You’ll begin to slow down as you wind your way along the Wye, past magnificent Tintern Abbey and then on through pretty villages, the river at full tide lapping at the road. It’s a bumpy track up through the woods – the bluebells out in force when we visited – and Bigsnap emerges along with smiling Ann who greets you warmly and leaves you with Welsh cakes. Once the family home, this cottage (part old stone, part modern extension) has tons of space yet a cosy feel; find family paintings, ceramics, furniture from their native New England and shelves stuffed with books. An unusual staircase, hewn from a tree, leads to simple, comfortable bedrooms with wooden floors, pretty linen and woodland views from every window; all share one big bathroom. Rustle up hearty breakfasts in the functional kitchen dining room before setting out on ambles to waterfalls or other watering holes – great pubs abound. Return and pop your feet up by one of the three wood-burners (the log supply is generously bottomless). Kids will be busy with stacks of toys and games or they can range free on sunny days while you fire up the BBQ. Restful.