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Gwalia Farm

UK Wales Mid Wales Powys Machynlleth

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Adults only
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
Adults only back-to-basics camping in the heart of the wilds of Mid-Wales, close to fantastic hiking trails, mountain-biking and swimming. Get a taste of the simple life, but be prepared to do some driving if you want to get out and about.

When the famous children’s author Beatrice Potter visited Machynlleth in 1888 she described the countryside as ‘most beautiful, but on rather a large scale for 'getting about’’. Little has changed. To make the most of pottering (no pun intended) between this wonderful market town, the looming Cader Idris mountain, the various tourist centres and the beaches to the west, you really do need a set of motorised wheels. So if you’re intending to pack in plenty of activity during a visit, your trusty feet and bicycles alone won’t do, unless you’re in training for the Olympics. It’s a super-steep mile-long climb to Gwalia from the main A road. If horse-riding and swimming are your things, you will find riding lessons all over Wales. Swimmers have sandy beaches just an hour’s drive away and also at an indoor leisure centre in Machynlleth itself. Also, in the campsite’s grounds there’s a pond, complete with its own little pier to jump off.

Get plotted at one of the country’s most primitive campsites in remote countryside, then do nothing and see no-one bar your neighbours until it’s time to go home. This campsite ticks very few of the boxes that many modern-day campers consider vital to a comfortable stay. There are no cooking facilities, amusements, refreshments, nightlights (it’s darker than dark here at night) and no shower onsite, though you can pay £1 to use the one in the house shared with B&B guests. What you do have are a couple of flat fields with pitches on the outskirts of an expanse of rushes and a couple of kayaks and a canoe you can use free of charge on the medium-sized pond. Life here is simple; distractions are nonexistent.

Since coming here in 1979 the owners have learnt to be self-sufficient. They keep their own chickens in the front yard – camping children can join in feeding and egg-collecting and there are goats that might need hand-milking. Peace reigns more or less until early September, when baby tawny owls are kicked out of their nests and voice their concerns at suddenly being left to fend for themselves. Surrounded by trees, Gwalia is a blessing for anyone with strong hunterer-gatherer DNA. Campfires are permitted, stray pieces of wood can be picked up and used and the owners sell bundles. There’s usually only a handful of campers present at any one time and they are spread far enough apart so that all you’ll see of your neighbours are wafts of campfire smoke rising from the other side of the rushes.

Machynlleth, six miles away is well known for its vibrant Wednesday markets, held at the central Maengwyn Street, where you can pick up arts, crafts and edible, organic all-sorts. Do take bikes if you can, though, three cross-country mountain bike routes start in Machynlleth (Mach 1, 2 and 3), and there’s a purpose-built trail, the ‘cli-machx’, in the nearby Dyfi Forest.



There's a new, modern separating toilet for campers which is always stocked with paper, sawdust (for the toilet!) and hand sanitizer. Showers are available at the farmhouse by arrangement (£1). A small spring supplies the water at Gwalia Farm campsite but filtered and tested water is now available available for filling up water bottles etc. Wild Swimming campers are welcome in the top lake but please understand that wild swimming can be dangerous and Gwalia Farm don’t offer any supervision or safety equipment.

Suitable For

Tents, campfires and dogs - yes. Sorry, no children, babies or groups.


If the weather’s behaving erratically, why not get to the root of it all at the Centre for Alternative Technology down the road, which offer solutions to some of the most serious challenges facing the planet.

Food & Drink

At the bottom of the hill, sitting on the A470, thePenrhos Arms (01650 511 243) is a gorgeous stone hotel that serves above-average pub grub at lunchtimes and between 6–9pm in the evenings.


All year round.

Are you the Owner?


Contact Gwalia Farm, Gwalia Farm, Cemmaes, Machynlleth, Powys SY20 9PZ

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Getting There

A458 from Shrewsbury, follow past Welshpool to the A4970 direction of Machynellth. Turn left after the Penrhos Arms, continue up steep hill until you reach Gwalia after a mile on the left. Train to Machynlleth, then taxi.


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Rated ★★★★★ over 3 reviews


The lake and the wild feel

Had a fantastic time getting a bit closer to nature. Me and my friend wanted to do some mountain running and some cooking on a camp fire and this place matched exactly what we needed. The lake was amazing for some wild swimming after running. Being able to have a camp fire and a sense of seclusion was great. Amy and Dee were really friendly and helpful and the ameneties they were great. Highly reccomend this place.
Jun 18, 2018 by Sean McCrossan

August 2012

My partner and I spent 5 days here in August 2012, it was a wonderful week spend exploring the area by car and foot. The campsite itself was tranquil and private, exactly what we were looking for with a perfect "back to basics" feel. For the first two nights we were the only people there and the weather was fine so that was a pleasant surprise. The owners were a really lovely couple who sorted us out with firewood when we needed it, we also made friends with there cats! Looking forward to going back here next year with a couple of our friends
Oct 31, 2012 by rhiannon-e

Gwalia Farm

This is camping very nearly sauvage. Idyllic when the weather is kind, rather trying when it is not. The tent field is a bit marshy but the pitches themselves are flat, dry and level. The toilet facilities in the wood are an expedition in themselves in the middle of the night and the washing-up sink is charmingly primitive. However, Gwalia and its surroundings are surely modelled on Tolkein’s Shire. The appearance of a few friendly hobbits would not be remotely surprising. It is about as green and lush and fecund a place as you can get. It is deeply, deeply peaceful.
May 2, 2011 by JonnyCRH

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