To date, I’ve glamped in a pod in North Wales, on a boat in Scotland and my latest glamping adventure was in south Wales in a Mongolian Yurt.
What is glamping?
Glamping is a popular way of getting closer to nature without sacrificing home comforts like showers, toilets and having a proper bed to sleep in.
Glamping in South Wales at Hidden Valley Yurts
Hidden Valley Yurts is in the tiny village of Llanishen just outside Chepstow (not to be confused with the one near Cardiff). It’s nestled at the bottom of a valley among wildflowers, 80 acres of ancient woodland and a stream that provides a soothing sound to sleep to and a good alarm clock. Oh and Tilly the dog. She’s such a gentle soul, prone to pinching socks and food, she’ll accompany you on walks and for dinner!
I started my glamping adventure by hauling my luggage on to an off-roading vehicle and Mike and guests, zipped over the wildflower fields and over a stream to access the main glamping site. I fully recommend this method of transport! It’s an exhilarating way to start your stay. There’s also a little bridge you can take by foot which crosses the stream and is a darling meander down into the valley.
Here there are 5 original Mongolian Yurts all each with their own brightly hand-painted doors and equipped with BBQ and decking areas, log burner, double and pull out beds. Yurt number 1 and 2 have their own separate kitchen and composting toilets. The other 3 yurts share a communal kitchen, flushing toilets and there are showers (and a corner bath which I took advantage of!) for everyone to use.
Since this was a blogger weekend, I was ‘housed’ with two other bloggers who I didn’t know but it wasn’t long before we got a roaring fire going, snuggled up in the provided ponchos and got to know one another. Mongolian Yurts are still used today for the nomadic and entire families live in them. Lack of dividing doors and walls helps you to connect with those around you. Honestly, there was talk of a nightly film but we were all too busy yacking and snacking each night!
Green and Eco Elements at Hidden Valley Yurts
Composting loo – for those who have never used one, essentially there’s no running water to flush. Instead, wood shavings are used to help waste compost down. It, therefore, doesn’t reach our seas!
Recycling – Mike is pretty passionate about recycling and told us a story about guests who’d never ever recycled and he found himself after they’d left sorting through their bins! It’s refreshing to see a business owner care about their impact on the natural world.
Water – drinking water and shower water are provided through their own water source. That’s great news as it’s fluoride and chemical free. You can’t beat natural clean Welsh water.
Woodlands – Hidden Valley Yurt’s ancient woodlands are a treat to walk through especially since the bluebells were out during my stay. They are naturally managed by grazing sheep and in doing so encourages a thriving biodiverse environment.
Lighting – the yurts have solar powered fairy lights and one lamp inside. The kitchen which belongs to yurt 1 was on a sensor so great for saving energy. It’s nice to let nature do her thing without our light pollution.
Glamping Essentials to Bring with You
Two pairs of shoes – one for outside and the others for whilst in the yurt to keep the carpets from getting dirty.
Sleeping bag/ bedding/pillow- these are not provided for you. There’s something cosier and familiar about being snuggled up in your own blankets anyway.
Torch – I forgot mine! It’s dark once the sunsets but hello amazing starry skies.
Spare change – for extra logs and kindling and the local apple juice which is made in a nearby orchard and highly recommended.
Food – Chepstow is a perfect stop for a stock up and food delivery is available. The kitchen has enough room and appliances to cook a 5-course dinner for the whole family! There is also on-site catering available by Infamous Catering who specialise in seasonal and foraged feasts. We had the pleasure of having a Vegan feast cooked for us all – it was an out of body experience and appreciated after a day of adventuring!
Things to do whilst at Hidden Valley Yurts
We were blessed with lots of rain and I say blessed because Wales wouldn’t be as green and lush as it is without mixed weather. Providing you bring your wellies and waterproofs (yes even in the summer) there isn’t much else which can stop you from enjoying the site.
Family and Friends Time
There’s a fantastic outdoor eating area under canvas equipped with a pizza oven sadly we didn’t get to use this! With an adjoining field for games and a nearby campfire, you’ve everything you need for a simple and slow glamping experience.
The site is rather steep so bring walking boots. You can either choose to walk the surrounding fields which were filled with spring lambs (whilst I visited in May) or adventure further into the ancient woodlands and on to old and twisted back lanes. There’s somewhere for everyone and I was quite impressed that considering there was about 15 of us spread out in the other yurts, I didn’t bump into anyone unexpectedly.
Strolls ‘n’ Stories at Trellech (2 miles from the site)
By far my one of my favourite outings whilst staying at the yurts and not that far away. We met up with Jan who combines walking and storytelling. It was a gloriously sunny day in Trellech and over the next few hours we watched Jan fully channel characters from her stories – I have never seen anything quite like it actually! We visited sites including one once belonging to a castle, 3 intriguing stones known as Harold’s stones pointing mysteriously at the sky, and a magical well by the name of St Anne’s well know for healing powers. It was an emotional afternoon as we heard the voices from characters lost in time…
Sightseeing at Tintern ( 5 miles from site)
Home to Tintern Abby and Wordsworth who was known for getting his writing inspiration from the area of outstanding natural beauty. It’s a perfect starting place to explore parts of the Wye Valley with popular walks to the likes of the Devil’s Pit. We were taken on a guided walk by Jon from Wye Valley Tourism who told us about the old stories of Tintern’s industrial heritage. In the pouring rain (and I mean soaked to my bones despite waterproof clothing) we went through Tintern Old Station, 10 acres of riverside meadows with some fascinating statues and old train carriages. We were all glad to dry off at the newly refurbished and may I add oh so stylish, The Anchor Inn for tea and cakes ( they made me some lovely Vegan options too)!
Canoeing in Monmouth (just over 8 miles from site)
2o minutes up the road is the ancient town of Monmouth which has fantastic access to the River Wye. It was my first time on this river and we were taken out by Monmouth Canoe for a lazy paddle down to Whitebrook. I say lazy but there are a few little rushing water sections which are fun and bridges to drift underneath and banks to bump in to- yes we did quite a bit of that! The river bank has many scenic stop off points perfect for picnics.
Gorge Scrambling in Abergavenny (15.6 miles from site)
As you may know, I absolutely love gorge scrambling and were guided and looked after by Inspire 2 Adventure. It was a pretty easy gorge with some lovely (and slippery!) waterfalls to climb up and a dark tunnel to scramble through. Our guides were very patient with the group since it was their first time and one had a prior foot injury and had to stop halfway through. We were provided with helmets and windproof jackets but I would recommend either bringing your own wetsuit or opt for close fitting gym wear (so there are no wet baggy trousers!) and sturdy boots with ankle support.
Deeper into the woods is a brand new addition to the site – a lake house, made from reclaimed materials with its own private lake, decking, BBQ and hot tub!
I would like to say a big Diolch (thank you) to Mike from Hidden Valley Yurts for looking after us and giving us ample amount of space to switch off from the outside world and all of those demands we face from humans doing.
It was a serene place to be a human being.
Find out more here: http://www.hiddenvalleyurts.co.uk
Have you been glamping before? I’d love to know your experiences.
Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this article but I was given a free stay here in exchange for my honest reviews. All midnight chats, adventures, and many peaceful nights of sleep were all of my own!