Holidays seekers looking for that perfect rustic getaway might well find the ideal retreat with a quick web search for “Under the Thatch”.
“Under the Thatch” is a unique collection of traditional thatched cottages and Scandinavian-style cabins complete with 70s interiors, a converted train carriage and, most popular of all, a Gypsy caravan in south-west Ceredigion.
The caravan is a “bow-top”, with a roof like a barrel. To be precise, it’s a Romany caravan or “vargo”, built in 1924 and last used by travellers in the 70s. After years of sitting abandoned, it was restored by a local craftsman.
Under the Thatch’s properties are run as a low impact, eco-friendly concern, the commitment to which has resulted in a nomination for this years 2007 Ethical Travel award by Richard Hammond.
The cottages were restored using lime rather than cement, oil-based paint and sheep’s wool insulation; some have solar panels, others reed-bed sewage systems, wood-chip boilers and recycled furnishings, there are also compost and recycling facilities and local wood for the fire.
It is the setting, however, that is the real winner. Tucked away in the corner of a wild-flower meadow next to the river where brown trout and otter are protected as part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it’s picturesque and secluded.
The local economy near the village of Rhydlewis certainly benefits from guests staying at the cottages. Nearby, a traditional smokery sells smoked salmon, trout, mackerel, bacon and cheeses, and it’s only a 10-minute drive to several beaches where there are shops and cafes and opportunities to glimpse the bottle nosed dolphins of Llangrannog Bay.
What sets it apart is how it benefits local communities. Unlike many holiday homes, Greg’s properties are let year round – chiefly because he reduces the price of any that aren’t selling to encourage people to book. The cheapest rate on late availability accommodation is a bargain