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Travel: Come baaack soon! Fun on the sheep farm on a Brecon Beacons break

© PA Photo/Ben MicthellMarie and Ava meet one of the sheep kept at the Cwmberach Uchaf Farm
Marie and Ava meet one of the sheep kept at the Cwmberach Uchaf Farm

Gosh, you are actually insane,” my daughter’s friend shrieks as Marie dunks herself, from head to toe, in the chilly waters of a stream.

We have just hiked through shoulder-high ferns, admired vibrant heather and been chased by donkeys to reach this bubbling brook hidden in the folding hills of the Brecon Beacons National Park in south Wales.

As dragonflies buzz by, Marie and Ava strip down to their swimming costumes and take tentative steps into the water, checking for any frogs.

As they get deeper into the water, the giggles rise in volume with the growing disbelief that they are actually climbing into a stream surrounded by brambles, rocks and by nature.

As two typical 12-year-old city girls, their only regular exposure to the wild outdoors is through David Attenborough documentaries and trips to the beach, but our stay at Cwmberach Uchaf Farm near Ammanford has brought an altogether more hands-on experience.

Feeding the chickens

As soon as we arrive at the farm, which provides glamping stays through the Feather Down group, Marie and Ava immediately run to the animal enclosures.

And the response from the animals is equally enthusiastic – from a nearby paddock, three snow white goats come charging over.

The girls’ first reaction is to grab a quick selfie with the animals, who we are later introduced to by farm owner Mark Dempster as mum Lily and sons Ant and Dec. On a tour of the site, Mark explains that Lily, a Saanen Swiss milking goat, had been abandoned in the mountains and adds: “She’s been on a mission to escape ever since.”

He leads us to the chicken pen where the hens are equally happy to see us, as Mark hands out bread for the children to feed them. Mark says we are welcome to look for eggs in the morning by checking under the hens, but this seems a step too far for Marie and Ava.

Mark explains that the farm, which has been in their family for generations, had not been a working farm for 20 years and they are still finding the balance between livestock, conservation and tourism.

He leads us out into the dense fern-packed fields on the steep slopes of the Black Mountains at the top of the 50-acre site, which have been praised for their biodiversity. And proudly pointing to the trees, Mark says: “This is the first stop for the cuckoos coming back from Africa each year. One time, I saw two flying together, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

He reels off a list of wildlife which have made their home in the woods and shrubs, from badgers to woodpeckers and bats.

A number of sheep rustle their way through the ferns and Mark says: “It can be like Jurassic Park when you see the bushes rustle in the distance, as the sheep wander around.”

© Press Association Images
Chill out at the lodge-tent

We return to our tents, which have been decked out to the Feather Down design based on a traditional farmhouse.

Opening the canvas door reveals a fully-equipped kitchen complete with wood-burning stove, but what immediately captures the attention is the cupboard bed.

Behind the wooden doors with a charming heart-shaped peephole, the double bed is the definition of snug and with its super comfortable double mattress, it is sure to give the girls good dreams.

The canvas roof is the only link to normal camping as this lodge-tent comes complete with a double bedroom, bunk beds and, unbelievably, a flushing toilet and steaming hot shower. The water from the taps comes fresh from springs on the farm before being UV filtered to make it safe to drink.

The only missing luxury is electricity but the glow of candles and oil lamps creates a timeless atmosphere.

The weather is kind to us the next day and we head to the sandy beach of Caswell Bay near Swansea, where the girls spend several hours bodyboarding in the waves.

© Press Association Images
Rhossili Bay

At the end of the day, we drive on to Rhossili Bay at the end of the Gower peninsula, as the sun starts to set over the dramatic Worms Head tidal island – which at low tide, is reachable by foot.

The girls are windswept, exhausted and ready to climb back into their cupboard bed, before another day of exploring tomorrow.


Bring your swim suit. There are some fabulous, if cold, lakes nearby that make for great wild swimming spots. And pack your walking gear – there are miles of beautiful routes to stroll and explore.


A three-night stay starts from £365 for a maximum of six guests (five adults). Includes en suite and a farmhouse shower. Visit or call 01420 80804.