It’s easy to get lost at Top of the Woods. Not literally, thank goodness – owners Soo and Jon give you a map on arrival – but in a who-cares, do-as-you-please kind of way. The atmosphere is so laid-back it’s almost horizontal – bell tents, safari lodges and pioneer camps spread over 27 rolling acres, soothed and charmed by the sights and sounds of myriad bird- and wildlife and the white-grey wisps of campfire smoke. In the adjoining Ffynone Wood – a vast 325 acres of forest – you might be lucky enough to spot a resident or two of the largest badger population in West Wales. You'll definitely see rabbits, and maybe even an otter or two slipping into Afon Dulas, a peaceful stream that runs along the southern edge of the site.
Top of the Woods is part of Penralt Farm, a quaint 18th-century farmstead with chickens scratching around outside and three pet Kunekune pigs, plus farm sheds that are home to housemartins and a rare breed of bat (the farm hosts seven of the UK's 17 bat species). They have won sustainable tourism awards for the past two years running, and are a thoroughly eco-friendly place to stay, with a variety of glamping styles to choose from – five fully-furnished bell tents, four luxury safari lodges and nine so-called pioneer camps (basically, posher, more spacious, bell tents). It's all pretty high-spec, but the feeling and style is very definitely back to nature – star-gazing and guitars around the campfire fine, gadgets and noise not so much.
Every tent has proper beds, with good quality linen provided, while each bell tent pitch has its own BBQ, dining equipment, cool box, lantern, rugs and cushions. Bell-tenters can also use the large outdoor camp kitchen, which has two fully equipped cooking stations. The safari lodges also have running water and a fully equipped kitchen, dining table and benches, plus a welcome pack containing things like coffee, bread, milk, candles and a basket of logs. The pioneer camps feature a two-burner hob, plus dining table and benches set under a shady canvas canopy.
A Dutch Barn serves as a covered picnic and meeting area for the whole site (which also has regular camping), with tables, hammocks, phone-charging points and a stash of games for anyone to use. It's a handy place to mull over the mapped-out walking route that leads you to the enchantingly named ‘secret waterfall’. There is also freezer and a microwave, while the main courtyard area has hot showers and flushing toilets, washing-up sinks and free (if limited) wifi, The pioneer lodge and safari lodge meadows also have their own hot showers and compost toilets.
Soo and Jon offer hot farmhouse breakfasts at weekends and hosted dinners in the evenings, with campfire stews on Fridays and BBQ nights on Saturdays. A mobile fishmonger visits twice weekly. There are usually any number of activities going on, from a weekend yoga breakfast club to bushcraft sessions, storytelling and other events – including their excellent 'Woof Weekend', held in May, when dogs and their owners get even more pampered than usual.
Finally Top of the Woods enjoys an undeniably great location, right in the heart of Pembrokeshire, and handy for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Pembrokeshire Coast Path and Preseli Hills. The nearby Teifi Gorge is great for kayaking and canoeing, while other attractions in the vicinity include Cardigan Castle and the Welsh Wildlife Centre in the Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve. Even with all these attractions on your doorstep, you may find you spend more time on the site than you meant to, delving into the woods in search of adventure, playing cricket in the meadows and picnicking in the sun. There's a lot to explore, and a lot of space to get lost in – why would you want to leave?
The Owner Says
Places like Penrallt Farm are a rare and special thing in today's world. Penrallt loosely translates from the Welsh as "top of the woods", and is our 27 acre Georgian farm in the stunning unspoilt Teifi Valley in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. Our mission is to inspire through nature and to be the best loved eco-holiday business in Wales! Everything we do is inspired by creating something which is sustainable, enriching and unique.
Our favourite spot
Tents, dogs, groups (prior arrangement), gazebos (with a small extra charge) – yes. Caravans, campervans, motorhomes, trailer tents – no.
The local area
The campsite sometimes lays on special events, like guided wildlife walks, through the adjoining 325-acre Ffynone Wood and maps are also provided on your arrival with local routes, including Soo’s Secret Waterfall Trail. The site is directly traversed by a bridleway that leads immediately into the woods. Further afield, nearby attractions include fantastic Cardigan Castle (01239 615131), opened to the public in April 2015 after a massive 12 year restoration project, and The Welsh Wildlife Centre, in the Teifi Marsh Nature Reserve. There's also very easy access to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, the Preseli Hills and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with a particular highlight being the Teifi gorge, fabulous for kayaking and canoeing.
Best local places to eat and drink
Pub-wise there are two locals. The Nags Head at Abercych offers seasonal menus, all cooked by their chef using the best Welsh ingredients. The Fynnone Arms in Newchapel does excellent Sunday lunches and specialises in dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian and vegan menu options.
Why stay with us?
A stand out feature is the 1950s Dutch Barn communal area, a large covered space with picnic benches, phone charging, lighting, games and hammocks. There is freezer for ice bricks and a microwave for baby food. There are water and recycling points and compost loos in all the meadows and in the pioneer lodge and safari lodge meadows there are also hot showers. The main facilities are in the courtyard area, including hot showers and flushing toilets, washing up sinks and drying lines. There is free Wi-Fi in courtyard area and at the communal fire pit. Campfires are permitted in the meadows (off the ground only) and fire wood and locally made charcoal are sold onsite. The site has 3 kunekune pigs, free range hens, a dog and a cat. On site activities include, weekend Yoga Breakfast Club, Bushcraft and Nature Discovery, Storytelling around the campfire and other special events during the season. There is a field left free for games, with equipment onsite that can be borrowed.
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