A couple of weeks ago, I spent three days at Hidden Valley Yurts in Wye Valley, Wales. The valley provided a secret space of greenery and fresh air, a real getaway from the workaholic lifestyle that I seem to have taken on since becoming my own boss.
As part of Hidden Valley Yurts’ 10th Anniversary, I was invited to visit alongside a group of bloggers to enjoy the space and activities the Hidden Valley Yurts Team had planned. I traveled with Katie of Cake vs Scales, a fitness, food and lifestyle blog I’ve enjoyed following for quite a while now. Meeting Katie in person was a little surreal (as all offline encounters with online personas do!) but we really hit it off, and chatted the whole way in her car.
I was both incredibly appreciative, and impressed, that Katie was open to car-sharing. She explained how frustrated she would be seeing drivers travelling solo, and her trip to Wales was better shared – and our emissions halved too!
Katie navigated the windy Welsh roads really easily as well – her satnav took us straight to the entrance of the campsite, and we were able to park up and unload before meeting with Mike, the owner of Hidden Valley Yurts.
The site is quite literally in a valley, so Mike packed us into his buggy and drove us from the car park down into the valley, through a field, a stream, and then onto the gravelly path you can see pictured. We were staying in Yurt 2 with two other women, and alongside our yurt were four others. Each one is nicely distanced so that you can’t hear each other, but you can wave hello each morning!
Yurt 2 is the green yurt (each one has a themed colour) and we were welcomed with a ready-to-light wood burner, and bunch of flowers. Inside, there’s a double, a single, and then multiple futons, circled around the burner. It made for a cosy setting, and each night we sat around chatting while we kept the fire stoked up high!
All of the yurts are served by an impressive kitchen and bathroom, purpose-built to make the most of the beautiful views and communal feel. With plenty of fridges, food storage, and kitchen equipment (including ovens and a dishwasher!) it really did feel like a home away from home.
One of the highlights of my trip was sitting outside to eat. Each meal, I could make very easily using the equipment provided, and then sit and eat with the beautiful Welsh hills surrounding me and the other girls dining. I associate dining outside with holidays, and this was no different.
Being in the outdoors, everywhere was neat, and well-planned to keep the area truly green. Fresh herbs were grown next to the kitchen, and bins were separated to encourage composting and recycling as much as possible. There was some electricity (and even phone signal) in our yurt, but the general feeling was to go offline and get back to nature.
Mike explained he had even introduced sheep and cattle onto his land to help tame the overgrowth, rather than use machinery, to keep it as natural as possible.
Around the grounds
During my brief stay, I got to explore the grounds, and also the new Lake House that is also available to stay in. While the yurts straddle somewhere between camping and glamping, the Lake House is definitely luxury accommodation, coming with two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a living/kitchen/dining room, and two platforms that reach out across the purpose-built lake. It’s also in a more secluded field than the yurts, making it great if you want an exclusive place to stay, but also possible to make contact with the “yurters” if you want too!
As for the grounds… If I told you to imagine Wales, this is exactly what you’d think of. Lush green grass, sheep dotted about, muddy puddles, pretty meadows, and the odd Highland cow in there too. Mike took us for a tour, and told us about notable landmarks, previous owners, and even the rumour that the valley had been a secret location during a war.
While beautiful and comfortable, it’s often difficult to know quite what to bring on a trip like this. Despite the description of what’s included, I definitely got caught out – I had packed a few days prior to arrival, and it had been sunny, so forever the optimist I took my shorts and lots of t-shirts. As it turns out, Wales isn’t really known for its sunshine…
If you’re planning on heading to Hidden Valley Yurts, I would recommend taking jumpers, waterproofs, hiking boots, and lots of layers. The central log burner is warm, but you do have to stoke it up to really feel it, and nights can get cold. Beds are provided, but you should bring a sleeping bag, and a pillow (unless you want to use a cushion as a headrest). In the kitchen, simple things such as tea, sugar, salt and pepper were provided, but it could have done with cooking oil, condiments, and even maybe the option to order produce in advance.
Bathroom-wise, you’re going to be fine – the shower and toilets are clean, operational in the same way my own is, and provided plenty of hot water.
Finally, I have to say the real selling point of the trip was the friendly bunch who holidayed with me! There was such a nice group of women visiting at the same time as me, and while we all have different blogs and different interests, we shared the holiday together. In other holiday environments, I’ve found making new friends hard, but the yurts, fires, and eating arrangements all led to a real communal-feel.