Camping at Brilley near Hay-on-Wye


After a disappointing summer of wind and mediocre sunshine we decided to take a chance on the weather and go camping! Hey-on-Wye is a place we have been to a few times because it has so much to offer for a few days break. The campsite is small and quiet, with a toilet and shower block and no entertainment but for the pleasure of being there. When I say camping it’s more like ‘glamping’, the teapot comes as does a tablecloth and a vase for some hedgerow flowers! It really is fun and very comfortable on our kingsize airbed snuggled beneath our quilt.


But despite having some wonderful food at our tent it’s nice to go out and visit some of the local coffee shops and indulge in lunch at the amazing Water gardens at Pembridge. It’s thanks to a very helpful lady at the Old Chapel Gallery just a mile from here that we went for lunch, and very good it was too. This place is hidden away down a track, so easily missed. 

water garden cafe

But there is so much more to see here than this exceptional cafe because it is just the prelude to one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen, and all created from the imagination of one man. The garden has been nurtured and developed by a Hydro Geo Engineer, and holds many fascinating constructions incorporated into about half of it’s 3 1/2 acres.  Upon entering the garden just left of the cafe one gets a first glance of what’s to come.


When going over a small bridge, the home of the owner of this enchanting place greets you. A slow running stream meanders past their patio, somewhere I could envisage myself sitting on summer days. Then into the garden, where a dovecote tower stands with gargoyles spurting water from their mouths.


Richard Pim the designer of this folly and the garden is truly talented and skilled. He carved the stone heads and gargoyles himself and provided a unique home for doves.




You can sit inside the tower where a fresco painting adorns the walls, such attention to detail!

inside tower

Moving on from the folly there are vividly colourful moisture-loving plants everywhere you look. Walking through and around a tangle of streams and ponds, partly shaded by a backdrop of mature trees, there is a dome built from glass bottles. Kevin McCloud would love this place!

glass dome

Light streams through this dome like colourful jewels casting gem like strands of beauty around this circular building .


There is a pool which cleverly reflexes more light.


Standing on the jetty you get your first glimpse of the largest cuckoo clock in the country! A folly of true excentric proportions and technical ambition.  It’s creator is a talented man with an imagination for some quirky buildings surrounded by an outstanding selection of plants. 

cuckoo house

We sat and waited till 4 o’clock until the cuckoo sang, and as it did we watched the incredible mechanism responsible, wood and metal singing out her tune. It’s wonderful that there are still people out there prepared to build such wonderful fantasies for us to enjoy as in the gardens of old estates.

hut watergardens

Theres so much to see in this relatively small garden, and each surprise greets you from ingenious planting schemes as you follow paths leading you to each delight. The hut appears towards the top of the garden just before the wild flower meadow, offering views of the neighbouring farmland and distant hills.

hut watergardens

And just when you think it’s time to make your way back and perhaps have a cup of tea……and cake, there is a bizarre miniature mound, well not that small, certainly worth walking to the top of, just for funmound

This garden is playful and fun, but there is no doubting the skill involved in its creation and the sheer delight on the visitors faces is proof of its success. As we made our way back to the cafe, there, parked up as if from another time, was an old car, so fitting in this setting.

vintage car

Sorry I don’t know what the car was, couldn’t find a name on it! 





6 thoughts on “Camping at Brilley near Hay-on-Wye

  1. So glad you were able to do this, Susan and Andy…photos and commentary both great. Eva and I have been at home for 3 weeks and are about to start travelling again on Thursday. Last Thursday was the best weather day of the year so far. We were able to break free of all commitments and spent the day climbing Slieve Donard (highest point in N Ireland, just short of 3,000 feet and we started from the beach. When we reached the summit we took (as the irish say) the head staggers and climbed down the other side into Newcastle. Apart from glorious views, interesting fellow climbers met en route and on the top, it was the ultimate proof of post op recovery for me…still only 9 months after triple bypass and 7 months after cancer surgery. Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer. Blessings. Love from us both.


    1. Thank you Ken for reading my blog! We had a lovely time. Good to hear about your recovery, I have been keeping track on Facebook and saw your amazing climb, well done! Love to both of you, keep reading the blog! More dolls to come and lots of photos of course! xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s