Guardian Travel, May 2014
‘Our base for the weekend was five miles out of town, just under Hay Bluff, one of the Black Mountains’ most distinctive peaks (flat at the top, before swooping down 600 metres like a ski jump). In a remote spot, under a cluster of ash trees, Steve Greenow – a conservation builder specialising in listed properties – has constructed five eco-friendly, shepherd-style huts. He got the idea from old railway shelters that dot the Welsh hills, although these are much more stylishly decorated … Four are for sleeping, each with a woodburner and built-in double bed, draped with Welsh tapestry curtains to give a snug, cubbyhole effect. The final one is divided into the kitchen and bathroom, complete with an Esse stove and wood-heated shower.
While urban hotels pride themselves on their Wi-Fi connections, there is an increasing call for places, like this, that allow guests to fully switch off. The huts are off-grid, with electricity coming from wind and solar power, and there is no Wi-Fi or phone reception. The idea is to appeal to groups – friends or families – with all huts facing a communal firepit and roomy wooden dining table. One night, one of our party brought her phone to the fireside, before remembering it was useless and finding the stars far more entertaining. The Brecon Beacons were named a Dark Skies Reserve last year: the limited light pollution makes it ideal for stargazing.’