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Cwm Tawel Yurts
The Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons – Wales is a country carved from iconic landscapes. But just when you think you've got this legendary land pegged, you stumble upon another undiscovered spot that astonishes yet again.
The charms of the Lynfi Valley elude most westbound tourists cruising along the M4. With the coastal delights of The Gower, The Mumbles and Swansea Bay to explore, visitors can be forgiven for neglecting the inland lustre of the Bridgend Valleys. But the boundless, bucolic beauty of its gambolling hills, (not to mention its rich mining heritage) makes this a pocket of authentic Mid-Glamorgan life.
Drive through Lletty Brongu and you'll miss it. Just outside Maesteg ('the town in the hills') and the historic hilltop settlement of Llangynwyd, this not-quite-a-hamlet hosts Cwm Tawel Yurts on the splendrous seclusion of Cwmcedfyw Farm. Started in 2010 by a group of like-minded locals, the blissfully peaceful Cwm Tawel (hard to believe Cardiff is just half an hour down the road) is an entirely community-run venture founded to promote traditional rural crafts and foraging. As co-op member Sasha takes up the story; "We originally began as a group of residents collecting fire wood together to see us through the winter nights, volunteering to help local farmers to reinstate lovely hedgerows for the local wildlife". This social enterprise has now blossomed to encompass the current wonderful glampsite. All the income generated from campers is invested back into the community through the employment of local people, sustainability courses for local schools, and environmental improvement projects for the surrounding area.
With such an admirable not-for-profit ethos, your hosts could be forgiven for skimping on facilities. But quite the contrary. Cwm Tawel boasts four genuine Mongolian yurts (each sleeping up to five) dotted around an idyllic valley meadow. Comfy beds are provided, though you'll need to bring your own bedding or hire some if you fancy travelling light.
Next door, you'll find The Roundhouse, a covered communal cookout kitchen complete with clay pizza oven. This is the hub of camp life, particularly in the evenings when everyone basks in the warming glow of the roaring firepit. Sasha is an expert local forager and the surrounding woodlands and Lynfi river are a veritable smorgasbord of wild delicacies, such as rainbow trout, wild garlic and all manner of delicious fungi. Nothing beats cooking your own foraged feast on the flames.
The Cwm Tawel team's green credentials speak for themselves. Everything is as low-impact as possible, from solar lights to the state-of-the-art 'Natsol' compost loo and eco shower. You can buy eggs and veg (grown on the community garden) from the small site shop and they also offer an assortment of traditional courses such as willow weaving, Welsh Lovespoon carving, coracle building, clay oven building and bushcraft survival. While the world can sometimes move at a frantic pace, this commendable clique of unpaid volunteers continue to keep notions of rural heritage and community spirit alive through the good work they do at Cwm Tawel. Truly inspiring.
4 yurts (each sleep up to 5) complete with beds (1 double & 3 singles), wood-burning stoves, fairy and solar lights, electric showers, Natsol compost toilets. Fully-fitted communal kitchen with wood-fired Rayburn, Dutch Ovens, kettle, microwave, fridge, toaster, cutlery, plates, cups glasses etc. Roundhouse for under cover campfires, plus a clay wood-fired pizza oven. Each yurt has its own private deck area with table and chairs and BBQ.
Glampers, groups – yes. Up to 20 people can be accomodated. Stag and hen parties are also welcome. Dogs are only allowed during the winter months (October – February) as it is a working farm.
Cwm Tawel lies just 20 mins from the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. There's some cracking walks along this southern coastal path with the Southerndown & Dunraven Bay stretch among the most picturesque. You'll find plenty of great surf beaches at Porthcawl and Restbay. Novices should seek Porthcawl Surf (07583 348013) for equipment hire and lessons. Ogmore-by-Sea is popular with the locals, not least for its dramatic ruins of Ogmore Castle. Another 20 mins walk the other way lies Afan Forest Park (01639 850564), home to five world-class mountain biking trails. For those looking to engage in a spot of retail therapy, Bridgend Designer Outlet (01656 665700) is just 10 mins drive away. Just half an hour down the road lies Wales' two biggest cities, Cardiff and Swansea.
Food & Drink
Fresh eggs and veg are available onsite courtesy of the community growing project. Campers can cook up their own pizzas in the clay cobb oven. The thatched Yr Hen Dy – The Old House Inn (01656 733310) – is one of the oldest pubs in Wales having been built in 1147. If you visit during New Year's Eve, you can see the famous Mari Llwyd (Grey Mare), an ancient Celtic tradition to mark the passing of the darkest days of midwinter. The Cerddin Brewery is an eco-friendly carbon neutral micro-brewery just 3 miles down the road. Tours can be arranged and their celebrated ales can be sampled in the adjacent award-winning Cross Inn (01656 732476) pub. Fish and chips by the sea at Porthcawl takes some beating, with Beales (01656 788223) and Finnegans (01656 782883) two of the best.
Leave M4 at Junction 36. Follow signs to Maesteg A4063 (also sign posted Llynfi Valley). Continue on A4063 for 5 miles towards Maesteg/Llynfi Valley. Once you enter the village of Llangynywd, go past the shops and post office. You will see the first of the brown signs for Cwm Tawel. Just after the shops, take the right turn into Station Road and follow the tipi sign. Continue down the hill passing the Railway Pub, crossing a small bridge. Continue along the road for 1.5 miles. Pass a red telephone box, and row of terrace houses. Continue for 600 yards until you reach a left turning with a grass island. Turn off and drive for 100 yards, then turn left into the farm driveway (over the cattle grid). Continue along the driveway where you’ll Cwm Tawel on the right.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Rated ★★★★★ over 1 reviews
The campsite is not found in one of the popular tourist destinations in Wales but that goes in its favour as it is a real hidden gem. You really do feel like you are in on a big secret, that hasn't been fully discovered. The tents are luxurious and the surroundings are perfect. You really do get the full glamping experience and the owners are wonderfully relaxed- Not too many rules! You are not far from the delights of the Brecon Beacons, and the pretty South Wales Coastline. I would definitely recommend a visit to Southerndown and Ogmore by Sea which are relatively unspoilt beauty spots, Cardiff is also not too far away if you want a trip into this beautiful City. Highly recommended.