BOOKS, BIRDS AND WILDLIFE

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Guests are welcome to use the Cottage’s small library of poetry, travel writing, biography and local interest books, as well as the selection of local maps. Please remember to leave them behind when you leave! Presteigne has two great second-hand bookshops, King’s Head Books on High Street and the famous Book Room (all books 50p) tucked away behind Tony Bird’s antiques shop on Hereford Street. These are both ‘honesty’ shops, unstaffed and relying on the good will and honesty of customers. There are also books for sale in the wonderful Llanandras Curios on Broad Street.

Hay on Wye, which is famous world-wide for its second-hand bookshops and literary festival in late May/early June, is only ten miles away.

The Cottage attracts birds throughout the year as it is surrounded by fields and woodland. The informal gardens attract robins, house and hedge sparrows, wrens, blackbirds, blue tits and great tits, and there are buzzards and ravens in the woods above the house. Goshawks, and the peregrines which nest in the quarry over the hill, are occasionally seen from the garden. Tawny owls are heard at dusk and regularly seen on the church tower, where there is also a resident kestrel. Swallows and swifts return to the village in late April or May, and house martins nest on the cottage above the master bedroom window. Occasionally nuthatches, lesser spotted woodpeckers, marsh/willow tits, garden warblers, serins, coal tits, goldfinches and bullfinches visit the garden, and merlins have been seen hunting alongside the hedges behind the Cottage. Red kites are occasionally seen high over the house. They are common in the area and are easily seen on the A44, soaring above Llanfihangel on the way to Crossgates. The Kite Feeding Station at Gigrin Farm near Rhayader and the Small Breeds Farm Park with Owl Centre near Kington are interesting days out.

Perhaps because of the well-established buzzard family on the hill there are surprisingly few foxes in the area, although the night-time garden is visited by hedgehogs and bats are easily seen at dusk in the summer. There are many deer in the area, and fallow and muntjac deer are often seen at Burfa Woods and Nash Woods outside Presteigne. There are also rumours of wild boar in the thick woods above Knighton, and a colony of wild cats in Shobdon Woods …