Wales is a land steeped in rich culture and wild landscapes, all packed into a country no larger than the USA’s state of New Jersey. The people of Wales know how important it is to protect their land and celebrate its rich nature, culture and history – which is where the Addo Pledge comes in.
The Welsh word addo means ‘to promise’ and has become a pledge shared by locals and visitors alike to protect local communities, the environment and each other. It forms the backbone of four core values that promote responsible travel to visitors: leaving a positive impact, appreciating and respecting the landscapes, engaging with local businesses and communities, and going beyond the typical tourist track.
Now, Visit Wales is offering one winner the opportunity to win a mini break to Denmark Farm Conservation Centre. Here's what to expect...
Tucked in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains in Ceredigion, Denmark Farm is a beacon of sustainable living. Everything here revolves around the unspoiled nature that surrounds it, not only enabling you to immerse yourself in the Welsh countryside but to learn how to preserve it, too.
The main focus of the Centre is to boost the biodiversity of its 40-acre site but there is also a jam-packed roster of eco-friendly courses for every kind of visitor to get stuck into. You can learn how to grow fruit and vegetables in your own kitchen garden, get to know your ash from your rowan on a tree identification course and even weave your own foraging backpack from willow.
The self-catering eco-lodge is similarly green in its construction, with a living sedum roof, biomass heater and sheep’s wool for insulation. Every appartment has locally produced Welsh blankets and wood-burning stoves for further cosiness, while most of the furniture is also locally sourced, some of it even being second-hand to further reduce the impact on the environment. No eco-friendly stone has been left unturned – even the walls are licked with VOC-free paint.
Denmark Farm isn’t just an eco-friendly escape, it’s a great base for visiting some of the area's most compelling sites. Just a 45-minute drive away in Aberystwyth lies the National Library of Wales; even before entering, you’re treated to a panorama of Cardigan Bay. Once inside, you’re fingertips away from a vast collection of over six million books, with one of the most distinguished being the 13th-century The Black Book of Carmarthen – one of the oldest existing Welsh texts written soley in the Welsh language. A revolving selection of exhibitions unravel more about Welsh culture, including contemporary photographs by Nick Treharne and printmaker Paul Peter Piech’s graphic works.
For living history, drive half-an-hour south-east to reach the ruins and intricately decorated tiles of 12th-century Strata Florida Abbey to learn of the church’s legacy. Once a Cistercian monastery, it’s been an important place of pilgrimage for Welsh people for centuries and is a resting place for several medieval princes. Quite the contrast is Llanerchaeron, an elegant Georgian villa built in the Aeron Valley during the 18th century by architect John Nash as a pioneering self-sufficient farm. It’s remained remarkably untouched ever since, and has been growing fruit and vegetables for over 200 years, complemented by manicured walled gardens, stables and an ornamental lake.
Nestled in the countryside, it’s no surprise that several of nature’s treasures are right on Denmark Farm’s doorstep. Boardwalks snake over the wetlands of bird-rich Cors Caron Nature Reserve, where you can spy swans, sparrowhawks and buzzards as well as otters, while the 96km Ceredigion Coast Path – part of the larger Wales Coast Path – serves up a fine vantage point of Cardigan Bay. The bay is home to Britain's largest population of bottlenose dolphins and a boat trip from New Quay is your chance to learn more about these marine mammals from experts onboard. Elsewhere, Mwnt is a hidden cove laced with caramel sands and backed by a grassy hillock – your ideal picnic spot to witness dolphins and seals.
Inland, Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Centre is not only a gateway to lush valleys whose network of trails are a playground for walkers and mountain bikers, it’s also known for its daily tradition of feeding red kites – Wales’ favourite bird.
Found in the Ystwyth valley, Hafod Estate is often touted as one of the most picturesque landscapes in Europe, and wandering its dramatic ravines, waterfalls and verdant woodland makes it easy to see why. This area, like the rest of Wales is so important to protect, so keep doing the little things that will make a big difference, and make your promise to Wales by signing the Addo pledge.
Care for each other by washing your hands, maintaining social distancing and acting immediately if you feel unwell.
Care for the epic land by leaving no trace, following the countryside code and avoiding crowded areas.
Care for the communities by enjoying the culture and language, buying local and booking ahead.
Visit Wales is offering one lucky reader the chance to win a £500 voucher for Denmark Farm. For your chance to win, simply answer the following question:
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