounded by a semicircle of natural rock and stone walls constructed during the life of a former quarry, now flooded. It is a picturesque location, with ruins dotted everywhere, amazing views out to sea, and the enticing lagoon to jump into!

The man-made wonder of the Blue Lagoon sits within Trwyn Castell promontory, to the north of Abereiddy beach. Now approximately 25m deep, this small former slate quarry fell into disuse and flooded when the sea broke through the outer wall over a hundred years ago. There was once a steam-hauled lift when the slate was exported across the beach and later by tram to Porthgain. Ruined quarry-workers’ houses near the beach, called ‘The Street’, were abandoned in the early 20th century.

There are surviving platforms built high into the natural rock walls from which coasteering groups love to jump. The lagoon has also hosted the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series – part of a worldwide stage that includes Copenhagen and La Rochelle. You can also spend time exploring the interesting geology at the site and hunt for fossils.

There is a busy car park which is uneven in places, alternatively, take the shuttle bus to the site, or find it on a lovely walk along the coast path.

Pentre Ifan WoodsPentre Ifan Burial Chamber with an elederly man standing underneath the rocks

Full of foxgloves, bluebells and other woodland flowers, these beautiful woods invite you to explore their depths and get lost among the trees. Mossy green hillocks and rounded, moss-covered rocks cover the floor under the glades of the short twisted oaks, themselves lichen-covered. In fact, it is hard to find anything that is not moss or lichen-covered in these parts!

Reminiscent of a fantasy, there are some delightful walks through this ancient woodland, where you almost expect to turn a corner to see hobbits and elves. The paths take you through glades and over streams, past outcrops of bedrock and evidence of old stone walls.

The broad-leaved woodland has over 400 species of lichen, attesting to its healthy atmosphere, as well as ferns, with information boards across the site.

Park near Canolfan Pentre Ifan education centre, set in a 600 year old former Tudor gatehouse, and walk through to Pentre Ifan Neolithic Burial Chamber. Alternatively, take a round walk from the monument, past a possible prehistoric fort and Ty Canol National Nature Reserve.

West Angle BayA view towards the sea from West Angle Bay

This idyllic little horseshoe cove can be found on the north-west corner of the Angle peninsula. This award-winning beach is perfect for a family holiday, surrounded by quiet farmland and with rocks with their striking geological formations extending out into the sea on each side.

The narrow stretch of beach at high tide turns into a wide expanse of beautiful sand at low tide, with plenty of room for beach cricket and kite flying. Swim, sail, canoe, surf or try a spot of sea fishing within these sheltered waters. The rocks are perfect for rock pools, and you can find your way through these rocks to the secret beach beyond – but don’t get cut off by the tide!

Look out to the impressive Napoleonic fort on Thorn Island, used in later years as a hotel. The beach is also a designated SSSI due to a small green starfish, found here in 1979. This safe sandy beach has a free car park, toilets, telephone, and pushchair and disabled access. There are strong currents, so make sure to check the tide times.

St Govan’s ChapelSt. Govan's Chapel below tall rocks

This tiny restored chapel has been built into a cliff and sits perched at the back of a steep, rock-strewn little cove, with views out to the beautiful blue sea. Steep steps lead down to the site and through the chapel, with its simple doorways and tiny slit windows, to the cove below.

Found on the south coast of the Pembroke peninsula near Bosherston and Barafundle Bay, the 13th-century chapel was built on the site of the hermit’s cell of St Govan, a sixth-century hermit. It is said that St Govan was an Irish monk travelling to visit St David when he was attacked by pirates. After a rock fissure opened up, enabling him to hide, he is then thought to have stayed out of gratitude, living within the cave and warning locals of further attacks. The small cave within this fissure has since been built over by the vaulted chapel.

Rumours link the saint to Gawain, one of King Arthur’s knights. Legends also tell of St Govan’s lost bell, perhaps entombed in one of the rocks at the shoreline. There is a simple small bell-tower on the chapel roof – but no bell! St Govan’s remains are thought to lie under the altar.

Walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and take the steps down to the little cove, or park at Broad Haven South or Bosherston village, and walk along the coast path or road.

Presipe Bay Secret BeachPresipe Bay secret beach with cliff edges on the left and a beautiful blue sea

To find some of the best secluded beaches you need to walk off the beaten track. For an adventurous day out, take a walk and explore this isolated secret beach. The amazing geology here is striking, with vertical striations running up the cliffs and popping up in the sand across the beach. The rocks strewn around the edge of the bay are a distinctive red colour.

Low tide is the best time to visit when the narrow beach widens to reveal a wide expanse of sand suitable for kite flying, epic sandcastles and The site is also great for surfing at low tide.

To find this secluded bay, park near Manorbier Youth Hostel, walk westwards along the coast path, past the MOD’s missile test firing facility at Manorbier Camp. Take the footpath across the fields and follow the steep, winding steps down to the rocks below. Alternatively, take a pretty walk around the cliffs from the car park at Manorbier village, with its historic/beautiful castle and Norman church.

The Witches’ Cauldronthe Wotches Cauldron Ceibwr, part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

This natural wonder is a green pool of tidal water, surrounded by sheer cliffs with the sea on one side and farmland on the other, to the south of Ceibwr Bay. It was created by the sea hollowing through soft rock to form a sea cave, which then collapsed to leave an open bowl.

Known as Pwll y Wrach, it is a tempting site for those who love to explore, while these waters are a great attraction for kayakers and canoeists. As you paddle along this stretch of coast, the narrow entrance is tricky to spot. The Cauldron is accessible at low tide through a narrow access channel, where there is a waterfall and a beach reached only by water. There is also a small water-filled cave into which you can squeeze yourself.

Pwll y Wrach can be found on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path if you fancy a scenic walk, where you are likely to spot bottlenose dolphins. The path takes you past the Cauldron one on side of a knife edge and the ocean on the other, with coastal wildflowers surrounding the exposed natural geology.

There is a bus from Cardigan to Fishguard from which you can walk the last mile, and roadside parking at Ceibwr. Alternatively, park at the nearby village of Moylgrove and walk for just over 1 km to the cliffs, where you can watch the choughs, or the seal pups in autumn, or winter waves crashing in. Nearby there are further caves, a natural spring, and the possible prehistoric enclosure of Castelltreruffydd.

For a relaxing holiday in this part of Wales, choose from a range of Pembrokeshire cottages.

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You could win a £250 holiday voucher in our first ever photo competition!

We really love West Wales, so to share the memories people have made in this beautiful little pocket of the world, we have launched our first ever photo competition!

We want to see your best photos of West Wales whether you live here yourself, like us, whether you’ve been here on holiday and loved the area or whether you’ve just driven through, spotted something beautiful and just had to take a snap – everyone can get involved!

Head over to our Facebook post to enter.West Wales Holiday Cottages photo competition

We’re so excited to see what you’ll send… good luck!

Terms and conditions of entry:
HOW TO ENTER: Post a photo you took in West Wales to the comments section of the competition post on our Facebook page showing us why you love West Wales telling us where it is and when you were there.

CLOSING DATE: The closing date for entries is midnight on 21 September 2017.

WINNER SELECTION: 3 photos will be shortlisted and will go to a public vote on Facebook after the closing date. Votes for the shortlisted photos will not be counted after 10am on 29 September 2017. The winner will be notified through Facebook Messenger on 29 September 2017. The winner must respond to the notification message within 7 days to accept the prize.

THE PRIZE: The prize is a £250 holiday voucher courtesy of West Wales Holiday Cottages to be used in payment for a holiday or holidays booked through West Wales Holiday Cottages. The voucher expiry date is 30 September 2019. No cash alternative.

The entrant must not use any image where copyright subsists unless the entrant is entitled to do so. If an entrant has any doubts about whether they have the right to include any content they must not include it. By including any such content in their entry, the entrant warrants that they have the permission of the relevant copyright owner to do so and that this permission allows West Wales Holiday Cottages to use the content in future promotions.

Entrants understand and agree that the winner’s name, feedback and details about their holiday may be used in social media posts. All entrants agree to be bound by the rules and terms of this prize draw.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

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We’re hiring! Web developer wanted

Cwmrhaffau Farmhouse

We are looking for a Web Developer to join our team. If you like the idea of working on the West Wales coast as part of a small team committed to offering an effective and efficient online booking service, please read on.

The Position

You will be fully involved in the maintenance and continuing development of our current website, possible future websites and associated systems. The appointment will commence as soon as mutually convenient and will be a full-time permanent post. West Wales Holiday Cottages is an equal opportunities employer and we are happy to offer flexible working options.

We are looking for a capable individual with excellent technical, communication and interpersonal skills to welcome into our small, tight-knit team and develop into a key player in our business. If you work well in a team and are keen to learn and assume responsibility, this is your chance to progress to a more senior role in a supportive environment.

It is important that you be the right fit for our team. You will be working closely with the rest of us so it’s important that you share our determination to deliver exceptional customer service, enjoy doing a job well and with integrity, and have a ‘can do’ positive attitude.

The Company

West Wales Holiday Cottages is a family run business providing online advertising and booking for over 750 independently-owned holiday cottages in Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. The company is based on the Cardigan Bay coast at Sarnau in Ceredigion and consists of 4 partners and 7 staff: 3 full-time and 4 part-time. Established for 12 years, we are committed to providing an outstanding level of service, doing business in an ethical way and promoting West Wales to the benefit of the local community.

Your Responsibilities

  • Full stack development.
  • Security and performance of all web systems.
  • Database design and development.
  • Semi-regular meetings with senior members of staff and colleagues to help plan and manage projects.
  • Identify and implement technologies that will create new opportunities and allow for new features for the service.
  • In-house technical support to the admin team to resolve and improve any reported website issues.
  • Continuous improvement of existing codebase

Essential skills

  • Good knowledge and understanding of object oriented programming, ideally PHP
  • MySQL (or similar, e.g. PostgreSQL)
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript
  • Knowledge of version control systems

Desirable skills

  • Linux server administration
  • Apache administration
  • SEO

Current Technology

Object oriented, middleware-based PHP 7 application. Asynchronous tasks through RabbitMQ. Codeception for unit and acceptance testing. Modern frontend toolchain, including ES6+, webpack and sass. Infrastructure managed with Ansible, and Jenkins for a one click deployment process.

Other Info

  • We use source control (git)
  • We use an issue tracker (Trello)
  • We continuously deploy
  • We provide a computer of your choice and any software you require
  • We have a quiet office for our technical staff
  • We don’t target legacy browsers – usually the last 2 versions

Salary and Holidays

Starting salary range: £20,720 to £36,680 depending on experience, to be reviewed after one year. We have a 3 month probationary period.

Hours: Full time position. Average 40 hours per week including breaks, flexible working patterns available by negotiation.

Holiday allowance will be in accordance with the statutory entitlement. Bank Holidays are in addition and you will be required to take holiday over the Christmas shutdown period which is for 4 days, 3 of them Bank Holidays, using a total of 2.5 days of your allowance.

HOW TO APPLY

Please email your CV and a letter of application to Matthew Witt, the IT Partner
West Wales Holiday Cottages, at matthew@westwalesholidaycottages.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you!

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West Wales Holiday Cottages present award in Best Dog Friendly Accommodation category

An awards ceremony was held at Slebech Park on May 23 to announce the winners of the Dog Friendly Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards.

West Wales Holiday Cottages was the proud sponsor of the Best Dog Friendly Accommodation category and Amy from Cottages HQ was delighted to go along to present the award. The winners of this category were Paul and Lisa Godfrey of Seaview Cottage.

4 people stood in a line with an award and certificate

Winners of the Best Dog Friendly Accommodation category: Paul and Lisa Godfrey of Seaview Cottages being presented an award from Amy (West Wales Holiday Cottage) and John Burns (Burns Pet Nutrition)

Congratulations to Paul and Lisa from everyone at West Wales Holiday Cottages!

Burns Pet Nutrition was the main sponsor of the awards and they are running the ‘Burns by your Side’ scheme which is aimed at children who could benefit from improving their reading and communication skills. The concept supports children in a variety of settings to build confidence in reading and vocabulary by reading to a dog. Specially trained volunteers and their dogs visit schools to hear children read. We think this is a fantastic scheme and we wish everyone involved all the very best with their journey – children, volunteers and of course, the dogs themselves!

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Dog friendly: Patch beach

I’ve been walking Ziggy, my whippet on Patch beach in Gwbert a lot recently. It’s not my nearest beach to home, but it really is worth going that little bit further.

There’s always plenty of space to park on the road which runs along the beach and there are at least half a dozen access spots from the pavement. If you want to park on the beach itself, there’s a little road the other side of the boat club. If you’re coming from the Cardigan direction, just turn left and it’ll take you to the beach, but watch out, it’s quite narrow.

Ziggy loves it here. Patch is dog-friendly all year-round and there are always a few dog walkers to chat to along the way.black and white whippet jumping from sea, another image of people fishing in the sunset and another of seagulls on the sea with Gwbert behind

It can get a little busy in peak season – well, it can feel that way if you have a dog like mine, who is constantly chasing and looking for attention from other dogs! A dog owner recently had to restrain his pug on the beach because she just would not give up chasing Ziggy. It made me laugh a lot, she was pressed into the sand like a little starfish!

Pug lying on the beach with the sea behind

We’ve been down there a lot this past year, and we’ve met some really great people along the way.

One side of the beach looks onto the River Teifi and when you cross over the shale to the other side, you are looking out to the mouth of the river and the sea; Poppit Sands is on the left. We’ve seen some beautiful sunsets from Patch. Here’s one of the best!Sunset from Patch beach near Gwbert with Poppit sands on the left and people walking

Boat trips with A Bay to Remember set off from Patch (March – October). The trip takes you out to sea to spot wildlife such as seals and bottlenose dolphins. It looks like so much fun, something I need to do soon.

If you’d like to explore Patch beach with your dog, we’ve got lots of dog-friendly holiday cottages to choose from. You can refine your search by selecting Cardigan – the nearest town.

I hope you’ll like it as much as we do.

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