Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Our most recent stay was at the Cranberry Moss Camping & Caravanning Club Site last week.  The site’s situated approx. 8 miles from Oswestry and 10 miles from Shrewsbury in the opposition direction.  Conveniently, there is a regular bus service (hourly to Oswestry and 2 hourly to Shrewsbury) with a bus stop right outside the site entrance.

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/shropshire/oswestry/oswestry

As it was half-term week we were expecting the site to be full but on arrival we were pleasantly surprised to find a good choice of empty pitches.  The site staff were very welcoming and keen for us to find the right pitch for us, so much so that as we were only staying 2 nights, they offered us an area sectioned off for some planned work later in the week.  As a result, we had a beautiful, private, quiet top corner pitch area all to ourselves.  That’s certainly going the extra mile. Big thumbs up to that!

Excellent pitch! A private corner all to ourselves.

Excellent pitch! A private corner all to ourselves.

Friendly pheasant snapped to the rear of our pitch

Male pheasant wandering by the rear of our pitch

We were blessed again with only light rain during our stay, nothing that prevented us from getting out on the bikes and also exploring the nearby town of Shrewsbury.  We didn’t have time to visit Oswestry too, so will save that for a future visit.

http://www.oswestry-welshborders.org.uk/

So, we arrived on site mid-afternoon following a longer journey than planned due to several traffic hold ups.  We had our customary relaxation time on site before taking the bikes off and cycling (approx. 10 mins) to the nearby village of Nesscliffe.  Had we not had traffic hold ups and got there earlier we would have cycled around Nesscliffe Country Park where there is an iron age hill fort, quarries which supplied stone for some of Shropshire’s’ castles and churches, and a cave hewn into the sandstone, which it is claimed was the hideout of a medieval outlaw called Humphrey Kynaston, Shropshire’s answer to Robin Hood.  However, as the nights are drawing in earlier now this wasn’t really practical during this visit, but we will fit this in when we return to this lovely site and visit the town of Oswestry.

http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/outdoor-recreation/parks-and-countryside-sites/nesscliffe-and-the-cliffe-countryside-site/

We cycled for tea at The Old Three Pigeons in Nesscliffe, spending a relaxed evening sitting in a quiet corner playing cards and chatting with a fellow camper from the site before enjoying a good meal.  The Old Three Pigeons is an early 15th Century public house and it is claimed that it is haunted by Humphrey Kynaston …

http://www.3pigeons.co.uk/

The Old Three Pigeons, Nesscliffe

The Old Three Pigeons, Nesscliffe

A chilled out game of cards (Suzie won … again! 😉)

Good wine list and an extensive food menu

Good wine list and an extensive food menu

We spent the next full day visiting the local town of Shrewsbury, birthplace of Charles Darwin, catching the bus from site. On arrival into town you pass the striking ‘Quantum Leap’ sculpture which was unveiled in 2009 to mark Darwin’s bicentenary and in representation of his pioneering ideas and influence on science.

http://www.discoverdarwin.co.uk/quantum-leap/

There are lots of higgledy piggledy old streets and alleyways to explore in this interesting town around which the River Severn flows.  In better weather, a Sabrina boat trip along the river would be an enjoyable way of seeing some of the landmarks and hearing about the town’s history.

http://www.sabrinaboat.co.uk/

We were happy to meander around town, dodging raindrops as the showers came and went.  It’s advisable to pick up a map of the centre from the Tourist Information Centre, based inside the Music Hall within The Square. Or print one from this link –

http://visitshrewsburymap.co.uk/

Town centre

Town centre

Most of the town can be covered quite easily and at a leisurely pace without having to walk your socks off.  We stopped for lunch at The Quirky Coffee & Gift Shop at the top of Grope Lane (ooh err!).  We had a light bite which was fine and the coffee served there was excellent.  The young man serving was extremely chatty and full of enthusiasm re. the town’s history on which he seemed quite clued up.

Looking up from the bottom of Grope Lane, named either because people had to grope to find their way up or because it used to be a red light area. Our guess is probably the latter!

Looking up from the bottom of Grope Lane, apparently named either because people had to grope to find their way up in the dark or because it used to be a red light area. Our guess is … probably the latter!

Bear Steps, viewed from the window seat of the Quirky Coffee & Gift Shoo

Bear Steps, viewed from the window seat of the Quirky Coffee & Gift Shop

One of many old narrow passageways throughout the town

One of many old narrow passageways throughout the town

The autumnal colours added to the beauty of this historic town

The autumnal colours in the grounds of St Alkmund’s church added to the beauty of this historic town

The old buildings along Fish Street

The old buildings and St Julian’s church along Fish Street

Henry Tudor House. Built in the early 1400s, it was originally a collection of shops, houres and a brewing inn. Henry Tudor (aka Henry VII) sought refuge here on his way to the Battle of Bosworth,

Henry Tudor House. Built in the early 1400s, it was originally a collection of shops, houses and a brewing inn.  Henry Tudor (aka Henry VII) sought refuge here on his way to the Battle of Bosworth

Pictures of pop/rock stars in Tudor dress adorn the walls

Pictures of pop/rock stars in Tudor dress adorn the walls

St Chad’s Church, not far from the town centre, is worth visiting to see the grave of Ebenezer Scrooge which was placed there during an 80s filming of A Christmas Carol in the town.  When filming was finished the grave was just left there.

Ebenezer Scrooge's grave at St Chad's Church

Ebenezer Scrooge’s fictitious grave at St Chad’s Church

There really is plenty to occupy anyone in this town and we had a great time here, managing to catch the last bus back to site early evening.

This is a campsite and area of the country we fully intend to return to in the near future.

Until then, our next Jolly adventure will involve a dressed up day at the races with slap up meal and champagne.  Hopefully also a few lucky wins too! 🏇🏇🍴🍸.  Can’t wait.

ONWARD,>>>>

Suzie & Bri

 

Barnard Castle, County Durham

The Caravan Club Site at Barnard Castle, County Durham in North East England was an absolute dream of a stay  after our previous stay at Appletreewick.  Nuff said!  This site is in a great location just approx.15 minutes walk into the town centre either via a woodland path or a busy road with a safe walkway along the grass verge.  It was peaceful and spacious on site, with good facilities, and we were surrounded by many friendly and chatty fellow campers.

Pitched up at Barnard Castle

Pitched up at Barnard Castle

We were welcomed with slight drizzle for most of the first day so had a walk into Barnard Castle that afternoon/evening. We took the woodland path there and the main road back afterwards due to a little mud slide over part of the woodland path following previous heavy rain, which could’ve been precarious in bad light.

Barnard Castle, or “Barney” to the locals, is a market town that stands on the River Tees and is steeped in history.

http://barnardcastlelife.co.uk/

Once at the bottom of the road via path or road, you walk over a footbridge and are rewarded with a beautiful view of Barnard Castle.  It looked particularly impressive beneath a brooding sky that evening.

Welcome to Barnard Castle

Welcome to Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle - built 1125 by Bernard de Balliol  (Bernard's Castle from which the town derived its name)

Barnard Castle – built 1125 by Bernard de Balliol (Bernard’s Castle from which the town derived its name)

Barnard's Castle

Barnard’s Castle

The weir on the River Tees

The weir on the River Tees

The Weir

The Weir information sign

During our stay we had a good meander through the town and attempted a cycle ride (unfortunately without preparing first!) which led us along the river bank and turned into an endurance test along an often very narrow riverside banking with a steep climb at the end with our bikes to get back up to civilisation.  It was fun though and we worked off MANY calories allowing us to order a fantastic curry from Spice Island on market place in the town centre which we enjoyed back at Jolly. Truly delicious food and ridiculously generous portions!  We also tried a couple of the local pubs during out stay – The Turks Head, The Three Horseshoes (good food), and the town’s oldest pub The Golden Lion where we spent a couple of hours enjoying the choice of ales and chatting to a friendly geordie couple.

http://www.spiceislandrestaurant.co.uk/

Another place worth visiting in this area is Bowes Museum, if art is your thing.  We didn’t go on this occasion, instead choosing to be out and about on foot and bike most of the time but who knows, maybe next time …

http://www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk/

Bri outside the Old Butter Mart in the town centre. Built in 1747 and previously used as a dairy market, fire station, court house and lock up

Bri outside the Old Butter Mart in the town centre.
Built in 1747 and previously used as a dairy market, fire station, court house and lock up

Keep an eye out for the many blue plaques adorning the town's buildings, including this one where Charles Dickens once stayed

Keep an eye out for the many blue plaques adorning the town’s buildings, including this one on a building on the main street opposite The Turks Head pub

Town centre

Town centre

This picture hangs in the Turks Head pub and we are convinced it proves Sir Ian McKellen has lived before!

This picture hangs in the Turks Head pub and we are convinced it proves Sir Ian McKellen has lived before!

A good first little trip to the North East area for us and somewhere we will gladly return to in the future.

Our next adventure is to Ripley in Yorkshire as we have a Segway experience booked at Ripley Castle so we’re going to make a trip of it.  It’s reported to be one of the most picturesque villages in Yorkshire so we look forward to seeing it.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri