When I first saw this camp site on line I was seduced by the whole thing.
All the details on their Web pages make you want to stay and it looks fantastic. Travelling a long way to get there, your expectations are high and the scenery along the way just add to the treat you are expecting when you arrive.
But I must say, and I am being truthful when I say this, that I was quite disappointed and I felt quite a big lump in my throat as we were shown to our pitch. From all the pictures, and information on the internet, you think you are going to get this wonderful pitch with a fantastic view, and a fire pit near by. Also very quiet and away from it all sort of dreamy place with tweety bird song.
Sorry to sound a bit disappointing, but our pitch was right next to the main road and the noise from that, went on to after midnight and started again around 6:00 a. M. With a flow of traffic every few minutes, so no tweeting bird song! The caravan/camper van pitch area was surrounded by tall fir trees to three sides so there was no view at all, it felt very enclosed and very close to the other vans. If you wanted a view on the two pitches that had it, there was extra to pay and I would imagine that they were taken up quite quickly, as they were full when we got there. There was no camp fire pit that I could see for the camper van/caravaners area or a sign for one. I wanted bird song, camp fires and wonderful views and had come a long way to get them.
There is no mention on the web site that you cannot go down to the camping fields to pitch up a caravan/camper van or the reasons why. ( steep narrow path, bumpy, uneven ground)I think that to avoid disappointment to other caravan/camper vaners, this should be mentioned also that your pitch will be near to the main road.
On the plus side, the pitches are level. There are 2 very good clean new showers with nice hot water, also a small honesty shop next to the showers so if you needed something, it was very handy and very thoughtful of the owners to have this, as it was a drive to the nearest shop. There were 3 wooden seats (Sign posted 'for everyone')that you could sit on to look out at the view, but you had to almost intrude onto the 2 pitches that paid their premium price. They have eco waste bins and points for water and black/grey waste also EHU points and a few toilets.
Walking down the track through the fields was very nice and there you could feel the piece and quiet and hear the bird song. It was lovely, but very steep to walk back up. The cycle track was accessed through the camping fields and this was very nice with fantastic views and you can cycle for miles on it. The whole area is beautiful and worth visiting. But I am not sure if I would go back again to this camp site on a Caravan/Camper van pitch.
What an absolute gem! I found this campsite by pure chance and was well rewarded. We we're able to book at short notice (on the day of arrival). The manager and owners were really lovely. Nothing was too much trouble.
The views from the campsite are stunning across the estuary to Barmouth.
We were pitched on the hard standing electric hook-up pitches, there is also a tent field, B&B, (The Slate Shed) self catering cottages and Yurts
The toilet blocks are clean but basic, there are also 2 brand new showers in a separate block. The site has an honesty shop with foods such as milk, pasta & coffee machine as well as local produce; eggs and bacon.
The site is within easy access to the Mawddach cycle trail which leads to Barmouth or Dolgellau.
We fell in love with the site and the area and will definitely be returning.
We spent a lovely weekend here while hiking Cadair Idris. There seemed to be plenty of other things to do in the area but we only had one day and two nights. If we had longer we would have walked along the disused railway line that was below the site or gone to Barmouth for a few hours.
The site was easy to find and directly off the road. In fact the caravan pitches (7 in total I think) all backed onto the road much to my disappointment upon arrival, but the road was luckily not busy. Although the site was clean and well maintained our first impression was not that great as the caravan pitches were so small and close to each other, there was no privacy or personal space at all unless you are lucky enough to get one of the two view pitches. And even then you have everyone else walking past you to sit on the benches and admire the view right outside your caravan. But oh what view, it is awesome. We were one of those people who sat on the benches and watched the swallows sopping overhead and admired the estuary below.
There were two toilets and to showers and both were clean every time I used them. Showers were unisex which was a bit weird but the water was hot and free so I can't complain at all. I imagine in the height of summer this would be quite an issue as there was a sizable field below for tent camping and everyone had to use the same two showers and toilets. There was also a small washing-up area and by the showers there was an area to hang wet clothing to dry. There was a small honesty store too where you could stock up on essentials that you may have forgotten. Nearest town is only a 10 min drive away so it;s not to far to go if you need anything. I can't comment on the town as we didn't go there. There is a really cute campfire area just beyond the caravan pitches which is lit at night by fairy lights strung in the trees. And just beyond that there is a rope swing set up. Down below on the tent field the lambs were all playing together in-between the tents. I think kids and families would really like this site. There is something very magical about it.
We didn't have much interaction with the staff as we simply arrived and set up our caravan. The staff were not overly friendly and welcoming but they were not rude either. A comment was made to us that we drove past reception rather than stopping first, but we explained that this was because we would have blocked the entrance if we had done so and we merely wanted move out of the way.
Would we caravan here again? To be honest no ! But that is just because it is not a great caravan site. Caravans seem to be an after thought here and a way to make some extra cash by cramming in a few pitches. I would use the self catering rooms if I was looking for that kind of accommodation in the area or if I was a young, fit (lots of steep hiking to make it to and fro the tent site) tent camper I would stay here. I have stayed at worse and I have stayed at better but the views here were amazing and so peaceful and relaxing.
Fell in love with this site on paper, seemed to have it all - quiet, views, ecologically sound, no cheek by jowl rows of tents etc etc. The site is utterly beautiful, lovely big pitches, well spaced, with camp fire areas etc etc. But it oddly felt strangely unwelcoming. The young chap in the office was a delight, truly lovely and thoughtful of our stay. Others however seemed very efficient but not terribly friendly, as did an alarming number of other campers. After a couple of days, happily, most of the grumpies had moved on - only a handful left who seemed unable to even mutter a good morning. Has the site's popularity (Cool camping/Telegraph etc) affected the number of aloof campers coming here?
This site is just wonderful for children - the freedom on site is quite perfect, aided by the lack of cars. Kids made friends and squealed with delight cycling down rutted tracks and roasting marshmallows on open fires.
From the lower fields there is a long steep trek to a loo/showers (only 2 so queuing guaranteed but man they are great)/hot water/rubbish disposal. To be fair this is mentioned at time of booking, and one of the plus points (if you enjoy being far from the maddening crowd) but if you have small kids, dogs or whatever and do not have another adult to supervise, much too-ing and fro-ing with kids/animals in tow is ultimately necessary - which does become a real bore. I understand the site is hoping to open the lower fields for camping over a longer period. If this happens (and I wish for them it does) some kind of rubbish facilities in lower fields would really help - sorry we had to leave ours and previous campers cleverly concealed and abandoned waste outside of our pitch to be collected by owners, totally crap of us, huge apologies, simply not enough time or room in car for everything without doing 2 trips from upper to lower area (on a mountain goat type track). Also some car parking in the shade so that dog owners do not need to make every move with dogs on leads in tow would be a huge benefit - or even dog tie up areas (didn't fancy tying mine to the tent!). Taking animals on a lead (and this is very well policed!) was a real hindrance when trying to barrow (or carry) tent and supplies to and from pitch which can be a long trek.
On which point, more barrows please! 2 are not nearly enough for the number of pitches, we ended up carrying all of our kit. With small kids this would be a horror (although there is a handy transportation service if you book and arrive at a set time).
Regarding hiring bikes, the ones on site are wonderful if pricey. Expect severe grumpiness and possibly refusal from the local bike hire centre however if you mention a)teenage boys and b) this camp site. Nothing quite like service with a smile! I'd urge you not to mention Graig Wen at all when booking!
And regarding the trail, it is of course a very popular cycle route, so dogs off lead on it are likely to cause a messy pile up. Thus I would say dog walking on/from the site isn't great which was my biggest disappointment.
So this all sounds like a lot of whinge. It really isnt, I just found that for us, the site was impractical. Beautiful - yes, unique - yes, practical if you have dogs - absolutely not. I'll still give it a big fat 9 however as I suspect without dogs and the badly timed meeting of way too many grumpies - a first on a camp site - I'm sure it would have been great.
We were lucky with the weather when we camped here which goes some way to influencing this review as the campsite location is on a steep hill and involved a lot of hiking up and down a very steep hill on a very steep and uneven track for ablutions and water supply and some basic provisions.
This site was chosen as it allows camp-fires.
Arrival and Customer Service:
In the information pack were led to believe that arriving before a specified time we would be given assistance with moving our kit to our camping pitch (this is a site mainly for car-free camping). We arrived well within the time but were offered no such assistance. The check-in office is set in the holiday homes and was not immediately obvious so we wasted a lot of time looking for it!
Although friendly enough, the arrival brief was very vague and we were left in some doubt as exactly where our pitch was and were later in the week threatened with the prospect of changing to a different pitch in an entirely different field! (Luckily this didn't happen or I think I would have just packed up and gone home).
The car parking area for the camping is at the bottom of a very steep narrow track with a potentially nasty drop on one side.
The track is EXTREMELY rutted and a normal saloon car loaded with gear WILL ground-out badly ALL the way down the steep slope potentially damaging the underside of the car.
MAKE SURE YOUR HANDBRAKE IS IN GOOD ORDER - even the parking area is on a steep slope!
As no assistance with moving our kit was offered, we had to use the supplied wheelbarrows to get our gear to the pitch, had it been raining this would have been a very miserable chore after a long journey.
Conversely when you leave, you will have to wheelbarrow your gear all the way back up the hill to the car park, again we were lucky with the weather so it was of no consequence other than you are probably going to make several journeys with the wheelbarrow and need to be reasonably fit!
I would suggest thinning your gear down to a minimum the day before you leave in order to reduce the trips on the day you leave as you need to clear the area by midday.
This is certainly the best part about the site, but to be fair the whole area is an area of natural outstanding beauty, however I cannot call this site peaceful - at least not while I was there.
A lot of sheep were allowed to freely roam the field. This was something of a double edged sword; it keeps the grass good and short which is terrific particularly during the rainy season, BUT the sheep are noisy and I was continually woken by these bleating animals right outside the tent several times a night for the entire duration of the stay.
The conventional ablutions are a fair trek up the hill but there is a 'Tree Bog' which is a simple compost type of affair around halfway. Bog paper was provided and so too was hand sanitation gel, non of which ever ran out. The Tree Bog was simple enough to use but I did get the impression that someone (possibly children) were peeing in the sawdust box. The sawdust is used to help the composting process. The Tree Bog did not smell bad or anything, and was nothing to fear! Though the lid needs to be kept shut to keep the flies away.
Barmouth is easily within cycling distance, we did walk there and back but it was quite a walk with two children and although possible would be better to do on bikes!
There are two showers located in/near the honesty shop, but if your timing is unfortunate, you will join a queue. There is also a conventional water-closet toilet at the top of the hill in the camper-van area, along with some recycling bins, and this is also where the water supply is located.
The honesty shop was exactly that, and I hope it continues although there were some kids in there looking at the sweets and had I not been there watching them I am almost sure they would have been not-so-honest about buying the sweets.
The shop has basic stuff; milk; eggs; washing-up liquid; chocolate; firelighters; bacon; etc, sausages being the most expensive - but they were very good! Although we did not go short for milk, but we did buy the last bottles on more than one occasion, so maybe someone else went short. We did not buy wood for the fire, and I believe this was sold only during office hours. Some Camping Gaz bottles are available and are not overpriced considering how expensive gas now is.
I was not aware of any first-aid kits on the site.
There are some plate-washing areas halfway up the slope, and at the conventional ablutions and also at the shower/shop area.
I was not aware of any drying facilities in case you need to dry out wet clothes, but the staff are so naturally friendly I am sure they would help you out!
I would advise you keep and eye on young children at ALL times. Even in the camping areas there are some very steep drops down slopes. Stones are mostly like sharp slate so a fall will probably cause a cut. Make sure you have a first aid kit as I did not see any first-aid points at the site.
There is a tree-swing just past the gate behind the camper van ablutions although the webbing strop looked a bit tired and almost rotten, but it was still strong.
Be aware that dogs are (irritatingly) allowed on this site. While we had no real problem with sheep muck all over the place, we did encounter some dog muck in the car-parking area on the last day when we left. The last thing you need is dog muck inside the confines of a tent!. Let alone in your car carpets!
Value For Money:
I would have marked this much higher had we been offered some help getting our gear to the pitch as in the information we had, and also the vagueness of the instructions on arrival as to where exactly our pitch was as this almost lead to us packing up our tents and having to move later on.
The staff are faultlessly friendly and helpful although that one irritating issue of the prospect of moving pitch did not come as welcome - the fact we were in the wrong pitch was not through any fault of our own.
Overall a really very nice campsite, in a beautiful area and possibly the only drawbacks are it's inherent situation on the steep hill.
Basic shop, but it's 'open all hours' :-)
Basic facilities but they're all you need.
Friendly staff. Natural area of beauty. Very peaceful (except for the damned sheep!) Short grass. Thanks to the noisy sheep!
Barmouth within easy cycling distance.
Can build fires (if within sensible distance of the tent)
Extremely steep rutted track can damage a family car.
Camping area on very steep hill. Limited facilities (though this is what makes it attractive to some)
Great site set in a wonderful location. We spent 3 nights on the lower camping field with only 4 other tents. Great views over the southern Snowdonia peaks and direct access to the Mawddach trail, giving easy rides to Barmouth and Dolgellau.
Site has good clean facilities with new a shower block with a small honesty shop selling basic stuff and local produce.
Only negative is the long walk up the hill to get water but that is outweighed by the tranquil location on the bottom fields. (A tap in the lower field would be a bonus)
Plenty of walks direct from the site up into the hills, highly recommend the Arthog waterfalls loop.
If you want a quiet site with great setting and access to local area then this is it.
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