In the tiny village of Cwmdu, there’s a small, honey-coloured building that has been at the heart of the community since the moment it was built back in the early 1820s. The uneven walls run from one terraced section across to the next, connecting a whole row that has, through the years, boasted each and every trade a village could need: It’s been a post office, a grocery store, master tailors and linen draper and, off course, a village pub. Indeed, in the 1860s, it was all of these things at the same time.
Today, Cwmdu Inn, owned by the National Trust and run by the community, retains its essential character – low interior beams, an old inglenook fireplace and a cluster of tables with room for just 17 people – while the home-brewed beers they used to craft in the back room have been replaced by award winning local ales. Those with a nose for a proper old pub won’t be disappointed. And neither will avid campers. For years people have been posting across the internet – where’s the nearest campsite? Is there anywhere to go glamping near Cwmdu? Does the Cwmdu Inn have accommodation? Finally, a happy ‘yes’ is the answer. And what a lovely glamping site it is.
Run by Tom and Lisa Corcoran (and their amiable dog Ambrose), Wild Mountains is not actually owned by the Inn but, set in the meadow directly opposite, the two remain very much connected. It's glamping that they offer, rather than traditional tent camping of old, and it's ideal for families. Theres just one, pre-pitched geodesic dome on site, sat in the meadow like a giant, half-inflated football, so guests here really have the run of the place. Inside you’ll find a king-sized bed, plus singles for littl'uns, and a wood-burner to keep you warm. The small scale of the meadow lends it a real privacy that helps preserve the total tranquility of the area. It’s appropriate given the size of the tiny settlement. On the edge of a designated Dark Sky Reserve it’s also blessed with the darkest and starriest of night skies, so some time set aside for stargazing is a must.
From the dome there’s ample space for nippers to go exploring. Mature trees and hedgerows hug the meadow in a green embrace, while the River Dulais skirts along one side. On a hot day, children delight in dabbling along its edges building makeshift dams. Though, it’s not exclusively a child's activity. Ruined Talley Abbey is also within walking distance – a fair trek but a pleasant, countryside route – and by car there are a wealth of castles and heritage attractions in the vicinity. As the name suggests, though, it’s the rural, remote aspect of this glamping site that is the real appeal. The Black Mountain and Llyn Y Fan Fach lake in the nearby Brecon Beacons National Park awaits any would-be explorer, with long days in the outdoors only accentuating the pleasures of the cosy pub at the end. It's a ready-made itinerary that never gets old.
There are several excellent walks directly from the campsite (bring an OS map to make the most of the area). These include a 40-minute stroll up to the ruin of Talley Abbey and a jaunt around Talley Lakes and Nature Reserve. Dinefwr Castle and Carreg Cennen Castle (01558 822291) are both less than 30 minutes away by car and the National Botanic Gardens of Wales (01558 667149) are also 30 minutes away. For something a little more high-octane, mountain biking in Brechfa Forest offers trails for various levels of ability – including some serious stuff for the pros!
Hamper options for guests filled with local produce are available. The pub is open Wednesday–Saturday, with food served on Saturdays. Beer is mainly supplied from the Llandeilo based Evan Evans brewery with a range of award winning ales and there are guest ales from other local breweries on occasions as well as a great selection of ciders. Cwmdu shop and post office stocks local produce, open Tuesday–Saturday (mornings only). Head to Llandeilo for more options. Gin specialist, Ginhaus (01558 823030) is excellent if you like a good G&T, but also have top food in their deli, while Cawdors (01558 823500) hotel is top of the tree for fine dining. There's also a popular chocolate and ice-cream parlour – Heavenly (01558 822800). For a hearty Sunday lunch head to The Plough (01558 823431) in Rhosmaen.