‘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.
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A warm, friendly site, nothing too much for the owners who were extremely helpful and friendly. Excellent facilities kept spotlessly clean. An up-to-date folder was available in the washroom detailing local walks and places of interest. Very useful indeed. A friendly atmosphere was clearly evident. Fantastic sunsets, wonderful night skies, a busy but quiet site with plenty to do and see. Dolphins and seals were an added bonus. Will definitely visit again.
We picked a week at random to tour the coast of Wales and it turned out to be a week of Mediterranean weather, this campsite was stunning. Swimming in the cool, turquoise sea (seriously), enjoying the shearwaters playing at night, watching the stars around the campfire. The hosts were warm and fun. The facilities more than adequate. Little piece of heaven.
My boyfriend and I went camping for the first time ever a few weeks ago and we picked Cae Du for our first experience of the outside lifestyle. The site was very easy to find and well sign posted. We arrived just after 7.45pm and the owner was very prompt in coming out to great us. We were charged £16.00 for the two of us and one brown chocolate Labrador named Ben for one night, which we thought was great but as I mentioned we are novices so have no idea of the usual going rate. We were directed down to the camping field through a very quaint little bridge only to find a magical sea view. We pitched just in time for the sunset over the sea with a large dissorano and coke in one hand and each others hands in the other. Perfect! We had a lovely stay but one word of advice remember your wind break as on Saturday morning we were nearly blown away. The town of Barmouth is lovely even in the rain, half of the beach is dog friendly too which is great for all you dog owners, oh and you just have to visit The Little Mermaid fish and chip shop, just opposite the train line as you walk into town, you really wont of eaten better fish and chips anywhere. Enjoy your stay
Stayed here Sunday 21 July in VW Camper and we're quite new to camping as have only stayed on 1 site prior to this; we loved it. The coastal views right on top of the sea and cliffs etc were fab, it had a good atmosphere around the site and there were ready-made stone and rock camp-fire's to use (you can buy wood from the farm).
We had a bike ride around the coast (which was a challenge as it's very hilly in the area), seen some seals around the coast and the views were amazing, the fantastic weather made all the difference; spent some time exploring Barmouth and some delcious fish n chips before heading back to Cae Du for the afternoon to laze in the hot sun with a beer before our BBQ and camp-fire as the sun set. Apparently the atmosphere the previous night (Saturday) was brilliant with all the campfires burning and a great vibe, so would include a Saturday night when we go back.
The toilets and showers were basic but clean, with adequate indoor dishwashing area and an indoor chilling area.
The campsite is approx 5 miles from Barmouth a lovely little seaside resort with great beach (over the Mawddach footbridge) and 4 miles from Athog where there is a great bike track which goes from Barmouth to Dolgellau.
We have just come back from 3 day's at this site. We come here every year normally towards the end of the season, however this year we decided to go at the start of the season.
What a disappointment. It was £7.50 per person per night in a tent, not to bad what we paid last year, however the field was covered in sheep mess, we had to spend 30mins clearing an area before we could put our tent up, only to find later in the day after going out coming back to find sheep all round our tent and a load more mess to clean up. The showers (which cost £1 a go) in the gents had a broken shower head on which was like that in September last year while we where there. When we mentioned all this to the owner he just shrugged and walked off.
It is a beautiful place which seems to be falling behind and relying on the past good reviews this site has had, and needs a bit of investment back, hence while we where there 3 other people said they wouldn't come back until they invest.
I have given it 3 stars because of this, a shame,
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.
3 of 3 readers found this review useful.
3 of 3 readers found this review useful.
My experience of this campsite was very good. You've read all about the location and it's all true. Views are great, there's nothing else around in the area (although trains do pass right by the campsite in the daytime) and you can have fires/bbqs/whatever you want. In fact, there seems to be almost no supervision of the campsite at all, which you may view as good or bad. There are certainly no noise/fire wardens! I went at a bit of a strange time - I arrived on the Bank Holiday Monday as everyone was leaving! So although it was only half full when I got there, by mid morning it was virtually empty, so I could pick one of the best spots with a view of the sea/sunset. The facilities I found to be above average - good showers (yes, they cost a pound but it buys you plenty of time at a nice consistent temperature), clean toilets and sinks. Clearly I went went when there was no-one there, so I can imagine it *could* get messy/muddy at peak times and in the rain, but what campsite toilet wouldn't? Sheep were roaming free in the field - not a problem to me but when it's packed the mess might be an issue. The people running it were pleasant to me - didn't get off to the best start when I was a bit confused as to where to park up to go and check in/pay and tried to go through the gate, but when they realised I wasn't trying to get in for free, they were fine! I don't think customer service is their thing - they're not hosts or all smiles/pleasantries but they answered all questions, helped me out with a couple of tourist enquiries and that's all I can ask, really. They're there to look after their farm and I suppose when it's really busy they could get exasperated with running the whole thing (from the sounds of some reviews) but I think they're good people, just not customer service reps! If your expectations are realistic, you won't be disappointed!
Overall, then, I think if it's sunny and warm and quiet, like it was for me, then you will have a great and relaxing time. If you try to go camping on a bank holiday on a wet/cold weekend, along with half of Britain, then expect to have issues with pitches/toilets/mess just like any other campsite you may have chosen to visit! I think some of the reviews here fail to seperate the campsite from the actual issues (trying to go camping when everyone else is!) and criticise it unduly.
I'll be back sometime. A more welcoming approach and maybe a few less sheep would make it 5/5 but I hope you'll have a great time too.
1 of 1 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.
Might be worth Cool Camping please updating the information this site: it currently says that a tent + 2 adults costs £10. However, I've just called this site to see if they have any availability for the August Bank Holiday weekend. I wanted to stay with my partner, in our 4m bell tent. The lady was vague and unenthusiastic. After some deliberations with her colleague in the background, she came back and said that they would charge us £30.00 per night to camp! When I asked on what basis this had been calculated, I was told that a normal 2-man tent would cost £15.00 and a "family" tent £25.00... Seems they just make the prices up as they go along, to get as much off you as they can. Despite the pictures (this site looks gorgeous), this call seemed to confirm many of the reviews that suggest this site is unfriendly and over-priced, so I decided not to bother staying here!
0 of 1 readers found this review useful.
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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.
Food & Drink
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.
Take the coastal rail service to Tonfanau then hop into a taxi or brave the mile-long walk on foot.