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.
A wonderful campsite. Small, peaceful, friendly, quite and just that little bit wild. Amazing location above the Barmouth estuary with beautiful views and we were lucky enough to see glorious sunsets. Just the right balance between letting you get on with it and being there to help if you had any requests. Very relaxed and subtle signage with simple instructions to make everyones stay a happy one and everyone really seemed to respect this. Simple but clean facilities. We stayed on the top pitch in a campervan but enjoyed walking down to the tent fields where they have individual fire pits and great amount of space between pitches. The sign for the site said full, but it was not crowded at all - more than enough space for everyone. Communal fire area in the woods and tree swings for the kids to play on.
Well we love this site. It rates really highly in its position overlooking the Mawdach Estuary. The views are really spectacular and you could just sit and soak it all in without the need to move on. Walk down the hiill though and you are onto the old railway track, which is a walking/cycling path. Maybe 75 mins to either Barmouth or Dolgellau.
In terms of facilities, the site is roomy and very level. Access is easy from Dolgellau direction. The showers and toilets are fine clean and really do not need comment. The hosts are very pleasant and the cost probably a little high. They have just started charging for dogs which is a shame.
We go at least once a year and I would thoroughly recommend it.
My friends and I have just come back from an idyllic stay at Graig Wen campsite….
We arrived early evening on Friday to be warmly greeted by the owner John, who showed us to our pitch pointed out where everything was. We picked our pitch with EHU taking full advantage of the absolutely fantastic view of the Estuary.
The area we chose to camp was where the tourers, camper vans and tents that required EHU were at the top of the site, near to reception. The area has around a dozen or so pitches all level and flat, the pitches closest to reception enjoy the very best views (worth noting).
The toilet and showering facilities were fantastic, I understand these were fairly new, they certainly looked new anyway. They were always clean and the water was always hot.
There is a more rugged camping field further down the site which is open during the mid to peak season. We had a wonder down there, the views were to die for. I think you may be camping on a little bit of an incline here but the view would more than compensate for that.
There is a great communal camp fire area, there is wood and kindling available in the honesty shop.
The owners could not have been more helpful, we were looking to go for a walk up Cader Idris and they helped us pick our route, we actually saw them half the way up the mountain that afternoon!
I would strongly recommend the site, but my only advice would be to make sure you book in advance during busier periods as the site, quite rightly, gets very busy. All in all a great, well run site, with great views which has access to some of the best walking, cycling and outdoor pursuits the UK has to offer. A1
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