I’ve always been a ‘roughing it’ kind of camper. Happy sleeping wherever, tent or no tent. And I’m generally pretty comfortable making-do with whatever facilities may (or may not) be on offer. So the idea that glamping might be something that I’d like has never really crossed my mind. I get luxury every night at home. Why would I want to turn my getaway in the wild into something that is more like being at home?
Well that was before I went glamping at Cledan Valley.
Tucked away in the tranquil and wild Cledan Valley in the middle of Wales is the most gloriously spacious glampsite. 8 acres of land running along a valley stream and flanked by a steep forest on one side and open hills on the other. With all that space it would have been very easy for the new owners, Karen and Russ, to maximise on the money making potential of the land and cram as many glamping plots in as possible. But they didn’t. And because of that, each of the 7 accommodations (2 Mongolian yurts, 2 tipis, 2 bell tents and 1 shepherds hut) has loads of privacy and a ton of space to play or relax in.
A glamping getaway
On arrival at Cledan Valley we were met by a very cheery Karen who supplied us with a wheelbarrow to transport our stuff. As she walked us to our tent she explained where everything was, but recommended that the best way to find our feet was to attempt the treasure hunt. Which we later did. And she was right – it took us all over the site and I even saw on otter on the river whilst hunting desperately for the last clue (which I eventually found!). It was great fun.
Karen took 5 minutes to explain the workings of the yurt before she went about her business, and we didn’t see her again until the next day, as she and Russ don’t live on site. They were contactable if we needed anything, but it was really nice to be left to our own devices and settle in on our own terms.
We were lucky enough to spend our first night in the Honeymoon yurt nestled down among the trees deep in the valley. We spent the afternoon lazing in the hammock set up in the trees, and cooking up a fireside feast which we enjoyed out under the stars. And all the while we weren’t disturbed by anyone or anything. No background hum of traffic. Just the babbling brook, the wind in the trees and the sounds of nature going about its business.
When do you ever get that kind of peace and quiet when car camping? Mid-winter maybe when no-one else is stupid enough to attempt it?!
This is glamping!
The first morning we awoke to rain. Instead of our thoughts being crowded with the dread of camp chores in dripping wet and soggy conditions, we lay in the luxury of our ‘proper’ bed (duvets and all!) and smiled. This is glamping. OK, I get it now! The pitter-patter of rain on canvas was never so welcome. And the day ahead had nothing in store for us other than just ‘being’. So we took our sweet time over cooking breakfast on the gas stove, very much enjoyed using our teapot and cake stand, and just relaxed in comfort until the rain stopped.
Now the thing about glamping, or so it seems to me, is that the aesthetics can often upstage the functionality of things. Sure, there’s certainly a place for some pretty bunting and the odd fairy light here and there, but get the setting right and these things almost become secondary and unnecessary. So I love how simple the inside of Cledan Valley tents are. There is nothing unnecessary about what is provided (bar the cake stand and teapot!). Everything you need is there with just the right amount of kitsch glampiness to satisfy the true glampers out there.
We also stayed in the Otter bell tent which had a different feel about it to the yurt and perhaps a little more aligned to my tastes. It felt more like camping, and its surrounding area was a bit more open than the Honeymoon yurt, with a grassy area outside for playing or chilling.
But both the yurt and the bell tent were totally perfect in every way. To get that kind of closeness to nature in such tranquil surrounds usually takes a lot of work getting to. And there certainly won’t be a teapot waiting for you when you get there, that’s for sure!
On the main part of the site there is a simple wooden toilet block with incredibly good showers that are instantly hot! Again, nothing unnecessary but nothing missing either, and all with a touch of rustic charm that made me feel instantly at home. There is also a large communal yurt that is open for guests to enjoy at their leisure – light the log burner and get cosy on the sofas, strum the guitar, or enjoy playing board games at the tables. There is an area outside the communal yurt for barbecuing, or you can take one of the portable BBQs back to the privacy of your own area.
Karen and Russ have done an exceptional job at creating a glamping experience that is so much more than just a field crammed full of fancy tents. And although they have plans to make improvements, like adding a composting loo to the bottom part of the campsite, their main concern is with preserving the unique wildness of the valley for guests to enjoy.
Their little piece of heaven provides an ideal place to really switch off, and the 7 gorgeous glamping accommodation options are just the icing on the cake.
So as a ‘rough it’ type camper, did I enjoy glamping at Cledan Valley? I absolutely loved it and would go again in a heartbeat. I may even go as far as saying that I’m a glamping convert!
Check out Cledan Valley to book in your glamping escape this summer.