Travel

Go off-grid in a Welsh floating cabin

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Helen Bownass
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Stylist’s entertainment director Helen Bownass spends a weekend on the water in a Pembrokeshire eco-pad

I defy you not to come to Dragonfly Camping and within an hour find yourself thinking: “Yes. I could do this. I should do this. I am going to own a cabin floating on a pond surrounded by rolling countryside with the sea at the fringes.”

Dragonfly – a small, eco-friendly campsite on the Cleddau Estuary; the site is literally us and a shepherd’s hut – is glamping for people who are allergic to the word ‘glamping’. Here, you can literally roll out of bed, swing open the doors and jump straight into the water to swim alongside ducks. To say it’s peaceful is to totally downplay it. Nearby villages such as Lawrenny are tiny with the occasional shop. There’s no wifi. So if it’s drizzly in the morning, you have to base what you’re going to do on what you actually want to do, rather than furiously checking a weather app for when the sun might come out.

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The cabin though is like something from an episode of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. It’s solar-powered, sports a hot shower, gas oven, barbecue, cool box (filled, if requested, with delicious local sausages, eggs with the yellowest yolks I’ve ever seen and salty Welsh butter), wood-burning stove and giant sofa bed that comfortably sleeps two people. Other thoughtful touches include freshly cut wild flowers, Welsh cakes and a hammock chair on the deck. Some of the things you may hear when sprawled in said chair: cows mooing (we were convinced one kept giving us disparaging stares), water faintly lapping, bird song, reeds swaying. That’s it.

If you’re going to drive – you might struggle to get here via train and taxi – I recommend not leaving during rush hour if coming from London or it will take you seven hours. But there’s so much achingly beautiful countryside and coast nearby, it’s worth setting aside a couple of days to explore and work your way through the farm shops you’ll regularly drive past – we got the best burgers from Bubbleton.

Inside the floating home’s wood-panelled living space

Locally, the Creselly Arms’ pub garden puts most others to shame with views across the estuary; it also has an excellent range of crisps – very important. And 20 minutes’ drive down the road is Tenby, a picturesque seaside town home to ice cream-coloured houses, four beaches and cobbled streets. As well as filling my face, and pockets, with the sea-salt fudge at Roly’s, I was thrilled to stumble across Loafley, which is part deli – amazing sourdough, cheese, and pots of chic local seasoning – and part vintage store. I’ve been dreaming about the Welsh blanket I found there ever since. From lookout points in Tenby you can also see Caldey, an island inhabited by monks for 1,500 years where they make their own perfume. It’s top of the list for my next visit.

In fact I was already planning a second trip before leaving – all while luxuriating on the cabin deck, feet dangling in the water, glass of picpoul in hand plotting a future with my own cabin on water.

Dragonfly Camping’s Kingfisher Cabin is available from £120 per night, based on up to four sharing on a self-catering basis. Book at glampingly.co.uk

Images: Dragonfly Camping