Apple Tree Lodge At Talgarth review by Ronnie: The Critics

Canine Critic

Apple Tree Lodge At Talgarth review by Ronnie: The Critics' Choice Canine Critic 2020

Ronnie 05 November 2021

The time for choosing the Critics’ Choice Award for Canine Critics is always an exciting time in the Canine Cottages office, and the winner always has something special about them. The 2020 Canine Critics’ Awards was no different, with the votes going to Ronnie the ‘wanderdog’, the rescued terrier cross from Yorkshire who regularly goes touring with his mum and dad.

Now, he may be a little confused about what breed he is but there’s certainly no mistaking his love for adventuring and escapades. And what better location is there in the UK to exploit his inquisitive nature than the Brecon Beacons? Showcasing some huge mountain peaks, glorious rivers and canals, endless walking routes and chances to stargaze up at pristine night skies, this area in Wales is paw-fect for a little pup like Ronnie.

Ready to read the review? Don’t terrier self up about it, here it is!

Ronnie, the Critics' Choice Canine Critic 2020

Hi there, I’m Ronnie the rescue dog! I’m not quite sure what breed I am, some kind of terrier cross, but my mum says I’m one of a kind – which I guess makes me special!

When she told me we were going on holiday to Wales, I was very excited as I love exploring new places. But when she told me that this was going to be a working holiday for me and I was something called a 'Canine Critic', I got a bit confused. I needn’t have worried though as she went on to explain that all I had to do was share with you all, and the Canine Cottages team, what I thought of our stay in Apple Tree Lodge in the Brecon Beacons and what fun things I got up to there.

Ronnie chilling with his mum, indoors and out

Getting there

Wales was about a 4-hour drive from our home in Yorkshire, but my mum said I was as good as gold on the journey as I pretty much snoozed the whole way. But once we arrived at the lodge, I was super keen to get out and explore my new digs for the week. The first thing that struck me about the lodge was its beautiful location. It was set in a little orchard of apple trees, with a babbling brook at the bottom of the garden. The lodge and its surroundings were really private and secluded, perfect for a little nervous pup like me, but it was also only a 5-minute walk down into Talgarth village, near Crickhowell.

Talgarth was a perfect base from which to explore the whole of the Brecon Beacons, with many of the places we visited being within a 20-minute drive. The small market town has everything you could need, including several shops, a chemist, butchers, a pub and an assortment of takeaway food options. I may have sampled a little bit of the local fish and chips - yum yum! It even has its own water-powered flour mill, Talgarth Mill.

The fabulous Apple Tree Lodge At Talgarth

Cottage best bits

The lodge was a great size for me, my mum and my dad, and even had a spare bedroom for extra guests. My favourite part about the lodge was the floor-to-ceiling glass doors that looked out onto the apple trees in the garden – a perfect place for me to squirrel watch! At the bottom of the decking was a wooden tub filled with really hot water?! My dad called it a 'hot tub', but he said I wasn’t allowed to go swimming in it, it was only for humans – which sucks for dogs like me that love to get wet, but rules are rules!

Wooden touches everywhere and a sumptuous shower

The lodge was like a little cosy cabin but remained spacious and modern. It was very different to my house at home as it was made mostly out of wood, an eco-lodge is what my mum called it. We spent most of our evenings chilling out and relaxing (well, I was busy snoozing and taking advantage of the underfloor heating!) in the open-plan living room/diner/kitchen. It really felt like a second home to me!

Underfloor heating and a spacious kitchen/diner/living room

Local area

My family hadn’t been to this area of Wales before, so we were all excited to start exploring the local area – and it certainly didn’t disappoint us! From our doorstep, we visited the beautiful nature reserve of Pwll-y-Wrach, only a 15-minute walk from the lodge. I loved exploring the woodland gorge, even having a paddle in the river along the way, and at the end of the trail, there was a very impressive waterfall. It was so nice to explore such a lovely place without having to travel in the car. 

The nature reserve at Pwll-y-Wrach

If you fancy a trip to a local town, I would highly recommend Hay-on-Wye – the town of books! It was a pretty place and full of quaint little shops that my mum and dad liked to browse in. But don’t worry, it’s perfect for us pups too as there was a lovely path to explore along the river which reached a small shingle beach for me to go for a paddle! For refreshments, we recommend a visit to the Cosy Cafe for some tasty crepes, and for all you fellow explorers, a browse around Flow, an amazing little shop full of adventure-themed products.

Ronnie in Hay-on-Wye

A short drive from our lodge was Llangorse Lake, the largest natural lake in South Wales. It was a great place to stretch my legs, and if the weather had been a bit nicer that day we could have hired a boat, a paddleboard or a canoe to take out on the lake. It was a shame as I’m an experienced SUP-pup and love the water! The place was really dog friendly and even had its own coin-operated dog bath area near the public toilets, which is much needed for dogs who like to get a little (or a lot!) muddy like me!

Ronnie at Llangorse Lake

For those pups that love a good hike, you will be in your element in the Brecon Beacons! We went on a 10-mile hike up a mountain called Fan-y-Big. It followed a mountain ridge that boasted amazing views across the area and towards its larger mountain neighbour, Pen-y-Fan, which is the highest peak in South Wales. I really wanted to head up there too, but my mum said I would be too tired if we did that mountain as well. Surely not me!? (Maybe she was secretly the tired one as she always seems to be lagging behind me and my dad when walking up mountains…)

Ronnie climbing Fan-y-Big

I also loved visiting Waterfall Country, in the south-west corner of the Brecon Beacons. We did the Four Falls Trail starting from the Gwaun Hepste car park, which is a 6-mile trail taking in four of the most impressive waterfalls I’ve ever seen! This walk was not the easiest underfoot and involved lots of scrambling over wet rocks, which I personally loved as I’m great on my feet, but for humans, I’d highly recommend wearing walking boots and waterproofs – especially if you want to explore behind the final waterfall of Sgwd-yr-Eira, the Snow Waterfall. It was a little scary at first, but I put my brave boots on to walk around the back of the falls. Understandably, we all got very wet!

Ronnie getting wet in Waterfall Country

If you like the quieter things in life but still want to explore the local area, then hiring a boat from Beacon Park Boats is an experience not to be missed. You can explore the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal in one of their self-drive electric boats, which are very dog friendly and easy to drive. I loved sticking my head over the side, watching the ducks, and waving at the other dogs passing by on their canal boats! You can work your way down the canal all the way to The Coach and Horses pub at Llangynidr, another experience not to be missed if you love seafood. I was very much welcomed into the pub and the food was delicious – or so my mum and dad said as they said it was too delicious to share. I loved the whole day and thought I was a brilliant boat captain! Aye aye, Captain Ronnie!

Captain Ronnie on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

After all our adventures in the local area during the day, we headed back to the lodge to relax and unwind. I’m not quite sure what ‘stars’ are but my mum and dad said the lodge was amazing for stargazing and they even saw a few shooting stars while sitting in the hot tub. They said it was very romantic, but I think it would have been better if I could have joined them for a dip!

Ronnie watching on as his mum relaxes in the hot tub

When the day came to leave Apple Tree Lodge, I was a very sad pup, but I was also very tired from all my adventures in the Brecon Beacons, and yes, I snoozed the whole way home!

Ronnie is tired by the end of the holiday

My rating

My whole experience with Canine Cottages has been amazing and I’ve loved my job as a Canine Critic. Me and my family would highly recommend a holiday to Apple Tree Lodge for all my doggy friends, and would give it 4 paws out of 5!

Ronnie loves his mum

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