Tag: Conwy

How to visit the most historic harvest festival in North Wales

North Wales today hosts the annual Conwy Honey Fair, a historic harvest festival dating back to the reign of King Edward I.

I was in Conwy last week to preview the event and find out more about the walled city with its Unesco-listed castle.

I also visited the National Beekeeping Centre of Wales [pictured above].

Here’s a sample of my story:

The Fair dates back more than 700 years to the reign of Edward I when local beekeepers were given the right to sell honey, without charge, within the walls of the town for one day only.

Harvest festivals were always part of the church calendar but the right to hold the Honey Fair was formally decreed by the King in the town’s 13th-century Royal Charter.

“It’s an event frozen in time,” says event organiser Peter McFadden, “and still generates a huge sense of community.”

The town also hosts the Gwledd Conwy Feast, a weekend food festival with street food, show-cooking displays and live music from October 25-27.

Read the full article in Telegraph Travel, Is this Britain’s sweetest town?

My story for Guardian travel will make you save the bees

May half term, then.

Here’s an idea for a family day out based around my story for Guardian Travel.

The story is based around a visit to the National Beekeeping Centre Wales, near Conwy, combined with a preview of the new trail at Bodnant Gardens.

It was also a family day out for half term with Maya and Olivia [pictured above].

Here’s a preview:

This friendly visitor centre acts as a champion for Welsh honeybees, which are increasingly under threat from climate change and loss of wildflower meadows.

The visit raises awareness of environmental issues and highlights the art of apiarist over 4,000 years of honey-making history from the ancient Egyptians via the Romans.

Combine a visit with a trip to Bodnant Garden, taking the new Lost Words Trail, based on the book by Robert MacFarlane, for May half term (normal entrance fees apply).

The trail follows clues around the gardens to discover words from nature.

Read the whole story, Connect the kids with ecology – because the bees need us.


Visit Llandudno Tourism Brochure 2016 for Conwy County Council


* Image from conwybrewery.co.uk

I’ve been working on a copywriting project over the autumn.

The brief came from Conwy County Borough Council to write the Visit Llandudno tourism brochure for 2016.

I’ve tried to bring the brochure, out early in the new year, a more news-driven feel as well as weaving in some more personal narratives, including taking my daughters on a family weekend in Llandudno.

But I’ve also tried to highlight some of the grew stories around the region, coming up with the idea of a local voices panel for some the spreads.

By way of an example, here’s a preview of one of these from Gwynne Thomas, owner of the Conwy Brewery:

“I love beer. I love the taste, the variety and, currently, the innovation going on in beer and brewing.

“I remember my first pint of real ale as a teenager with my dad but started brewing with home-brew kits as a chemistry student at Newcastle University.

“I started the microbrewery in Conwy in 2004 and expanded in 2007, viewing it as a less of a cottage industry and more of a commercial enterprise as a my client base grew.

“Today we produce some 25,000 pints per week with five core ales, four American-style craft beers and regular guest ales.

“We also now run brewery tours and design your own beer days at our brewery in the village of Llysfaen, Colwyn.

“My role has changed a lot. I got involved with The Albion real-ale pub in Cowny in 2012 and we opened The Bridge Inn last year.

“Cowny Brewery ales are now in around 100 pubs across North Wales, plus a national listing with JD Wetherspoon, and we recently signed a deal to sell into Co-operative convenience stores.

“But one my key tasks remains tasting the beers to check they’re up t scratch.

That’s the hardest part of the job, obviously.”

Check back here, or at my Twitter page (above), for details of when the brochure will be available in TICs around Wales.

What did you think of this story? Post your comments below.

Liked this? Try also An afternoon at Conwy RSPB Nature Reserve.

An afternoon at RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve


It’s the last days of the summer holidays. A time when boredom thresholds plummet, nerves are frayed and emotions run high.

So, an afternoon of fresh air and wildlife watching at the RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve seemed a good plan for myself and Maya (pictured above and below). Besides, they were having a little do to showcase the changes at the reserve over the last year.

The Conwy Connections project has delivered an upgrade to facilities at the reserve in an attempt to attract new visitors – notably families.

There’s a new play area for kids, Y Maes, a central village square for picnics, and the LookOut, a new green-built indoor space for watching wildlife across the water to the saltmarsh.

Nature walk

We followed the boardwalk on a windy but bright late-sumer day, looping through the reedbed to the Tal-y-fin hide with views across to Conwy Castle.

Wild raspberries fringed the path and autumn migrating wildfowl from Scotland and Iceland put on a winged display as the hum of the nearby A55 faded into the background.

We took the Blue tit trail, circling back towards the Visitor Centre via the wildlife garden with its clumps of scented honeysuckle and fragrant lavender. On the way, we hunted frogs by the pond and uncovered minibeasts in the shrubs.

We’re back at school in a few days but, for now, we just breathed the fresh air and soaked up the last rays of summer-holidays sun.

Press launch

Back at the event, meanwhile, the flesh-pressing and speech-making was in full effect.

And Maya? She eschewed the lengthy presentation for the monkey bars, whizzed through the tour and made it to the marquee early to snaffle the best of the cake.

That’s my girl.


RSPB Conwy