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Trip Advisor/Flipkey Top Vacation Rental Award 2011 Trip Advisor Excellence Award  2014 WINNERS of the Best Place to Stay in Wales (small Self Catering category) with Tintern Abbey Cottage Croeso Cynnes Cymreig - a warm Welsh Welcome hospitality award. 2014 Trip Advisor Excellence award We are proud to be trained Monmouthshire Ambassadors ! Gold Award Winner Best Visitor Welcome 2015 National Tourism Awards Wales World Host Accredited business Monmouthshire Business Awards   2015 and 2016 . 2 years running Winner of Best Travel Tourism and Hospitality  Business . Also runner up in Best Green Business . Both against much larger organisations! Winners of  the Foresters Best Eco Business  Award  2016 Proud to have won the Spotlight Awards Best Family Business title 2017

Bird Watching

The Wye Valley, Forest of Dean and Vale of Usk are a bird watchers paradise. We have marshland reserves, river estuary habitats, gardens, ancient woodlands, and mountains so therefore a vast variety of species. Whether you just enjoy feeding garden visitors or really want to spend all your time in a hide we are for you.

Birdwatching in your cottage garden

All our gardens are planted to encourage birds. We have numerous feathered visitors including an occasional peacock in Tintern! Some of our guests are simply happy to sit in our gardens and watch our many feathered friends visit.
We are blessed with numerous varieties and we, and you, can tempt them with nets of suitable treats ( or even biscuit crumbs while you sip a cuppa).

We regularly record "the usual suspects" like sparrows, blackbirds, thrushes, starlings, dunnocks, robins, jays and rooks,but we are especially glad that the colourful bullfinches, swallows , swifts, martins, woodpeckers, blue and great tits, wrens, chaffinches. yellowhammers , and many more slightly less usual varieties have often been seen.

At night we hear owls , in the morning the gentle cooing voices of woodpigeons are ubiquitous. In Tintern there are several sorts of seagulls on the Abbey (all of them loudly argumentative and greedy) and if we are collecting bird sightings we must include the two chickens next door to Vanilla!
Take a walk and you will be likely to hear the rattle of pheasant and the high pitched mew of buzzard. On the rivers are swans and mallard, heron, goosander, and if you are lucky you can catch the flash of kingfisher.

Visit a major birding centre

For those who are keener still we are brilliantly positioned to make it very easy for you to visit some splendid reserves and centres. Whether you want to stay out all night for the nocturnals, go at dawn with your thermos, or just take the kids to a fun place for the day - its no problem if you are self catering with no fixed mealtime!

For family days out where you can easily see impressive birds "up close and personal"

  • The International Birds of Prey Centre Newent  is hard to beat. They fly magnificent eagles and owls right over your head several times a day. A must - especially with children. Dont forget your camera. They have pre bookable bird experience and falconry  days. Completely transfixing experiences for adults and older children alike. In autumn go on an evening owl watch!
  • The Red Kite feeding Centre  at Gilgrin Farm near Rhyader- a spectacular drive of about an hour from Vanilla ( another half an hour from Abbey Cottage or Foxes Reach  ) to get there and spectacular feeding of numerous birds with a huge wingspan every afternoon. Usually at 2pm but varies from summer to winter  so check.  Absolutely world class. Brilliant.
  • Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands trust just across the Severn has family style activities from canoeing to Santa, all year and fabulous birds.

Simpler hides in the nature reserves

If you are good with your binoculars and love a hide try these suggestions, all very local!

  • Peregrine falcons- Symonds Yat RSPB
  • Nightingale- Highnam Woods RSPB
  • Bearded Tit,Dunlin,Little Egret,Little Grebe -Newport Wetlands RSPB
  • Overwintering birds especially swans, ducks and waders -Severn Estuary
  • All three woodpecker species, redstart, wood warbler, tawny owl, pied flycatcher and treecreeper- Lady Park Wood near Monmouth
  • Nuthatch,Redwing,woodcock, Wood warbler ( also Wild boar!)- Nagshead RSPB
  • Waders and Waterbirds  RSBP Newport Marshes

Or is it back to plan A and share your tea and biscuit crumbs in your cottage garden with whoever flies in first?

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