Head to Hay-on-Wye for treetop tents, river rides and eco hideaways

HIT the hay for treetop tents and river rides, says Celebrity Writer Molly Reynolds.

From ancient woodland to paddling down the River Wye, Hay-on-Wye has it all and is perfect for a summer staycation.


Squirrelled away in four acres of ancient woodland a short walk from the book-loving town of Hay-on-Wye on the Welsh border, By The Wye has four treetop safari tents.

Each boasts a quirky hand-carved four-poster bed, cosy wood burner and vintage sofa, plus river views and a basket of local goodies including Welsh cakes, fire-pit-ready marshmallows and hand-made bed socks.

The rustic, eco hideaways sleep up to five – we stayed in Meadow, complete with bunk beds for little ones, a fully equipped kitchen, plus bathroom with power shower.

Oh, and a phone-charging socket (phew)!

Light up the BBQ (pre-order the Meaty Feast hamper, £25, for local sausages, burgers and chicken skewers) then watch the sunset from your private terrace with a bird’s-eye view. Bliss…


Just a stone’s throw from your tent, hire a canoe for a two-hour paddle down the River Wye to spot herons and egrets, then reward yourself with a Swan Gold ale, £3.50, at The Boat Inn in Whitney-on-Wye, before getting a lift back.

Canoe hire costs £25 per person (Celticcanoes.co.uk).

Or don a wetsuit for a stand-up paddleboarding session on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal, 15 minutes away.

Hire is £26 per person for two hours (Blackmountain.co.uk).

Happier on land? Book a horse ride with Tregoyd Mountain Riders and channel your best period-drama pose as you trot through the Brecon Beacons National Park.

A half-day trek costs £50 per person (Tregoydriding.co.uk).

There are also hiking trails aplenty nearby – be sure to make the short drive to Talgarth, where you can pick up the 50-minute Witches Pool walk, with its pretty waterfall hidden in the trees. 


Hit Hay-on-Wye town for a delicious sloe gin and sheep’s milk ice-cream shake, £4, and herby potato salad box with bacon bits, £5, at cool cafe Shepherds Parlour (Shepherdsparlour.com).

Nab a seat in the market square opposite for Hay Castle views as you eat.

Later, find melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon doughnuts, 60p, at Danish bakery Flour And Time, and grab coffee in cafe-meets-vintage-clothes gem The Old Electric Shop (Oldelectric.co.uk).

Come dinner, The Felin Fach Griffin, 20 minutes’ drive away, does fab locally sourced pub grub – tuck into treats such as buttermilk fried chicken burger with garden slaw, wild-garlic mayo and triple-cooked chips, £14.50, washed down with local Ancre Hill sparkling rosé, £11 a bottle (Eatdrinksleep.ltd.uk).


Stays at By The Wye cost from £185 a night for up to five people (Bythewye.uk). 


Grab crumbly pastries, locally brewed gin and fresh produce at Hay Market, Thursdays, from 9am.


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