I don’t know about you, but most days I sit at twin screens. I have on average about twenty windows open. Vying for my attention are all manner of notifications (Come to a meeting! You’ve been tweeted! Come to Zumba! The snack machine is broken!)… Wouldn’t it be lovely to just turn it all off? Well, I fancied spending a bit of time off the grid. And I think, with Cwtch Camp, I’ve found the perfect place to do it.
Cwtch Camp is a secluded spot in the Pembrokeshire countryside, skipping distance from the Daugleddau Estuary. The camp comprises three acres of woodland, lightly peppered with timber cabins. And it’s peaceful. Dear god, is it peaceful.
If you’re prepared to make the trek, you’ll be rewarded with a sumptuous helping of shire idyll. You’ll find serene woodland, isolated beaches, invigorating walks, traffic-free cycle routes… If such things don’t spark your hand drill, you might want to skip to the next article. Because going to Cwtch Camp is all about getting back to the country.
A Cwtch – other than being the Welsh word for cuddle (aw!) – is the camp’s name for the timber cabin itself. At present, there are three onsite. The sparsely-populated site is one of the main draws, and you really wouldn’t want many more. These cosy pods are handcrafted using locally-milled, sustainably-sourced solid timber.
According to site owner and manager, Beth Jones, “The cabins are not unlike timber-framed, Scandinavian cabins. Strength and durability are of the utmost importance. Each Cwtch measures 8 feet by 16 feet with plenty of head room, is secure with a lockable door, and has a south-facing deck with plenty of natural light inside.”
Each sports a comfy double bed, thick Welsh-wool blankets, camping heaters and lanterns. And they’re fully insulated; not just for heat, but for sound too. So, if you’re unlucky enough to get a downpour during your stay, you won’t get the relentless drone indoors that you might expect.
Plus, everything indoors was pristine. Including the bathroom, with sparkly shower and flushing toilet.
Because sometimes you don’t want to take camping to the extreme, do you?
On arrival at the camp, you’re greeted with freshly-baked bread and Welsh cakes. But what happens next? Well, that depends on how much hand holding you require. If you’re quite happy to go off and do your own thing, you’re slap-bang in the centre of Pembrokeshire. As such, there’s easy access to the well-regarded coastal path, a wide selection of Blue Flag beaches… There’s even a riverside pub within walking distance.
I opted for hand holding. And the camp organised a foraging expedition. This entailed sauntering around local pathways, learning about edible plants and gathering them for inclusion in a meal later. The lady who took us on the expedition – Julia Horton-Powdrill, who runs Wild About Pembrokeshire – was both knowledgeable and entertaining. And, as we would learn later, a dynamite cook. And I’m glad that we had her steer, because apparently picking and eating the wrong thing could result in becoming “very dead”. Warning duly heeded.
The session – very reasonably-priced at £25 per head – concluded in a wonderful picnic outdoors back at the camp, complete with potato, onion, nettle and sorrel soup cooked over the fire; and accompanying hedgerow salad and seaweed bread for dipping. Enjoyable, and surprisingly filling.
Soon twilight nuzzled the camp, and I gripped a cider by the campfire. At this point, fully embracing the simplicity of my surroundings, my brain was all but entirely detached from the office, from Outlook, from Twitter… I swear, I might’ve been feeling something close to peace. I’d become the white dot. Not bad for just one afternoon removed from the grind.
(And if you really can’t live without plugging yourself back into the matrix, you’ll be pleased to learn that I had a strong 3G signal the whole time I was at the camp. Shhhh…)