“ Address: Cwmduad / Carmarthenshire / SA33 6AT / Wales „
I am not quite sure where I got the idea of a "Yurt holiday" from, but I believe it was after thumbing through one of the Cool Camping series of books around Christmas time. I hunted for ages to try and find the right place, at an affordable sum, and indeed despite the fact that we wanted to go in an off peak period, in the last week of April, we struggled for availability from as far afield as Devon and Cumbria.
We stumbled upon Larkhill Tipis following an internet search, and did also to find one review on the yurts themselves. That person advised that even though it was November, it was still lovely and cosy inside. As South Wales is one of the few places we have never travelled to within the UK, and they had availability for a full week, we soon booked up.
The Bentwood Yurt is one of two yurts on this smallholding in Carmarthenshire, approximately half an hour from Carmarthen and Cardigan. There are also three tipis on the property, which is not connected to the electricity grid.
The website is informative and contains plenty of pictures of the yurts and also the property itself. It had a kind of spiritual feel to it, due to the use of wooden carvings, buddhas and standing stones, and a ring of fire within the grassland.
We paid a 20% deposit, with the balance to be paid at the time of the holiday - on departure in the end. The total cost for the Yurt for a week was £360, but the Yurt does sleep four so works out better value for families than couples.
Location wise it really is in a peaceful location in the middle of nowhere. Hubby had marked a rough cross on our road map, but had forgotten to pack the paperwork confirming our booking. As a result, despite Sat Nav we had to ring to find our way from the final mile. We had driven past it once, the sign to Larkhill is a simple yellow milk churn, and it was pouring with rain and visibility was low. That said by the time we got there the rain was off...
On arrival we were greeted and given a small tour of the facilities. We had a very loaded up vehicle, including a cool box with some basic foodstuffs, and sleeping bags and duvets. All the cooking and kitchen equipment is provided so no need to think about that.
A Yurt is a large round domed home, typically with a wooden floor and a wooden burning stove in the middle. The chimney of the stove exits the yurt via the crown, and the yurt itself has a fairly normal size front door. It does not lock but then I hardly think this is the place where there is much crime. The yurt itself was decorated in warm colours, with plenty of rugs on the floor and decorations on the walls and was adequately furnished with a simple wooden double bed and two singles which could double up as seating area.
Now on to the "facilities". There are two toilets on the site, one is a wet and dry compost toilet, in a wooden shed, and the other is a more regular toilet, which I believe is linked to the sewage system of the owner's home. Water comes from their own reservoir, and is UV filtered. They have two small windmills to generate electricity, and a solar panel helps to run the 2 cubicle shower block. There is a small lodge with amenities such as books, tourist information, and there is also a regular stove for those who don't want to use the campfire, wood-burning stove or the camping stove provided in the yurt.
Fran was very helpful in explaining how to use the various facilities, including managing the wood burning stove, for which they supplied an endless supply of wood. She also provided us with champagne and chocolates on our arrival, a very nice experience.
It was quite amazing how warm the yurt got with the wood burning stove, and there was definitely an art to using it to keep a gentle heat without allowing it to become too cold or too warm.
We did live out of rucksacks for the week, although there was a three drawer chest so it was possible to unpack a little more. Our regular visitors were the chickens and hens and chicks which wander freely all over the farm, and it was possible to buy fantastic free range eggs in the lodge. I don't think I have ever eaten scrambled eggs, quite as bright yellow as these were. We were also provided with ice pack top ups each morning.
Thankfully the weather was reasonable to us during our stay, although there was heavy rains at night, which battered down on the crown of the yurt. The head height in a yurt is extremely high, far higher than would be expected in most homes.
Although we tended to cook on the two ring camping stove inside the yurt, we did also enjoy sitting outside in the evening and enjoying toasting a few marshmallows over a campfire as the sun went down. Our yurt overlooked a couple of the tipis and the view of the sun setting over a tipi was inspirational. As there are only the three tipis and the two yurts, then the small holding can never get crowded, never more than about 20 people maximum, and that would include children.
It's not often we get the opportunity to completely relax and recharge the batteries, and Larkhill Tipis offers an excellent opportunity to do just that. Although the total cost is much higher than a simple camping holiday would have been it was worth it for the experience, and I would certainly take the opportunity to stay in a tipi again when I get the opportunity.
Fancy a break from the everyday norm? Get back to mother nature by spending a few nights under a yurt.