It would be rude to say that Cwmberach Uchaf was ever abandoned. This 80-acre farm on the western edge of the Black Mountains had been in the family for generations and today retains a character and charm that all comes from being extremely well looked after. But all the same, the 15-year period between the previous and the current generation was certainly a time in which it ‘returned to nature’ – a passing of time that allowed the pastures to grow into thick, shaggy carpets of waist high grass and dry-stone walls to hide beneath the moss.
Thankfully, current owners Mark and Sarah have decided not to fight the changes but embrace them, an attitude that has resulted in one of the finest glamping spots in all of Wales. The farm has become a natural haven and, though very much a thriving business with sheep, ponies, goats and beehives, it is also a wonderfully diverse and uncultivated space where habitats of woodland, moor and mountain thrive. For a proper glamping holiday in the great outdoors you need look no further.
Cwmberach Uchaf offers three traditional shepherd's huts in total, each sleeping up to four people – making them great for families as well as couples here to explore the Brecon Beacons. Each hut has a bunk at one end and sofa beds at the other (bedding and linen provided) with a wood-burning stove in between and vintage-style oil lamps for added ambience. When the sun sinks over the mountainous horizon, there's a real sense of tranquility as the light cast by the flames flickers against the wood-panel walls.
Outside the Shepherd Hut there is a canopy kitchen area, storage units and all the pots, pans and utensils you need. You will also find a large decked area covered by a dining shelter with a BBQ and some chairs where you can kick back and dine al fresco, perhaps with some of the farm's own food bought from their honest shop. Sitting there, looking out and enjoying views over the Amman Valley and the Black Mountain there's no doubt you'll be keen to start exploring. The rest of the Brecon Beacons National Park spreads for some 50 miles more to your west, while its a 35-minute drive to the coast. Closer to home, meanwhile, Mark and Sarah are also happy to provide tours of the farm, introducing you to the animals and demonstrating how they collect the honey from their bees. Visit in spring and you may even get the chance to bottle feed some lambs!
Just metres from the shepherd's huts you can access a bridleway that leads up into the mountains – a climb to the top reveals excellent views west. The Brecon Beacons have plenty of fantastic walking and mountain biking routes – chat to Sarah and Mark when you arrive if you don't already have any specific ideas. For culture and history visit Carreg Cennen Castle (01558 822291), reached by a beautiful 5-mile walking route or a pop into the Llandeilo, a wonderful marketing town on the River Towy. Here you'll find National Trust owned Dinefwr and Dinefwr Castle – a National Nature Reserve, historic house and 18th-century landscape park, enclosing a medieval deer park. For something a little different try riding lessons at Dinefwr Riding Centre (01269 850042), 3 miles from The Black Mountain Company.
There is an honesty shop in the bathroom barn selling local goods and the farm's own meat and vegetables (when in stock). Don't pass up the opportunity to try some of their own honey! BBQ packs are also available to pre order and can be collected from the honesty shop along with croissants and pain au chocolat. If you're after a pub, though, the nearest are in Garnant, 1¾ mile away, including The Raven Inn (01269 825500). It's only a smidge further to Llandyfan (2 miles), though, where The Square & Compass (01269 850402) is worth a try. It's an incredible spot, believed to have been built 300 years ago as the village blacksmith’s cottage. It has served as a licensed premises since 1840 and does look, from outside, more like someone's house than a well-loved boozer.
A little further again (but well worth the journey) is the beautiful market town of Llandeilo which boasts many cafe, deli's, pubs and restaurants, including the lovely Ginhaus (01558 823030) and Cawdor Hotel (01558 823500) . Nearby is the amazing Wrights Food Emporium (01558 668929) which is an essential visit for any serious foodie!