It’s up a lane, behind the church and you would never know the Oak Retreat on the Glanusk Estate was there unless you knew where to look.
Thankfully Harry, whose family own the estate, was on hand when we arrived at teatime one Saturday to show us where to go, and. to hand us our keys to this little woodland haven.
The Oak Retreat is a wooden hideaway that sleeps four (the double bed can be split into a twin, and the sofa folds out as another bed), though you would need to be a family with two small children or very good friends if more than two of you go (in my opinion). And you would really need the weather to be on your side because if four of you were to eat inside I have to admit it would be snug. With the weather on our side though we ate outside at every opportunity and loved every second of it.
A lot of thought has clearly gone into equipping this little holiday home, head torches and slippers for midnight trips to the loo, dressing gowns to keep you warm after a hot shower, one of the comfiest beds and warmest duvets I have slept with, and there is even wifi.
When you arrive the basics for breakfast have been kindly tucked away in the fridge (yes there is electricity and a stack of plug sockets, more than many hotels I have stayed in) so you can have a cuppa and a piece of toast. There is a kettle and toaster and a single electric hob with saucepans and all the utensils you could possibly need. You can also pre order a hamper of local foodie finds so that you don’t have to go further afield for a day or two. Oh and can, and must, also pre-order the Glanusk Estate Gin. It isn’t made on the estate but the botanicals are all sourced from the local Black Mountains, and it is mellowed through oak from the estate. It is truly delicious.
The Oak Retreat sits within the Oak Collection that was lovingly planted, and you are surrounded by trees, with only the noise being the River Usk down the bank (the Estate sits on 5 miles of the river) or wildlife coming out to forage at dusk. By staying on the estate you are free to wander through them whenever you like, and collect any fallen twigs or branches to burn on your fire pit. Should you need more wood it’s delivered throughout your stay, and the perfect way to cook steaks or s’mores
The Oak Collection was the brainchild of Bill Legge-Bourke, whose passion for Oaks over 40 years meant that he started to collect acorns from around the world and planted them out throughout Penmyarth Park.
His untimely death 10 years ago left over 100 growing acorns in the Oak Green House, and his son Harry was bitten by the ‘quercus’ bug and not only planted out the 100 different oaks left by his father, but has also increased the collection to just over 300 different species and cultivars. We are particularly proud of the Royal Oak Collection. Visiting members of the Royal family as far back as 1800s have planted Oaks the latest being HRH The Prince of Wales in July 2019 using the same spade as HM The Queen used in July 2012. Each Oak has a story to it.
When we were looking for somewhere to escape to for a few days my only requirements were that we could get there in a few hours by car (I didn’t want to fly); there needed to be a pub within walking distance; it needed to be self catering and we needed wifi. The Oak Retreat ticked all of those boxes, and then some. If we had been keen on fishing we could have even got permission to fish on the river, and cook our catch of the day (there is an outdoor prep area to do just this!). Evenings were spent cooking dinner on the fire pit and watching the sun go down, it was heaven and we cannot wait to return.
We paid £600 for 4 nights in mid September