Travel: Glamping in an eco-friendly den in west Wales

Helyg Den at One Cat Farm, Ceredigion. Picture: Bethan Hughes
Helyg Den at One Cat Farm, Ceredigion. Picture: Bethan Hughes
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The eco-friendly dens of One Cat Farm are great fun for glamping, finds Bethan Hughes

We arrived at One Cat Farm slightly bedraggled (well I was, the children were still full of beans) after a long drive to be very warmly greeted by hosts Jessie and Lyndon Duffey. Lyndon informed us that their other guests for the week had just arrived, and had also travelled down from Scotland. “Maybe you’ll know each other,” he quipped and sure enough the figure walking across the meadow did indeed look familiar. A former Scotsman colleague and his family were to be our fellow glampers in west Wales! This (thankfully) was a stroke of good fortune and within seconds our children had disappeared together to explore their new surroundings.

The 'secret' beach, near Llangrannog in Ceredigion, Wales. Picture: Bethan Hughes

The 'secret' beach, near Llangrannog in Ceredigion, Wales. Picture: Bethan Hughes

One Cat Farm is a small eco friendly glamping site near Aberaeron in west Wales, owned by the Duffey family. Having grown up in the area and spent years living in London, Jessie and Lyndon returned home to reconnect with nature and allow their children to experience a free-range childhood reminiscent of their own. Their cat, Mogul, moved with them – hence the name One Cat Farm though they now also have a dog, Mopsie and some hens in their menagerie.

Accommodation is made up of four eco friendly dens designed and built by Lyndon which are incredibly well insulated, double glazed and have electric heating to keep you cosy and snug whatever the weather. Turfed roofs also help with both the insulation and eco credentials of the dens. They are situated in a meadow, which gently slopes down to a small lake (fenced off for the safety of little ones). The dens are well spaced out so there is a feeling of privacy, whilst the Pig Shed provides a sociable central hub for those happy to hang out with their fellow guests.

Both innovative and practical, the simple Scandinavian style of the interiors of the dens is great. They cleverly incorporate everything you could need in a relatively small space. You’ll find a double bed, two singles (which stow away neatly), a very nifty pull down table and stackable stools. Cotton linen and warm duvets are provided and there are blankets and fleeces for cooler nights.

Delicious fresh bread baked by Jessie awaits guests on arrival along with a basket of logs for the campfire and a bunch of flowers, freshly picked from their garden.

Toasting marshmallows on the campfire at One Cat Farm. Picture: Bethan Hughes

Toasting marshmallows on the campfire at One Cat Farm. Picture: Bethan Hughes

The Pig Shed provides a cosy environment for cooking, eating and socialising. The shared kitchen/dining space is well equipped with tea, coffee and basic cooking ingredients supplied. There is also a well stocked honesty shop and a list of ice lollies available to purchase from Jessie and Lyndon’s young daughters. A wood burning stove keeps the Pig Shed cosy on cooler days and there is plenty of information supplied about what to do in the local area, including places to eat, maps, beaches to visit and tide timetables. Jessie and Lyndon are hands-on hosts and are happy to help with any enquiries you may have. The shower block is situated next door to the Pig Shed, equipped with hot showers and flushing toilets.

Nearby Aberaeron – recently named Wales’ Best Place in a poll – is a picturesque seaside town in the middle of Cardigan Bay. It’s fun to explore the pretty harbour and sample the local honey ice cream. The beach at Aberaeron is pebbly, but you won’t have to travel far to find stunning sandy beaches. We visited beautiful beaches at Mwnt, New Quay, Penbryn and Llangrannog during our trip and even managed to find a secluded ‘hidden’ beach a short walk along the coastal path near Llangrannog which was probably the highlight of the week for my boys who made the most of the fact that we had the beach to ourselves.

New Quay is a great place to visit. We enjoyed halloumi and chips at the Lime Crab and spent the afternoon dolphin watching. Various companies offer boat trips and as we were considering which to venture out with we were treated to the spectacle of a small pod of dolphins frolicking close to the harbour. We also saw seals during our stay, though not basking sharks or leatherback turtles which occasionally visit Cardigan Bay.

Returning ‘home’ every evening to One Cat Farm was a real treat; getting the campfire going and toasting marshmallows was the perfect way to round off each day. Since our visit Lyndon has added two wood-fired outdoor baths to the site, so we’ll have to return to try those out on our next visit.

Fact Box

One Cat Farm (01570 470 203, www.onecatfarm.com) is open year round, from £60-£115 per night (two adults and up to three children sharing) with a minimum two night stay. Families with more than three children can pitch a small tent beside their den.