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Care-free Welsh camping with acres of space, excellent walks and a beautiful woodland on the doorstep

It’s very easy to get lost at Top of the Woods Campsite. Not in the literal sense – owners Soo and Jon give you a map on arrival – but lost in the more airy-fairy, do as you care-y sort of way. The atmosphere is one so laid back it’s almost horizontal, the flittering of bird and wildlife enlivens every acre, and the light, white-grey wisps of campfire smoke give that essential campsite feel that holiday parks just can’t contend with. No, there’s something lose-yourself special at Top of the Woods.

All the same, when we talk in the literal, this is a sizeable patch of land. Spread over 27 acres, campers here aren’t exactly short of space. And, as if to add to it all, where the corner of the site feathers into a mature flank of oak trees, the gargantuan Ffynone Wood begins - a vast 325 acres of forest - much of which is now a designated SSSI.

The varied accomodation comprises of two large camping meadows (with just 30 pitch-where-you-want spots spread over more than 10 acres), 1 bell tent meadow with 5 fully-furnished bell tents, 4 luxury safari lodges and 9 so-called pioneer camps (posher, more spacious bell tents really). There are no electrical hook-ups which means the campsite has a rustic, traditional atmosphere, something accentuated by the fact cars are parked by the entrance with wheelbarrows for trucking in your gear.

When you pop your head through the tent flaps, its not long before you find a neighbour – usually of the non-human kind. The woods have the largest resident badger population in West Wales, rabbits work like natural hedge trimmers, nuzzling along the meadow edges and, if your particularly lucky, otters can sometimes be spotted slipping into Afon Dulas, a charmingly peaceful stream that runs along the southern edge of the site.

Once part of the huge Ffynone Estate, which was split up in the late 50s, the campsite is located on quaint Penralt Farm. The 18th-century farmstead still has chickens scratching around outside and three kunekune pigs that grey the line between pet and farm-animal. Within the Georgian farm sheds, house martins too and fro by day, while rare breed of bat (the farm hosts 7 of the UK's 17 bat species) also nest within the eves. Slightly separate from the other farm buildings, a Dutch Barn has been converted for camper's use as a covered picnic area. It has tables, hammocks and a stash of games for anyone to use – a handy place to mull over the mapped out walking route that leads you into the trees to the enchantingly named ‘secret waterfall’.

In all, Top of the Woods has an almost fictional feel; a countryside atmosphere embodied in books and paintings of the past. Like a care-free kid from the famous five you can delve into the woods in search of adventure or play cricket in the meadows and picnic in the sun. The Pembrokeshire location may often be the reason campers first arrive – a valuable attraction in itself – but by the time they leave many find they’ve hardly left the campsite at all, such is its size, shape and sheer space that's there to get lost in!

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The campsite owner says

Places like Penrallt Farm are a rare and special thing in today's world. Penrallt loosely translates from the Welsh as "top of the woods", and is our 27 acre Georgian farm in the stunning unspoilt Teifi Valley in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.

Our mission is to inspire through nature and to be the best loved eco-holiday business in Wales!  Everything we do is inspired by creating something which is sustainable, enriching and unique.

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