5/5 Old Lands, Wales

Old-Lands is a sprawling 80-acre estate in the heart of Monmouthshire within easy reach of the Wye Valley and the Black Mountains. Having been in the Bosanquet family for 200 years, the whole estate is managed on traditional green principles – ‘slow to change and careful of consequences’ is the family motto. A proportion of the estate has been handed over to the Gwent Wildlife Trust to restore a flower-rich meadow. Converted stable blocks and barns are clustered around the main (rather grand, sandstone) house, providing home self-catering accommodation. Resident naturalist, Sam Bosanquet, organizes nature walks for kids pointing out everything from fairy-tale fly agaric mushrooms to otter spraints and 50-yearold swan mussels. A nature room is home to pond-dipping kits, oars for the lake’s rowing boats, and a chest of curiosities, including a snakeskin and skeletons. Letter-boxing helps to encourage little legs around the estate, and an on-site  Forest School gives parents a break when needed. The honesty shop, stocked with intriguing home-grown produce and local specialities, means there’s no need to leave the premises.

Go wild: Old Lands offers a one week stay in a two-bedroom cottage from £395

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