In August, I paid a visit to Collins Land, Cerys Collins’ homestead region at Aqua Shores. My time was a little pressed when I dropped-in, so I didn’t get to stay as long as I wanted back then. Even so, I found the region beautifully put together and striking in its contrasts.
Now I’ve had the opportunity to make up for my lack of time during that first visit, as Cerys has been busy re-working the region, and she extended a warm invitation to me to take a look at it ahead of it being opened to the public once more. And I have to say, she has again done a wonderful job.
The new design sees the region take on more of a low-level coastal feel – although there is still a rugged backbone of plateau-topped cliffs snaking through part of the region, splitting one of the islands in two. There are three main islands all told now, two of them low-level and grass-covered, one devoted to the outbuildings of a small farm, the other home to a tall stone-built church, a slender wooden bridge sitting atop the water connecting them. The third – with the hills running through it, is the largest in the group.
I say “main islands” as there is a forth, although column of rock might be a better description for it. This rises from the sea on the north-east side of the region, and atop it sits the arrival point, which will be instantly familiar to anyone who visited Collins Land in its last incarnation.
From here you can look out over the region and get a first glimpse of the changes which have been wrought. To get to the other islands, you have a choice of two rope slides (recommended!) or using the wooden elevator, which will take you down to water level, where you can hop into a rowing boat and paddle your way around the place – which is actually a nice way of seeing everything, and you can also pick-up a boat from the wooden pier on the main island.
Collins Land is still very much a place of contrasts. For the most part, it is very rural in feel; grasslands, trees, a farm and country church, the plateau atop the cliffs a wooded park.. However, the main island also offers a slightly more urban feel to it – there is a paved road and sidewalks, street lights, a post box, bus stop and stone-built house with free-standing garage. There’s a children’s playground here as well, as a quayside pushing out to sea. The road itself winds through a short tunnel under the park-topped hills, to the wooden pier where people can either sit and relax or take a boat out onto the waters.
Cerys’ attention to detail is again everywhere; I particularly like the little vignette which appears to suggest a slight altercation between a UPS delivery man and a dog as to whether or not three parcels should be delivered to the front door of the main island’s house …
I understand from Cerys that Collins Land will re-open to the public in October. Until then, access is by invitation only, but once the region does re-open to all, I really do recommend you pay a visit. You won’t be disappointed.