Friday, 30 September 2011

Bag It!

5p bag charge begins tomorrow in Wales!
Have you got your bags at the ready?!
So, The Carrier Bag Charge Wales Project will be introduced tomorrow. This means a new law that requires all retailers in Wales to charge customers 5p to purchase a carrier bag, which includes all bags made from plastic, paper and even bio-degradable materials. 
Wales is the first nation in the UK to introduce the law, but the Welsh Assembly hopes that the new rules will be as successful here as they are in Ireland, which has seen a whopping 90% reduction in the use of carrier bags since a similar law was introduced there.
But, according to reports from the BBC, the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales is concerned that not all retailers fully understand the new rules. There are different rules for different products and circumstances - for example loose fruit and veg are exempt from the charges.
Retailers are also being asked to keep a record of bags sold and revenue taken, as some of the proceeds will be donated to charity, and all businesses will need to account for this. And there could be steep penalties for businesses that don't comply, with fines of up to £5,000.
But, the main aim of the whole campaign is to encourage shoppers to re-use and recycle their own bags, which will have a hugely positive impact on the environment and litter.
So far at the Oakeley Arms, we haven't had any requests for a pint of our Oakeley Dokeley beer in a plastic bag, but you never know!
So what do you think?
Are you a retailer who thinks it's a great thing, or will it affect your business in a negative way?
Are you a shopper who always forgets to take bags with you? Or have you got any tips for bag recycling!
Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below!
For more information, have a peek at the Carrier Bag Charge Wales website.

Image by  Katerha (Flickr)

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Llyn Mair Walk

Why not make the most of this fabulous Indian Summer we're having here in Wales this week, and enjoy a walk straight from the Oakeley Arms Hotel?
You could combine it with a trip on the Ffestiniog Railway or enjoy a refreshing drink and a well-deserved meal back at the hotel when you've finished!
  1. Leave the hotel and turn right, heading up the hill. Follow this (sorry it's steep!) as it eventually reaches the lake side. Contine along the side of the lake, until you come to a car parking area on the right, and on the left you'll see a wooden gate leading to a lake-side picnic area. Go through the gate and follow the path as it bends round to the right.
  2. Shortly, go through the next gate to continue along the path. At way-marker #26, bear left downhill and continue, to cross a footbridge. Go through gap in the wall and bear left to follow the path. Go over two small footbridges and stay on the path as it winds around the lake edge.
  3. Eventually, at a fork, and way-marker #10, turn right here and head up the track. At a sharp left corner, stay ahead and go through/pass by a wooden gate. At way-marker #8, bear right.
  4. At the top of a small hill and way-marker #28, turn right. At the next junction (with way-marker #27 on your right) turn left. Go through/past a wooden gate, and then another to return to the lakeside picnic area. Turn right to re-trace your steps back down the hill.
  5. To explore the railway station, go back to the road, cross it and into the car parking area. Cross the footbridge and follow the steep slate-gravel path uphill. This will take you through the woods to the station.
  6. An alternative walk - at point 3 above (way-marker #10) go straight ahead. At way-marker #11 turn right and follow the path. At way-marker #12, keep ahead again, and the path will eventually bring you out on the drive for Plas Tan-y-Bwlch. Some of the house is open to the public - check with our staff and they will be able to give you more details. Turn left at the drive and follow it all the way back to the Oakeley.
Now you deserve a drink!!
Happy walking

Llyn Mair in Autumn

    Wednesday, 28 September 2011

    Go Vintage

    Don't miss the 2011 Ffestiniog Railway Vintage Weekend
    The 15th and 16th of October is the date for this year's annual Vintage Weekend at the Ffestiniog Railway.

    There are loads of fabulous events planned to celebrate one of the world's most famous, and historic, narrow gauge railways. Organisers hope that Porthmadog will be transported back to the glory days of its slate export and shipping heritage, and visitors can admire different trains and engines from distinctive historic eras.

    There'll be the chance to see the gravity trains in action, witness a reconstruction of slate carts pass across the newly built Britannia Bridge and a whole host of other vintage railway quirks and curiosities. And of course, you'll be able to spot the railway staff, volunteers and supporters in their fantastic period dress.

    For more details click here for the Ffestiniog Railway website.

    Why not jump on the train to Tan-y-Bwlch and come down and join us at the Oakeley Arms? This historic hotel was once owned by the wealthy Oakeley Family, who were responsible for much of the slate mining and export trade in the area. Without the hard work and investment of this renowned local family, the Ffestiniog Railway would perhaps never have been built.

    Find out more about the Oakeley Family and their Estate here


    Team Findlay

    The Oakeley Arms were delighted to be part of one group's charity challenge back in May this year.

    5 members of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Fire Investigation Team  attempted the 'Three Peaks' Challenge to raise funds for the Daniel Findlay Appeal.

    The 'Three Peaks' is one of the toughest physical challenges for mountain hikers in the UK. A team must complete the ascent of all three of the highest peaks (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) in less than 24 hours!

    The team stormed through the challenge, and raised over £2,000 for the appeal.

    We welcomed them back at the Oakeley Arms for some well deserved R&R!

    You can read the full story here

    The team outside the Oakeley

    Thursday, 22 September 2011

    The Sleeping Giant Wakes Up!

    The Oakeley Arms Hotel has been reborn, redeveloped and totally transformed!

    This much loved local landmark was nicknamed the “Sleeping Giant” by its owners and patrons due to its rundown appearance, and because the rambling historic building seemed to have a stubborn mindset of its own!

    But finally, this beautiful hotel has finally been shaken up, woken up and allowed to realise its potential.

    The Oakeley Arms has recently undergone a schedule of total renovation. It's owners Ann-Marie and Chris Vanstone are delighted to announce that the works are now nearing completion.

    The historic grade II listed building has seen its fortunes rise and fall over the centuries. It was once part of the vast Oakeley Estate, owned by the Oakeley family of nearby Plas Tan y Bwlch, who were responsible for the large scale slate mining that revolutionised the fortunes of the area in the 19th century.

    Some of the building dates back to the 1600’s and over the years it has been used as a coaching inn, meeting house, courthouse and police station. In 1954 was given a Grade II listing because of its historical importance to the area.

    Ann-Marie and Chris Vanstone acquired the building in 2003 when it was in a sorry state of repair. The near crumbling buildings suffered with problems from damp, decay and rot and had not been renovated for almost 50 years.

    Over the past eight years Ann-Marie and Chris have dedicated their working lives to restoring and refurbishing the grand hotel to its former glory. The programme of works have included complete renovation of the 12 guests bedrooms to include modern and en-suite facilities and total restoration and redecoration of the bar, restaurant and toilets. All the renovations at the Oakeley Arms have been completed in a manner in-keeping with the hotel’s traditional style and history; there’s no flat-pack furniture to be found here!

    The works have also included completely transforming the derelict buildings at the rear of the hotel, which are thought to have been barns and stables. These have now been converted into six charming self-catering holiday cottages, all of which boast traditional features alongside modern fixtures and fittings to give a highly desirable country cottage style.

    The final stages of the project include further renovation of the guest rooms in a bid to achieve 4* rating, as well as completion of the last derelict barn building, which Ann-Marie and Chris are currently remodelling into further cottage accommodation with a gym and facilities block.

    “It has involved a lot of hard work and dedication over the years” says Ann-Marie, “not just from us, but from the whole team. We have had some fantastic staff and trades-people that have helped us to make it happen.”

    “We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve all achieved so far, and we’re delighted that the Oakeley Arms has been given a new lease of life. It’s time for this fabulous historic building to shine”.

    Wednesday, 21 September 2011


    Hello Oakeley followers!
    Welcome to our brand new blog.
    Here you can find out all you need to know about the Oakeley Arms, including news, events, gossip and exciting developments!
    Don't forget to follow us and check back regularly for updates.

    Oakeley Blog x