‘Away from it all’, ‘a wonderful sea view’, ‘an idyllic location’ and ‘well-maintained’ are all terms that can be fairly applied in a bid to describe Cae Du. But it’s not enough, and to see this place for the first time, approaching from the north, on the A493, your little heart skips a beat or two. For there, a couple of hundred yards below, lying right next to the sea, with an unspoilt landscape enveloping the site, is the campsite of your dreams.
It looks like a place that has become detached from the real world and it proves to be just that. If all you want from your camping break is a sea view and an escape from the mad world we all live in, then this is the perfect place to unwind to the rhythms of the waves and the tides. ‘Idyllic’ is a word that is used far too often, but it sums up the situation of Cae Du as no other word can.
But while Cae Du is an escape route from the rat race, it isn’t so far removed that there is nothing else to do, if staring out to sea doesn’t hold your attention for the entire holiday. Or if the children start walking around with placards round their necks protesting their need for action. Or if the weather turns a bit wild on this exposed stretch of coastline – which it can do.
It’s about a mile to the nearest station on foot and from there a whole new world awaits you: Shrewsbury, which must be one of the most handsome old towns in Britain; a short hop of three miles to link up with the very scenic Talyllyn Railway; or in the other direction there are all manner of destinations. The small, time-warp seaside resort of Barmouth (Abermaw) is one such stop travelling north – it still has donkeys strolling the enormous beach and colourful swingboats rocking back and forth.
The Mawddach Trail, which follows the course of the disused railway from Morfa Mawddach, near Fairbourne, to Dolgellau, is one of the most enchanting walks (or bike rides) anywhere and, with tide ebbing and flowing, the place never looks the same from one minute to the next.
And this is the thing – whatever you want to do with your camping break, it won’t be far from Cae Du, even though it seems to be placed in another world.
3 of 3 readers found this review useful.
I've been going to this campsite for over ten years now and have had some amazing times there! Location is amazing and sunsets to die for and of course the camp fires that are allowed make this site something rather special! But in the last two years my thoughts have changed somewhat. Whenever we go even within the same year the prices are always different!!!!!! I'm sure they just make them up of the top of their head. The owner can be rather abrupt at times. Last year we checked in and paid up front in cash. We then went to pitch our tent and halfway through the farmer came bowling over his first words being "have you paid" not "hello guys, good journey down?". We we told him we had, he simply jumped in his landy, slammed the door and sped off! Nice welcome! The toilets and showers need refurbishing and the owner now insists you pitch on top of each other – all this is down to greed, greed, greed!
The campsite has enjoyed a rise in popularity recently due to an excellent reveiw in a camping magazine, Given the obscene amounts of cash this guy must have going through his fingers every season (and trust me I've counted well over 120 tents sometimes) at an average of £30 a night! Well over £3500 a night, the least he could do is put a smile on his face and even just pretend to like us campers for the weekend, not to mention ploughing some money back into the tired overpriced showerblocks. It's such a shame to see things have changed so much recently.
2 of 2 readers found this review useful.
Been going here for years and made some really good friends from fellow campers who also appreciate what Cae Du gives you. Yes, it`s not cheap and facilities are basic.......and I hope that more people stay away because of it, because I can then get back to enjoying the most idyllic back to nature camp site with fewer people coming!! This is my favourite campsite in the world and I would pay double for the joy it gives me every year.
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
Just got back from bank holiday weekend at this campsite. The weather wasn't great but we had a great time. The view from the campsite is fantastic. On Sunday night we watched the sun set on the horizon, it looked like the sky was on fire. It was nice to see all of the camp fires light up the night. We got the train into wales, Tonfanau station is approx 20min walk from campsite. You can walk across the top of the costal path direct into the camp. We would deffinaltely go back to this site.
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
1 of 1 readers found this review useful.
I agree with earlier post, this site is going downhill. We have been several time's in the past, but the 3 times we have been this year have been poor. The 1st time the site had only been open 3 day's & the 2 shower's in the gents had broken shower heads (which were the same as when we last visited the site in Oct), the road down was a spring breaker, and the field was covered in sheep poo. The cost of £7.50 per person plus £1 for a luke warm shower is not very good.
We have just returned from our last 2 nights and again faulty shower heads & lukewarm water, tents so close it is a fire hazard & when you complain all you get is take it or leave it.
The site is in a great spot & will always be busy but if the owners (they are farmers who are always busy) do not have the time to run the site properly then they should employ someone or stop taking money off people for what is starting to be substandard.
This used to be a fantastic campsite, until it began to great reviews on sites like this. Now it's cramped, crowded and the owners are often grumpy and unfriendly as they are harrassed by people who don't treat them or the site with respect.
Our last 2 visits were awful, first we had to camp so close to neighbouring tents that ours was scorched by sparks from their fire. (We moved the tent further away but were told by the owner to move back in the morning). On our last visit we vowed never to return (after nearly 20 years) as loud music until 3am kept us awake and the number of generators running all night (so campers could watch tv and run their fridges) spoilt what used to be a quiet, peaceful, friendly place to spend the weekend.
Even the stunning views, spectacular sunsets, proximity to beach and regular visits from dolphins and seals swimming by can't compensate for the noise, dirt and crush.
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Take the coastal rail service to Tonfanau then hop into a taxi or brave the mile-long walk on foot.
This isn’t ideal pubcrawling territory, but 3 miles away at Bryncrug, the Peniarth Arms (01654 711505) does decent pub grub. A few miles further towards Dolgellau, at Penmaenpool, the George III Hotel (01341422525) boasts a cosy bar, an exceptional restaurant and scenic location overlooking the Mawddach Estuary. It also has good rooms.
If it rains
There are several train rides near by; from Tonfanau station, 1 mile south of the campsite, the scenic Cambrian Coast service (08457 484950 [rail only info]) runs to Pwllheli in one direction and Shrewsbury in the other; the Fairbourne Railway (01341 250362) and the Talyllyn Railway (01654 710472). Or if it’s really pouring, head to the little cinema in Tywyn (01654 710260) and catch a film.