Top 5 wild camping spots across Wales

Daniel Start, author of the new Wild Guide Wales, chooses his favourite wild camping spots in Wales and gives you directions on how to get there.

Llyn y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons

The Black Mountain, at the far westerly end of the Brecon Beacons National Park (not to be confused with the Black Mountains to the east), is a mysterious area of sinkholes and escarpments, ancient stones and caves. There are no jagged peaks here, but two ethereal tarns hide under the summit.

Tent by a lake

Llyn y Fan Fach is the legendary home of the Lady of the Lake. She was said to rise from the lake shimmering on the first Sunday of August, and also faces north-west, perfect for a midsummer sunset. Llyn y Fan Fawr faces north-east, and is just around the corner, perfect for a morning wake-up dip. A wall of bare scree rises up on the south of both, and many miles of central Wales’ most remote interior drops away in undulating vistas to the north. Above are several summits for a high-level circular walk, returning via the lakes.

Leave A4069 between Brynamman and Llangadog, following signs for Llyn y Fan and YHA hostel at Twynllanan, and then head on to Llandeusant SA19 9UL. Continue past church 1 mile to Blaenau Farm (with camping) and on up to road end, then by foot on up track (Beacons Way).

51.8833, -3.7386


Plynlimon, Aberystwyth

Bison in field

Emptiness, wilderness and water: a land of peaks, forest and lakes, the ‘Green Desert of Wales’ is still one of the least-frequented places in Britain. High in the barren uplands of the Cambrians lies the twisting wild reservoir of Nant-y-Moch with long shale shores, many coves and an empty road hugging its southern shores. Rising above is the hulk of Plynlimon, the highest point in the Cambrians (752m) and source of both the Severn and the Wye. The road here feels like an epic journey in itself, even in a car, but follow the tracks higher for even wilder camping.

Hills and lakes



Turn off A487 Tal-y-bont by the White Lion and Black Lion, and follow signs for Nantymoch, past turning to SY24 5HL.

At top, about 5 miles from pub, bear R. Pass lovely Llyn Nantycagl on L after ½ mile, to reservoir after 2 miles.

The main beach shore is after another 2 miles; continue up to 3 miles beyond this, turning L after the dam, to explore the little island/peninsula (52.4777, -3.8120) and the flanks of Plynlimon. At the road end (gates at Maesnant), take the R track (public byway) another mile up to the Afon Hengwm.

Tents by a river

52.4706, -3.8508


Cwm Caseg tarn, Snowdonia

Tents in a valley

The far northern reaches of Snowdonia offer some of the highest mountains in England and Wales but have far fewer visitors, and those prepared to climb are rewarded with views of the coast and Anglesey. The Caseg valley is a magnificent but remote entrance to the mighty, but lesser visited Carneddau range, with quarries and a truly wild spot to camp at Cwm Caseg,this perfect mountain tarn.

From Bethesda drive beyond LL57 3UD to park at road end at pump station, then follow path east upriver for 90 minutes.

53.1656, -3.9785


Porth Iago, Lleyn Peninsula

Beach

A timeless, island feel pervades this magical and too-often overlooked peninsula. Tiny lanes lined with wildflowers lead to empty coves and rugged cliffs. Porth Iago is one of the best little beaches on the Lleyn: little known, sunset facing, sheltered, with golden sands, clear waters and an ancient hill fort lookout. You can even wild camp here - its included in the parking fee, just pay at the farm as you pass through - then roll straight out of your tent onto the sand and into the water. The rocks around are a good place for fishing so get the barbecue ready and collect some wild thyme for seasoning.

Beach



Signed 1½ mile NE of Rhoshirwaun on B4413.

Take second R after 2½ miles, then first L, signed Iago (LL53 8LP), then second track on L through Ty Mawr Farm.

Parking / camping £5.


52.8516, -4.7217


Trefalen Farm Camping, Pembrokeshire

View of the sea

Simple facilities and cold showers attract hardier campers to this superbly located set of fields right on the coastpath above Broad Haven beach. The lower camping field is a dell that leads straight to two secret coves, or you can walk along to St Govan’s head where a tiny hermitage is hidden in the cliffs. From Broad Haven a verdant path passes wildlife-rich lily ponds and leads to the Stackpole Inn, or explore along the coast to find the blue crater lagoon and several amazing sea caves.

Bosherston, SA71 5DZ, 01646 661643.

51.6071, -4.9273


Wild camping code

  • Camp high and off the beaten track on open hills and fells and well away from houses and farms.
  • Pitch your camp later in the day and leave early to minimise your visual presence.
  • Stay for one night only, to minimise your impact.
  • Leave no trace that you’ve camped.
  • Don’t light any fires and use a gas stove for cooking.
  • Toileting should be at least 30 m away from any water source or path, and waste buried at least 15cm deep and covered over. Carry paper and any sanitary items away with you.
  • Leave no litter; take away all rubbish and food scraps with you.
  • Move on respectfully, without argument if asked by a landowner to do so.
  • Don’t pollute the area with any non-eco-friendly detergents and do not use streams and rivers for washing with soaps or other washing products. Take a small bowl and dispose of this well away from any water courses.
  • Use unobtrusive coloured tents that blend in with the scenery.
  • Camp with just one or two tents; no groups.
  • Choose your pitch carefully and avoid digging ditches, trampling plants and moving rocks and stones just to accommodate your tent.
  • Be quiet.
  • If you’re in any doubt about whether you can camp, choose another location.

Discover more


Discover more hidden places to visit in Wales, Shropshire and Herefordshire with The Wild Guide Wales and Marches by Daniel Start.

This book contains over 1000 wild and hidden places to explore.

Buy your copy today and receive 20% discount and free P&P at www.wildthingspublishing.com using the discount code 'OS18' at the checkout.

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