Stay in a Bunkhouse Barn in the Brecon Beacons, Wales

Bar and rooms at LlanthonyAs in all of the UK’s national parks, the Brecon Beacons has plenty of hostels that offer budget accommodation for a single night. But there’s also a network of locally run “bunkhouse” barns, which provide facilities for a longer stay. The concept of bunkhouses began in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1980s, where redundant agricultural barns near long-distance footpaths were converted into basic lodgings for hikers. The idea soon caught on in the Beacons, and there are now 24 bunkhouses in some of the park’s most scenic areas, from Abergavenny in the east (where the Brecon Beacons Way begins) to Builth Wells in the north and Llandeilo in the far west.

A bunkhouse should provide all you’ll need for several days in the outdoors, such as a drying room for wet kit, storage facilities, cooking equipment and hot showers. As the term “bunkhouse” suggests, the buildings can be as basic as just a collection of bunk-beds in a restored barn (such as the Wain House next to the medieval ruin of Llanthony Priory) but others are more sophisticated, with single and double beds in a cottage (like Perth-y-Pia, high up on Table Mountain near Crickhowell). Each bunkhouse is stocked with information on local walks and cycling paths as well as details of operators who run adventure activities nearby.

One of the most scenic bunkhouses is Trericket Mill near Talgarth, at the northern edge of the park. It’s in secluded woodland across from the old mill, where you can treat yourself to dinner in the beautifully restored building. From Trericket you can walk along a path that follows the River Usk to Glasbury, where there’s a good selection of food served in the boathouse. The owners also rent out canoes so you can paddle all the way to Hay-on-Wye, home to Britain’s largest collection of secondhand books.