Drive down narrow lanes flanked by towering green hedges on Cornwall’s wild Atlantic coast to discover Kudhva, an off-grid glampsite near Trebarwith Strand. Set up by leatherworker Louise Middleton, this disused quarry has been transformed into a verdant enclave where visitors can stay in tree tents, rigged above ground, or in one of four kudhva – compact wood-and-metal cabins on stilts.
And the general vibe?
Kudhva means ‘hideout’ in Cornish and the site feels very much like a retreat, one that immerses you in the natural world. Turning off the road and heading up the rough track that leads to the site, a car will only take you so far before you have to go by foot uphill, pausing midway to admire the views of the sea beyond. Once you’re there, discover willow groves lush with ferns, slate-and gorse-strewn hills and dense woodlands.
In the midst of this bucolic setting is a self-catering glamping site. Expect flushing toilets, solar-powered showers (using water from the site’s own borehole), a communal kitchen and even an outdoor hot tub, while the rustic surroundings are reflected in the décor – much of the furniture and structures are wooden and handmade, with jars of velvety fern fronds and wildflowers decorating most surfaces.
Kudhva’s shared kitchen
Which room should I book?
In contrast to their untamed setting the kudhva (designed by Ben Huggins of New British Design) look starkly futuristic, standing on stilt-like wooden legs like escape pods from a spaceship. Clamber up a ladder to get inside and you’re met with a Scandi-esque vibe, all pale-wood surfaces and washed-out blues. There’s a small living area – prettily outfitted with Turkish towels, flowers, a homemade candle and books to read – and a mezzanine sleeping area. It’s very snug (tall people may find it too tight a fit) but light-filled thanks to full-length windows that offer lovely views of the surrounding greenery. In keeping with the off-grid nature of the site there’s no electricity, but torches are provided. For maximum privacy and pretty views of the fields and sea, book Kudhva 4.
What’s good to drink?
Kudhva doesn’t have a permanent bar onsite but the area is full of drinks producers, from traditional Tintagel Brewery to quirky The Wrecking Coast, which makes an unusual gin distilled with clotted cream. Elsewhere, explore local vineyards Trevibban Mill (check out the rustic Italian dishes at onsite restaurant Appleton’s, headed by the former head chef of Fifteen Cornwall) and Camel Valley (known for its award-winning sparkling wines), or cider maker Haywood Farm. Visit the latter on Sundays to join its cider socials, with live music.
And to eat?
Each kudhva has its own firepit, or you can cook in a shared kitchen. At nearby Hilltop Farm Shop, in Slaughterbridge, stock up on Cornish produce, from locally made wines, beers and gins to Davidstow cheddar, wild garlic pesto and freshly baked sourdough. Slightly further afield, Boscastle Farm Shop does homemade quiches, pies and cakes, and has a butchery selling meat from its own herd of Ruby Red cattle.
If you prefer a less DIY approach, seafood specialist Tan & Mor and boutique caterers Beautiful and the Feast (which also owns eatery Temple in Bude) are happy to send chefs to cook for you on site. Just make sure you give them plenty of notice.
If booked ahead, the campsite can also provide you with a pricey (£35) but indulgent breakfast hamper of local bacon, sausages, sourdough, coffee and milk.
Fresh bread from Hilltop Farm Shop
Any other food experiences I shouldn’t miss?
Kudhva’s lush setting means it’s a great spot for foraging (ask at reception for the site’s foraging guide), from hunting for wild strawberries to picking botanicals, like water mint and wood violets, for cocktails. Once a month the Sunday Services sees Kudhva put on a spread of locally sourced food and cocktails, with music from local DJs. Plans are also in place to introduce cookery courses with Tan & Mor – check the website for updates.
Is it family friendly?
Those with toddlers and babies would find it challenging getting in and out of the cabins, and while there’s plenty on the 45-acre site that older children would enjoy exploring, bear in mind that the vibe of Kudhva is very mellow and quiet, and might be somewhere you’d prefer to visit sans enfants.
What can I do in the local area?
Exploring Kudhva’s 45 acres – from wild swimming in its reservoir to practising yoga in the willow groves (the site recently trialled regular yoga sessions, which it hopes to continue in the summer months) – will easily while away a lazy afternoon. Further afar there’s also plenty to explore; beach combing and mussel picking can be had at nearby Trebarwith Strand (though head to Polzeath, half an hour’s drive away, if you’re after a classic sandy beach) and, as this is surfing country, ask at reception if you’d like some recommendations for instructors. The rugged coastline also offers plenty of walking opportunities – Kudhva is very near the South West Coast Path – and is fringed with postcard-perfect fishing villages and hidden coves.
Restaurant-wise, the likes of Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac and Rick Stein’s empire in Padstow are the most well known destinations but it’s worth taking time to explore the region’s lesser known gems. Head to Pilchards Café, in tiny Port Gaverne, for fresh local crab piled high on sourdough toast, and garlicky grilled prawns in a setting just metres from the beach, and stop by roadside café Strong Adolfos for Cornish-Swedish fusion plates and Origin coffee. For something different, Debbie Warner’s Wild Wine Club organises monthly alfresco wine feasts in beautiful locations across Cornwall (including Kudhva).