Woodlands around Barlings Barn
Enjoy rural activities: Fishing (salmon / trout), Golf, Bird Watching (red kite country), Sandy Beaches, Sailing.Peaceful, secluded location, set in pretty grounds of our 18th century stone cottage, high in beautiful Mid Wales Hills. Enjoy peaceful walks, bird & badger-watching, paper chases/Easter Egg hunts - in the 20 acre Barling Wood, where mosses, bluebells, wood sorrel and all manner of funghi abound. For the benefit of all our guests we politely request no smoking inside the Barn. We happily accepted dogs by prior arrangement – they’ll LOVE the forest walks!!!
Barlings’ Beautiful Woodland
Fliss and Terry acquired their ‘magical’ bluebell woodland in 2004. Initially they bought this ‘20 acres of heaven’ simply because: they loved it, it adjoined Barlings Barn, they thought it would be lovely to be able to walk their dogs through it and also to be able to share it with their guests who could gently wander, and wonder at the magnificent trees and superb views of the valley and beyond.
Well, all of the above has been quite true - BUT it has meant so much more to their lives. They have learned so much about the local habitat and they and their guests just love the total peace, beauty and tranquillity within the wood.
In the summer evenings the air is redolent with the cool fresh scent of pine and the goodnight call of the resident birds (whose population has definitely increased over the years due to the habitat management) and in the winter icy rainbows sparkle in every tree as the sun catches the snow particles caught in the branches – truly awesome!
Streams and waterfalls tumble and tinkle their way throughout the wood which just adds to the enjoyment.
When they purchased the woodland it hadn’t been properly managed for some time so their first job was to hack their way through years of dead brambles just to create a circular path to make their way through! Where were the goats when you needed them?! Terry and Fliss kept goats for many years but they had all gone to the ‘great paddock in the sky’ by then!
When they first looked at the wood, they thought it was mainly fir trees with perhaps the odd native tree buried deep inside. How wrong they were!
They had bought a ‘Plantation of Ancient Woodland Site’. They didn’t realise that this meant that there had been oak trees growing there on that site since the 1600s!! Quite mind-blowing. More than that, as they were making their way steadily through the dense undergrowth, and therefore visiting the site very regularly to ‘get stuck in’, they were daily discovering more and more wonderful things about the whole place.
Rather than just the odd native broadleaf tree there were loads and loads! There are many beautiful mature oaks as well as a one- acre plantation of young oaks (15-20 years old) that was planted by the previous owner. Unfortunately, some of those drowned as after planting the previous owners didn’t remove the plastic tree protectors, but many have survived and are now lovely ‘teenagers’, spreading their branches. As well as the majestic Oaks there are many of the following native trees growing and ‘getting on very well together’: Silver birch, Ash, Mountain Ash (Rowan), Sycamore, Hazel, Alder, Willow, Holly, Crab Apple (Fliss makes a lot of delicious jellies using these tart fruit), Hawthorn plus the Blackthorn (for those who like making Sloe Gin!
There are also approximately four thousand Fir trees: Noble Fir, Larch, Sitka Spruce, and Western Hemlock. Many of these lovely chaps are self-seeding profusely all over the place, so there is a range of trees from babies to OAPs! They all add something different to this lovely mix.
They were told by the man who did the original Woodland Management plan that they ‘would grow more wood each year than we could use’ and that has been proved to be absolutely correct.
In approximately 2008 someone suggested that they ‘talk to the owner of the wood next door to try and come to a deal’ so that they could switch from heating all of Barlings with oil to heating with wood. They were embarrassed to admit that whilst they had thought they would never have to buy logs again for their two small woodburning stoves it hadn’t occurred to them that they might be able to heat EVERYWHERE with logs from that source!
A year or so later, having done very thorough research, they purchased a large biomass boiler, with an enormous 1000-gallon hot water tank that is fed by logs from the wood!!!! This in turn heats ALL the hot water at Barlings Barn and ALL the central heating for ALL of the buildings INCLUDING HEATING THE INDOOR SWIMMING POOL to a fabulous 80 degrees all year round!
A large wood store was purpose built in the forest to provide space for drying the wood after it has been seasoned in the fresh air then cross-cut, and split (using a hydraulic splitter).
Each year as well as heating everywhere, the trees provide beautiful fragrant Christmas trees to ‘deck the halls with’ for everyone to enjoy. Sitka Spruces are good but the Noble Firs really live up to their name, as they don’t drop their needles.
Terry and Fliss learned about ‘halo thinning’. This is a method that lets the light onto the trunks of the older oaks and other trees, but in a gentle way. If you clear great swathes of space round an old oak it goes into shock and dies, you have to do it incrementally. This has had a two-fold benefit to the wood. Lovely ‘brussel sprouts’ of greenery sprang forth from ancient trunks that hadn’t see daylight since the1960s. They have now become healthy boughs and the trees are looking very handsome and healthy. Also, by doing this the light has hit the floor of the forest, which had become over-shadowed by the thick canopy above.
This in turn has awoken all the dormant bluebells which have burst into life again. At the beginning of their custodianship of the woodland, Fliss was VERY excited as there was a strip of wild bluebells down the Eastern flank BUT by Spring of 2018 bluebells were in bloom in huge misty blue numbers right across the woodland – absolute bliss!
This process was also helped by the scarifying that took place naturally when Babs the horse-logger dragged tree trunks through the forest on the way to the woodshed having harvested for the wood-burner.
Wild wood-sorrell grows in abundance (Fliss likes to pick it and enjoy the slightly tart, lemony taste when scattered onto salads.) Wild violets are enjoyed by the honey bees and butterflies in Spring. One visiting wildlife expert once grabbed Fliss and planted a big kiss on her cheek whilst exclaiming ‘bless you for your untidiness’ – it really encourages a healthy ecosystem of symbiotic relationships within the wood apparently.
The local Woodland Trust love the Barlings Woodland (they have a good relationship with Barlings Barn and have been a great source of interesting information) as it is a fairly unique site, not just because of PAWS but also because it is home to some very mature fir trees as well as native broadleaf trees. This creates a wonderful wildlife habitat for a large range of creatures: Owls, Buzzards, Red Kites, Goshawks, Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, Gold Finches, Pied Wagtails, etc. There are Badger setts dotted around the wood and their trails and ‘scat’ in their latrines are easily spotted (very clean creatures badgers they sight their loos well away from the setts).
This colony has clearly been there for years and causes no trouble to anyone. Fliss and Terry are always thrilled if they catch sight of a podgy furry bottom disappearing through the trees or hear the happy ‘chuck chuck’ noises that they make when playing or chatting. Fliss and Terry have sited a ‘hide’ in the upper area of the wood where one can rest and just see what passes by, if you are quiet. They do put food out for the badgers (which is always polished off out overnight). However, they have resisted the temptation to in any way ‘tame’ them or get them used to humans as a healthy distrust is probably a good idea for their safety. Fliss has always fancied installing ‘badger-cam’ but so far her life has been too busy to find the right people to install it.
As well as the badgers, hares, bats and butterflies, honey bees*, and many small rodents and insects inhabit underground homes or live up in trees within the encircling arms of this woodland.
*Fliss has been a beekeeper for over 34 years. There are two hives in the apple and damson orchard, but there is also definitely a colony somewhere in a hollow tree somewhere in the wood as, each time she has lost a colony, in time a new family of bees have travelled down from the wood hived themselves and got on with living in the hive as though they have always been there! Bless them!
Cheery swallows, wrens, blackbirds, thrushes, blue tits, pied fly catchers, tree creepers, nuthatches, chaffinches and house-martins nest in the eaves of the house, in the garden, orchard and under the verandah. Lots are frequent visitors to the bird table and nut feeder (as are the naughty squirrels). Everyone can enjoy the beautiful bird song!!
There is a soggy hollow in the lower part of the wood, which has formed naturally into sort of a wild boggy pond - another haven for the newts, toads and frogs that definitely inhabit our land, but very sticky for humans – you could lose your welly in there so don’t advise it. Wild raspberries have taken over this area and give masses of sweet fruit in the late Summer. In Spring there is masses of frog spawn and we often see baby frogs as far south as the courtyard garden! On the raised mossy bank by this area, (lime green often from the wood-sorrell), Fliss created a little ‘Fairy ring’. Moss covered logs in a circle are an idyllic place to just rest awhile and enjoy the sight, scent and sound of nature at its purest.
In 2018 Terry brought the Water Diviner back to Barlings to help find a spring in the forest. He is a fascinating man and, because we have no mains water, has helped us find ALL our water, which comes either from a spring deep in the hill, or the bore hole 40 feet deep in the paddock). Then in came the digger. A deep well was created (jolly exciting) following the diviner’s instructions - then we kept our fingers crossed. Terry was delighted when he saw the tell-tale bubble of water at the bottom of the hole which meant he had dug in the correct place. This extra supply was jolly useful when re-filling the swimming pool after our annual shut-down for maintenance when 10,000 gallons of water is required in just a few days.
Fliss and Terry hope that you love this ‘20 acres of heaven’ (as one of our guests put it) as much as they do. Please respect it by not smoking or lighting fires and by taking any rubbish back with you, JUST relax and enjoy!!!!
Splendid self-catering for Groups of 30 guests with 15 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms/shower rooms to choose from. Two kitchens, huge dining and lounge areas. Additional lounge and lounge diner for some peace and quiet! FREE EXCLUSIVE use of: heated indoor swimming pool, sauna, squash court (with table tennis and badminton), pool table, BBQ, fire pit, 20 acres ancient woodland, flower meadows, gurgling streams & bluebell wood. Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, BT Sport and WiFi (plus 4G). We have a range of caterers offering the opportunity of a restaurant waitress service, drop off or hog roast/breakfast.
- DINING ROOM TABLE SEATING UP TO 30 PEOPLE
- EXCLUSIVE USE OF HEATED INDOOR SWIMMING POOL - 80 degrees plus!
- 20 ACRES OF OUR OWN PRETTY WOOD PLUS WILDFLOWER MEADOW
- INDOOR SQUASH COURT WITH TABLE TENNIS, MINI BADMINTON, BEAUTIFUL MAPLE FLOOR PERFECT FOR YOGA, TAI CHI AND KID'S GAMES
- SKY TV (INCLUDING SKY SPORTS, SKY CINEMA and BT SPORTS PACKAGE)