Feb Half term- The Peak District, Pt 2: Edges and Ales

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on a lovely hard standing pitch with panoramic views on…..wait for it…. A………CAMPSITE!

We are pitched up for the night on the very pretty, and extremely good value Beech Croft Farm Caravan and Campsite

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During winter months, we can manage 2-3 nights without hookup/ water/ loos, then we need a night on site to empty, re fill, charge etc. So, here we are, and first impressions are very good! Especially for just £18 for the night.

So yesterday, we made an early start and drove the 5 miles from our Britstop to another pub, The Robin Hood Inn which was the starting point of the walk we were doing and where we had pre booked a table for dinner, and during the process of booking asked if we could stay overnight in the car park, to which they obliged.

We set off on our “Edges and Ales” walk and couldn’t believe how lucky we were with the weather!

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It was a lovely walk which took in Bircham Edge, Chatsworth Estate and then Dobb Edge although we both found it tough as we are out of practice with the ol hill walking! Mind you, my homemade sloe gin helped!

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When we got to the Chatsworth House estate there was a big trail hunt about to start, and we were offered mulled wine and cake! Which was very welcome by that point I can tell you!

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We carried on the walk and got back to Bluebell feeling a bit like this…..

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One advantage to parking our motorhome in the pub car park was that we could both shower and change before dinner! We went in early for dinner and enjoyed a couple of pints of Pedigree before. The menu was lovely and we both were near enough foaming at the mouth by the time our parsnip and honey soup came out! I followed the soup with Sirloin of Roast beef and Keefy had homemade fish and chips and we both had homemade treacle tart with whiskey cream and ice cream for pud. The meal was gorgeous and the ale slipped down very well indeed!!

After “one for the road” we stumbled back to our room for the night and fell into a deep snooze! Must have been all that fresh air!!

We had a chilled and quiet evening and managed to escape hangover thankfully!

This morning the weather wasn’t so bright, so we decided to have a drive and then check in to the site at the earliest opportunity, in this case 12pm.

We drove up through Froggart, then to Bakewell, where we nearly stopped, but it was packed busy and we’ve both been before, so carried on to the quieter but equally as pretty Ashford in the Water

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then Monsal Head viewpoint

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We’re now all settled on our campsite, re charging and chilling – after all the weathers a bit gloomy and we are on holiday so are quite happy to have a day of doing not much!! 🙂 ***

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*** edit 5:30pm***

Us being us, got bored of chilling by roughly 2pm, so decided to see what walks were around from the site. We knew were close to the famous Monsal trail but didn’t realise we were within walking distance. A quick cross reference on streetmap and the memory map and a donning of the waterproofs and we were off.

We did a 3.5 mile circuit in 1.5 hrs- it took us across the moor

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Down into the gauge and onto the Monsal trail

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Along the trail and through some cool tunnels

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And back up a hill to the campsite!

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Not forgetting past the campsites very own dog and muddy boot wash! (Much to the disapproval of Jazz!)

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The sun has now set, and it’s most certainly time for a beer!

Until next time

Lx

Feb Half term- last day in the Cotswolds

There were two villages on our list of places we hadn’t visited yet – Stow on the Wold and Bourton on the water. We got up bright and early – well 9 am, skipped breakfast and headed towards Stow, where we decided to enjoy breakfast and had a wander. It’s another lovely town- the stone they use in the buildings here is so pretty! Stow on Wold is full of tea rooms, antiques shops and posh hotels, and during our hour or so here I spotted at least 3 ladies in full length fur coats and posh hats. Needless to say, I felt rather underdressed in my mud laden walking trousers and campers hair do, but never mind! 🙂

After a wander round, we decided that we’d have a late breakfast in Bluebell and hit the road 5 miles or so to head to Bourton on the water. I had a walk lined up, and we were keen to explore the village later in the afternoon, as the guidebooks seemed to suggest this was the quieter and more atmospheric time to visit.

Bourton is very motorhome friendly, the main car park has a seperate zone specially for motorhomes, and there are signs everywhere saying you can park and sleep overnight. We were pleased as we wanted to stay there overnight but both campsite were shut! On closer investigation the charges for the car park were astronomical!! And very confusing. If you parked in the special motorhome bays, you were charged a pound an hour or so more than the other bays. It should basically have cost us £13.50 to park from 1200 to 1800 then another £8 for overnight 1800-0900. Whilst we both agreed we would pay these charges this time as it meant we could park and relax, we did think it was slightly greedy- there were no facilities at all there and £21.50 is an awful lot to pay to park!! Anyway good on you Cotswolds council for taking the step, but we feel it just needs a bit of realistic refining price wise.

We enjoyed our walk and loved Bourton on Water- it’s dubbed as the Venice of the Cotswolds and you can see why. It’s so pretty!!

After we had thoroughly explored the area we were trying to find a cosy pub with a roaring fire, similar to those we had enjoyed earlier in the week. Unfortunately Bourton seems to have more tea rooms than pubs, and the one that we found, the Kingsbridge, although very friendly, felt more like drinking in a wetherspoons than a rural retreat, so after a quick drink we headed back to Bluebell. By this time it was coming up to 5pm and conversation started to turn to plans for the evening. Our options were to pay the extra £8 to stay overnight and chill in the van or to hit the road back to Norfolk, as we were due to leave tomorrow morning early anyway. We decided given the weather was very cold, we would prefer to get going and then enjoy a lay in Sunday morning in Norfolk rather than sit in a car park for £8 and have to get up at 7 to drive home. So we had a quick bite to eat, packed up and hit the road. 3 1/2 hours later we arrived back home with lovely memories of our time in the Cotswolds. We loved every second and will definitely return soon.

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Night 3- feb half term, Chipping Campden

We had a lovely lie in this morning- we didn’t wake up until 9:30! All this fresh air and walking is giving us both a healthy glow that’s for sure!

We awoke to a frozen water tank again today- but had left taps open all night and the tank off so hopefully we averted any damage! We had arranged to meet Krystle in the car park at Chipping Campden at 11 and so after a quick breakfast we hit the road. It was a short drive to get there and soon found Krystle and Flashy. We decided to have a quick cuppa before we begin, but due to our frozen tank, we found a lovely little dog friendly coffee shop on the high street which had the most amazing selection of cakes. Somehow we managed to resist the cakes for now and settled with a quick coffee/tea. We were soon on our way- we had opted for a 5 mile walk up to the summit of Dover hill viewpoint. During the walk we tried Jazz off lead for the first time! I was a bit scared, but I didn’t need to be. He loved every second and never strayed further than eyesight from us, always coming back to check where we were!

The countryside here is beautiful. Rolling hills with chocolate box villages dotted around. Everyone we’ve met so far have been so friendly, and the pubs and tea shops have been dog friendly, most offering free boneos for our four legged friends.

After another stunning walk, we headed back to the village to find a pub for lunch. We stumbled across The Red Lion, a gorgeous Olde world time capsule with a fab log fire that we enjoyed relaxing in front of! Keith was particularly enjoying the Olde Trip ale that was on tap! After some delicious baguettes and homemade chips we couldn’t resist but to head back to the coffee shop at The Noel Arms we had been to this morning to sample some of their sweet treats!! So we wandered down and settled ourselves in front of another log fire, with the dogs flat out at our feet and enjoyed a cream tea. It was terribly refined, and utterly irresistible. Krystle and I mused over how far we had come from our lambrini drinking Uni days!!

Keith and I decided we would like go try and find a site closer to a Chipping Campden rather than trek back to Winchcombe where we had intended to stay. A quick look in the camping and caravanning club book and a couple of phone calls later and we had found a site 2 miles away for a mere ten pounds. We bid our farewells to lovely Krystle and Flash and hit the highway to find our site. We are pitched up on the very friendly Greystones Farm. Unfortunately we had a slight “stuck in the mud” incident but friendly farmer Rob came to our rescue in his traccccor and we were soon settled with the heating on full and a beer in our hand. All this fresh air is making us everso tired so I imagine an early night is in order. We don’t actually have any plans tomorrow- so we will see where we end up!!

Until next time

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Night 2 – Broadway, Cotswolds

I’m writing this from the same campsite that we stayed at last night, Pinnock Wood Farm just outside of Winchcombe. We had such a lovely evening here last night that we decided to stay again tonight- at £14 a night for a pitch with electric, it’s worth every penny in this weather! It’s glorious during the day, but bitterly cold. It’s so cold that when we woke this morning we had no water as we had frozen!!

Luckily for us, we thawed by lunchtime and with no signs of damage. But our original plan of wildcamping in Broadway tonight seemed less appealing with the forcast saying it could reach -5 tonight, we opted for the electric fan heater option!

We had a great day in Broadway today- it was difficult not to keep breaking out in song and dance seeing as we were in Broadway! A totally different experience to being on Broadway, USA I’m sure, but still, we enjoyed our day there. It was a nice treat for Keith when we arrived- the first thing we saw was a Thomas Kinkade gallery- Keith is a massive Kinkade fan, so he had a browse whilst I waited outside with Jazz. When it was my turn to nip in, the observant gallery manager insisted we bought Jazz in- she was a big dog lover and was happy to welcome four legged friends into her gallery.

Krystle, Patrick and Flash arrived shortly after and we set about a walk up to see Broadway tower. It felt quite a slog on the way up, but the views were fabulous and once we got to the top we were rewarded with views for miles. The tower was an interesting building, and we all agreed we could happily live there!

We had a brisk walk back down to the village- the prospect of a late pub lunch and a pint certainly helped! We found a gorgeous little pub called The Swan, and were welcomed in like long lost friends. The menu was mouth watering! Keith and I both had BBQ pork ciabatta with home made chips and it really hit the spot!!

So here we are, back at the campsite and chilled to the max. Krystle is coming back to walk with us tomorrow- the joy of having friends who are also teachers and sharing the same holidays as us. Tomorrow we are heading towards Chipping Campden 🙂

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If you are planning on visiting the area check out visit Broadway

Feb half term 2013 – The Cotswolds, night one- Winchcombe

I’m writing this from the campsite on the first night of our four night trip. We left Norfolk at 9 this morning and had a long journey to get here, but my, is it worth it. Neither of us have been to this part of the country before, and we fell in love as soon as we got onto the B road after Buckingham. Sat nag bought us a long winded route but we soon forgave her as we winded our way through the pretty little villages. We eventually arrived at our destination, Winchcombe just before 2. We had a walk planned so grabbed a quick cuppa and headed on our way. What a quaint little place Winchcombe is. We enjoyed a lovely 6 mile walk in glorious sunshine – the daffs are poking out their heads, spring is definitely in the air!

We walked up a large hill (neither of us had anticipated that the Cotswolds were hilly… Durrrrrr) and at the top enjoyed the views down to the town. There is a lovely castle here, and lots of antiques shops and specialist shops to wander around.

We are pitched at a caravan club site tonight – called Pinnock Wood Farm- it was almost dark when we arrived, but the views look promising for the morning, the weather forcast is good and we are heading to Broadway tomorrow, where we will meet Krystle and do a walk to see the tower.

Spag Bol for tea tonight, we are all tucked in, the wind is blowing a gale, but we are warm and the gin is flowing and therefore life is good! 🙂

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Glorious night in Cambridgeshire- 16th Feb

We have had a walk pinned to our notice board in the kitchen for ages now- the walk being a nice ramble around Devil’s Dyke in Cambridgeshire, and this weekend we finally managed to check it off the walks to do list..

We arrived at the start of Devil’s Dyke in Reach around midday, and poor Keith had a tight bit of manoeuvring to get Bluebell into the small car park. After a twenty point turn, and a team effort – him steering, me guiding and Jazz being generally nosey out the back window, we were in, our walking boots were on and we were off on our eagerly anticipated trot.

It was a nice fresh day and it was good to see lots of people out and about enjoying the fresh air and beautiful views. We walked for nearly 6 miles, half of which was on the dyke itself- Devil’s Dyke is one of the finest remaining Anglo Saxon earthworks in the country, and is remarkably high!

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We passed through two very pretty villages Reach and Swaffham Priory- home to two windmills and two churches! Not bad for a tiny little village!!

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Once we’d finished our walk we headed off to our campsite for the night – we did debate wild camping, but as we only had the one night we wanted to be able to fully recharge our batteries and felt that the best way to do this was on a site, so we booked a night at The Missing Sock campsite. On arrival we filled with water, found our pitch and had a quick chat with the owner. We were very intrigued to nip for a pint later to see what the place was like inside- you know us, usually so reluctant to have a beer… Haha

We settled in for an afternoon nap which was Fab!! How I miss having an afternoon nap in our normal life! We woke feeling refreshed and decided it was time to try a beer out, so went to have a nosey. The bar was really funky, we loved the decor, it had a very worldy theme

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The menu looked interesting with food such as kangaroo burgers and things on! Otherwise though, it seemed a bit pretentious and we felt a bit out of place rolling in from the camping field!

After a rather strong pint of German lager we stumbled back to bluebell and I knocked up a delicious carbanara – I got the recipe from an app called Meals4wheels, an app designed for couples in campervans! It was yummy!

After a very quiet nights sleep (which we were relieved about as the site was very close to the A14) we awoke to a glorious day!

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We quickly decided on relaxing walk around Wicken Fen then a drive to Ely to have a wander along the riverfront. We enjoyed the walk at Wicken Fen and spent some time watching the deer feed. It was everso busy there! We headed over to Ely once we had finished our walk and found a cracking free spot to park. It was listed on the wild camping website and was a lovely quiet road overlooking the river and marina. We had a bite to eat, watched the world go by and had a wander round the historic streets of Ely. We managed to have a quick look inside the cathedral and were blown away by how grand it was. The symmetries inside were amazing.

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We reluctantly headed homewards about 3ish as Keith has a rehearsal tonight, but once again, we had a flipping awesome weekend and can’t wait to point Bluebell in the direction of the Cotswolds on Wednesday!

🙂

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