For that dreamy sense of escapism that you can achieve as you disappear into the Welsh countryside spend a night or two a genuine Wigwam® Cabin for a memorable glamping experience. After an evening spent relaxing and watching the stars from your porch or gazing into the firepit, treat yourself to an amazing shower or bath, and then climb into a bed with sheets so crisp and clean you feel like you’re sleeping in a cloud. Bliss.
And, lying there, drifting off to sleep, you realise that all you can hear are the sounds of the countryside. No cars, no engines, no slamming doors or shouting pedestrians. Instead, you hear animals in the distance, the calm, soothing sounds of farm animals; sheep and cows. You can hear the insects outside, the birds and the curious night animals coming out to explore. You drift into the deepest sleep listening to the world just as nature intended: from the comfort of a top standard mattress and inside the cocoon of a wigwam cabin.
Glamping, in my opinion, is the chance to have your cake and eat it. Combining all the benefits of the great outdoors with all the luxuries that you can expect to find at a hotel, glamping brings with it a sense of authenticity and getting back to nature. Whether it’s a lodge, a chalet, a cottage, a bell tent or a Wigwam® Cabin, each site offers a new experience and a new opportunity to recharge those batteries. Great for people travelling alone and perfect for couples and families who find they can enjoy themselves better in the outdoors when they have a really comfortable bed to sleep in afterwards.
Nia Meddins and her husband Endaf are new to the glamping community. Their site opened in March 2018 in a bid to share the splendid rural beauty, adventure and flavour that Hafren provides. Set in the heart of Cambrian Mountains in Mid Wales on a working farm in Staylittle, this is the ideal glamping destination for people wanting to break free.
There is a heap of things to do from track mountain biking, sailing on Clywedog Lake, taking a walk across Glyndwr’s Way or sitting and enjoying the stunning landscape. As the Wigwam® Cabins are self-catering, it is comforting to know however that you are not too far away from civilization if you need to go in. Local towns of Newtown, Llanidloes and Machynlleth are only a drive around the corner.
“We opened on the 1st March with six Wigwam® Cabins” explains Nia. “It is going well and we are learning a great deal and learning it fast.”
The six Wigwam® Cabins are named after the local rivers, lakes and surrounding valleys: Clywedog, Glaslyn, Hyddgen, Glyndwr, Pumlumon and Sweet Lamb. Each cabin is fully equipped offering the best respite after a gruelling day of rest and recuperation while seeing nature and breathing in clean air. Each cabin includes en-suite facilities, a kitchenette, television, furniture, a double bed and wifi as standard. Additionally, two of the cabins have wood-fired hot tubs.
To date, they’ve had 58 bookings with most of the stays lasting a couple of nights at least, “The first night is good,” Nia says, “But the second is even better because you get the benefit of a full day.”
“We are a working farm about 1,000ft above sea level,” she explains, “And my husband and I had been thinking about a diversification project for a number of years to create another income stream for the farm. We considered renewable energy and even poultry farming but opted for tourism due to the area we live in. There is a lot of natural beauty to be found here and we wanted to share it.”
In November 2016, the pair of them attended a seminar with Wigwam® Holidays and decided to go for it. Nia explains why she decided on the Wigwam® Holidays Franchise: “I wanted a product that would blend in with the natural environment, something that we could use to offer some luxury high in the mountains. We had been looking at several different products and decided on Wigwam® Holidays because we get some wonderful mountain weather including snow and a lot of wind up her. This is great for outdoor activities but the product needs to be very robust. Up here tent is another word for kite.”
Nia also points out that Wigwam® Holidays provides a product that she felt she could rely on as well as being a company that she felt she could trust. She and her husband put in for planning permission on January 2017 and received it at the end of April. Ground works didn’t begin until August 2017 which is when the Wigwam® Cabins arrived. This required landscaping and turfing through the autumn and winter was a challenge; however they were ready to open by the 1st March 2018.
NEVER BET ON THE WEATHER.
Nia put a great deal of thought and effort into creating the ideal glamping experience for her guests from selecting the best cabins from a highly respected supplier to choosing the locations for each one to give an all-important sense of privacy to couples and guests. But there was one thing she couldn’t predict.
“The biggest hurdle has been the weather!” she explains, “During March we had three sets of very unusually heavy snowfall. It was up to the hedges and the road that leads to our site was totally cut off. We had to cancel several bookings in the first month which after over a year of planning and hard work was a bit of a blow.”
Now, 58 bookings later, that cold start is just a memory. What followed the winter has been a record-breaking summer with many people keen to try out the new glamping site and share in the wealth of Wales’ natural heritage.
THE BEAUTY OF SEEING THE STARS
“When guests arrive to us they always comment about the open space, the quietness and how dark the skies get and how easy it is to see the stars.” Nia reveals, “We take these things for granted as a lot of people living in the cities just don’t get to see them.”
Wigwam® Holidays Hafren creates a wonderful first impression with the guests. Nia supplies leaflets about local places and makes a point of speaking with guests, offering advice on where to travel; yet many guests don’t leave the site as it is idyllic.
“They really enjoy chilling out and just being in the outdoors and take all of the wildlife sightings and the openness,” she says, “We get a lot of keen mountain bikers as we have one of the National Trails passing the site and there are a number of routes in the Hafren Forest for them to enjoy.”
There is an industry that has grown around glamping. As a traveller, tourist or holiday seeker, there are increasingly easier ways to find the most varied and exciting locations to stay. Phone apps and websites mean that there will always be an interest in visiting a new and exciting glamping site. The trick, Nia reveals, is to keep them coming back.
“I keep my head in the game by daily updating myself with online articles and the developments of other glamping sites,” she explains, “I also pay careful attention to what the guests say. You don’t have to over complicate things, just keep things simple and impressive.”
After all, guests are staying on a working farm and have the opportunity to see what goes into running a one of them. This is an insight into an entirely different world with an entirely different pace to which many of the guests are probably accustomed.
“It is a great opportunity to experience what happens outside of a city and to really appreciate country life.” Nia concludes, “We are very privileged to be able to share it.”
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