Glamping for All Ages, Cwncarn Forest Park, South Wales

If you think Glamping is similar to camping with the guides or scouts – feet to the pole in a bell tent, think again? Another birthday present, another challenge!

Wooden podsGlamping – glamorous camping – the latest addition to holiday accommodation! Glamping is in wooden pods which are better than canvas tents but not quite as convenient as a caravan or chalet: they generally house 3 or 4 people and are quite basic wooden structures having a small covered veranda, with lights and power, plus heating; a picnic table and benches outside plus a barbecue stand. Everything a glamper could want. They are being introduced into camp sites across the country (soap devotees will have watched them being built on Emmerdale!).

My family and I travelled to Cwmcarn Forest Park, South Wales, where our three pods set amongst the trees awaited us; there was a small semi-circle of numbered pods each having a marked parking space; each pod had its own picnic table and benches plus a stand on which to place a portable barbecue; the paths were gravelled so that there was no problem with puddles or mud and there was a large communal grassed area available to all. The well-appointed toilet block directly across from the pods, needed a code for entry; the outside lights remained on all night which made access easier: the loos and showers were spotless and had plenty of hot water plus hair driers. To one side there was the utility block with sinks, a good supply of hot water for washing up, a microwave and hot plate: there was also a washing machine, tumble drier plus ironing board and iron. Everything at hand to make the break enjoyable.

Glorious GlampingThe three pods next to ours were occupied by families who had travelled for 10 minutes to reach them! One family actually lived opposite the gates to the park! They had spent the night there because their young children wanted to sample the new venture. A group of young women were there celebrating a birthday.

Cwmcarn Forest Park is set in a beautiful forest of native trees so it seemed we were miles from anywhere but in reality we were quite close to local amenities; we were within easy driving distance of Caerphilly with its imposing Castle, and Chepstow Race Course and Tintern abbey.

After unpacking, we set off to follow the scenic park trail along which were several stopping points: first a pit head wheel which symbolised the area in which the park was set, a local sculpture had used dead trees and logs to sculpt many features of the forest including a fish leaping from the stream, an oak leaf with an acorn and a very tall man! The family park contained a wide variety of swings, a zip wire and oversized tubular bells. There were several barbecue areas set up with large cooking areas and tables of stone and slate where many visitors where enjoying a meal. At the viewing point, the views across the Welsh hills were glorious, we could see the town of Newport but the view across Newport and the Bristol Channel towards Weston Super Mare was outstanding and very clear in the bright sunshine. At one point, there were totem poles to remember a Welsh connection to America.

Some wooden sculpturesAfter our BBQ we settled down to an evening of reminiscence and playing games, until after a mug of hot chocolate heavily laden with marshmallows and cream, we settled down to a good night’s sleep..

Sunday – the Welsh rain descended, so an alfresco meal was out of the question , so we packed and headed to the nearest Superstore for breakfast!

The main objective was to visit Wentwood Forest to view the trees I had bought from the Woodland trust and had dedicated them to my family to ensure our roots were firmly in Wales; I had purchased 10 trees so that there was my three daughters, my six grandchildren and me, had a tenth share of each one – no squabbles over which one belonged to whom – to support the Woodland Trust’s campaign to plant as many native trees as possible. Through driving rain, along narrow roads, we drove to the site of our trees.

Glamping was great experience – the electrically pumped up beds a great advantage; they were cheap and fairly basic but everyone on the site all agreed, Glamping is a really fun, happy holiday.

To see the pods, just type Glamping into your search engine, it is a growing experience.

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Diana Davies

Travel writer

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