Bwlchgwyn Farm, which doubles up as a pony-trekking centre, is a fantastically located campsite clinging to the edge of Snowdonia National Park. Obviously this is a bonus for riders who don’t have far to venture for a daily hack, but even without horses this unfussy campsite comes highly recommended. Stand at the top level and you’ve majestic panoramas of Fairbourne’s long, sandy beach, the Mawddach Estuary and bustling Barmouth (Abermaw). If you tire of this picture-book scene (and you really won’t), there’s so much to do, right on your doorstep, that you’ll have a truly action-packed holiday, should you want one.
Families love the two-mile Blue Flag sandy beach and the rockpools. Shallow tides here mean that the water’s edge is just a short walk from wherever you throw down your towels, which the youngsters like. Surfers love the tides that come swishing in and out of Tremadog Bay, further north, while equestrian fans soon make a beeline for Bwlchgwyn Farm’s huge barn stable, where the guided rides set out from. The site is equally a winner among groups of friends; those breathtaking views from that top land open up an expansive, airy freedom that sets the perfect scene and pace for a memorable camping party.
There’s a mobile shower unit for campers, and a concrete shower block by the caravan park which is used as overflow. If you like to preen and gloss your body daily then perhaps just book in for a long weekend. However long you stay, a horse ride along the beach is a must. Sign up for the daily rides that wend slowly on to the beach. No experience is necessary; beginners can join the slowmoving queue, while experienced riders can join the faster hacks.
Fairbourne village has all you need: post office, grocer, butcher and a fabulous Indian restaurant. It even has the Fairbourne Railway mini steam train shuttling people past Cardigan Bay beaches and the Mawddach Estuary, under the mountains of Snowdonia to Barmouth Ferry Station, from where you can catch a boat to Barmouth. If that’s whet your appetite for locomotive travel then spend a day out with the Cambrian (0845 128 4680) and watch the stunning Welsh coastline unfold before you.
Very steep site and not 'slightly elevated' as described on the web page. The wheels on our motorhome were spinning and struggling to find grip on the way up to the pitch. The views are as described but this is because you are sited half way up a very steep hillside. As a keen mountain biker I found that I could not even cycle up the path as just too steep. Walking down to and back-up from the toilet block leaves you out of breath.
Having parked-up we headed off on our bikes to the beach. Unfortunately the footpaths described are actually only cattle tracks through fields with livestock, mud, poo, rubbish and long grass. We gave up on this and then foolishly tried cycling along the main road on which the site is located. Very fast and busy road and we took our lives in our hands doing so. There are no pavements or cycle tracks in this part of the country for some reason.
On returning after about 3 hours we found that our electric hook-up lead had been disconnected. When I spoke to the Farmer/Owner he told me that it was their policy to disconnect caravans during the day. When I told him that this was unacceptable given we had paid for hook-up and that I now had a fridge full of BBQ meat that was steadily getting warm he became quite rude and agressive, asking what the big deal was and had this policy not been explained on arrival (which it had not). This is the first site in the UK we have ever visited which has stated such a daft policy.
We also found that there was only 1 toilet and 1 shower (dirty and old) for approx 20 caravans and tents so there is a long wait in the morning/night.
Also as a farm site we were plagued by flys from arrival.
We had booked in for 2 nights but stayed only 1 and left as soon as possible the next morning. Each to their own but I would not recommend this site.
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Trains run to Morfa Maddach (change at Machynlleth if coming from Birmingham or London) then the site owners can pick you up. Or take a train to Twyn or Dolgellau, where buses run past Fairbourne beach stopping near the campsite.
The Last Inn at Barmouth is a 15th century original turned gastro pub, where you can watch the world go by from intimate outdoor tables set among potted flowers.
If it rains
Get noshing. The bijou Indiana Cuisine run by a former Bollywood superstar Mayur Verma is one hell of a tasty restaurant situated at the entrance of Fairbourne (3, Beach Road, Fairbourne, Gwynedd LL38 2PZ; 01341 250891). Try the yellow lentils and coconut (locally reared) lamb: delicious!