The New Inn in Brilley dates back to the 18th century and has been a pub and inn for most of this time. It was first mentioned as licensed premises in 1883, with the innkeeper listed as John James. At the time there was a cider press in the garden – it's still there to this day, although not in use. The New Inn remained as licensed premises until 1949 when the last innkeeper did a 'moonlight flit' and disappeared, leaving many debts.
This traditional Welsh stone longhouse, with its extensive grounds and stream running through them, enjoys stunning views of the Black Mountains, the Wye Valley and the Brecon Beacons.
"With the house I've tried to preserve as much of its character as possible, we still have the original serving hatch and the range," says owner Daphne. The property's website describes their accommodation as 'unique, authentic and sometimes a little bit quirky – outdoor spaces for the young at heart'. Daphne has successfully created a peaceful haven for her guests which in turn has secured The New Inn in Brilley a prestigious Alastair Sawday B&B Award (2013/2014) in the 'One of a Kind' category.
Daphne had spent six years in India studying Tibetan Buddism when she badly broke her wrist and as a result, decided to relocate to the UK. "I looked at all kinds of properties from one end of the country to the other but I knew from the first moment I arrived in Clun in Shropshire that these rolling hills would be my home. I stayed in a little B&B for two months until I found this place not too far away."
Daphne had no previous experience in hospitality so started off her B&B business in a small way, offering up just a couple of rooms during the busy Hay Festival.
There are two double rooms in the main house (the Rose Pink room and the Mustard Yellow room) with the adjoining self-contained suite accommodating up to four. As time has gone on, Daphne has added all kinds of outdoor spaces including the gypsy caravan themed 'Wagon Over the Valley', a private cabin 'The Rising Sun' with outdoor hot bath, 'The Angels' – two Victorian tabernacles and 'Mother Earth' a roundhouse with decking and a whisky barrel as a hot tub. There is also the meditation hall for guests to use and enjoy.
"I collect things and love going to auctions. By the time I had filled a couple of outdoor sheds I realised I needed to create little nests with my collectables. It's important to me that each dwelling is quite private. We are the elements, being near nature we can see that in everything that surrounds us, and this can be profoundly healing," Daphne explains.
"My occupancy is good all year-round, but May to July are particularly busy. We also get larger groups and parties staying then, gathering together for weddings."
"I love what I do. Running the B&B and self-catering business means I can practise mindfulness. Meeting different people from different backgrounds, with different opinions, can be challenging and also stimulating to see and accept the differences whilst observing our own reaction and emotions that arise … to see our own shortcomings and learn from it. I'm fascinated by how the mind works."
"I've also been lucky enough to find and work with great local craftspeople. A local artisan Dale makes amazing woodwork forest furniture and pretty much anything out of wood."
"I've been using freetobook since 2012 and I love it! I've also recommended the system to a couple of other B&B owners in Hay. I am also so happy with the Stripe payment system too, it takes such a weight off. I can find details of all the transactions in the one spot."