Places to stay, things to do, good food and drink
Ever wanted to go glamping? How about a glamping hen party? Mad Dogs Glamping located in the heart of the Wye Valley provide exciting breaks and even hen parties on their fabulously retro glamping site. Find out what Emily’s Hen Do was like below:
“The sweet smell of eucalyptus is the first sensory delight to greet you as you cross over into the otherworldly glory of Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans.
Leaving the motorway and A-roads behind, the last few exciting miles before discovering this gem begin to offer an insight into the purity and peace that lay ahead; golden fields, forest laden vistas and the odd church spire snake out of the hilly landscape. I was totally and utterly ready to be off grid: no phone, no electricity, and no worries. My eagerness to shed the heavy, exhausting skin of modern life and set my eyes on the horizon, not my phone, had built this weekend into epic proportions of both expectations and need. As I got out of the car in a flurry of crumbs and crumbled shorts and smelt that evocative eucalyptus I felt my shoulders drop and the weight roll right off them: I had found what I was searching for.
The lazy humidity of early evening was settling on the valley as we unloaded our bags and carried them down to the site. The meadow grass became warmer, the quiet more intensified and clouds of midges danced in the golden light. Sacha welcomed us with a friendly face and calming energy, giving us the tour and tips on using the shower block and site in a safe and green way. This was a new way of life and in just a few short hours we were all totally attuned and deeply relaxed in our precious, simple bubble. Monty was to be home for the weekend, two bunks and a large, sunset facing deck that was put to all manner of uses over the coming days. A delicious cream tea was waiting for us and we eagerly dug in, soaking in the ever changing view of the Brecon Beacons and see-sawing between superlatives and awe-soaked silence.
As the breath-taking view evolved into an epic, glowing sunset and then dipped into the inky back of night, I felt completely safe. Safe in the conventional sense, but also in the knowledge that I could still find magic in this frantic and sometimes deeply scary world we live in. I had taken a moment to step back from the barrage of deadlines, emails and hoovering to appreciate the joy of life and being at one with the astounding beauty of our world. Fairy lights and candles surrounded me, as well as three of the people I love most as the bats swooped in and out of our conversations. I climbed into the comfy top bunk with my Mum, two bridesmaids asleep below us and felt the simplest and finest of emotions: gratitude.
Our day started with yoga on Monty’s deck. The sky was a dusty shade of blue and the only sounds were the rustle of the giant trees and intermittent whineys of the horses that live in front of Monty. During Savasana, our instructor (my bridesmaid and light Jess) quietly asked us to take a piece of this peace with us, and I felt my body and mind grab onto this concept, eagerly soaking in the scene and vowing to remember the serenity I was feeling. A sense of (albeit very small) community was instantly felt with the other guests on site as we brushed our teeth (I need a pink sink) and collected enamel breakfast bowls at the communal woodland shower block. Still in my pyjamas, I happily walked through the meadow grass and sun dappled walkways amongst the trees to the shower. Complementary organic toiletries are provided, as is a stained glass window and tiny vases of fresh flowers, just in case showering in woodland isn’t a beautiful enough experience already. Fresh air and warm sun in such a beautiful setting really is extraordinarily good for the soul and I soon found out that full body massages are the icing on the cake. After a walk down to the river, amongst corn filled agricultural land and baby pheasants, I made my way to ‘The Womb Room’. A large, red bell tent that had captured my curiosity upon arrival was full of lanterns, day beds and that very specific massage music that relaxes your muscles before you have even been touched. Flick was to be our Masseuse for the afternoon and as I lay down, cool breeze blowing through the open tent windows and the sun’s warmth kissing my skin I felt totally content.”
If you are planning a hen do and need more information on what to do in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean, take a look at our website www.wyedeantourism.co.uk for inspiration.