Top Of The Woods
The atmosphere is one so laid back it’s almost horizontal, with bird and wildlife enlivening every acre.
All the same, when we talk in the literal, this is a sizeable patch of land. Spread over 27 acres, campers here aren’t exactly short of space. And, as if to add to it all, where the corner of the site feathers into a mature flank of oak trees, the gargantuan Ffynone Wood begins - a vast 325 acres of forest - much of which is now a designated SSSI.
The varied accomodation comprises of two large camping meadows (with just 30 pitch-where-you-want spots spread over more than 10 acres), 1 bell tent meadow with 5 fully-furnished bell tents and 1 safari lodge meadow with 2 luxury safari lodge. There are no electrical hook-ups which means the campsite has a rustic, traditional atmosphere, something accentuated by the fact cars are parked by the entrance with wheelbarrows for trucking in your gear.
When you pop your head through the tent flaps, its not long before you find a neighbour – usually of the non-human kind. The woods have the largest resident badger population in West Wales, rabbits work like natural hedge trimmers, nuzzling along the meadow edges and, if your particularly lucky, otters can sometimes be spotted slipping into Afon Dulas, a charmingly peaceful stream that runs along the southern edge of the site.
Once part of the huge Ffynone Estate, which was split up in the late 50s, the campsite is located on quaint Penralt Farm. The 18th-century farmstead still has chickens scratching around outside and three kunekune pigs that grey the line between pet and farm-animal. Within the Georgian farm sheds, house martins too and fro by day, while rare breed of bat (the farm hosts 5 of the UK's 17 bat species) also nest within the eves. Slightly separate from the other farm buildings, a Dutch Barn has been converted for camper's use as a covered picnic area. It has tables, hammocks and a stash of games for anyone to use – a handy place to mull over the mapped out walking route that leads you into the trees to the enchantingly named ‘secret waterfall’.
In all, Top of the Woods has an almost fictional feel; a countryside atmosphere embodied in books and paintings of the past. Like a care-free kid from the famous five you can delve into the woods in search of adventure or play cricket in the meadows and picnic in the sun. The Pembrokeshire location may often be the reason campers first arrive – a valuable attraction in itself – but by the time they leave many find they’ve hardly left the campsite at all, such is its size, shape and sheer space that's there to get lost in!
Care-free Welsh camping with acres of space, excellent walks and a beautiful woodland on the doorstep.
Care-free Welsh camping with acres of space, excellent walks and a beautiful woodland on the doorstep.
Care-free Welsh camping with acres of space, excellent walks and a beautiful woodland on the doorstep.
The Owner Says
(info supplied by the campsite)
After a fabulous 2016 season, with highlights for us including launching our Yoga Breakfast Club, Bushcraft and Nature Discovery and campfire storytelling activities, winning 2 awards for sustainable tourism, getting featured in The Guardian as the best UK campsite with Yoga, and most importantly, seeing the nature inspired happiness Top Of The Woods brought to our guests, we certainly won’t be resting on our laurels for 2017!
We’re working extra hard over the off season to create a host of new facilities and enhancements for 2017, including;
- a new Pioneer Lodge meadow, so we’ll be offering an even broader range of glamping experiences after the popularity of our bell tents and safari lodges in 2016
- an Explorers Hub, with lots of local information, maps, resources, itineraries, daily updates etc.
- improved toilet and shower facilities, with hot sinks for washing\shaving at the main toilet block, and more in-field facilities including hot showers in the safari lodge and pioneer lodge meadows
- a hammock garden and relaxation garden adjacent to our Dutch Barn communal space
- more facilities for the Dutch Barn, including an ice block freezer, a microwave for warming baby food, and more games for the games box
- more covered drying lines for clothes and kit, and more charging points
- A new camp kitchen for our bell tent meadow, and a host of enhancements for our bell tents and safari lodges
- Improving the track to our site and more car parking spaces
We can’t wait to welcome our guests back for the new season, to enjoy everything that already made Top Of The Woods such a special place and everything we’ve been busy doing over winter to make it even more so.
Reviews of Top Of The Woods
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Top of the woods is an
ideal site for campers looking for a back to basics stay (there are very luxurious tents for glamping as well). Located a
few miles from Cardigan near the village of Boncath It is centered
around their 300 year old farmhouse, ideal with spectacular views
from the tent fields. We were curious about the inspiration for the
name until we took the walk mapped out by Sue herself. Part of the
walk takes you along the ridge of a valley from which you can see
the top of the trees from your own level, that explains the name.
The site is widely spaced with plenty of room to spread out and the attitude of the owners is very laid back That said, they were genuinely welcoming and inclusive. This was clearly demonstrated by the feature of the Dutch Barn, a common area used for get together s. Here we experienced a home cooked barbecue (all local produce) and a breakfast with the best coffee weI had tasted during our entire holiday! They really couldn't have been more helpful, giving advice on local amenities and reception was fully equipped with information pamphlets. Their Wheaten Terrier was also very enthusiastic!
Sue and John were clearly committed to the local area and it's residents, using local products and services wherever possible. Their non-authoritative commitment to recycling have also inspired me to be more environmentally aware now that I am back home.
Last weekend me, my husband and dog Giant escaped to Top of the woods in search of daydreaming time and a much needed retreat from the city. Living in Wales we never need to go far to find the right kind of escapism - mountains, lakes, beaches and meadows are at most a couple of hours drive (we are very lucky). Heading out in the van and taking in the beautifull scenery we made our way to a new campsite we hadnt yet tried. Weve been to a fair few and can honestly say that this place is something special. The cost of camping isnt the cheapest (you can wild camp with no facilities for about £8 a night) but you can also spend £25 a night by the beach and not have anything more than a tap and a loo. Top of the Woods pitch your own is £20 a night and well worth it. There are two beautiful meadow fields to camp in and after a tour of the facilites we got to pick where we wanted to go. Each field has its own compost toilet (which is clean and really easy to use exactly like a normal toilet - nothing to fear)
The actual location is wonderful, loads of walks to go on, through woods and along the river and Soo and John have a really cute secret waterfall map which is well worth adventuring to.
The whole site is great, really well organised - the carpark is the first one we've been to that has wheelbarrows ready and waiting for you to use (free of charge) and it is pretty close to where you camp, but not close enough to ruin any view of the space around you.
Our favourite thing was the Dutch barn, a great structure that they have used to create a social space, at night its lit with strings of light bulbs and all the furniture is hand crafted and beautiful - we booked on to have a BBQ on the Saturday night and had the most delicous food - they catered for me being vegetarian with some wonderful (i think carrot and squash) burgers, aubergine, and halloumi as well as an array of salads and hot sauces!
Soo and John also offer breakfasts, yoga, bushcraft and walks with their dog Dylan (who if you have seen Fraggle Rock is the spitting image of Sprocket!) You can also hire your own fire pits / bbqs or join people by the communal fire pit in the courtyard.
Everything is super welcoming, Soo and John do ALOT to make sure guests are comfortable and happy and id recommend giving them a try. Great value, great location, loads of extra little touches and a really honest place. We look forward to returning and seeing it grow :)
I have just returned from 4 nights at Top of the Woods and it really is a special place. It was far more than a campsite it was a real community. Jon and Soo work tirelessly to ensure that the guests are happy and their dedication shows in the site. They talk about it as a work in progress and based on what they have achieved so far this could be unbeatable.
It is not the cheapest campsite you will find but you do get what you pay for, limited numbers mean that the site feels tranquil and you can pitch where you like, the facilities are basic but clean, the dutch barn is a great addition and we joined the owners and campers for breakfast one day and their BBQ on Saturday night. All well prepared and a real fun atmosphere.
It is worth noting that this is a no vehicle site, you park just before the entrance and then have to wheelbarrow your gear to the fields. Now this is a bit of work and can become annoying whilst doing it but the pay back is well worth it, children can be left to run free with no worries about cars and it keeps the site very tranquil.
The location is stunning, the waterfall is well worth the walk with all three children fully enjoying the crystal clear water (despite the lack of swimwear!) There are beaches only a short drive away and so much to do that we could have happily filled 4 weeks rather than 4 days.
I cannot recommend this site enough, we will certainly be going back and all the new friends we met said the same. If you are reading this review then book and go, go as soon as you can and enjoy some time and one of the nicest sites I have ever visited.
I picked Top of the Woods on a whim really and am so glad that I did. It's a beautiful site with its own woodlands, and the owners Jon and Soo were both kind and welcoming. I managed to get there entirely by public transport (took a little research, mostly using google, but doable.) And on arrival wa given a warm welcome by Jon, a tour of the site and facilities, and the option of where to pitch. I was also given maps and information on local walking including a map of the local woodland walk (did that on Sunday and it was beautiful, and included a little waterfal.). The site itself is lovely - I chose the meadow field with its lovely view over the hills. The bus from the local village, Boncath, into Cardigan is at times that are useful for those without a car, and from Cardigan its about an hour walk down to Popit sands which is a beautiful sandy beach. I would definitely recommend Top of the Woods to anyone looking for a woodland escape; good walking, lovely views and lovely people!
I picked Top of the Woods after (way too many) hours of checking out campsites online, and was so pleased that I did! My other half and I drove down straight after work on Friday, keen for a weekend in the countryside. We were met by Jon and Soo as we arrived, were given the guided tour and the option of where we wanted to pitch. Being the last weekend of the season, it was awesomely quiet, so we ended up with a field to ourselves, overlooking the hills, and surrounded by trees, but only a few seconds walk to the facilities. We hunkered down with our fire pit and some logs Jon sorted out for us, and listened to the sounds of the owls and the falls. Saturday night we opted for the BBQ which was amazing! Exactly what we needed after a day of stomping, so much delicious food and great company in the dutch barn. We finished the night off with another chill in front of the fire pit watching the stars, the sky is so clear here, you can literally see millions, it was magical. We had brekkie provided by Soo and Jon on Sunday morning, which was amazing, and had a natter with them and the other chap who was sharing the campsite. I was blown away by Soo and Jon's hospitality, theyre both really friendly, welcoming and nothing was too much to ask. There's the added bonus of Dylan the mutt and the mini pigs, the campsite is near enough to Newport and Cardigan and the beaches, there are some great walks nearby. I'd recommend doing Gwbert to Mwnt :) Really looking forward to seeing how the campsite evolves, if this is only the first season, Soo and Jon are on to an absolute winner, we'll definitely be back :)
My fiancé and I stayed for 3 nights earlier this week. We couldn't have asked for a more peaceful setting for a little break before our wedding. We were made to feel at home from the moment we arrived, with a personal tour of the site and explanation of various eco credentials from the owners. As we arrived after a long drive we opted to have the BBQ on Saturday night, at only £8 a head it was an absolute bargain. This was followed by an evening of relaxed drinks around a camp fire made from an old tumble dryer drum.
The Dutch Barn was great, allowing us to get out of the rain and play some badminton, jenga and cards. A really useful space which we both commented would be fantastic for weddings in the future!
We did quite a bit of walking whilst in the area, heading to the coast and getting the bus from Cardigan to Newport before walking back to Cardigan (about 17 miles, with some tricky trails) as well as the secret waterfall walk around the campsite. Both walks were great fun and there is plenty of wildlife to spot, including numerous birds of prey, rabbits and butterflies.
The facilities, although basic for the time being, were more than adequate, clean and well maintained. This ties in to the "back to basics" feel of the site, which we loved! We definitely intend to visit again, and wish we could have stayed for longer.
Myself and 5 friends stayed with Jon and Sue last weekend, eager to escape the manicured lawns of holiday-camp style sites and being enticed by the rustic charm shown in the website photos.
After a tiresome 3 hour drive after work from The Cotswolds on Friday night we couldn't have wished for a better reception. Arriving at just gone 9, we pulled up to a charming farm house and were greeted by Jon and Sue, who had been waiting for us to arrive over the beatifully cooked homemade stew (£6 each) we had ordered with them previous to our arrival.
The greeting was incredibly warming, and combined with the surrounding forestry and the miles of rolling hills we instantly felt the stress of our office jobs drain away. Jon and Sue had put us in our own field so we had complete privacy and we soon made ourselves at home with our tents opening out to the incredible views.
The dutch barn is a really special addition to the site, creating a space that resonates the relaxed social areas you come across in travelling hostels across the world. Benches made from the wood of the surrounding forest, and a hammock big enough for a couple create the perfect atmosphere for socialising between yourselves, with your 'neighbours', and even with Jon and Sue who also joined us for a drink.
There are a few beaches within 10 minutes of the site, which Jon and Sue (as well as any other locals you ask) will be able to recommend. This is, however, where a car would be handy as the site is a little out of the way (which is key to its charm). If you're lucky like us you may even spot some dolphins! If you did want to stick to the site, you would be more than entertained during your stay. The site is surrounded by a beautifully picturesque forest that could be the design of your favourite fairytale. Jon and Sue have created a hand drawn map that takes you on a 1-2 hour walk on forest paths lined with majestic trees. The walk is broken up by the magical 'secret waterwall', which could provide hours of entertainment alone- It's deep enough to swim and the surrounding area has been adorned with rope swings and picnic benches.
We were all incredibly impressed by both the warm welcome of Jon and Sue and the wonderful place they've managed to create in just a year- their passion is reflected in every aspect of the site. This site isn't for those that want loud boozy evenings and close-by shopping but if you're looking for somewhere a little bit special and back to nature then Top of the Woods definitely won't disappoint.
Myself and 7 friends stayed here over the last weekend. Its a beautiful and very rural site. Its not easily accessible without a car although it is do able. We had to get a taxi from Clunderwen which cost us £50 one way (our lifts car over heated) . However the site itself is beautiful.
Jon and Soo have set up a couple of fields to try and give bigger groups there own space. The facilities are good. Hot showers/portaloos and a Dutch barn which is great for socialising in the evening and when the bad weather hits.
They offer a bacon sandwich / veggie sandwich for breakfast served with fresh ground coffee /tea fruit juice (£5).
Over the weekend they also offer a BBQ £8 a head. Which had a lot of choice for the meat eaters and the veggies in our party seemed happy to. I would say the bbq felt better value for money. But overall the food on offer was good and of a Hugh quality.
Jon and soo are very welcoming gave us lots of information on the local walks.
There is a pub and small shop about 1.5 miles up the road.
The site is perfect for families as there are great facilities in the way of the showers and loos in each field. Defo worth a look if your in the area.
Food & Drink
Meadow Camping Prices: £20 per night and £25 per weekend night (Fri/sat/sun), including 2 guests, 1 car space, up to 2 dogs. Extras: adult £10; child £5 (>14yr); infants free (>2yr). Awning or gazebo £3 per night
Bell Tent Prices: From £55 per night (medium season) to £80 (high season), with a 2 night minimum stay. They come fully furnished and include 1 car space. No dogs are allowed inside the bell tents, but you can bring your own pup tents for £5 per night (max 2)
Pioneer Lodges Prices: From £70 (medium season) to £100 (high season) with a 2-Night minimum stay. They come fully furnished and include 1 car space. Dogs are £5 per night each (max 2)
Safari Lodge Prices: From £90 (medium season) to £150 (high season) with a 2-night minimum stay for 4 guests. They come fully furnished and include 1 car space. Extras: adult £25 child £15 infants free, Dogs £5 per night each (max 2)
Group Hire: For, group booking contact firstname.lastname@example.org for prices and availability
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