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Cassie Eade enjoys a relaxing, off-grid weekend of crafts, cocktails and delicious food in Abergavenny, Wales
Nant y Bedd is a beautiful wild forest-garden, deep in the Black Mountains of Monmouthshire. It’s the perfect location for the arts and nature workshops that are organised by The Angel Hotel in nearby Abergavenny.
The Angel Hotel is a relaxed but elegant 19th-century former posting inn with its own bakery, two cosy bars and a grand dining room.
We chose the cyanotype workshop at Nant y Bedd gardens, run by local artist Ruth Barnes Richards. Cyanotype – a Victorian print making process – involves using the splendid flora of the grounds to create ethereal art by exposing light-sensitive paper to natural daylight. The effects are stunning, and once we understand the process, we skip off to the garden to see what delights we can find. We play like children, forgetting work, families and the world outside and focus, instead, on weighing up the value of this leaf over that one.
We reluctantly leave the wild cocoon of Nant y Bedd and head back to the hotel for dinner. The Angel’s menu is every bit as relaxed and elegant as the hotel itself. We dine on meaty scallops with oriental dressing and dressed crab on toasted long-fermented sourdough (freshly baked at The Angel Bakery). For mains, my friend Cristina opts for the fish pie, while I enjoy a huge tender, buttery, melt-in-the-mouth steak. Then when Cristina orders the strawberry and elderflower pavlova for dessert, I ask for two spoons. After all, best friends share, don't they? We ended our evening in the glamourous, cosy Foxhunter bar, knocking back amaretto sours and espresso martinis and chatting jovially with the delightful bar staff.
Restaurant guests dress to impress for dinner, but you won’t feel out of place in smart-casual dress. Wear clothes suited to gentle walking for the workshop.
Forgetting the world outside and getting lost in the moment at beautiful Nant y Bedd.
Art and nature breaks at The Angel Hotel start from £349 and include an overnight stay, three-course meal and breakfast, plus the course of your choice. Visit angelabergavenny.com/special-offers for more information.