April? Camping? But not as you know it!
Liz Bird a freelance travel writer for The Times, headed to Pembrokeshire in April for a spot of family camping.
The prospect of camping in Great Britain at Easter would normally fill me with dread. But my husband and two daughters (10-year old Eleanor and Bea, 8) had none of those qualms as we arrived at Fforest, set in 200 acres a few miles south of Cardigan, on a drizzly April day with our friends. And that’s because we weren’t just staying in a bog standard canvas tent but had booked a Campshack, a new concept in luxury camping ideal for two families or a group of friends holidaying together.
When it was sunny, we sat on our elevated wooden deck and soaked up the rays, had a barbecue and drank in the views of the Preseli hills as the kids built a den in the woods. When it rained, we retreated to our cosy 'Shack', a sort of posh hut with a woodburning cooker that kept the room wonderfully warm, a fully equipped kitchen (with electricity and running water) and a long table where we ate, played board games and generally put the world to rights.
And the creature comforts didn’t stop when we went to bed. On each side of the shack are two bell tents with comfy beds and super warm sleeping bags. The only slight discomfort was the one-minute walk to one of the world’s most stylish (and eco-friendly) campsite toilet blocks, complete with power showers. We passed some of Fforest's equally cutting-edge camping accommodation: geodesic domes. These light-filled, space-age looking tents come with wood floors, proper beds adorned with gorgeous Welsh blankets, solar lights and that all-important woodburning stove. Situated on a raised wooden deck, they also have a covered cooking and eating area with everything you need.
Whatever accommodation you choose at Fforest, no one has to worry about making breakfast; it's included in the price. Each morning we headed to the Lodge, the hub of the campsite, where we tucked into homemade granola, fresh bread and local eggs and chatted to other guests around the long table next to the woodburner.
Fforest's friendly staff arranged some superb activities including canoeing along the nearby River Teifi Gorge where we kept our eyes peeled for kingfishers and otters before mooring beneath the ruined Cilgerran Castle to skim stones. But our most memorable day was coasteering. After donning winter wetsuits, we jumped into the water, climbed up rocks – some of us even leapt 20ft from a cliff into the brilliantly blue sea - along Pembrokeshire's spectacular coastline.
After warming up in Fforest's wood-fired sauna, we sipped local cider and recounted the day's adventures with other guests in the tiny 200-year-old stone-built pub. At the end of the evening, we didn’t have to worry about retiring to a chilly tent as our woodburner had kept everything toasty warm.
In Britain, whatever the weather, a little bit of Fforest-style luxury makes the prospect of the great outdoors that little bit more attractive.
Looking for other camping options? how about 6 cool campsites with cracking coastal views or inspire your imagination with unusual places to lay your head in Pembrokeshire.
Camping is not just for summer!