Priory Mill Farm

UK Wales Mid Wales Powys Brecon

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Good walks nearby
Riverside camping, close to Brecon

What do you do when you visit Brecon for the first time and see an old dilapidated farmhouse and mill sitting lonely on the banks of a river? Buy it, that’s what. Well, that’s what Susie and Noel Gaskell did almost 10 years ago and they haven’t looked back. But then, we’re not sure who would in a location like this.

Across the river, woodland belonging to Brecon Priory boasts a rainbow of flowers peaking out through the trees and bushes. And the Grade II*-listed (think a GCSE A-grade) old stone mill itself stands grandly at the curve of the river, a relic of Wales’s bygone corn- and flour-milling past. Priory Mill is the last one of an original 12 that used to grace the river banks of this area. The others, including the one at Trericket have all been converted into one type of accommodation or another. But Priory Mill, which stopped grinding in the 1930s after the wheel was washed away, is the one exception, thanks to the Gaskells. They fought off developers wishing to buy and convert it, so that they could slowly restore it to its former working glory.

A furniture craftsman by trade, Noel is passionate about the restoration and is keen to demonstrate that it is still possible to build things as well as they did 300 years ago, when this mill was first constructed. It’s a slow process, though, partly because they are trying to keep the work as natural as possible. This is partly to protect the rare lesser horseshoe bats that use the river as a motorway, who like to snooze and have their young in the mill’s rafters (doing so even when the mill was running).

But these winged, nocturnal creatures aren’t the only guests at Priory Mill, which offers a holiday cottage to rent in the old stables as well as camping in the long, narrow field on the river bank. There are no pitches as such – you are encouraged to set up camp wherever you please, such is the laidback, to horizontal, nature of the place.

Priory Mill really couldn’t be better located for camping in and exploring the Brecon Beacons National Park. Its very own section of river, access onto the Beacons range for walking, cycling and red-kite spotting and minimal distance into town combine in a boredom-defying choice of things for campers to see and do. If only there were more places like this for sale, Cool Camping wouldn’t be able to resist buying one, either.

Details

Facilities

A clean block, hand-built by Noel, with 2 showers and 4 loos (2 each for girls and boys). Metal trays are available to borrow for fires and you can buy firewood and sustainable charcoal (from a local supplier who doesn’t use chemicals) onsite, too. There’s a ‘log seat’ collection for campers to borrow for a dry seat.

Food & Drink

The recently opened Gurkha Corner Nepalese restaurant is run by an ex-Gurkha soldier and his family and serves tasty fare  Alternatively, head to the Felin Fach Griffin (01874 620111) – a 10-minute drive. It’s pretty pricey, but the food is sumptuous and they offer an à la carte menu – 3 courses for £27.50.

Opening Times

Mar–Oct.

The Owner Says

If you want a truly special, small, secluded place to camp, this stunning riverside meadow will provide it. The level, grassy field meanders alongside the river offering plenty of space and privacy. The only buildings visible are the traditional stone built farmhouse and watermill. The nearby road is unclassified and quiet, so the only noises are the gentle swirling of the river, the inquisitive hens and sometimes the Tawny Owls at night. Locally produced charcoal and firewood is provided, plus metal trays, enabling that long-lost, essential ingredient of traditional camping, a campfire, to be experienced.

Location

Contact Priory Mill Farm, Priory Mill, Hay Road, Brecon, Powys LD3 7SR

Show Map

Getting There

A40 to Brecon, then travel through the town following the ‘through traffic’ signs to get on to the ‘Struet’ road heading northeast out of Brecon towards Hay. Stay on the Struet, keeping the River Honddu on your left. Not long after you’ve left town and start ascending a hill you’ll see a sign for the campsite on the left. If using Sat Nav put just the postcode in LD3 7SR (and not the road name as well or you may get taken to Talgarth - same road but 6 miles away!) Coach to Brecon, then a 10-minute walk to the site.

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