Recently, I was invited to try out an accessible Pembrokeshire adventure, coasteering with Celtic Quest and resting my head at Asheston Eco Barns, where Karen Loo and her family focus on aesthetics and function in a luxurious setting for a tip-top stay.
On arriving at Asheston Eco Barns in the evening (after getting just slightly lost!), I was greeted by Karen, who showed me to my accommodation. I was to be staying at The Stables, which could comfortably sleep 7 people and had a glorious 40ft living/kitchen/dining room. In terms of inclusion and access, the eco barns absolutely deliver. All barns, other than The Cow Shed, have bedrooms on the ground floor, and all have adapted bathrooms at the same level, too. On entering The Stables, Karen asked me if there were any plates, mugs or glasses she could put out for me, to ensure that everything was on my level. It’s little thoughts like this that turn the word ‘accessible’ into ‘inclusive’ for me, and I was greeted with a warmth that will not be quickly forgotten.
The area around Asheston Eco Barns is also breath-taking, and can be appreciated within the grounds of the barns. The site is just outside of a small village called Penycwm, but is also very near to the gorgeous beachy setting of Newgale and the colourful Solva, where pubs with cracking food and drink are a-plenty. Staying at the barns, you will be encapsulated by beautiful landscapes wherever you look, but easily able to find a friendly face, good conversation and tasty cuisine in the near vicinity.
I was also truly impressed by the efforts that Karen and her family had gone to to ensure that the barns looked gorgeous as well as offering access. It’s not unusual to type ‘accessible accommodation’ into Google and be greeted by holiday accommodation that looks more clinical than cosy. It is rare that functionality and aesthetics go hand-in-hand without one being ignored for the preference of the other… well that definitely wasn’t the case here.
The Stables really provided me with one thing: the ability to stay in somewhere quaint and traditionally beautiful whilst providing for my needs. Many wheelchair users find it easier to settle with Travelodges and Premier Inns, because then at least you know that your needs will be met. However, there’s something wrong with this when you go on a trip away, romantic or otherwise – it’s boring! There is no character or charm to awe you, and no stunning antique French bed to sleep on (as there is in The Stables). Getting my bags into The Stables was a doddle as I had a low gradient ramp to help me into my accommodation. Similarly, the floors were smooth, all furniture was moveable, and crockery, cutlery and towels had all been thoughtfully placed at my level. I only used the ground floor of The Stables, but I have to comment on what I think is a genius idea: the other double bedroom is upstairs, meaning that if you are going away with a carer, relatives or friends with company that can only be handled ‘little and often’, you all have your own space to wind down at night. Perfect!
Karen and her family have also gone the extra mile to make sure that guests with disabilities have their needs covered in all areas. If you don’t drive, accessible taxis can be arranged for you upon request, as can contact with a registered care agency, should you need it. Asheston Eco Barns really are able to offer something for everyone, regardless of ability.
A true attention to detail mixed with necessary practicalities sets Asheston Eco Barns apart from the rest. Book now – you won’t regret it.
To find out more, please visit: http://www.eco-barns.co.uk/
Prices per week are as follows, with short break prices available on request:
2 bed barn – low season – £450
3 bed barn – mid season – £835
3 bed barn – high season – £1250 – £1465