Beach campsites near Hay on Wye with fishing

Woodsy riverside charm or the Black Mountains' stark uplands: Hay-on-Wye camping options run the gamut.

95% (132 reviews)
95% (132 reviews)

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Beach campsites near Hay on Wye with fishing guide

Overview

Hay-on-Wye is known beyond all else as Wales' book town. With umpteen bookshops, the nation's major literary festival and countless cultural extravaganzas, it is a well-read place, but proximity to lush countryside makes it an outdoorsy favourite too. Immediate environs are gently rural, with the River Wye and the long-distance Wye Valley Path winding through town and then the green pastures and woods beyond. Great camping and glamping sites can be found in Hay-on-Wye itself, but wilder terrain awaits. The Vale of Ewyas is paradisiacal for pitching up with serious mountain views, as is the Eastern Brecon Beacons with its bunch of serene, small-scale campsites.

Where to go

River Wye

The River Wye bends through emerald-green pastureland and pretty bands of woodland close to the town centre and along the border with England. With the riverside paths and kayaking possibilities, the camping and glamping is excellent. Hay-on-Wye's popularity with tourists ensures there is plenty of choice, too, and the competition pushes standards up.

Vale of Ewyas and Black Mountains

A long, narrow, winding road south of Hay-on-Wye leads into the Vale of Ewyas, reaching its prettiest around romantically ruined Llanthony Priory. It's a brilliant access point for the Black Mountains, the massif sculpting the eastern edge of Brecon Beacon National Park. Camping alongside the priory makes a great first base for tackling the summits.

Eastern Brecon Beacons

Between the central (and most popular) band of Brecon Beacons National Park and the Black Mountains is this flurry of hills hiding the largest natural lake in Mid or South Wales: Llangorse Lake. The area is great for activities from hiking to kayaking, and camping is readily available at both small-scale sites and larger ones with multiple activities.

When to go

Hay-on-Wye has many indoor attractions—its famous bookshops and festivals notwithstanding—which make the tourist season stretch longer than the typical Easter-to-September season most of Mid Wales has. Even if many campsites are closed out-of-season, several glamping sites are open year-round. Late spring, summer, and early autumn get the best weather out in those hills, but this is a notoriously wet part of a wet country—rain can descend at any time.

Know before you go

  • Hay-on-Wye is served by bus, most straightforwardly from Hereford in England and Brecon.
  • Visitors can pick up camping supplies in Hay-on-Wye or in Brecon, 15 miles southwest.
  • Besides conventional camping, this area offers permanently pitched yurts and safari tents, and, in the Black Mountains, bothy overnights (rudimentary shelter accessible by foot only).
  • If you are trying wild camping in Wales, the Brecon Beacons National Park (including the Black Mountains and Eastern Brecon Beacons) may be the place. Wild camping needs landowners' consent, but park authorities publish a list of landowners that permit it, making camp planning easier.

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