Offroad treks/Camping in Wales?

Submitted: Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 10:15
ThreadID: 97000 Views:2268 Replies:9 FollowUps:1
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Hi folks! The lady and I are heading to the UK in May next year for a close friends wedding which is being held in Pembrokeshire in Wales. We are thinking of going earlier and hiring a 4x4 camper and doing a bit of exploring as it looks like fantastic country. I have done a bit of research online and the only 4x4 opportunities I have found in the Pembrokeshire area are an actual park set up specifically designed for offroading. It's more like an offroad fun park than an actual trek to get to a specific destination and not really our cup of tea.

Anyway, I'm sure that with a bit more digging I will come up with something but wondered if anyone on here knows or has visited Wales and can recommend some unique camping spots and/or treks? We would be open to anywhere in Wales and not just the Pembrokeshire area in the south.

Cheers and a great weekend to all!

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 13:27

Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 13:27
Hi Craig,

We are not familiar with UK camping and we haven't been to Wales. But we have just spent a few weeks exploring parts of England by car so do have a bit of recent experience. You might find it helpful to read our blogs here

We had a great time touring around, but would suggest that 4WDing is something better done here at home.

Driving in the UK is very different from how it is here, and the majority of vehicles there are what we would call a small sedan. Also fuel prices are high by our standards.

Unless you are on the big roads, travel can be quite slow as the minor roads tend to be very narrow requiring one or both oncoming vehicles to back to a pull-off point. Even out in the country it is hard to pull off as there is usually a kerb, a ditch, hedgerow or drystone wall right next to the road, and there is often not much of a road shoulder. Most minor roads that we encountered were sealed, so use of 4WD would be limited unless for snow/ice. I doubt that there are any off-road opportunities anywhere as we know them. Britain has about twice Australia's population, and nowhere can you get more than 72 miles (115km) from the sea - a lot of people in a small area.

Even in the towns and villages the roads are narrow (you find yourself heading straight for oncoming vehicles and pull off as and when you can) and parking can be hard to find - a big vehicle would make that task even harder.

Although we saw some motorhomes and caravans on the roads we didn't see much in the way of camping areas or caravan parks - they are there, just tucked out of the way.

Also the UK doesn't seem to be set up for touring as we do it, rather the standard practice seems to be more about going to a place and spending the whole day there. So carpark fees and entrance fees are high, based on the assumption that you will spend the whole day there in the one place. For example, in the Lakes District many of the lakeside carparks had parking fees of several pounds just for a couple of hours. Not good if you want to tour around and have a quick look here and there!

I think it might be difficult to find a 4WD camper (like a Britz Troopy). You could look at a motorhome but would suggest that their width would limit your access to minor roads and reduce your driving pleasure.

We found it more cost effective to hire a small sedan and rent cottages, and this worked out very well in practice.

Would also suggest going touring after the wedding so as to have a better chance of warmer weather. We arrived in London in early May and it was still pretty cool then. And wet - the standard English weather seems to be overcast and drizzle, sometimes just overcast. The English marveled at the good weather while we were there - a whole week of sunshine with no rain! This was very very unusual. Not good camping weather by our standards.

One final warning - the Welsh are very fond of their Welshness, and it's a serious matter if you think of them as English!


John and Val
J and V
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AnswerID: 491364

Reply By: KevinE - Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 14:07

Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 14:07
Hi Craig,

While I'm not Welsh, my fathers family are. Some places I would suggest are; from Llangollen up the Horseshoe Pass & into north Wales. From there, the scenery is sensational! Snowdonia is another place I'd visit. My Cousin just posted pictures of betws-y-coed on Face Book that looked sensational too! :)

Agree with everything John & Val posted! Especially about the Welsh being very patriotic. Try to wear cloths/badges that make it very clear that your Australian & I'm sure that you will receive a very warm welcome!

AnswerID: 491366

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 14:23

Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 14:23
I agree entirely with John & Val & Kevin , & would opt for a small car & a good map.
We found parts of Wales a little drab & others delightful. If you have several days you
could easily cover areas of England to the west & south..the Cotswolds & Bath come
to mind. You can cover a lot of the UK in a day with an early start & sunsets at 9/10
pm this time of year..even from one or two bases. As said, be prepared for the
higher costs. We found B&B or pubs fine but be prepared to find your own breakfast,
as they usually want to feed you after 9am..& half the day is gone. Keep up the
research & you will love it.......oldbaz.
AnswerID: 491367

Reply By: Member - Cruiser74 - Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 15:38

Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 at 15:38
Thanks John and Val, also Kevin and Baz!

I should have mentioned in my post that I actually lived in the UK for 7 years and have visited parts of Wales including Betws-y-coed and Snowdonia. I lived in and around Cornwall for 2 of those years as well and I know what you mean about the narrow roads! I would certainly struggle with the Cruiser on some of those roads :) I did not really have a great interest in camping or 4WD when I lived there between 1999 - 2006. More interested in chasing girls and testing my liver!

I think the most sensible and least stressful way to enjoy it would be to hire a sedan and book some cottages or farm stays ahead of time as suggested. I remember being in Wales and being warmly welcomed by the locals, we stayed in a tiny country town called Dolgellau and we were treated like celebrities. It really is a fantastic place and I'm very much looking forward to returning. Thanks again folks!

AnswerID: 491368

Reply By: mikehzz - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 00:26

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 00:26
They call it Green Laning over there and the places you can go are very scarce from what I read in the UK Land Rover forums. There are private properties set up for 4wd's where you pay to use the tracks.
AnswerID: 491390

Reply By: Kelvo - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 05:57

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 05:57
A small club/group of friends normally do trips into Wales, while I think you will have big problems trying to hire a 4x4 especially a 4x4 camper they're a good bunch and would no doubt let you sit in as passengers. Like others have said it is VERY different to Australia for off-road driving, other than 'Pay & Play' sites.

Have a look here for past trips/photos (Free to join)

I'm moving to Australia in August so wont be there, just say Kelvo (I had the Grey 110 Defender) sent you!
AnswerID: 491392

Follow Up By: Kelvo - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 06:01

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 06:01
I'll try the links again!

Site Link
FollowupID: 766860

Reply By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 08:50

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 08:50
Like most European countries, Britain is highly developed and there are very few unmade/dirt roads. A lot of those country roads/lanes were built for horse and cart. Best to do a convetional on-road tour and enjoy places like the Lake District (get off the beaten track and escape crowds and parking fees) and even Scotland if you have time. Save the 4x4 for home.
AnswerID: 491398

Reply By: philw- Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 19:18

Sunday, Jul 22, 2012 at 19:18
Wild Camping,or what we would call Bush Camping,is illegal in England. You would have to go to Scotland,the only part of the U.K.where the practice is currently allowed. . There is a place in Wales called Shell Island,that looks interesting though.
AnswerID: 491433

Reply By: Member - Min (NSW) - Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 11:15

Monday, Jul 23, 2012 at 11:15
Hi Craig,

I agree with all the responses. Some years ago we decided not to drive in Britain again but last year we took the chance for a few days and enjoyed it so much we hope to return next year to drive around for a month or so. What made the difference for us was taking our navigator (hiring a vehicle with a navigator is expensive). It was loaded with up-to-date European maps and after it found out where it was (!) it was brilliant - wouldn't go back without it. Of course paper maps are also indispensable. Just like anywhere else in the world roads change, especially going into and out of towns.

It would be great if you wrote a blog when you return as we are planning to spend time in Wales.


AnswerID: 491476

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