Features | Map | Visitor comments
- Beautiful views
- Superb rural location close to Hay-on-Wye
- 17th-century former cow byre and artists' studio
- Stylish interior
- Great for couples or small families (2 adults, plus 2 children and an infant)
- Baby and dog-friendly
A recent visitor to Wern Derys left a note: “Dear Georgie, Jim and children, we all loved staying at your studio and waking up to the most beautiful view in the world. Many thanks for your kind welcome.” (Honorine and family, London). And this former cow byre and artists’ studio is indeed set in the most magical situation, with beautiful unspoilt views down into luscious countryside and across to the Black Mountains beyond. The owners, both painters, have put their artistic talent into the decoration of the interior by mixing the pigments into the lime mortar, lime-washing the walls, making or upcycling the furniture, cushions, lampshades, blinds and quilt. Even the beautiful wooden boat suspended from the ceiling, in the style of a Canadian prospector's canoe, was made by Jim. The result is a very lovely, colourful and unique place to stay - individual and appealing, as well as environment-friendly. Sleeps 2 adults, 2 children (plus an infant and 2 good dogs).
The big open-plan living-space, with beautiful views from the windows, has a sitting-area with two sofas, a rocking-chair and a wood burner, an eating-area, and a neat kitchen tucked into one corner. The whole space is unified by a handsome chestnut floor. Almost every piece of decoration and furnishing has a story to tell, from the handmade coffee table with split chestnut legs to the splashback behind the oven painted to represent sunlight on water and sunlight through trees. Some items have had previous, very different, functions, such as the pretty lampshade, which turns out to be a maquette for a 'kinetic' gazebo (a garden structure commissioned by a client).
A ladder takes you up to a mezzanine (once a hay-loft), which has a couple of single beds. This wouldn’t be suitable for toddlers or the infirm, but is great fun for older children. Under the mezzanine, some stone steps take you up to the big bedroom, possibly once the cart-shed next to the cow byre. It is furnished with a wooden king-size bed, a wardrobe, an armchair and French doors, and there is a shower room with loo and hand basin next-door.
A stone terrace outside the glazed front is a great place to sit and have breakfast while watching the chickens peck happily in the grass. A garden opposite has a secluded sitting-area at the top (move up here for stunning evening views) and a big stripy hammock.
Things to do around Wern Derys
Wern Derys may be ‘in the middle of nowhere’, but it is also close to Hay-on-Wye, with its second-hand bookshops, antique emporia, boutiques and cafes. Great sheep’s milk ice-cream (from sheep grazed on the Black Mountains) can be found at the Shepherds Ice-cream Parlour in High Town. They do a good coffee there, too. Canoes can be hired from Hay, and walking, riding or mountain-biking in the area is superb, what with the Black Mountains right on the doorstep. And of course the famous Hay Literary Festival is held here around the end of May each year. The Hay-on-Wye Summer Food Festival at the end of June is beginning to make its mark, too.
Hopes of Longtown, for excellent supplies, is a 10-minute drive away. And for eating out, the Bridge at Michaelchurch is a great pub; and a nearby restaurant, Toi et Moi, offers really good French cooking for a special occasion (booking is a must). If you're making a trip to see the Mappa Mundi or the cathedral, Hereford has a good Thai restaurant, a Pizza Express, and a superb café right inside All Saints Church (they offer takeaway, too).
The nitty gritty
Live online booking
Changeovers are normally Mondays and Fridays. Weekends are set-priced from Friday 4pm to Monday 10.30am; so you can stay 1, 2 or 3 nights for the weekend price. Check availability and book online below, or check availability for all cottages.
|1||Select length of stay||2||Hover over dates for prices||3||Click to book|
From the visitors book at Wern Derys
'A great place to feed your soul!' Alisdair and Dena, London
'This will always be the holiday where we got engaged, and will mean so much to us for the rest of our lives.' Nick, Lisa and Digby the dog, Stroud
'The cottage is terrific, and in a great location for both walking and simply relaxing.' Tim and Sadat, London
'WOW, what a fabulous hideaway - exactly what I needed. Fabulous walks, such an idyllic spot. If I'd stayed any longer I'd be rooted in the hammock.' Ros, Stourbridge
'Absolutely beautiful. Blissful. Lovely cottage - warm and cosy, amazing surroundings and views. Lovely 'get-away-from-it-all' weekend … lovely bread and eggs. Thank you.' The Smiths, Bromham, near Devizes
'The area offers such a great balance of rest and adventure, we enjoyed losing ourselves in Booth's bookshop and the facing the challenges of the Black Mountain Activity Centre high level rope course. The views and walks are restorative, alongside scrumptious duvets, crackling fires and yummy flapjacks.' Amy, Chris, Kaya & Jessie, Bristol
'After a hard journey, the cottage was so welcoming, and we relaxed instantly.' David and Cathy, Nottingham.
'A gorgeous hideaway, simply sublime. If you are able to go to Toi et Moi, a local French restaurant just down the lane, it is stunning.' Al and Alice, York
'What a delightful retreat, and a welcome break from city life. We adore Wern Derys, and are sure to return again.' Duncan and Emma, Manchester
'We have really fallen for the Golden Valley and Herefordshire! The cottage has clearly been a labour of love, and it was lovely to arrive on a cold evening to a glowing fire and fresh bread and flapjacks. We loved waking up to the view each morning which led us to some very long and slow breakfasts. Did the Olochon valley ridge walk which was truly spectacular.' Kiren and Tom Bristol
'We loved getting out on the Black Mountains with our bikes and staying in this place hidden away in the middle of nowhere. Thank you for sharing this special place with others, it really is lovely.' Clara and Michal, Prague
'Such a magical stay! The attention to detail made the artistic touches even more special, and such a wonderful welcome got us into the Christmas spirit. Highly recommend the pies at the Crown in Longtown. The perfect getaway from city life.' Nadia and Bob
'This is a perfectly beautiful location and we had a really wonderful Christmas in the barn. The extra touches of the Christmas tree, holly and mistletoe and chestnuts for the fire made it extra special. Great hospitality, and very thoughtful.' Richy and Fiona Cardiff
'We really don't want to go home! Thanks to Jim and family for letting us stay in such a lovely retreat.' Katy and Marc, Coventry
'WOW! Can't get much more perfect than this beautiful, cool, fun place. We truly enjoyed a relaxing stay here at Wern Derys for Steven's birthday. Thank you for sharing this cosy place and for the one-on-one log fire help!' Steven and Michelle, Coventry
'Just lovely. A real discovery: perfect peace and rest.' Rachel O' Brian, London
'Perfect weekend at Wern Derys. Loved the wood burner and all the gorgeous paintings.' Aimee and Bell
'Even better than in the photos. Lovely place, comfy bed.' Sara and Sil, Manchester