If Backpackingbongos ran a campsite it would be like this

by backpackingbongos

Regular readers are probably aware that I am not a huge fan of commercial campsites.  Camping for me is all about escaping into the hills and pitching a tent in the wilds, far from the hum drum of city life.  Commercial campsites bring to my mind cramped conditions, uncontrolled children running amok or drunken idiots in huge 24 berth tents.  Not something that I want to experience on holiday.

For our break last week, my partner and I wanted to experience the outdoors together, which is something that we rarely do.  Corrina would not mind me saying that we have differing ideals as to what would make an ideal camping holiday.  For me it’s about escapism, without sounding like a misanthrope, I like to get as far away from other people as possible.  Corrina likes to be comfortable and prefers facilities to be top-notch.  We therefore wanted to find a campsite that would live up to both of our expectations, without either of us having to compromise.

For this trip it was a case of searching out that ideal campsite and then seeing if it was in a location that we wanted to visit.  Trawling the internet we finally came across Ty Parke in Pembrokeshire.  It sounded like a perfect spot, a campsite that would tick all our boxes and in an area we both wanted to visit.

The campsite has ten pitches in total, along with a couple of yurts and a tipi.  The main camping field has five pitches and they also have five ‘wild’ camping pitches dotted around the farm.  We chose the most popular wild camping pitch, the Dingley Dell hideaway pitch when we booked.

We arrived about an hour before dark after a much longer journey than anticipated, Pembrokeshire is a long way from the East Midlands!  We were met by Gary the very pleasant and enthusiastic owner who showed us around.  He gave us directions to our pitch which was a good five minutes walk from the main facilities, completely hidden from view.  He did warn us that as it was the last week of the season the pitch was now a little rough around the edges.  The last incumbents had been pitched there for two weeks and made the best place to place a tent a little muddy.

With a car full of every conceivable camping luxury we bounced down a long grassy track through a couple of fields to the wonderfully secluded pitch.  Unfortunately Gary’s description was correct and although a lovely spot, an extended stay had killed off the grass.  A little disappointed we decided instead to camp at the next spot a couple of hundred metres away.

Our pitch was huge and included a picnic bench and fire pit, a normal campsite would have crowded several tents in there but we had the place to ourselves.  If the site had have been full, the nearest campers would still have been at least a hundred metres away.  With our sleeping tent and Tentipi pitched we set about the most important task of the evening, building a fire.  You can either bring your own wood or take from the woodshed, £2.50 for more than enough to last the night.  It was great to sit there in the darkness with a beer in hand, whilst the stars came out.  It really did feel like we were wild camping, the barn housing the facilities far away in the distance.  In fact so far away that one night I got lost after paying a visit, you can read about the embarrassing experience here.  Those facilities however are top-notch, the shower rooms being better than many b&b’s that I have stayed in.

You may have noticed a few new trees planted in some of the photos above.  Since 2007, Gary has planted 17,000 of them to eventually provide shelter in windswept Pembrokeshire.  The site will look stunning when they have matured.

The only downside to our visit was the weather, it was suitably rubbish for most of the time and we eventually got fed up and came home a day earlier.  Also the price was a little steep at £22.50 a night for two of us and the dog.  However in the height of summer when other campsites are full to bursting, I think that would be a price well worth paying.  However Gary’s model must be working as he says that he is already nearly booked up for the school holidays next year.  He said that he is visited by people who do not like ‘normal’ campsites!  Now, if someone else could come up with a similar model but surrounded by some of my favourite mountains I could well become a regular!

I will do a post about the wild Pembrokeshire coast in the next few days, it really is a lovely rugged area.

19 Comments to “If Backpackingbongos ran a campsite it would be like this”

  1. Very nice too. Corrina and Reuben look entirely happy with the well appointed Tentipi residence.

    • It was very well appointed and a welcome refuge from the less than kind conditions. It was often a commited couple who attempted to sit in front of a fire whilst a gale raged each night – we often retreated back into the Tentipi.

  2. Yep, Pembrokeshire is one of the best Coastal walking areas! Great campsite!

  3. as a fully fledged misanthrope…this site would appear to cater for my anti social tenancies….great post!

  4. Looks nice James. You might be lucky re your wishes, a few mates and I pitched for a night in the huge scout camp south of Bowness, set on a forested hill. I mean big btw… All the facilities in the main area plus a few other shower/toilet blocks and even more taps dotted all over the place but most importantly, dozens and dozens of small pitching areas in the woods, on top of the hill, some just off the rough tracks, some a little walk away. Most seemed to have a fire place too. You need to arrange things with the people running it, being a place for scout it’s not setup as a commercial site but it’s worth the effort, it felt like wildcamping with proper toilets nearby…

  5. or even * tendencies* …doh.

    • I was hoping that you did not have anti-social tenancies! The site certainly does cater for those that don’t want to be rubbing up against their fellow man.

  6. James, looks like an excellent site. I will store that away for when I am in the area.

    • Mark, it would be an excellent place to take the family. Loads of space for you all to spread out with lots to do on the nearby coast.

  7. I was eyeing up a Bell tent on our recent Hebridean trip. Seemed to shed the wind well, but cheaper than a Tentipi. We’re currently using a 3 man tunnel tent, but the extra headroom would be a real luxury, particularly when the weather turns bad. Did you look at Bell tents at all? Your Tentipi looks a bit smaller though. What was the idea behing have two tents? One for the dog?

    • Beacuse we were there for a few days we decided to have the tent for sleeping in and the tentipi as our living space. Worked well as we could take chairs for extra comfort, also good to have an extra space for cooking when the weather is damp (stops condensation in our sleeping tent). I have seen some bell tents and they look great. We got the smallest tentipi in the range, wish we went for the next size up now, so we could fit a woodburner inside. Cost was an issue when we purchased it, they are damn expensive.

      • Yeah. I was always put off by the price. But Bell tents seem to be more reasonably priced. Not sure of pros/cons of one over the other though apart from that though….

  8. Also James, there is a similar setup in Gradbach(by the Roaches) with the scout camp, officially not open to the public but an enquiry is worth it and again, a number of pitching areas, some a short walk away from any car park. Membership of some outdoor activity group does help according to site (maybe flashing your BMC card would do…?). Not tested it myself.

    In Edale, Highfield Farm is a safe bet for a quiet pitch. Whilst the Upper Booth site nearby was rammed packed , I share a large field with 3 other people. A tap, a very rustic toilet and that’s it. The only noise I ever had was drifiting from Whitmore Lea campsite furhter down the track.

    • I did not realise that there was a campsite at Highfield farm, a good alternative to the crowded one in Edale. I have walked past the one in Gradbach and it looks like a lovely location, could be worth checking out

  9. James, will send you an email for an abso-bloody-lutely ace campsite in the Peaks. FANTASTIC views, at most 10 tents (if that including your own) in 2 large fields and only £2 per person a night 😉

    I trust you’ll never tell anyone else. It’s a gem! 🙂

  10. Precisely James, hardly anybody notices…

    Terry…the one nearby the big lizard? 😉

  11. Like you, I’m not a big fan of campsites, but some are great. The other half and I have some faves which are closely guarded secrets!

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