Off-grid living: Enjoy life’s simple pleasures in an off-grid retreat

Off-grid living yurt in Wales Dyfi Forest

An off-grid retreat at Eco Retreats is a brilliant way to experience living off the grid for a short while. Guests are often attracted by the notion of off-grid living, and almost everyone tells us that life without any electricity is surprisingly comfortable. They also find that it helps them to slow down and become more thoughtful about the energy we usually consume.

Since we’re based in Wales, the first consideration for an off-grid retreat is warmth, especially at night. Our Mongolian yurts are really well insulated and get very cosy when the hand-made wood-burning stove gets going. We supply firewood sourced from local sustainable sources; much of it is harvested from the farm where we are based.

Firewood is also used for cooking outside; the outdoor campfire area has a tripod and grid for cooking over an open fire. And it even heats our outdoor baths! Off-grid living has never been more fun!

As an alternative, we offer a gas hob inside the yurt for cooking, and our hot showers warm the fresh water from a natural spring on site with a small gas heater. While gas is not a form of renewable energy, our consumption is extremely low: 1 large gas bottle per living space heats everyone’s showers, and no more than 2 small gas bottles per living space is sufficient for everyone’s cooking for the season.

Lighting is provided by tealights and 2 small camping lights that we recharge between stays. Because the living space is just the right size, an off-grid retreat doesn’t allow for the waste that comes with lights or heating being left on in rooms that aren’t in use. And being away from the normal glare of lights and electronics also helps our guests to sleep really well: many of them report having the best night’s sleep they’ve had in a long time.

People often wonder about food storage during an off-grid retreat. Our eco-cool pots are clay pots lined with sand which is kept cool with cold water. A traditional fridge still used in some parts of the world today, it’s surprisingly effective at keeping milk etc. cool for a few days!

When we lived as a family in South Africa, we lived completely off-grid so we know first-hand the joys and challenges of off-grid living. We lived with 3 solar panels powering everything we needed in our small earthship eco-house: a low-energy washing machine, a Minus 40 fridge that ran off one hour’s power per day, a few LED lights and sockets for running a few low-energy kitchen appliances (bread-maker and coffee grinder) and charging laptops and phones. Off-grid living taught me to be always mindful of my energy consumption (I had to finish the washing before I could make the bread!) – and of the weather (although It was almost always sunny, a few overcast days meant power supplies were very low).

Some of the innovations we’ve introduced to Eco Retreats like the gas heaters for showers are technologies we used for years in our own off-grid living home. We are exploring more solar options for Eco Retreats; however, weighing up the resources and energy used in the manufacture of the panels vs. their amazing ability to harness the energy from the sun.

One of the most important things we did while living off-grid ourselves was to fit out the eco-house with low-power lights and appliances; we never bought anything without checking power consumption first. This is a simple change anyone can make in their own lives, as energy efficient options almost always exist.

A review of global power consumption quickly reveals how excessive our energy usage in the Western world is, and how unsustainable. While technology can help us here, I believe reducing our consumption is essential too. A short off-grid retreat tends to highlight how very high our normal consumption is, and inspire us to make some small changes once we return home. Making these changes turns out in most cases not to be a challenge and a burden. Being conscious of and taking steps to reduce our energy consumption can often increase our quality of life, as well as our connectedness with the Universe and all people in our global society.

Join us for a unique off-grid living experience to see for yourself!

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Vik Taylor
Vik Taylor
2018-10-24T19:49:57+0000
We enjoyed our 1st stay last week for 4 nights with our baby in a tipi and we loved every second of it. we had a warm welcome when we arrived, tipi already warmed up too. we were supplied with every thing we needed. we enjoyed the lush hot bath looking at the clear sky at night. the view every morning was beautifal. everything so peaceful and quiet. all we could hear was the sound of the running water, trees rustling in the wind and the shoothing sound of wildlife. It was perfect. thankyou to Angus and Margaret. you literally thought of everything. thankyou. Will be booking for next year. cant wait.read more
Stewart Hoyle
Stewart Hoyle
2018-08-24T20:01:19+0000
a get-away from technology
Karen Morley
Karen Morley
2018-07-24T20:27:58+0000
Had a brilliant time in the meadow yurt with our 2 children. It was so peaceful and relaxing, everything that we needed was supplied. It was lovely being able to sit outside by the fire toasting marshmallows and having bbqs. The bath was amazing being able to totally relax outside in the peace and quiet. Our boys loved it especially the bath and paddling in the river. We would recommend to go try it to every one.read more
Neil Stanton
Neil Stanton
2018-06-18T14:38:49+0000
Beautiful location and the facilities were excellent. Spent a very relaxing weekend in the Cwm Onnen Tipi enjoying the scenery. Very comfortable and loved the wood-fired bath. We'll be back next year (hopefully with slightly better weather).read more
Jason Stirzaker
Jason Stirzaker
2018-04-04T11:02:49+0000
After a last minute decision to go away for the night we came across Eco-Retreats and their amazing looking Tipis and Yurts, set in equally amazing surroundings. They were so accomadating for us as we could only stay one night, and had rang up on the same morning we were staying. We got such a warm, friendly welcome and they really do go out their way to be there to meet & greet you (you'll understand just how much when you go). What a truly beautiful site quite literally away from it all. We stayed in the Forest Tipi which was set within it's own patch of land up a short trail to really give it an extra isolated feel. The outdoor bath really is amazing and well worth the wait to warm up, even in early April temperatures and light rain so would be absolutely perfect on more warmer nights. The Tipi itself was equipped with all that you'd need and the Chimenea did a good job of keeping us warm, even with the surprise blanket of snow we got in the night. I'd highly recommend this place to anyone wanting a truly different experience and appreciates being close to nature and getting back to basics, while still retaining the comfort of a bed at night.read more
Eric Stannard
Eric Stannard
2017-08-21T20:43:59+0000
From booking to arrival they were very helpful. After a quick overview of how to operate the tipi and fires we were left to our own devises to enjoy the tranquility and setting of the waterfall tipi. The tipi has everything you need for your stay and we found it warm and dry despite the wet weather. The fire in the tipi takes the place of the TV and the dancing flames soon become mesmerising; the background sounds of the waterfall and rain on canvas are relaxing and the dancing flames of the tea lights in the lanterns complete your escape from the modern world. The rain stopped long enough for us to enjoy a warm bath in the open air in the woods and is well worth the effort of keeping the fire going. All in all a fantastic escape away from modern distractions.read more
Angela Lazenby
Angela Lazenby
2017-08-01T14:16:35+0000
Louise Gresty
Louise Gresty
2017-07-26T17:43:03+0000
Brilliant feeling of being miles from anywhere, in a lovely peaceful setting with amazing views, having your own fire either indoors in the stove or outside campfire and it was very comfortable too.read more
Dan Shephard
Dan Shephard
2017-07-23T21:05:33+0000
Christopher Charles
Christopher Charles
2017-05-25T07:10:31+0000
The most beautiful and remotest place I've ever found in wales � we go back year after year and it just gets better ����������������read more
Gracie Hindley
Gracie Hindley
2017-05-15T08:29:13+0000
My boyfriend and I stayed in the Meadow Yurt last weekend. The trip was everything we could have wanted, and more! Beautiful yurt filled with all the equipment you need for your stay. The wood fired bath was also a huge highlight for us. Would thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting a quiet, stress-free getaway!read more
Andrew Calogirou
Andrew Calogirou
2017-05-04T05:36:23+0000
Amazing location and the River Yurt is amazing. Been 2 years in a row now and want to go again already.
Megan Hunt
Megan Hunt
2017-05-02T22:11:54+0000
We loved it here and can not wait to return one day.
Rachel Smiler Berwick
Rachel Smiler Berwick
2017-04-27T14:02:26+0000
Cannot recommend this place enough. It was our 2nd year back this year with our 4 year old & it never fails to impress. We just love staying in the waterfall Tipi :) booking process is excellent & the stay is even better especially being able to have a bath in the forest ;) thankyou again and we will see you next year xxxxread more
Kerrie Henriques
Kerrie Henriques
2017-04-14T18:58:51+0000
Absolutely amazing, such a great experience. Super friendly staff. Thank you �
Will Sfakiotakis
Will Sfakiotakis
2017-04-14T18:53:22+0000
Highly recommended! (River Yurt) A beautiful place to be, hosted by genuine, welcoming, and helpful staff. We will be coming back! A truly grounding and humbling experience. Loved it ��read more
Robert Cox
Robert Cox
2016-10-13T19:11:56+0000
Laurie Rose Belle
Laurie Rose Belle
2016-09-23T19:04:15+0000
What a beautiful place to unwind and relax. My 18 month old son and I loved exploring the area, we splashed in puddles and paddled in the river. In the evenings I enjoyed a glass of wine next to the fire and the best thing of all was no phones. I just wish I'd braved the outdoor bath. I can't wait to visit again next year �read more
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Margaret Rose

Margaret Rose

Margaret is a mother, entrepreneur, traveller and writer. Her love affair with wild places began many years ago as she lived and worked in some of the most remote areas of Africa. She and her family lived off-grid for 7 years and experienced first-hand the joys and frustrations of “voluntary simplicity.” Today, she is passionately committed to creating beautiful spaces which allow people to slow down and reconnect. She is a firm believer in the power of the thousand tiny choices we all make every day to change the world.
Margaret Rose

Margaret Rose

Margaret is a mother, entrepreneur, traveller and writer. Her love affair with wild places began many years ago as she lived and worked in some of the most remote areas of Africa. She and her family lived off-grid for 7 years and experienced first-hand the joys and frustrations of “voluntary simplicity.” Today, she is passionately committed to creating beautiful spaces which allow people to slow down and reconnect. She is a firm believer in the power of the thousand tiny choices we all make every day to change the world.
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