Now part of our annual ritual, we headed over to Rosie’s hut in the Welsh town of Benllech to celebrate the New Year in a calm, chilled and countryfied style. We travelled over on the 30th December 2019 for a two night stay and to start 2020 with not so much of a bang, more of a log-burner, long-walk and couple of beers induced slumber – perfect.
The setting was great with all local amenities in walking distance, including the beach, and some beautiful nature-filled walks just a short drive away. We also got really lucky with the weather and managed to get lots of sun on our faces.
Benllech is a large village on the beautiful Isle of Anglesey. It’s around 8 miles from the bridges that span the Menai Strait which separate Anglesey from the north-west corner of mainland Wales.
Benllech has pretty much everything you want from a village with three small supermarkets, a couple of chip shops, a number of pubs and other restaurants, plus a library, doctors, primary school, petrol station, fire station and a chemist.
You’ll find the two huts of Benllech shepherd’s huts just a five minute walk up the B5108 which comes off Bangor Road, the main passageway running through the village, and located opposite Beach Road, which surprisingly enough takes you down to the lovely beach.
Features of Benllech Shepherd’s Hut
Our first impression of Rosie’s shepherd’s hut was ‘pristine’.
Inside it was like no one else had ever stepped foot inside before, such as the level of cleanliness and quality of the surroundings. A great start.
Having not booked the trip or looked into much before heading across to Wales, I was delighted to find that Rosie’s Hut was from the Brosterfield Farm stable. Having stayed a couple of times at Brosterfield, I thought as much due to the build and familiar finish, and this was confirmed with the little silver plaque on the outside of the hut – serial number 00112.
Rosie’s hut, and the hut next door, both have a nice, little wooden fence creating a courtyard area to the front of the hut which would be ideal during the summer months. For those with inquisitive dogs, the fence doesn’t enclose the whole hut, meaning it took Murphy the Cocker approximately 0.5 seconds to discover he could sneak under the hut and into the surrounding field! Luckily enough, there’s not much mechanical activity nearby or any animals in the field so this was fine.
Inside Benllech Shepherd’s Hut
Different from huts we’ve stayed in before, the entrance to Rosie’s was through double, glass panelled doors into quite a spacious living area. Straight away we noticed the excellent little attention to detail touches from the hosts – two sets of fresh flowers, two wine glasses on the table (with prosecco waiting in the fridge), a greeting card and bowl of chocolates.
To the left side is the sleeping quarters, equipped with an extremely comfy double bed, flatscreen TV, side window and blind. There’s also a very large storage draw under the bed. Next to the bed area is a floor to ceiling storage cupboard, two excellent little armchairs and a handy table. In my opinion, the two armchairs work much better than a small sofa that doesn’t really fit two people.
The kitchen area is very well-equipped – stove-top electric cooker, fridge, large Belfast sink, three cupboards, one of which contained a toaster and microwave. There was a complimentary selection of tea, instant coffee, hot chocolate and milk in the fridge. Plus a jar of gravy bones for the dogs.
One thing the hut didn’t have for us coffee snobs was a cafetière to brew a nice ethical coffee in. Having learned from experience I did remember to bring my own along with a wonderful Christmas ground coffee gift from Voyager Coffee, a sustainability focused coffee roastery down in Devon.
Opposite the sink is ‘The Hobbit’, a superb little cast-iron log burner. Worth noting that this area was very clean and well presented. I thought there might not be enough wood for our two night stay but after about three logs the hut stayed warm for hours. To the right side of the hut is the bathroom quarters, fully equipped with toilet, small sink, large shower and heated towel rail.
Just under the sink is the outlet for the Nest smart heating system with the control/thermostat found just near the bed. These have been installed in the other Brosterfield huts I’ve stayed in and they are an absolutely superb piece of kit. They heat up the whole hut in no time and are extremely efficient.
It’s also worth pointing out that Benllech shepherds hut do a good job on the sustainability front.
The outside floor lanterns lining the pathway down to the huts and outside fairy lights on the mini veranda are all solar powered. They also have a stack of recycling bins which I haven’t seen before but are great. The top bin has a little catch to open up and the bottom two have a post-box style door to post your bottles and tins through.
Main features round-up:
- Double bed
- Two small (and very comfy) armchairs
- Small table
- Log burner
- Nest thermostat-controlled heater
- Full size storage cupboard
- Under-bed large storage draw
- Electric stove top
- Kitchen Belfast sink and bathroom sink
- Flatscreen TV and built-in DVD player
- Large shower
- Essentials – towels, soap, bed sheets, pillows, toilet paper
- Outside table and chairs
Things to do in Benllech and nearby
After arriving about 2pm, we settled in, unpacked our stuff and headed down to the Benllech beach before it went dark. There were loads of people walking along the sand and lots of friendly dogs. The beach isn’t commercialised at all and there are a couple of car parks, a shop and a café. At low tide you can walk all the way down to Red Wharf Bay but with light escaping us pretty fast we stayed on the Benllech front.
On the way back we popped in ‘The Benllech’ pub at the top of Beach Rd. We just had a drink in the vault area but seemed a decent enough pub. We decided to frequent the local chippy later on, the Golden Fry, and were very impressed. All food is cooked fresh to order and the staff were very friendly. The fish, chips and gravy that I had was excellent and demolished shortly after we walked back to the hut.
Newborough Forest and beach walk
After a leisurely morning at the hut, we drove half an hour across the isle to Newborough after being recommend a walk here previously. The weather was fantastic so we chose to do an eight mile circular route from Pen Cob car park (free) located just outside Malltraeth.
The walk was spectacular. You get to see a variety of landscapes and natural beauty from the inspiring pine trees of Newborough Forest to willow woods and the wonderful sand dunes down the beach overlooking Yns Llanddywn. There are also great views of the estuary and marshlands at the start and end of the walk. Of course, there’s plenty of wildlife to spot along the way too. The route is almost entirely pathed but we went a slightly longer route which took in a few sandy walkways through the forest.
Red Wharf Bay
Being New Year’s Eve we wanted to head out fairly early to get something to eat having not booked anywhere. We drove down to the Ship Inn at Red Wharf Bay but unfortunately there was no room at the inn for us and the pooch – you can only eat in the snug section. So we headed back up to Benllech and stopped off at the Breeze Hill pub and hotel. This was a tad on the ‘pensioner’s party’ side but the staff where very friendly and we got a good table straight away.
The dog was knackered from the long walk so he fell straight to sleep under the table! I had a very good pint of Unicorn from Robinson’s and a chicken and leek pie (just a puff pastry top unfortunately). Fed and watered we headed back to the hut for a few drinks and to see the New Year in.
Before we left for home in the morning we drove down to Red Wharf Bay for a brilliant and invigorating New Year’s Day walk along the beautiful beach: sun out, blue sky, sea air in the lungs, a great start to 2020. We finished the trip with a coffee sat outside the Boathouse restaurant, which I must say was of a fantastic standard.
Price and communication
We paid £100 a night which is a little elevated to the usual price of a stay in Rosie due to it being over New Year. At quiet times you can stay here for as little as £75 which is a great price for a luxury hut like this. It had everything you’d want from a magical getaway and the location was ideal to explore the isle of Anglesey a little more.
We didn’t get to meet the hosts, Louise and Eric, but communication was great beforehand and the touches on arrival really were appreciated. We couldn’t recommend Benllech Shepherd’s Hut enough to be honest.