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Riverside camping and glamping on the edge of the River Wye

It’s not clear whether it would be quicker to walk or to canoe to Hay-on-Wye. Both are possible from Racquety Farm and, just a few hundred metres from the edge of town, it takes a matter of minutes until you’re perched on a chair outside a tea shop, cuppa in hand, watching the world go by. As campsites go, few can manage such a supreme combination of tourist-town proximity and remote, countryside feel. Pitch your tent beside the bushy hedgerows and you seem hidden in the verdant Welsh wilderness. Walk across the meadows into town, however, and you’re suddenly in the bustling hive that is Hay-on-Wye in summertime.

Racquety Farm is quite an enterprise. A mix of woodland, orchards, organic crops and grazed pastures, the farm is situated directly on the banks of the River Wye – its banks are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. The result is a conscientious campsite, with plenty of recycling, composting toilets and no caravans or large motorhomes allowed. The farm is all organic and one acre is even used for the Hayfield Community Garden, a local food-growing and gardening scheme set up by the people of Hay-on-Wye.

The camping, though basic, is idyllic, in the form of roughly 60 undesignated pitches spread around the orchard or in a slightly sloping meadow, along with five geo-domes for glamping. Each of these is a different size, ranging from a four-metre dome for a couple to a ginormous six and a half metre dome that can sleep up to eight people. Each was homemade by Geoff the owner and are furnished simply but practically to create warmth and comfort for most weather conditions. Carpets, beds and bedding, wooden furnishings and electric lighting are all included. Most importantly, there’s also a cosy wood-burning stove. There are relatively simple hot-water shacks where you can do your washing up, brush teeth or take a shower and braziers are available to rent for that essential evening campfire. And there's more good news in that they have a separate two-room B&B for those who want a bit of extra home comfort.

The real appeal of Racquety Farm, though, is the river. Kingfishers and herons can be spotted and otters are known to frequent the area, along with badgers, hedgehogs, red kites, woodpeckers, dormice, bats and owls also. Ros’s son runs a well-known canoe hire company from the campsite – 'Want to Canoe?' – and you can launch your own canoes directly from the farm. Multi-day outings are highly recommended, partly for the full experience of the river and partly to give you more time in the canoe. The River Wye has popular wild swimming sites just a short walk from Racquety Farm or stick to terra ferma and wander into Hay-on-Wye. The town is just moments away and that café cuppa awaits.

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The campsite owner says

** Now taking bookings for the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts (24 May–3 June 2018). **

The views from Racquety Farm are excellent and although you will be in the countryside, the campsite is only a short walk from the charming town centre of Hay. The site boasts private access to the nearby River Wye with exclusive rights for game and coarse fishing and a canoe launch/landing point. There's a canoe hire company sited a short walk from the site, whilst fresh, seasonal fruit and veg is often available to buy as well as basic supplies like tea, coffee, sugar, milk, bacon and eggs. This 60-pitch campsite is a 'Soil Association' certificated organic farm comprised of arable pasture, orchards and woodland and the sites tranquil river bank is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

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