Camping in the Forest – Norfolk camp and walk

For us when we arrive at a campsite, once we are set up, we don’t want to move the van if we can help it. I spend all week chasing around in between schools and gigs so once the journey is out of way, I want to hang up those car keys and embrace not having to drive. Because of this we are always on the look out for campsites with walks or bike rides from our pitch.

For the second year running Keith and I have signed up to “walk 1000 miles”. Last year we smashed it by walking over 1100 miles which we were thrilled about- crossing the 1000 mile mark in mid November.

As usual its been a busy start to the decade, and with some pretty rough weather and my lingering lurgy, the 40 odd miles walked so far this year by us have been mainly in the dark either first thing in the morning or last thing at night. But this weekend a welcome break in the weather arrived at the same time as a welcome day off.

As we only had the day spare we opted for a local walk just 5 miles away from our front door. However seeing as we have a really rather decent campsite in the middle of the walk and various attractions around us – we felt it was well worth a write up to add to our ‘Campsites with walks from the pitch’ list.

Campsite:

Dower House Camping About 7 miles away from Thetford, Norfolk. Easily accessible from the A11.

This campsite is right in the heart of the forest. The pitches are really pictuesque and there are decent facilities and even an outside pool for the summer months. It gets very busy, we even know neighbours who go there on holiday despite it being 3 miles from our front door. It is open from Mid march to mid October.

The Walk:

9 miles but many shorter (or longer) routes available.

Because we live so close obviously we didn’t camp. We parked Ruby at Knetttishall Heath which has two large and free carparks. Knettishall Heath also has miles of trails to follow and is the start of the Peddars Way.

Our route began in the main car park which we walked away from by turning left out of the main gates, following the road back towards the A1066. After about half a mile we took a small footpath towards Riddlesworth Hall Private School. The path goes behind the school and you get good views of Princess Diana’s former school – the impressive Riddlesworth Hall.

We then crossed the 1066 and took a quiet lane through the forest towards Dower House Campsite. We took the campsite entry road and followed it for the mile or so before breaking off to the left following the path towards Thorpe Woodlands (Forest Holidays). This is a good place for a refreshment stop as there is a pet and child friendly bar/cafe which serves decent food and is open to non residents.

We carried on to the Peddars Way National Trail which we followed all the way back to Knettishall Heath. Our route covered 9 miles and was really enjoyable.

If we were staying at the campsite we would head towards Riddlesworth Hall first then Knettishall Heath as that way you get the road walking (albeit quiet road) done first.

There are enough walks directly from the campsite to occupy you at least 2-3 days so it’s perfect for a weekend break.

East Harling is just about walkable from Dower House – or cyclable on a very quiet lane. There are two decent pubs, one that serves exceptional food – The Nags Head and one that is a drinkers pub, The Swan. There is also a traditional tea room, Peppers, a village store, fish and chip shop and post office. The 2 pubs and the tea room are all all dog friendly. If you don’t fancy the distance, there is a great cab service that is based in the village.

Just outside of East Harling is England’s oldest Whiskey Distillery. Its well worth a trip if you like Whiskey or Baileys – they do a very nice Norfolk Nog which is similar to Baileys. There is also a restaurant and cafe at the distillery too.

A little further afield but less than 10 miles away there is Snetterton Race circuit and also Banham Zoo, or Bressingham Steam Museum.

Did you know that the legendary actor James Stewart was stationed nearby to here in Old Buckenham, about 8 miles away during WW2? You can visit the small museum on the airfield and visit Jimmy’s cafe. Or perhaps come and watch the very popular and really great air show in July.

As you can see we are blessed with where we live. If you decide to come and try the campsite out do let us know, we’ve love to meet up! This truly is our stomping ground! In fact during this walk we bumped into two of our followers randomly! Great to meet you Eric and Pam!

We’re always on the look out for inspiration of where to visit for a night or two which requires no driving once on site. If you have any spots you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below.

Our next Ruby adventure is just 3 weeks away, we’re looking forward to seeing some hills in West Yorkshire.

Until next time

Lx

Adventures on the North Norfolk Coast at the turn of the Decade

Ruby the VW has made a return to the North Norfolk coast to help us celebrate the end of our first decade together. It’s a place that is special to us – convenient to get to and home to the biggest and most beautiful skies around. Each village has its own individual charm, a dog friendly pub and some really tasty local shellfish. A perfect place for us to retreat to!

Last year we spent a very happy NYE mini break at Deepdale Campsite – which we would have been more than happy to have revisited – but on enquiry they had more than doubled their prices up to over £40 pn. So we ended up trying a new site for us, a C&MC certified site called Foxhills, an adult only CL on the outskirts of Weybourne, North Norfolk.

We’ve had a crazy winter of work and it has caught up with me, so I travelled on Sunday with lurgy. I was adamant we would still go – my body crying out for some sea air and a change in scenery.

On arrival to Foxhills we got ourselves unpacked and had an acclimatisation wander down to the small but pretty village of Weybourne. First (and only) stop being the pub, the thin serpentine of smoke from the chimney luring us to the log fire in the bar inside.

A couple of drinks including a whiskey to help my cold later, and we made our way back to Ruby where we set the bed out, got our pjs on, put the heater up to max and dozed and read for the remainder of the evening. Dinner was a homemade turkey and brie pie, which I’d made at home – we reheated it in the Remoska oven and served with veg and the last of the Xmas spuds.

Monday (New Year’s Eve Eve) dawned a beautiful winters day. My cold was lingering and I was aching, but I was desperate to get some sea air. We picked up the Norfolk Coastal path at Weybourne beach and followed it North with the sea on our right towards Wells next sea.

We weren’t sure how far we’d get, and the answer turned out to be not too far! The surface underfoot was mainly pebbles on the beach and I found it really hard going. The sea breeze was icy and it was making me cough and cough. Jazz was windswept and I think Keefy just fancied a pint! So, after about a mile and a half along the sea we diverted off the seafront at Salthouse and found ourselves a lovely pub to warm up in.

Inland we found the small but pretty village of Salthouse, situated on the salt marshes. As the name suggests this charming little village was named as such because of the salt houses that used to store salt here- it’s even listed in the Doomsday book as such.

7 swans a swimming!
Salthouse

The Dun Cow at Salthouse was just a brilliant impromptu find- we bagged the last spot in front of the fire and even though we weren’t planning a pub lunch, couldn’t resist a starter of local mussels and a main of crab linguine to share. The food and atmosphere was lovely – a true North Norfolk gem of a pub, dog friendly thoughout and serving food all day until 9pm. We will absolutely be back!

Jazz thinks this is more like it!

We picked up the coast hopper bus on to Cley next the Sea where we enjoyed a wander before picking up the coastal path and walking a further 3 miles to Blakeney. We caught the last of the winter light – it was a spectacular sunset, the gold dripped down onto the path ahead and it was impossible not to feel recharged, despite starting to feel a bit rank!

We caught the bus back all the way to the campsite before heating up some chicken and pumpkin curry from the freezer and settling in for the evening. On the trip to the shower block we became aware of the most spectacular night sky we’ve seen whilst in the UK so layered up and did some star gazing. We saw the 60 satellites in formation called Starlink Constellation. They are 60 bright lights in a straight line going upward and really took our breath away – once we’d decided we weren’t being abducted by aliens. You can read about it…

Here

What a fantastic sight!

Tuesday (New Years Eve)

We had a bit more of a lay in than planned as I was not feeling 100%. Instead of our planned walked to Sheringham along the sea, 2.75 miles, we caught the bus to Cromer instead and met up with mum who had her first day off since the day before Xmas Eve, for a fish and chips lunch. We had a beer in the dog friendly Wellington Inn before going for a fish and chip takeaway from No.1 fish bar – owned by Michelin starred Galton Blackiston.

They were delicious – we’ve eaten in their restaurant upstairs which is also marvellous if you’re passing – and we loved that they sold mini bottles of Prosecco and Galton’s lager to wash it down with, despite having a takeout. We popped to the butchers for some steak for dinner tonight, and venison for dinner tomorrow before waving ‘bye to mum onto her train and us picking up the last bus back to our site. We are so impressed with the Norfolk Coasthopper bus service – it’s dog friendly, reasonable in price and regular in service and the drivers have been friendly.

Once back at Ruby the VW we showered and got our NYE glad rags on. Otherwise known as our pyjamas- rock and roll! We cooked some party food nibbles and baked a Camembert in the Remoska, and fried up the steak to dip into the Camembert -all of which we washed down with a bottle or two of red and Keefy’s playlist serenading us. Perfect!

Around 11pm we stuck our head out the window to check on the stars – and couldn’t believe our eyes that we were being treated to an even more magnificent display of the night sky than last night. The mass of gas and dust that makes the inside ribbon of the of the Milky Way so spectacular was completely visible by eye and we saw a number of shooting stars. I always knew this area of North Norfolk is registered as a Dark Skies area, but whenever we’ve been visiting there has always been clouds above. What a treat. Unfortunately I didn’t have my SLR camera, as I had a tripod- that would have been a perfect opportunity for me and capture the sky. And because I was feeling ill I didn’t bother getting my telescope out either. Instead I settle for 6 layers and my hip flask!

I can’t remember a more perfect end of a year, let alone decade. As we watched the hands of Big Ben cross over into the new decade, our campsite was completely silent, which was bliss. We did a quiet Auld Lang Syne in Ruby before hitting the sack.

Wednesday (New Year’s Day)

Unfortunately I’d woken up feeling pretty rough – my lurgy was refusing to go away, and I had a really tickly and annoying cough, so a duvet morning was declared. We enjoyed a delicious New Years Day brunch of haddock, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce on muffins, washed down with champers – yum – who says camping can’t be posh eh?

I then got the venison stew in the slow cooker on high as it’s was gone midday – before we went for a stroll along Muckleburgh Hill which was next to the campsite and backed onto the Muckleburgh collection of tanks and military guns and down to the beach.

We popped in for a departing drink at the pub, The Ship at Weybourne – our last pub visit for a while as we go dry for January. It’s a lovely pub and the staff were so friendly. Before dark we made our way back to Ruby to settle in – fresh Cromer crab salad and venison stew was our New Year’s Day menu and it was delicious.

This trip was really lovely despite feeling cranky – the sea air and huge blue Norfolk skies really cheered me up after a funny old couple of months.

The campsite; Foxhills Caravan and Motorhome CL – adults only – was a perfect escape for us. It had two showers (free) an outdoor but with hot water washing up area, two loos per sex and heaps of space. We paid £19pn with electric and hard standing which I thought was a bargain.

The coast hopper bus which links Wells next to Sea and Cromer everyday except NYD and public holidays had a stop just outside the entrance – (around 100 yards away). The North Norfolk Coastal path is accessed just down the road with miles upon miles of walks to be enjoyed. Next door is the largest private collection of Military memorabilia in the UK – sadly it was closed and doesn’t reopen until February so we will definitely be making a return visit. You can easily park up here for a week and not move your vehicle once.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again – The whole area is probably the most dog friendly place we’ve been to – every pub, restaurant, bus, even many shops seemed to welcome our furry friends in with open arms. The bars are laden with treat bowls, water bowls under every table, it’s just brilliant.

Also within Weybourne, the Sheringham to Holt steam railway passes through- there is even its own station stop, less than a mile away from the site entrance.

We were lucky enough to see their Christmas light special train every evening chugging through in the distance.

Picture not my own – belongs to North

All through the stay we could hear the choo choo of the steam train. What a glorious sound.

As you can probably tell – we’ll be back to this hidden gem on the Norfolk coast that’s for sure!

Until next time and HAPPY NEW YEAR

Lx

Adventures on the Weavers Way, Norfolk

Seeing as the weather forecast for this weekend was so good, we decided to jump into Ruby again for a cheeky night away on Saturday, two weekends away in a row – how lovely!

Our wheels we once again set towards North Norfolk, this time towards The Weavers Way at North Walsham. The Weavers Way is a 61 mile footpath – parts of which are disused railway lines – and it takes it name from the cloth industry that was once one of the areas major industries.

We were staying at another Caravan and Motorhome club CL site, this time with no facilities other than hook up, tap and disposal facilities. Old Bridge Farm is situated conveniently just off the Weavers Way- perfect for our weekend of walking and enjoying the weather.

After a quick lunch, which we enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine, we actually had a quick nap! Feeling much more rested, we don our boots and head towards Aylsham on the Weavers Way.

Less than a mile from the site we came across one of the most well preserved stations we’ve seen on these disused railways; Felmingham Station. Sadly it’s not in use- it would make a wonderful cafe.

The banks along the Weavers Way are steep in places and full of pretty butterflies. We really enjoyed our 3.5 miles stroll to Aylsham before doing an about turn and making our way back to Ruby.

Once again, Keefy found an appropriate blind spot to take a shower, although the wind was a bit fresher than last week so it was a bit cooler.

We sat for a while, enjoying the peace and quiet before moving inside for dinner- that wind was very fresh!

Dinner was teriyaki salmon, noodles and stir fry. I used the Remoska to cook the salmon and it was delicious.

We ended up going to bed at 8.45pm – what party animals lol! And slept soundly until 7am. Must have needed that! These CLs are wonderfully quiet though – a real place to relax and unwind.

The sunrise was spectacular

As we had woken up so early, and the forecast for later in the day was rain, we got up early and went for a walk in the opposite direction, to North Walsham. It was just over a mile, so we walked about 2.4 miles in total. The light was wonderful.

We really enjoyed our time exploring the Weavers Way and highly recommend this campsite – it’s location and serenity were perfect and at just £12pn, we felt a real bargain.

On the way back we stopped for some local potatoes at a nearby farm and then at a farm shop for some leeks. Leek and potato for lunch!

Until next time

Lx

Adventures on the Marriott’s Way, Norfolk

It’s been a busy couple of weeks back at school, stress levels have been high and I was itching to get away for a night for a change of scenery. We’ve been meaning to revisit the Marriott’s Way, a disused railway line now turned into recreational track, that runs 26 miles from Aylsham to Norwich. Last time we visited we stayed about half a mile off the Marriotts Way, but whilst cycling along spied a quirky little Caravan and Motorhome club certified site (5 van site) in an old station situated right ON the Marriott’s Way. We made a mental note to revisit sometime – it’s only taken us 4 years!

More info about the Marriott’s Way can be found here

We got a last minute pitch at The Station, Attlebridge, and on Saturday morning left ours around 10am, arriving at the campsite at 11am – we’d checked that we could arrive early. This CL has a small toilet, hookup, tap and emptying facilities, so we decided to make use of the solar shower. What we love about CLs is the flexibility to park however we wish, rather than the more regimented club sites. We took advantage of this and parked side-wards on, and within 5 minutes we were enjoying a cuppa and admiring the view.

The Station Campsite is host to the former platform and station buildings and has lovingly resorted signalling box and gates, and even a small stretch of railway line. It’s ever so quirky and it’s big grassy paddock is perfect for a small quiet campsite.

After lunch, we put our best foot forward, this time opting to walk the Marriotts Way.

We walked as far as the Whitwell and Reepham railway, where there is a museum and cafe/bar – a distance of around 4.5miles.

The trouble with walking the Marriotts Way is that it’s linear, so we retraced our steps back to the campsite, clocking up 9 miles in total. We absolutely loved it though – it’s flat and easy walking. There are some old bridges and railway banks to admire, and at this time of year the tree canopies are really pretty.

Back at the campsite and Keith found a blind spot at the back of Ruby for his solar shower, which had heated up nicely in the sun on the roof of Ruby! We enjoyed a couple of (non alcoholic as we are doing sober September) drinks in the late afternoon sunshine, before knocking up a delicious pasta carbonara with some left over gammon. It was great to be able to cook and eat outside- we do love Indian summers.

We sat outside until the last rays of lights dipped behind the trees, reading and keeping an eye out for owls. We heard two but didn’t see them- before turning in for a early night.

Sunday morning dawned as bright as the day before so we enjoyed breakfast al fresco before walking in the opposite direction towards Norwich.

We covered a further 3 miles reaching Drayton before turning back to Ruby and waving bye to our perfect spot to relax for the weekend.

This campsite is perfect location for the Marriotts Way and at just £14 was a bargain.

We may well be back sometime soon!

Until next time

Lx

Celebrating Fathers Day at Kelling Heath

It may only have been two weeks since our last adventure, but it’s been a fortnight of work, work and more work stress! Exam season is upon us and between Keith and I we’ve had nearly 60 students taking grade exams in this fortnight alone.

Luckily, we’d got a weekend of escapism to look forward to, celebrating Father’s Day with dad and Jenny – double van date so to speak. Our original location was supposed to be Ferry Meadows in Peterborough, however the recent bad weather resulted in a phone call from them on Thursday advising that they’d had to shut as they’d flooded. That left us precisely 24 hours to find somewhere else that accommodate not one but two vans.

Luckily Dad managed to get us on at Kelling Heath, Norfolk. This pleased me as despite recent bad weather, the coming weekend looked to be forecasted to be nice – and there is no place I’d rather be than or the seaside.

Kelling Heath has been on our list of sites to visit for a while. It didn’t disappoint- the showers were phenomenal, and the site layout user friendly and beautifully landscaped. The bar area and restaurant looked appealing, there was n outside pool should we feel brave, and we were on the train line to Sheringham (and Holt). It was slightly pricier than other sites we stay at but facility’s being so good meant we had no issue paying this.

Friday night was spent with a few drinks, and putting the world to rights. We took a wander to the on site bar (dog friendly) and I sampled some local gin.

Saturday morning dawned sunny and so we wasted no time, bacon rolls first then a wander to reception to buy tickets for the train. As it was Father’s Day, they’d ramped the prices up somewhat, it we didn’t mind paying £20 pp as it’s a heritage line, and someone’s got to fund it. We then realised the next train to Sheringham was imminent so legged it the half a mile down to the station arriving just in the nick of time for the scheduled time of arrival. Annoyingly, the timetable was running over half an hour latest actually we needn’t have rushed! Oh well! The views from the small request stop station were glorious and fields of Poppy’s surrounding us were appropriate not to mention beautiful, considering we were on the Poppy Line.

Eventually our train arrived and we enjoyed the short journey to nearby Sheringham.

We had a couple of ciders overlooking the sea before fish and chips and of course this summer no trip to Sheringham is complete without a look at the newly formed and rather large sinkhole on the highstreet!

After a bit of a charity shop browse, we headed back to the station to make use of our roamer tickets. We were hoping to get to Wells but unfortunately the train station and poppy line were still in chaos. No one seemed to think that we’d be able to get back from wells to Kelling Heath, I’m still not sure why, it was all very confusing, but the long and short of it meant that we ended up paying £20 pp (£80 in total!) for a 6 mile return trip to Sheringham! Ouch. Having said that we enjoying using the heritage train line – it just needed a bit of fine tuning perhaps.

Saturday evening’s tea was burgers and salad which we cooked on Dad and Jenny’s cadac – a first for us.

Sunday arrived and we decided to make the most of the early departure time of 10am by getting up and away, and driving down the road to Weybourne beach car park for breakfast. We were treated to a full English which went well before a little leg stretch on the beach.

Soon the weather turned, so we bid farewell to Dad and Jenny before heading home.

A lovely weekend!

Until next time

Lx

Hello 2019! Seeing in the New Year on the North Norfolk coast

Ruby the VW Campervan is parked on the very lovely Deepdale Backpackers hostel and Campsite, at Burnham Deepdale, North Norfolk. We’ve driven by this place many a time, but the recent addition of electric hook ups and a complete toilet and shower revamp saw us booking on back in September for our much anticipated New Year break.

The campsite is absolutely excellent by the way; huge pitches and probably the best facilities we’ve ever come across; plenty of massive wet room showers with your own private loo and hand basin, even heated flooring! There are plenty of dish washing facilities, free Wi-fi and even not one, but two warm doggie showers!

These are the facilities just on site, aside from these we’ve got a fully stocked supermarket/petrol station that is open 7-7 even on New Year’s Day! A number of lovely shops, a cafe, not one but two pub/restaurants, the Norfolk Norfolk coastal path running practically from the site and a bus stop that is the coastlines and runs from Hunstanton to Fakenham and back every hour. It’s just the perfect place to spend New Year- a time when we always end up walking miles and miles to try and burn off some of those excess pounds that we’ve gained since, well Texas really!

The journey here on Sunday was indirect from ours but relatively quick- just over an hour and we were pulling onto our pitch. We took our time setting up as our last pack away was in the middle of the night and after a hearty lunch of homemade pea, ham and mint soup, made in my compact soup maker that Santa brought me, we donned our boots and set off on a small walk. The soup was amazing by the way!

We turned left out of the campsite and walked along the coast path towards Brancaster Staithe, a walk of around 1.5 miles and then looped back along the road, obviously checking the two pubs out too. We passed two small places selling fresh mussels. Obviously we brought a bag of live mussels, (and some fresh eggs) ready for a starter tonight.

Sunday night was spent chilling before dinner. Dinner was a rather exciting affair; first we had the local Brancaster mussels, cooked in a simple white wine and onion sauce- oh my they were good.

Main course was homemade turkey, ham and leek pies using our new gadget, an electric pie maker. I made the pies at home and we reheated them in about 15 mins using electric. It was a blustery wet evening, and our pie and mash dinner really hit the spot!

It never fails to surprise me how well we eat in Ruby, considering we only have just two gas hob rings!

New Years Eve

We had a fairly lazy morning, and after a breakfast of sausage and egg baps, we set off on a 3 mile or so saunter, this time in the opposite direction of yesterday’s walk – so turning right out of the campsite.

Despite leaving Ruby at 11:30 we found our pace was fast, so we decided to pause for a quick drink at The Hero, and then carry on along the coast path through Holkham and finishing at Wells-next-the-Sea 11 miles later!

Crossing the field towards Burnham
I saw the sea.. at Burnham

The path goes behind the large sand dunes at Holkham

Then through the trees and forest before coming up to the sea wall at Wells Next the Sea

The final approach to Wells Next the Sea. Boy those fish and chips were calling us!

We arrived at Wells at 3pm, not bad at all- we really loved the walk, even with our fast pace!

Obviously after such a long walk with no snacks/water (although there is a cafe with water station and loos at Holkham. And a pub which we didn’t stop at!) our first objective was to find a drink, and then fish and chips at Frenchies which hit the spot and beyond, before grabbing the next coasthopper bus back to the campsite (£2.10pp & £1 for dogs). We accidentally 😜 missed our stop and got off at the next stop, the Jolly Sailors, for “one for the road”; well it was NYE!

Our evening was quiet and chilled, exactly as we like it. We managed to polish off a steak and noodle dinner around 9.30pm, and then opened a bottle of fizz as we waited for the big countdown.

The atmosphere on site was good – a lot of campers had gone down to the Jolly sailors (or we assume they did as we watched them leave dressed as pirates and there was a pirate party on). A midnight, a few of our neighbours came out with sparklers singing Auld Lang Syne, and in the distance (but far enough not to trouble Jazz) we watched a pretty impressive firework display. But ten mins later the site was quiet again, so we pulled out the bed and promptly dozed off – not waking again until 10am.

New Years Day started rather lazily, in fact, I don’t think I got out of bed until 11! Once I did get up I made us a fry up, and we tested our legs after yesterday’s long walk. Luckily neither of us had still legs so we decided to do a nice 4.5 miles loop provided by the campsite, Burnham Deepdale – Brancaster and back via Barrow Common.

Despite there being a few drops of rain as we lay in bed, by midday the weather had cleared right up, and actually the sun was attempting to show its face. We really enjoyed walking over Barrow common, and took the opportunity to toast the new year with a swig or five from our hip flasks whilst looking out to sea.

The walk included walking across a field ahem, I mean the remains of a Roman Fort, Branodunum, which dates back from 200AD, and would have been one of three important sites in East Anglia. Keith was absolutely in his element – I’m better at seeing physical remains rather than using my imagination but I understood that it was a very important archeological site, and in its day would have looked like this:

Picture taken from SUMO Services: https://www.sumoservices.com/brancaster-roman-fort-case-study/

Today it looks like this

There is an interesting time team episode filmed here which we watched later on.

The walk rejoined the coastal path just below the fort and we followed it all the way back to Burnham Deepdale. As we passed Brancaster Staithe the sun fully came out and the light was just wonderful. The tide was now almost fully in and lots of people were out taking pictures, bird watching, even some launched sea kayaks. It really is my happy place here.

A mile or so further along and we returned to our starting point, and paid a quick stop at the church to see the Norman square font, before returning to the campsite, just in time to watch the sun dip down behind Ruby.

The first sunset of 2019.

All this walking means we are hungry Horace’s, so we devoured a cheese board for a late lunch and then a delicious slow cooker venison and red cabbage stew for dinner. Recipe below, it was gorgeous!

We’ve had a brilliant break, and really feel recharged and ready to start the year with a bang. We’ve signed up for Country Walking’s Walk 1000 miles in 2019, (we actually started it on 27th Dec hopefully that won’t matter) so are going into 2019 with lots of walking based trips in mind, and lots of trips in Ruby and beyond already booked.

Whatever 2019 brings for you, I do hope it’s a good one, and if you have a camper van, Motorhome or tent, we really really recommend a visit to Deepdale Farm. We’ll be back for sure!

Until next time

Lx

Trying out our new Inflatable Kayak

Last week in Lidl, they had inflatable 2 person Kayak’s for sale for the measly sum of £39.99. Always looking for our next adventure, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one! Annoyingly though we only managed to get it out for a test today: cue the longest week ever as I drooled over everyone else’s Instagram pics of inflatable Kayak adventures.

Neither of us has kayaked before so I decided to pick up a couple of life jackets from Amazon and also a waterproof phone case.

It wasn’t until I looked at the box of the kayak at home that I realised our combined weight was slightly (ahem!) over the maximum weight of 160kg that the kayak could handle. This, along with a well timed Aldi offer of an inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard set becoming available this week, led to another rather more expensive impulse buy! 🤭 bet you can guess what else we added to Ruby’s collection?!

Anyway back to today- I was working until 1pm in Norwich but for the first time in several weeks we both had the afternoon and evening off. That and the fact that it was glorious sunshine here cemented the fact that today would be test day for our new inflatable water crafts.

After a few errands, including a stop off at Norwich Camping and Leisure to get a refill Camping Gas cylinder, we arrived at Whitlingham Country Park where there is a lovely small broad fit for two novices to make their debut launches!

If you don’t have your own kayak or SUP you can hire one here for a very reasonable amount. To launch our own it costs £5 per craft.

We agreed we would try the Kayak first. It took us about half an hour to unpack and inflate and instructions were easy enough to follow. Luckily, with the SUP kit came a large pump, which helped enormously on the larger air chambers- our 12v pump coped well with the smaller ones.

Life jackets on, we put a blanket in for Jazz to sit on without his paws piercing the kayak and in we went! At first we struggled to get a comfortable position going on our bums (I think it was because we were too heavy!) so we decided to kneel which gave us more height for the paddle in the water. There was quite a breeze but the small contained broad was ideal for us to practice on especially as it was now after hours so no one else on it!

Keith did the majority of the paddling and I along with Jazz sat up front taking pics.

It took me a little while to get my water legs but we had lots of fun trying the kayak out!

After a while our bellies started grumbling so we heaved the kayak out of the water and left it to dry outside Ruby whilst I cooked us dinner inside Ruby. The sun was beating down despite it being almost 6:30 now!

We enjoyed burgers for tea followed by some local Lakenham Icecream- yum. I hoped that I could get the SUP inflated for a play, but realistically by now it was just too late. It’s been a very busy week of work and we were both feeling exhausted so we decided to return perhaps next week for a go on the paddleboard instead. So keep your eyes peeled for our review on that new toy sometime soooon!

It didn’t take long at all to deflate the kayak and pack away! It stores away well in a bag for easy storage.

I’d highly recommend a trip to Whitlingham Country Park. For kayaking and water based activities (not swimming though) needs you can either go solely on the Broad for £5. Or you can go on the river which takes you to Norwich in about 6 miles- for this you need a permit which is £7 approx and last for 7 days.

For cycling or walking there are ample paths- including a well surfaced circumference path around the broad.

There is a huge array of wildlife to enjoy, whilst we were there we saw numerous dragonfly’s, and there were some bird watchers with huge camera lens’.

There are two large pay car parks (you pay on departure- it’s camera recognition, so you can’t avoid it) we paid £4.20 for 3.5hours. The car park isn’t gates so you can enter or exit at any point.

There are toilets and a cafe along with an info centre open during the day.

There is a basic campsite right on the Broad which allows fire pits but has no electricity. However if you prefer the more well serviced pitches and campsites the Norwich Camping and Caravan ClubSite is just down the road.

We would highly recommend a trip here- we had a wonderful afternoon chilling and having a mini adventure.

Need another reason to visit Norwich? Check out our “reasons to camp in Norwich post

Until next time

Lx

A wander around Thetford Warren

We are so lucky to live in the area that we do. We’ve had so much to do this weekend that we were unable to get away; however after blitzing the to do list yesterday we decided to go for a nice walk and a cuppa tea somewhere local today, for a change of scenery.

Just 10 miles down the road lies Britain’s largest lowland pine forest, Thetford Forest.

We headed to Thetford Warren, a (free) English Heritage site that is a rare example of a rabbit Warrener’s lodge, a now lost local industry.

After a quick look at the building remains, we put our best foot forward and set off on the well signposted 4.5 mile Beech Trail. The trail takes you through woodland glades, along grass and sandy tracks, past tall pines, and Rhododendron Bushes (sadly we’ve missed their peak now). Occasionally the track is overlapped by another trail, some of which are bike trails

Nearby is High Lodge which is a hive of activity, with numerous walking and cycling trails along with a Go Ape. You can also get refreshments from the cafe there. Our trail, the Beech trail didn’t go as far as High Lodge but at one point we were very close to the car park (payable)

Parking at Thetford Warren is free though and far enough off the main road to enjoy a peaceful cuppa and cake in Ruby after our walk.

We really enjoyed our walk and will definitely return for a similar day sometime soon. Isn’t it amazing how a walk and a cuppa in the Campervan makes you feel like you’ve had a mini break, even if you’re only 15 mins from home!

If you’re not local enough to enjoy Thetford Forest as a day trip, we’ve heard the following campsites are really good and very local:

Puddledock Farm 9 miles/ 15 mins

Dower House 11 miles/ 18 mins (this is on the outskirts of our village!)

Other things to do in the area:

National Trust Oxborough Hall

Lyndford Stag Walks

Knettishall Heath Walks

English Whiskey Distillery Tours

Where do you like popping to for a local walk/change of scenery? We’d love to hear so comment below.

Also if you find yourself in this neck of the woods, let us know

Until next time

Lx

Winter Walks; North Elmham, Norfolk

Hasn’t this January been murky?! It’s no secret that many suffer with the dreaded “January Blues” and although I’m normally a very positive person (most of the time!) there’s been a few family issues that have disrupted my normal positive vibes this year and along with the horrid weather, this January I’ve therefore not been quite my normal self.

We decided this weekend to get out in Ruby just for the day and take advantage of the lovely county that we call home, Norfolk. Happily the weather Gods decided to cut us some slack and we were accompanied by something that’s been lost in action for the last few weeks; the sun ☀️

Keith raided our 30 Walks in Norfolk (AA 30 Walks in) (AA Walking in Series) walks and found an interesting one just down the road beyond Dereham, at North Elmham.

We threw a can of soup, some milk and water into Ruby and off we went.

Free Parking was at the English Heritage Saxon Chapel Site, so we had a little look around the ruins of that first which were excellent (and free).

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5 mile walk took us out of North Elmham and onto an old dismantled Railway Line, which regular readers will know, we enjoy exploring either on bike or on foot.

Whilst this is a bridle way, the path lends itself more to walking as it’s grassy (and in some parts muddy).

It’s not long before you reach a section of the track which has original tracks still in place. This leads to a fascinating, if not pretty eeery abandoned station, the former County School station. It’s complete with a former train, waiting area, and during summer months there is a tea room. It was fantastic and really atmospheric!

County School was built in 1873 but only survived as a school for 21 years, before being turned into a Naval College and then a Barnardos House, before sadly being demolished. You can read more here<<<
walk carried on beyond the station following the old track bed for a mile or so before we came off onto some very small and quiet lanes which we followed back towards North Elmham. The last section was through some vast woodland where we were treated to a great display of early snowdrops and aconites.

These never fail to put a smile on my face, so by the time we were back at Ruby the Campervan, we were feeling refreshed and revitalised. We enjoyed lunch and a cuppa before heading home.

If you are interested in walking, we highly recommend these AA walk boxes. Each walk is printed on a laminated card and has clear directions along with a map. They are a great size to store in the Campervan or motorhome.

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ou wanted to turn this walk into a mini break/ part of a Norfolk trip, nearby campsites are: Bylaugh Caravan Park or Four Acre Caravan and Camping Certified Location<<<
il next time

Lx

Winter on the Werryman’s Way – Reedham, Norfolk, Nov 11th 2017

Apolgies this Blog Post is late! I’ve had horrendous computing problems but I’m now back up and running! Yay 😀

A couple of weeks back, Keith and I found ourselves with a completely free weekend! These do not seem to come around a lot these days – so when we saw that the weather forecast was looking good (cold but bright) we wasted no time in zipped off for a cheeky night away in Ruby the Campervan. Ruby was pleased as she hadn’t been used for camping purposes since our jaunt to Pembrokeshire in Aug!

Our chosen site for the night was Reedham Ferry Touring Park, which is an hours drive from us. Our journey took us through Diss, which was very handy as coincidentally “The Flying Scotsman” locomotive was due to be passing through mid morning. My Great Grandfather used to drive the Flying Scotsman for many years, so it was very excited for me to be able to see this glorious engine fully working and looking her best.

Diss Train Station was heaving with people, which was lovely – so many people had come out to see for themselves what a beauty she is.

As she approached the whole platform went quiet in awe! She’s stunning! I suppose I am officially a train spotter now! Here’s a video Keith took, as I got way too emotional – I’m my father’s daughter for sure!

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were lucky as the train was scheduled to stop for water here so we got about 15 minutes to admire her before she choo chooed off on her way to Norwich. Won't forget that day in a hurry.

We carried on up the A140 towards Norwich, stopping at our favourite Farmshop/ Britstop en route to stock up with some treats for our night ahead, before pulling onto the practically empty Reedham Ferry Touring Park (£19pn). First impressions were good, the toilets and showers were clean, warm and modern, pitches spacious and the River Yare just behind us. <<
ter a quick lunch of homemade Leek and Lemon soup we donned our walking boots and set off down the well trodden Wherryman's Way towards the village of Reedham. It wasn't far, and we intended on walked perhaps a little further than we did – but, in the 1 mile downstream (or is it upstream?) we passed a chain ferry, a swing bridge and not one, not two, but THREE dog friendly pubs, all selling the local Humpty Dumpty Brewery Ale (and a local Norwich Gin) and all with delightful river side beer gardens. So – in the interest of sampling the wares, we abandoned the walk, and turned it into a rather lovely pub-crawl! You can thank us later. The verdict on the ale by the way was that Little Sharpie was delicious and so was the Bullards gin!

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e Wherryman Way is a long distance footpath that runs along the River Yare from Norwich to Great Yarmouth. There are a number of circular walks running alongside the Wherryman's way, so its certainly one for us to return to.

The last of the afternoon light was simply spectacular and I don't think I can remember a more pleasant way to spend a Saturday in Norfolk.

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e pubs were The Ship , The Lord Nelson, Reedham and The Reedham Ferry. Watching the sun set over the River Yard with a Norwich gin in my hand was just perfect.

We popped back into the Ferry once the sun had gone down to enjoy the cosy log fire – although we didn’t eat, the food looked lovely and we will will definitely return.

Next morning dawned and the weather looked not so promising. We got up pronto and enjoyed a stall down the river on the Wherryman’s way in both directions. I just love the sound of the wind rustling through the reeds.

It was a lovely way to spend Sunday morning, and we even found some sloes to pick, so my Sloe Gin is currently infusing ready for Christmas.

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e campsite were happy for us to take our time departing as they were empty, so we enjoyed a really leisurely brunch before hitting the road home, feeling thoroughly refreshed.

Until Next Time

Lx