Old Craft & New Technology: March 2022

The last 24 months have been strange, to say the least. When Covid-19 brought almost everything to a standstill two years ago, we had no idea what the future would hold. Would we survive having to be closed for a long time? What would happen once we would be allowed to open up again? All these questions went through our head and we had to think very hard how to go on with the necessary upkeep and improvements at Rosemoor on an almost non-existing budget at that time, it being the end of Winter when our coffers are usually pretty depleted.

Two years on, with government support and a buoyant domestic holiday market, once we were allowed to open again in July 2020, we can say we made it through safely. Although it is likely that we will have to deal with possible recurrence of Covid related issues in the future, it now looks like we can look forward to a return to near-normality in the short run.

Meanwhile, we are happy to say, we made good use of our time and money to finish two really exciting projects that had been on our list for a while.

The first major work we undertook was the restoration of our garden wall. When we took over in 1998, a large stretch of the wall had already collapsed. Over the years, gales, rain  and ivy exacerbated the problem. In some places the ivy was at once the problem and the stabiliser, the lime mortar having crumbled to almost nothing.

We have been very lucky in finding Paul Wakely and his small company called Pembrokeshire Stonework. By all accounts, Paul should have been enjoying his retirement for quite a few years already. Being the consummate craftsman he is, he not only enjoys his work (bar the fact that his joints are not as supple as they used to be) but he also takes enormous pride in the end result. Together with his son and another young stonemason, he has been on site on and off for almost the whole of 2021 and it has been our privilege to see them at work first hand. "On and off" because you cannot build with lime mortar when it is too hot, too cold or too wet: the weather has to be just right. Apart from that, they needed time away to keep their other clients happy and also make sure that they would not intrude on our guests' holiday experience.

The first stage of any stone wall rebuild consists of taking the wall down far enough, to a stable base from which to rebuild. Then the laborious work of choosing the right stone for the right place starts. A lot of the red sandstone could not be re-used – too soft and brittle after all these years – so we had to acquire an extra 40 tons of stone. It is slightly different but will blend in nicely over time.

The finished work looks magnificent and we are overjoyed to see this big job finally realised after all these years and having a proper walled garden back. Now the work of re-developing our kitchen garden can start in earnest.


Our other project was one close to our heart as well and fits in well with what we have been trying to achieve ever since arriving at Rosemoor: becoming as self-sufficient, green and energy-independent as possible.

Previous guests may have seen our solar photo-voltaic (PV) panels that provide on average more than half of the electricity consumed at Rosemoor. We have just under 14 kWpeak of solar panels installed. On a sunny day these produce around 80 kWh (units) of electricity. Obviously less when it’s overcast – the drawback of solar PV – but even then they supply part of the power consumed.

Because of Rosemoor’s location, most of our guests come by car, although there are some who arrive by public transport. For those that do, we are always happy to arrange pick-up and drop-off at the train station at Haverfordwest or Johnston.

Those who do come by car can now choose to do so in a plug-in electric vehicle. As of June 2021, we have two Fast Charging points (7.2 kW AC, for those in the know), with standard Type 2 sockets. Access is through the Vendelectric Mobile Phone App or www.vendelectric.com.

If the chargers are used during sunny hours, our solar panels will help to ensure your Pembrokeshire miles are super green. And even if not, by night-time charging for instance, your travels will still be a lot less taxing for the environment than if they were petrol- or diesel-powered.

So, if you have an electric car, or are thinking about buying one, you know you can stay with us in the knowledge you can charge your car while relaxing at the same time. A good reason to book your break maybe now?


We have made an enormous step forward by completing these two major projects and they are a very good example of what it means to run a Victorian estate like Rosemoor: using old craftsmanship and techniques to preserve the Victorian character and charm of the place and using new technology to make sure we stay with or ahead of the times!

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Rosemoor Country Cottages and Nature Reserve
Walwyn's Castle, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, South West Wales, UK SA62 3ED

Telephone:+44 (0)1437 781326

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