A Low Impact Camping Trip in Wales

Written by: Elizabeth Waddington

Pembrokeshire, in southern Wales, is a region of breathtaking natural beauty. Like much of Wales, it is also full of fascinating historic and cultural sites. My husband and I live in Scotland and yet this was one of the parts of the UK that we had never visited before. So, after checking the forecast and seeing somewhat sunny weather on the horizon, we decided to head there for a short, low-impact camping trip.

Choosing a Campsite

Before setting off on our journey, we booked a three night stay at Celtic Camping, a simple field campsite on the northern shore of the Welsh peninsula. This relaxed, dog-friendly site was perfect for our needs – one of a range of campsites in the region ideal for a back-to-basics stay. Scenically situated in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, this blustery, coastal, clifftop campsite was a haven of heavenly views. More lively in summer, this site was almost empty at the time of our visit – all the better for us as it gave us peace and quiet, and space for our dog to run around.

Getting to Pembrokeshire

The time it takes to travel the winding roads of Mid-Wales should not be underestimated. Yet the slow and scenic roads travelled to reach Pembrokeshire are part of the adventure. Of course, a sustainable stay could have included a train journey, or even slow travel options like cycling. But on this occasion, short on time and with our dog in tow, we decided to make the journey in our hybrid vehicle. For a quieter and more pleasant experience, we left the motorways of England behind as soon as possible and took a diagonal route down through Wales. Arriving quite late in the afternoon, we pitched our tent and watched the sun set over the Irish Sea.

St Davids & Around

The next morning, we rose early and enjoyed a walk with our dog along the Pembrokeshire Coast coastal path. We then headed into St Davids, where we had some breakfast. (I highly recommend the eco-friendly vegan breakfast at The Meadow.) After fortifying ourselves, we set off to explore the town and spend some time strolling around the Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace.

After exploring St Davids, we made the short journey northwards through Fishguard and other small, attractive settlements to Castell Henllys – a fascinating (and dog-friendly) iron age site. We also checked out Pentre Ifan – the largest, best-preserved Neolithic dolmen in the country – before making our way back to the tranquil campsite for the evening.

Round Trip to Tenby – Castles Galore

The following morning we awoke early once more, and set off for a tour to take in some more of the main sites of the region. We walked the dog in the beautiful gardens of Picton Castle. Then continued on to Tenby – an attractive Victorian seaside resort. After a walk around the town, we continued on our route, visiting Carew Castle & Tidal Mill, St Govan’s Chapel – a hermit’s retreat cleft into the cliffs, and Pembroke Castle – all dog-friendly sites – before making our way back to the campsite along the scenic coastal route through the National Park.

Our fleeting taste of the region was almost over. After one more night camping, we packed up and began our long journey home. But though we only managed to see and do a fraction of what the area has to offer – we’re already planning a return visit. Next time, perhaps, we will enjoy a slow travel walking adventure along the coastal path.