There’s a farmer who owns a woodland on the Dulais River in south Wales. For a few quid a night he lets you pitch your tent, though he insists “there are no actual pitches”.
In the mornings we fired up our little camp stove and scoffed bacon and eggs and beans and sausages in beautiful brioche buns. Burgers and beers at sundown.
My Jetboil stove and AeroPress were fired up all day and night – tea and coffee and hot chocolate with puffy marshmallows blistered by the fire.
We tippy-toed in the river, cooling off in the sizzling 30+ degree heat, and read all day. I highly recommend Paul Theroux’s dazzlingly vivid new novel, Under the Wave at Waimea. Especially if you want to be transported to Hawaii, and the life of a big wave surfer with a major problem to solve – stunning writing!
The only pause to our peace was Lola’s silent escapes. Sarah would find her sniffing around our neighbours’ campfires, plucking out forgotten sausages with surgical precision, swallowing them whole like aspirin.
We booked an extra night in the end, having arrived at the threshold of becoming wild once more. Three nights in the woods, no toilets, no showers, is apparently how long it takes to start rewilding yourself.
And now we’re home, missing the simple joys of campfire life – the dirt between our toes, the soothing white noise of the river. The good life, the simple life, the slow life.
It’s taken me almost 38 years to realise how good it is for the mind and soul to be outdoors, to slow down and indulge in the little things. Everything you could possibly need in a few bags tucked away in the porch of your tent. A good book, a cold beer, nowhere else to be.
We’re keeping everything packed up and ready to go, because we can’t wait to get back.
Back to the wild. Our happy place.
Advice for Your Own “Nearly Wild” Camping Trip in Wales (or Elsewhere in the UK)
Wild camping has really taken off over the last few years, but it’s not always legal or easy to find places that are legal. Tolerance is also being tested as more people have got into wild camping, with land owners becoming (understandably) stricter.
Needless to say, wild camping in Wales and the rest of the UK is bit of a grey area. This is fine if you’re a pro hiker and wild camper, but not great if you’re planning to get your family together or enjoy a romantic “wild camping” experience for the first time.
This is why I was so excited to find this little spot close to where we live (which I have promised my wife Sarah I will keep as our little secret – sorry!).
However, if you’re looking for an almost wild experience, whereby you’re basically camping off grid but with the permission of the land owner, I think the key is to search for really basic campsites – the ones that have, for example, just one toilet, no shower block, no onsite shop and no fish & chip shop – you know the type.
There are more of them than you’d imagine and, naturally, the majority of campers steer clear of them in favour of more convenience. Just be sure to take a good book to read – that’s pretty much the main event in a really, really good way – and have three times more water than you might imagine you’d need.)
Where to find “nearly wild campsites” in Wales and the rest of the UK
Our Nearly Wild Camping Gear Essentials and Packing List Recommendations
You can support me by buying products through the affiliate links below – there is no extra cost to you but I get a small kick-back from Amazon. Win-win!
Our Tent – it’s a 4-man but is ideal for a couple with a dog/baby, and the porch is a fantastic size if it rains) – plus it’s an absolute bargain!
Airbed / Sleeping Mattresses – Sarah and Lola’s / Ben’s.
Sleeping Bags – Sarah’s / Ben’s.
Camp Chairs – Essential for comfortable camping.
Food Cooking Stove – A bargain must-have.
Jetboil Water Boiling Stove – Light weight and perfect for hiking trips too.
Aeropress – Because coffee never tastes as amazing as it does when you’re camping!
Camping Tables – We have two of these.
Chiller Box with Ice Blocks – Another essential camping item for keeping food/drinks cold for about two days before you need to go and find ice again.
Backpacks: Small day pack for overnight trips / Large (for multi-night trips). I think Osprey packs offer the best in terms of quality and price. Decathlon gear is incredible for the money, but doesn’t always last as long as you might like (I’ve got through a lot of it but still go back for more).
My Camera Gear (For Both Photo & Video)
Carefully chosen as a minimalist traveller and photographer/filmmaker – I spend a lot of time researching the products I buy, always looking for the highest quality and the best value.
My Main Camera: https://amzn.to/3AfLdrx
My Backup Camera: https://amzn.to/3gXVReC
My Smaller Backup Camera: https://amzn.to/35V4dNZ
My Variable ND Filter: https://amzn.to/3w00WaD
My Memory Cards: https://amzn.to/3jmwYLq
My Drone: https://amzn.to/3y48wCn
My Camera Backpack: https://amzn.to/2TbSgAw
Any tips on any other almost wild campsites in the Wales or elsewhere in the UK? We can’t stop talking about our next camping trip!
#slowliving #slowlivinglifestyle #campingwales #wildcamping #wildcampingwales #familycampingblog