Gandalf the Vw Campervan is parked down the Cornish coast near Newquay; our home for the next night is The Camping and Caravanning club site at Tregurrian, just a short walk from Watergate Bay.
On arrival, I’m going to be honest, we were a little underwhelmed. I suppose this was always going to happen, we’d had two exceptional locations- anything was going to struggle to compare to Trewethett Farm with those magnificent sea views.
I’d read the site was across the road from beach- which was a stretch of the imagination as it’s actually 0.75 miles downhill on a busy road. The route to the coastal path has been closed so my hopes for a beach day were dashed as we didn’t want to drive there and equally had too much stuff to carry that far.
After our set up and lunch of a local cheese board, we did however walk down with a small bag and the beach is lovely and most importantly for us, dog friendly.
There were lots of surfers and body boarders and we looked out of place with no wetsuit (even though I had mine up at the van) but we did both manage a dip in the sea. I’m sure with kids in tow, this site would tick a lot of boxes for many families, and whilst we enjoyed an afternoon on the beach, we were disappointed with the facilities in Watergate Bay – the bar was away from the beach and had slow service and there were no fish and chips to be found, only pizzas, and posh seafood restaurants which didn’t welcome dogs.
The next day, the weather was not as good as forcasted so we decided to make a move home a day early. Friday had an exceptionally tight schedule for a variety of reasons so we couldn’t afford to get stuck in traffic. We had a nice breakfast, another walk down to the beach and along the bay, before coming back to Gandalf and packing up.
As we departed we stopped at the next bay, Mawgan Porth where we picked up some fish and chips – yay! – and drove a couple of miles up to the National trust car park at Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps, where we enjoyed the most delicious fish and chips with a view that knocked our socks off.
For future reference- if we visited here again, we would catch the bus from near to the site and travel a short journey to Mawgan Porth, as the beach was equally nice but the fish and chips and bar were right on the beach. In our opinion- It had a less pretentious vibe here.
As we were leaving after our fish and chips we got news that unfortunately our holiday to Porto Santo, a small island off Madeira departing on Monday was to be cancelled, due to Portugal moving to Amber. We were heading there to celebrate Keith’s big 5 0! Whilst we were disappointed, we also were a bit relieved as we didn’t want to get stuck out there. We originally were supposed to be in Peru with Great Rail Journeys these two weeks. So our journey back early was now less necessary but as we’d packed up already we decided to continue on home. We honestly had had the best time this week, and we wished we could just stay for another week, but we’d left it too late to book anything and also we had celebrations planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
We then spent the weekend celebrating at home with our mums on Friday, then down in Croydon with friends and family on Saturday and Sunday
We are now making the most of another week off work and good weather by continuing down south for a week of camping in Gandalf- all of which was cobbled together Friday morning FRANTICALLY and each day’s activities is a surprise for Keefy!
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up at Brit Stop #008, which is a marvellous farm shop full of delights (well less full than before we arrived, seeing as we’ve shopped til we dropped here!) It’s got a fab view, over the pig fields and across to Bodmin Moor, and is the perfect setting for us to enjoy our sausage and mash (courtesy of the farm shop produce!) and chill after a pretty big day of cycling!
We weren’t sure what we’d get up to today seeing as the weather forecast looked a bit dodgy, and we had considered buying tickets for Eden Project to occupy us during the rain. We held our patience though, saving ourselves nearly £50 on tickets to the project, and were rewarded with a dry day enabling us to nip up to Bodmin and cycle some of the Camel train. We managed 15 miles on the disused railway, and enjoyed every second. There perhaps isn’t so much to see town wise as on the Tarka trail but the trail itself was prettier, hugging the River Camel the whole way. Lovely!
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up at another fantastic Brit Stop location, #010 and this time a pub (oh no…!!) – but look at our view!!
We have had a very active day today, once again being very lucky with the weather (thank you weather Gods!) and therefore have worked up rather a large appetite for dinner tonight, which is a good job seeing as we’re eating at the pub later and the menu looks amazing!
We started our day by visiting the spectacular NT Lydford Gorge. Now I was under no doubts that this would be staggeringly beautiful, given how the name of the river that passes through these parts is named after me… The River Lyd 🙂 It cost the pricely sum of £7 pp to get in, but we were promised the largest waterfall in the South West, The Devils Cauldron, over 3 miles of well kept paths to enjoy and amazing gorge scenery. Despite our reservations at paying nearly £15 to visit a natural beauty, (I’m talking about the river and not me here… Haha!!) we absolutely LOVED the visit and would recommend to anyone passing through- I’d even go as far as saying I’d make a special visit to come here. You can see by the pics below- it was great. The paths were excellent, hand rails at all the steep sections, info boards, etc- and we both felt it was money well spent.
After a brill visit we were left itching for even more excercise so drove the short distance to a carpark on the outskirts of Okehampton, unloaded the bikes, loaded Jazz into his basket and set off along the Granite Trail. Another cracker of an off-road disused railway trail, we cycled over two viaducts and even down across a Dam! All with the spectacular backdrop of Darmoor. Absolutely great fun!
We’re on the home stretch now sadly, with only one full day and night left on Dartmoor before making the journey back to Norfolk after a days exploring on Saturday.
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on a dairy farm, at Brit Stop #001. This isn’t just any old dairy farm though, they make ice cream and fudge to die for here- and we’ve made a good start on sampling it!!
We awoke in Praa Sands having survived a pretty hefty storm during the night, and as the weather was grim still we opted for a lay in. It’s a lovely spot the car park here- we could near the waves crashing below us, the pitter patter on our roof and wind howling was a joy to listen to whilst curled warm and toasty in bed!
Around 11 ish and we decided it was time to crack on despite the weather, so we headed onto the main road and made a stop at Portleven- this ended up being a good move as about half an hour into our visit the skies cleared and out came the sun.
Portleven is a picturesque but ancient harbour, with pretty houses and shops lining the very deep harbour walls. The tide was out when we visited so all the boats were resting precariously on the harbour floor.
One of the pubs caught our eye (naturally!) and seeing as Keith was driving today I suggesting we nip in so I could get my obligatory pint of Doombar. The Ship Inn oozed character and had a great position so we were able to enjoy the view over the harbour whilst soaking up the atmosphere (and the Doombar!)
Time was pushing on, but seeing as the weather was looking great again, we decided to pop to the Lizard- the most southerly point in the UK. Neither of us had been before and I know we were lucky with the weather but even so, we loved it there and thought it knocked socks off Lands End!
This stretch of coast is so dramatic, and the light there today was magnificent.
All this sight seeing is hungry work, and seeing as we’ve not yet tried a Pasty whilst down here today seemed the perfect opportunity.
This called for a swift pint in the most southerly pub in the UK, The Witch Ball, purely seeing as it is a landmark you realise….
Our Brit Stop for tonight (001) was just down the road so we arrived in time to have a good look around the farm animals here (goats, pigs, ducks, a turkey, quail, cows and calves) and we even got to watch the cows being milked. All the fudge and ice cream is made using this milk. It’s another corker of a stop- well done Brit Stops.
Bluebell the motorhome is parked at another BritStop (our heroes, thank you!) this time we are at a pub (hic!) #005, just on the outskirts of St Austell.
We’d envisaged staying at the carpark at Mevagissy tonight, where overnight parking is allowed, however when we arrived and were told £15 we just couldn’t quite face it, as it wasn’t in a picturesque location, and there were no services. Honestly, we aren’t tight, and we did consider it- but we would much rather spend that amount (and more on most occasions!) in a local pub/farm shop and support the local business (and come out with something mouth watering in return!) or a campsite/ carpark that offered some sort of facilities for that price.
We did however pay £4 to park for 2 hours, which gave us just enough time to nip down to the harbour, have a wander- it’s a beautiful town with another lovely harbour, grab some fish and chips, which we enjoyed whilst sat overlooking the harbour, and a pint of Cornish lager, Korev in the 14th Century Smugglers Inn, The Fountains.
Apparently the weather f/cast is bad for tomorrow so we’re unsure what it may bring for us at the moment, it could be Eden Project, it could be cycling some of the Camel Trail. Either way, we will enjoy, I’m sure!
Bluebell the Motorhome is parked up along with several other motorhomes in the village carpark in Tintagel. For £3 we’re allowed to park overnight here, within walking distance (50m!) to the nearest pub, half a mile to the English Heritage castle site and across the road from the National Trust Post Office site.
you can see Bluebell tucked up on the left
On leaving Barnstaple we visited the most beautiful Heritage Village of http://www.clovelly.co.uk
We paid £6.75 each and headed down through the visitors centre and down to the village. Words can’t describe how pretty the village is so here are my pics so you can see for yourself.
the Main Street lined with pretty houses
looking down over the Harbour
more pretty houses
the harbour and the hill we’d just walked down
the hotel on the harbour
a very picturesque refreshment stop!
After a good couple of hours, we marched back up the hill to the car park: Clovelly is totally traffic free, the locals have to use sledges to transport their gear up and down the hill- once upon a time it was donkeys!
On the way back up, Keith was able to hold and have his picture taken with his favourite animal- A Little Owl
Next we headed towards Tintagel. We hoped to stop at Boscastle, but it was heaving and we couldn’t even get in the carpark to check for spaces (although I’m fairly sure it was chocka block) so we carried on and found a space in the car park at Tintagel much more easily.
Once we’d got our ticket we walked down the hill to visit the impressive site where it’s believed King Arthur lived. It was a beautiful day to visit and although it was VERY steep (something which freaks me out a little!) we had a great visit
After a tiring days exploring we naturally found the pub, and tried a few local pints of cider/ale, wobbled back to the van and chilled out for the rest of the evening!
Thursday we parked up at Brit Stop #003, a pub near Redruth. We didn’t have the best day to be honest, everywhere we visited we had trouble either parking or exploring due to restrictions made by the council. First stop, Port Issac, saw us turned away from the main car park as we were over 2.5 tons (daytime parking). We then struggled to get back out due to ignorant drivers and got stuck whilst driving up a 1 in 4 single track hill road with hairpin due to an impatient 4×4 who wouldn’t wait and let us pass him. Next stop was Polzeath to relive some of Keith’s old childhood memories of hols down here with his parents. We managed to get parked easily, despite the very heavy no overnight parking signs, but then couldn’t take Jazz our dog on the beach. We left him in the van reluctantly, because we’d already paid for parking (clever that!) but nevertheless we enjoyed a (dog less) walk along the shore
We carried onto Padstow, hoping to have a fish and chip lunch, but seeing as we got turned away from the park and ride, then got stuck in the middle of Padstow with tourists ten a breast walking in the middle of the road with no awareness of us and the other cars driving down the road, we were frankly relieved, if not slightly hacked off once we got safely out of the town. We rang over 10 campsites trying to find a local one with a last minute cancellations to no avail, so ended up carrying on to Redruth, to a very welcoming Brit Stop pub, where we drank away our troubles of the day!
We did manage a little dog walk around the local area and stumbled (literally!) across an interesting site just down the road, Gwennap Pit, an interesting open air amphitheatre that was originally formed by mining in the area.
It’s now used (and has been since 1700s) as an open air preaching area and is owned by the Methodist Church. Very interesting place to visit!
On our walk back we also passed an old mining chimney, a stark reminder about the history of tin mining in this area.
Bluebell the motorhome is parked overlooking the sea, on the cliffs in the community carpark at Treen.
We came this way as we are off to the Minack theatre tonight to see Keefy’s brother lead in Monty Pythons’ Spamalot. We also were in desperate need of facilities, and were hoping to get on Treen Farm camspite, which is a short walk away from the theatre. Sadly, by the time we arrived at 09:30, there were already over 50 early birds who had got on the list before us- this campsite offers a no booking policy, so you have to just turn up and hope for the best, hence the early start! In an amazing act of generosity, despite us not getting a pitch, the owners of the campsite allowed us to fill/empty water and loo and pointed us in the direction of the community carpark where we were allowed to park up for £3.50 overnight and £2 all day. The views from here were better than the campsite to be honest, and substantially cheaper, however we spent a lot of money in the campsite shop/farm shop on local ales, ciders, sausages, and even marshmallows!
We were meeting some of Keith’s old friends at the local pub for what turned into a liquid lunch
– this Cornish Tribute Ale is lovely!
By mid afternoon we thought it would be wise to check out the coastal path down to Porthcurno and the Minack ready for our trek down that night.
Porthcurno beach in this weather rivals Greece
managed a dip or 4 in the sea- it was a bit nippy, unlike Greece!
Keith’s brother and sister in law and some of the cast
That evening we watched the show at the Minack and it was fab. Definitely recommend a visit. I’ve never been before but Keefy has played in various show bands here before.
Keith’s brother Neil, playing King Arthur in Spamalot
The weather was great but forecasted to change on Sunday, so we decided to stay another night at Treen carpark. We enjoyed a walk to Logan’s Rock, then a massive chill in the sun and a BBQ! Perfect
the view to the Minack on the left and Portcurno bay from Logan’s Rock
The Minack on zoom from Logan’s Rock.The chain of people you can see is the next theatre company passing their set down from the carpark to the stage
We finished off our Saturday with a mahoosive chill in the sun, then a BBQ- steak and sausages accompanied by a bottle of Pape. Perfect
We then tucked into the marshmallows for the first time EVER- we’ve clearly missed out. It was amazing!
As the sun went down the stars came out and what a sky it was- we sat and saw loads of shooting stars. Absolutely cracking day. Sunday
Bluebell the motorhome is parked up right beside the seaside, at Praa Sands.
We’ve managed to find another place that welcomes motorhomes by allowing us to stay overnight for £5. We’ve paid £8 and this gives us 24hrs parking.
Cornwall is slightly confusing with its attitudes towards motorhomes, and dogs for that matter. Some carparks seem to be happy allowing us to stay whereas others a mile or so down the road have several ‘campers and motorhomes prohibited” signs per carpark. Some beaches allow dogs, others don’t. Lands End, you pay £6 to get in but then you can take your dog into every shop there. It’s all very confusing, but we’ve been lucky and only had one day of anti motorhome/anti dog stress (so far!)
We nipped up to Lands End today, as Keefy’s been wanting to get a matching sticker to go next to our J O’G one from last year. I have to admit, the £6 parking charge seemed steep initially, but on thinking about it, I suppose it’s not too bad- if we had 4 passengers it’d be a cheap to visit. Also, once the £6 is paid, there is no extra admission charge, although there are plenty of outlets for you spend extra money once inside, including an official picture next to the sign (an extra tenner!)
We stopped off at the Famous First and Last Inn on our way out, intrigued to check out the camping area we knew about. We could have stayed over for £10 with no services, not even a water tap, in their back field, but frankly we thought that it was a rip off considering our location the previous two nights for less than half of that. If they’d said free for diners, £10 otherwisewe’d have stayed and eaten/drank. We did enjoy a quick drink there though before carrying on to Praa sands.
Sorry for the lengthy blog this time- a mixture of relaxing offline and lack of signal has results in no updates this week, however you are now up to date 🙂
Our plan for the next week is to Brit Stop along the south coast, hope the weather gets better though as today isn’t great!
Until next time