Calling all campers: we've officially entered the dawn of an exciting new camping era. The elusive tree tent is born: a spherical canvas structure suspended by rope high up in the trees. Sounds ominous? Actually it isn't. Instead it's sort of beautiful, in a futuristic orb kind of way. The tent is located on the outskirts of a dense woodland – in the grounds of the similarly alluring Red Kite Barn, as it happens – and as you walk down the gravelly hill towards the site, your new accommodation starts to take shape right before your eyes.
First you'll see the handmade wooden stepping bridge, then the babbling brook followed by the wooden stumps leading up to your very own kitchen and shower, which sits on raised decking. Turn around, and you'll be face-to-face with the tree tent, which comes with a super comfy circular bed and wood-burning stove. We could bore you with the facilities and practical aspects, but all you need to know is that this is an experience like no other. It's not for the faint-hearted by any means, especially being so high up, but if you're prepared to go with the flow (and follow all the detailed instructions left out for you), you'll love it.
There's a fire pit next to the brook, and they even leave out campfire cooking utensils. At night, the tree tent gently rocks you to sleep to the sound of the brook – although the gentleness depends entirely on how windy it is that night. The next day, you might feel that similar wobbly sensation you get when you've been on a boat. The nearby woodlands are great for hiking and there's plenty of nearby things to do at Hay-on-Wye. If you're up for venturing out a bit further, the beautiful reservoirs of Elan Valley are only a half-hour drive away.
The Owner Says
You'll get a goody pack sent to you once you've made your booking. The pack explains everything the tree tent comes with, plus what to do in the surrounding areas. You also get a welcome hamper, with rock salt, olive oil, black pepper, posh tea bags and coffee, eggs, butter and milk. The tent comes with duvets for the bed, plus towels for washing. The kitchen & shower comes with hot water and there's plenty of kitchen utensils and crockery. The flushable toilet is a up a small hill near the kitchen. There's also loads of additional camping essentials scattered about the place, including playing cards, torches, soap and firelighters & kindling to help get the wood-burning stove lit. Our advice is to read the information pack that gets sent to you, as it explains everything onsite. Once you're at the tree tent, there are plenty of instructions and advice guidelines to help you.
Our favourite spot
The tent sleeps up to 2 adults and is glamping only, so no children, pets, campervans, caravans or tents we're afraid.
The local area
Though you may easily see them around, the best place to watch red kites close up is at Gigrin Farm Feeding Station (01597 810243) near Rhayader. It's just under 12 miles from the campsite and is excellent both for seeing the birds and learning a bit more about them and the success of their breeding in Wales. The dams and reservoirs of the Elan Estate (01597 810880) are situated within an AONB a half hours drive from the site. As you approach the town of Rhayader you will see the road signs to The Elan Valley Reservoirs. Visit the coffee shop that's open seven days a week (10am–5.30pm) and take a scenic walk around the breathtaking dam.
Best local places to eat and drink
Its a long but pleasant 3 mile walk down the lane to the oldest pub in Powys, The Red Lion (01597 860204) at Llanafan-fawr, where there are real ales on tap and hearty meals on the menu. Nothing fancy but a real pub atmosphere – Wednesday night is the one for steak and wine! Be warned, it does close for a short while after lunch service and reopens in the evening. 4 miles away at Newbridge-on-Wye, next to the New Inn (and owned by the pub landlord; 01597 860211), is a rare breeds butcher shop. They have rather random opening times but if the pub is open (which it is at lunch and dinner Mon–Thurs and Sunday, all day Fri and Saturday) then ask at the bar and they will open the shop for you.
Why stay with us?
Inside the tree tent there is a log burner, a power socket, dimmable lights, a double bed and prices include everything from tea towels and bath towels to bedding. There are logs for the fire and a welcome hamper when you arrive. Outside there are chairs and a table on the raised deck, plus a WC hut in the woods and an hot outdoor shower. Campfires and BBQs are allowed in the fire pit provided and there is a camping gas stove and a fridge for use.
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