If you're here, then it looks like you might be interested in what we do, so thank you! I'm new to this, so bear with me, it's been a while since I have written much in depth like this, but hopefully I'll improve as we go.
So let me introduce myself, my name is Nic, I'm the proprietor of Emlyns Coppice, as well as being the webmaster, receptionist, PR manager, groundsman and litter picker!(and I'm sure that job list will grow). I'm a former pro (now semi pro) Actor and Vocalist, Pantomime producer and even sometime dancer. I've appeared in (very small parts) #Hollyoaks, #OurGirl, and #PeakyBlinders amongst others, and I occasionally appear as 'Benny' in the UK's official no.1 tribute to #ABBA.
So that's me, but what of the Coppice? and how did an aspiring actor and performer suddenly take a hard right and open a luxury glampsite? Well it's not quite as random as it sounds. In a previous chapter of my life, my former partner was a local pubs assistant manager, and when the landlords took a holiday I was asked to step in with her to run the place. It might sound sexist, but they wanted a "male presence" for the security of her and the pub. I'm 6ft 2 (well I was then but that's another story), and not exactly pigeon chested, so I look the part. Problem is, I couldn't punch my way out of a paper bag!! However, it was a calm village pub, and to be honest I took to it like a duck to water. I'd never had a bar job like so many of my contemporaries, when in the early stages of their performance career. I'd been lounging around poolside as a Pontins Bluecoat and then a Thomson Sun Entertainer.
So at 30 something, it was a steep learning curve to be thrown in at the deep end running a pub, but one I absolutely loved. This was clearly noted by the company management, as when a pub with the same chain was being threatened with closure as so many pubs were/are, and the latest landlords had fled the sinking ship, we were asked to step in until the lease ran out and it could be closed down with as little loss as possible.
3 years later, we were still there and our little pub had had a refurbishment, become a real ale pub, with an all new food offering, and whilst not seeing a record turnover, it was very happily holding its own, which for a small suburban pub at the time, was an achievement in itself.
Then the company had another challenge for us, a small 15 bedroom town centre hotel and function suite was in need of new landlords, but this time we weren't to be mere managers, but leaseholders in our own right. Sadly after an initial great set up and start, this had to end all to soon after I suffered a mysterious period of collapsing, which was considered to be heart problems, then a shadow on the brain, but was finally discovered to be a spinal disk collapse which left me partially disabled. Well that's what you get for running two venues, being a pro touring vocalist AND running a successful pantomime company. as director, producer, publicist and actor... #Toptip; remember you are the most important person, don't spread yourself too thin.
Roll on 9 years or so and my partner (hopefully soon to be wife) and I are extremely fortunate to have been able to buy our home here in North Wales. We'd been looking for a place with a little land for Carolines love of horses, but just couldn't find a house small enough for the two of us (plus the dogs and cats), but with enough land.
Then the School house came up, a former 19th Century Catholic school, converted into a house in the 80's. and it came with a couple of acres of paddock and a forlorn woodland and stream. It wasn't all plain sailing as we sold our previous house in record time (lucky us) and hadn't even made an offer on School House at the time. Thankfully, we're adept at "roughing it" being avid campers ourselves so we packed up and moved into an old static caravan on a family members land. Us, our two dogs, and three cats through one of the coldest winters in recent times (until this year). But we're made of stern stuff, so it was just another adventure, before the next one.
Emlyn's Coppice was conceived as an idea to provide an income for me, as my spine condition slowly forced me more and more away from live performance, a career I have loved. It's a chance to bring all of my skill sets together (except for maybe the singing), but share the physical load with a small team. And by doing it, it is going to help us look after the health of our small woodland which had been left to its own devices for far, far too long. Whilst some may argue for leaving nature to nature, our woodland was not a poster child for that ideal. It was dieing... slowly. In fact the area we are setting up Emlyn's Coppice in, is still designated as an area of ancient woodland, but in reality, the last two significant tree's died a long while ago.
The second we got the keys to the property, a slow process of clearing and replanting started. Clearing away an overgrown understory which was strangling the life out of the alder woodland, and with the help of some awesome and hard working members of my family, we made our way through, finding hidden weedy hawthorns and holly desperate for light as we went.
I have a theory; Barbed wire is not made, it is grown. The Brambles in the woods were monsters at 10 or 15 ft high, bringing down large trees and stopping anything else from growing. But once we'd cleared them down to a more manageable and sustainable size, we found a whole load of old and forgotten barbed wire fences. Well, they say it's barbed wire, I think it's the final stage of life for a bramble. They have been duly cleared and safely disposed of along with some old deer park style iron railings that were a mangled mess.
Already our efforts have shown dividends, with more wildflowers such as Bluebells, Flag Iris's, and Marsh marigolds appearing every year, whilst small, scrubby hawthorns and goat willows are starting to stretch their legs and reach for a sky they'd long forgotten about.
Now the hard work starts. We've got planning, our pods have been ordered and we are lining up the various tradespeople we've worked with on the house, over the last few years to help us develop the site ready for our opening in August (maybe sooner). It's been a heck of ride so far and we've got plenty left in front of us. I'll keep writing as we go, with some tips on projects we've undertaken, and I'll highlight the pitfalls for you to avoid if you happen to be doing something similar (we'll start with planning as that was an experience!!) In the meantime, a shameless plug; we are open for sales. Short midweek and weekend breaks are now available for August onwards via our site at www.emlynscoppice.com (you may already be here), and we will be releasing earlier dates as we get nearer to the completion of the #glampsite. #Staytuned.