Freshwater Bay & Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

Our Isle of Wight Adventure was drawing to a close and we decided to spend another day oot n aboot on the bikes.

We found what looked to be an interesting circular cycling route on the Wightlink website.  It turned out to be very scenic and without many steep hills (just two I think) – result!  The route involved a combination of road, off road and cycle track.

9-mile cycle route Yarmouth – Freshwater Bay 🚲

We picked the route up outside the site at the top of Heathfield Road (just up from Colwell Road on the map), turning left and following the road down through Totland and on towards Freshwater Bay.  There are old smuggler caves in this bay that can be seen at low tide.  Today though, the action seemed to be mostly water sports enthusiasts.

We sat at the bay for a while before carrying on through the hamlet of Afton, after which we turned onto the cycleway which carried us along into Yarmouth.  This part was a gentle ride alongside the picturesque River Yar Estuary.

On arrival at Yarmouth we reached ‘Off The Rails’, a cafe/restaurant located within the old Yarmouth Railway Station.  It’s furnished very much in keeping with its rail history.  We stopped here for a drink and sat at a table outside on the old platform imagining the station back in its day.

https://www.offtherailsyarmouth.co.uk/

Afterwards, we continued into the bustling Yarmouth Harbour which is pretty and lively with plenty of shops, bars, restaurants, etc to keep you occupied.

https://www.yarmouth-harbour.co.uk/

Basically, our afternoon was spent in the Harbour area wandering and watching boats come and go.  Two places we visited and would recommend for food/drink are:-

Salty’s – a quirkily appealing bar with a separate restaurant.  We only went into the bar section downstairs which was very welcoming and relaxed with long tables and long bench seating creating a very sociable feel.  Visitors can write on the ceiling (so obviously we did!) which is painted over every 2 years so that there’s always space for visitors to leave their mark.  Upstairs is the seafood restaurant and we’d love to try this out on a future visit.

https://www.saltysrestaurant.co.uk/

Bugle Coaching Inn – 16th century inn in the Market Square.   Despite being very busy  we somehow managed to find a table and enjoyed a lovely meal there.

https://www.characterinns.co.uk/the-bugle-coaching-inn

Obviously there are loads more places but there’s only so much us two could eat/drink during one afternoon/evening there 😬.

By evening there was another lovely sunset over the boats in the Harbour which we captured before cycling back to site over Bridge Road.  There’s quite a steep section after this point where we pushed our bikes up before re-mounting to finish off the short ride back to site.

Sunset over Yarmouth Harbour

All this fresh air and exercise out and about was making us sleep very well! 😴.

On the final day of our holiday we decided to chill out beside Jolly and soak up some of the glorious sunshine 😎 as we’d been on the move pretty much since we arrived.  The site wasn’t over busy and so we enjoyed a relaxing, peaceful afternoon.  We also started to pack up some things in preparation for leaving the next morning.

By late afternoon, we’d decided that our final meal for this visit had to be back at The Hut in Colwell Bay.  So we pre-booked a table online and walked there as the bikes had been loaded back up onto the back of Jolly.  It was about a 2 mile walk to The Hut and back.

The Hut was heaving on arrival but again still seemed to retain just the right atmosphere, and soon quietened down a little after the afternoon rush.  We ate, had a couple of drinks and stayed just long enough to catch the sunset, before returning for an early night in preparation for our long journey home the next day.

The perfect finish to our hollibobs.

Our drive back up took us through the New Forest which looked stunning and had animals roaming freely through the fields and by the roadside.  It’s another place on our lonnnnng ‘To Do’ list.

So, our verdict on the Isle of Wight for a moho adventure ….

FANBLINKINTASTIC!  Obviously the perfect summer weather helped, but the place itself is beautiful with so much more to see and do than we had originally expected of this relatively small island.  Numerous camping sites/touring parks to allow easy exploration of all areas of the island.  The South is considered the more tourist-popular side of the island, but we found the North equally appealing.   We came back having fallen in love with the place and knowing that we must return to explore it some more.

Ahhh, I’m all blogged out after this trip and Jolly’s parked up having a rest … but not for long 😉.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

The Needles Landmark & Battery, Alum Bay, Isle of Wight

We spent a day at Alum Bay.  Although it’s only approx. 3 miles from the campsite we caught the bus as the roads for the route weren’t ideal for cycling.  We caught the Southern Vectis No.7 Newport-Alum Bay bus from the bus stop just outside the site entrance.  The name of the site bus stop is ‘Heathfield Road Top’ and the stop for the return trip is just a little further up across the road.

It was a superb day out and the continuing wonderful weather we were enjoying really made it special.  Our day was filled with stunning scenery, a chairlift ride down to the beach & back up, a boat ride around the Needles rocks & lighthouse, and an open top bus ride up to the Needles Old & New Batteries for what turned out to be a fascinating and informative couple of hours of military history.

Firstly though, on arrival we purchased tickets for the chairlift ride.  The cost was £6 each return, but they advised us at the ticket office that it was cheaper to buy a book of tickets for £9 which would cover us both for the ride.   So that’s obviously what we did.

We’d previously read that the chairlift wasn’t for the faint hearted.  However, never ones to let the possibility of plummeting from a great height and crashing down onto a rocky cliff face to deter us, we gave it a go.

The point where it first takes you over the cliff edge is a bit of a squeaky bum moment, but we really enjoyed it.  It’s a slow and gentle ride and luckily it was a very still and clear day.   The impressive views over the beach, out to sea, and of the Needles in the distance took most of our attention.

Once down at the beach we decided to take the pleasure boat ride on ‘Ramblin’Rose’ out to the Needles rocks and lighthouse to get a closer view and some photos.

http://needlespleasurecruises.co.uk/

The boat ride also provided good views of the unusual multi-coloured sand cliffs.

There are apparently 21 different shades of colour and, according to the Needles Landmark Attraction website, the reason for this is:-

“Approximately 70 million years ago, the sea bed rose, was eroded and then sank beneath the sea again. The new sea was shallow and it laid down a series of sands and clays. Some 10 million years later, movement in the bedrock caused these sediments to be pushed nearly vertically to form the multi-coloured cliffs that are visible today”

The sands are made of three minerals – quartz, felspar and mica, and in their pure state are white with other colours being produced through contamination by other minerals.

We brought home a memento glass jar of the sand from the gift shop like most people probably do.

After exploring the beach for a while we rode back up the cliff and hopped on the open top ‘Needles Breezer’ bus which took us up to the Old and New Needles Batteries.  It was a refreshing, blustery ride up the coastal road.  Alternatively, there’s a coastal footpath you can walk up.  We’d love to return to this area and explore Tennyson Down which we didn’t have the time to do on this trip.

The Needles Battery is a National Trust attraction and we decided to become members while we were there.  We had been meaning to join for a while.  The membership took immediate effect so we got free entrance into the Old Battery.  The New Battery is free to everyone.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-needles-old-battery-and-new-battery

We’ll let the photos tell the story of our visit because we saw too much to talk about and took plenty of snaps.

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Half way through our wander up there, we called into the 1940s style cafe for tea and cake.  It’s so authentic that we really felt like we’d been transported back in time.  In fact, I can still hear Glen Miller as I type … 🎺 🎶

We poked our noses in pretty much every room, nook and cranny of the site, finishing up in the tunnel to the searchlight which has windows looking directly out at the chalk stacks that are The Needles.   Not sure how long exactly we were there but the time flew by.

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Here are a few more photos taken at the Old Battery throughout the afternoon:-

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Well that was quite enough excitement for one day 🙂 so we caught the No.7 back to site.

Next day we were going to the Yarmouth Harbour area as we’d only driven through it on arrival.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Heathfield Farm Camping Park, Freshwater & Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight

So, after a fab 4-night stay at Southland C&MC Site we set off for Heathfield Farm Camping Park at Norton Green just outside Freshwater.

https://www.heathfieldcamping.co.uk/index.php

That morning, we saw our first bit of rain since arriving on the island but it didn’t get heavy or last for very long.  On arrival at Heathfield, we checked in with the wardens, were given some information about the site and local area, filled Jolly up with water and then followed the warden who led us to our pitch (no. 12).  We had pre-booked and opted for a large pitch and we certainly got that.  It was huge compared to some sites.  Plenty of privacy space to enjoy the sunshine which did reappear soon enough 😎.

That afternoon we decided to explore the area on our bikes.  We turned left out of site to the top of Heathfield Road, turned left again and followed the road down until we came to a sign for Colwell Bay which is located between Totland & Yarmouth.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/colwell-bay-p968881

There are good views of mainland England from the bay and to the right as you look out you can see Fort Albert, a Victorian gun tower.  You can also walk further along the sea wall to Totland Bay (approx. 1.5 miles).

http://www.castlesfortsbattles.co.uk/south_east/fort_albert.html

On arrival at the bay we passed a cafe by the beach and as we reached the sea wall/prom we looked to our left and saw a row of colourful beach huts.  These huts can be hired out for the day.

In between the rows of beach huts, we came across ‘The Hut’ which is a restaurant/bar.  This turned out to be the best find of our whole holiday eatery-wise.  We bought a drink and sat at an outside table on the front terrace looking out across the Solent.  The sun had reappeared by this time and we kicked back, relaxed and just watched the boats coming and going.  The chill out lounge music being played was spot on for the setting.

The Hut offers a collection service for people arriving by boat, bringing them in to shore and this appeared to be a popular service.  We saw several groups of people arriving from the mainland to eat here.

We had originally only intended to have a drink before venturing further afield but we were so pulled in by the whole vibe of the place that we ended up booking a table for our evening meal.  We decided to try our first ever lobster and steak ‘surf and turf’.  It was SENSATIONAL.  Wowzers! 😋 .  Our holiday treat to ourselves.

If we lived locally this would definitely be a regular haunt for us.  The atmosphere was great, lots of groups in party mood but without any rowdiness.  Also couples, a real mix.   It really pulled us in.  One of the best bar restaurants we’ve ever been to (and we’ve been to a few 😉).

Anyway, that was the first day of the second half of our Isle of Wight Adventure.   Next day we planned to visit The Needles at Alum Bay.   Soooo much to see on this beautiful island.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Garlic Farm, Red Squirrel Trail & Sandown, Isle of Wight

Our final day in this area of the Island was spent on our bikes again. This time we cycled just 1.5 miles to the nearby Garlic Farm and shop. It was an interesting visit for garlic lovers and we left safe in the knowledge that we can put garlic in pretty much anything.  In fact somebody tell Peter Kay – garlic beer, it’s the future, we’ve tasted it! 🍻

https://www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk/

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We then cycled back on ourselves to Landbridge where we joined the ‘Red Squirrel Cycle Trail’ to take us the four miles or so down to Sandown.  It’s a cycle path created over an old railway line so it’s pretty flat for the most part.  The whole trail runs for approx. 23 miles through the countryside from East Cowes down to Sandown.  We look forward to completing the rest of this trail on our next visit to the island.

http://redsquirreltrail.org.uk/the-trail/

Once in Sandown we enjoyed a delicious crab sandwich at The Beach Shack Bar on the Western Esplanade as we soaked up the sun and views, just watching the world go by for a while before riding further along the front to Yaverland.

https://beachshackbar.co.uk/

The beach at Yaverland is considered to be one of the best on the island and is very popular with water sport enthusiasts.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/yaverland-beach-p970111

It turned out to be another glorious sunshiny day.  Absolutely perfect for cycling.  Once off the trail there were a few challenging hills but it was always worth the effort.   There are lots of cycle hire shops hiring out electric bikes for those who might prefer an easier cycling experience on what is known as ‘Bicycle Island’.

By early evening, after a day generally exploring Sandown, we returned.  We rode/walked up the hill back into Newchurch, stopped for a flyer in the Pointer Inn, and then got back to site.  We’d timed it well as the fish n chip van was parked up on site (it visits twice a week), so we ordered our chippy tea, set the table back at Jolly and enjoyed our well earned supper as we watched the sun set.

Sunset over Southland Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

 

Here’s a very short snippet-of-a-video taken along part of the Cycle Trail and on Sandown beach …

The next morning we packed up, waved goodbye to Newchurch, and headed off to Freshwater on the north part the island for the second half of our stay.   Already though, we had fallen in love with the Isle of Wight.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Clitheroe Food Festival, Ribble Valley, Lancashire

Sooo, a food festival.   What’s not to like?

We were back in Clitheroe a couple of weekends ago to experience the Clitheroe Food Festival  which we’d been meaning to visit several times but always seemed to have other trips planned.  We made sure that we made it there this year.

We stayed at Clitheroe Camping & Caravanning Club Site .  It’s situated in an idyllic location beside the River Ribble at Edisford Bridge just a mile or so outside the town centre.  We often stay at this site and this time noticed a big improvement in that the old plastic mesh matting pitches have now been replaced with gravel hard standings.  This is a big improvement as this site is so close to the River Ribble it’s prone to water logging and flooding.

Our weekend had begun Friday lunchtime when our nephew, George, who had been staying with us for a couple of days helped us to collect Jolly from storage and joined us on board as we took him back home on the way.

For Friday night, we’d pre-booked ourselves a table at The Red Pump Inn, Bashall Eaves So, after a chilled afternoon on Jolly (it was raining quite heavily outside) we rang for a taxi up to the Red Pump, which is about 2.5 miles outside Clitheroe.  It’s in a peaceful location with good views of the surrounding countryside.

We’d heard before going that the steaks here were top notch, and although there was plenty on the menu that could easily have turned our eyes, noses and taste buds, we both decided to go for a steak.  We ordered a fillet steak with garstang blue cheese sauce and a 90 day dry aged rib-eye steak with chimichurri sauce.  Both were cooked to medium rare perfection, served with tasty chunky hand cooked chips and a side salad. The food portions were just right too, comfortably filling.

In fact, the whole evening was pretty perfect – great staff, service and atmosphere.  We can recommend this one without hesitation.  It made an interesting change for us too as we usually go into Waddington which also has great pubs/restaurants – The Higher Buck, Waddington Arms, and The Lower Buck.

The next day the sun came out of hiding in time for the Food Festival and the town centre was buzzing with a large turnout of people who were treated to a festival offering an impressive display of different food/drink/produce stalls.  There was plenty of live street music, entertainment and food demos too.  This Festival is rated as one of the most successful of its kind in the North West of England and in the top 10 throughout the country, and this was its 7th year.

We enjoyed our afternoon wandering through the town centre then ventured down to another place that put on a great day – the Bowland Brewery at Holmes Mill just down from the town centre.  There were food stalls, their new food hall was open, live music, ice cream shop and of course some great ales to be enjoyed.  For us, this place is an absolute must to drop into whenever we’re over Clitheroe way.

The town’s festival was rounded off perfectly at approx. 4pm when the Red Arrows treated everyone to a fly-over display on their way across to the Blackpool Air Show.  It was a spectacular finish to the event.

clitheroefoodfestival

Clitheroe Main Street

redarrowsclitheroe

Red Arrows Flyover (photo by Zoie Carter-Ingham)

Afterwards, we cycled back down from town to the Edisford Bridge pub which is just over the bridge from the C&CC site.  We grabbed a pint and some tea (because we hadn’t actually eaten at the food festival!?) before heading back to our pitch to await the arrival of a couple of good friends and fellow campers, Mo & Lee, who were coming to see Jolly and have a few drinks with us.

We sat out for a couple of hours chatting, laughing and drinking before the evening chill finally beat us and we retreated inside Jolly for the remainder of the evening.  Our next outing will actually be back in Clitheroe but a group social gathering with Mo, Lee and another couple..  We’re really looking forward to that one.

Great weekend! 😊  Til next time ..

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Oktoberfest, Uttoxeter Racecourse, Staffordshire

We returned to the Uttoxeter Racecourse Caravan Club Site this weekend, having first come here last November.  We arrived in heavy downpours and were greeted by very helpful wardens who immediately guided us to a pitch that had been closed to recover from seasonal use.  They made it available to us as it was less water saturated than other available pitches.  Nice touch.  Most campers had arrived the previous day and all hard standings were occupied (14 in total).  The wardens said that they had been expecting another 9 pitches to be converted to hard standing at Easter but this didn’t materialise.  It would certainly benefit this site which often floods with surface water.

http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=22007

We returned to Uttoxeter to experience a taste of Germany at the Oktoberfest Race Day gathering.  We booked several months in advance following last year’s visit to the November Marston’s Beer Festival (see previous blog post Nov 2015).  These race days are great days out and to top it off, we booked the premier 1907 restaurant (previously Silks Restaurant) hospitality package.

http://www.uttoxeter-racecourse.co.uk/

It was an amazing day, great atmosphere, excellent food, German beer & a Bavarian style Oompah Band!  There were 8 races in total and things got off to a cracking start with us backing winners in the first two races with Pickamix and Whatduhavtoget.  We also had good luck throughout the day with Ballycross, Value At Risk, Tantamount, Cobajayisland, Itstimeforapint, and Donna’s Pride.  We seemed more savvy this time around and it was exciting nipping out to the bookie stands in between meal courses (you can order each course at whatever time is convenient to you) and watching some races from the stands and others on the screens inside the restaurant.  Fab atmosphere wherever you were!

After all the excitement, good food and beer/wine, we returned to Jolly at the end of the afternoon and slumped happily inside and relaxed for the remainder of the day.  We decided to cabin up for the night just as the sun was setting, and slept well in the peaceful surroundings.  Next morning we headed back home.

10/10 for this trip.  We just loved every minute and no doubt we’ll be back at some point in the not too distant future.

For now though, our next outing will be in a few weeks’ time and probably somewhere in the Lake District or wherever the mood takes us …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Haltwhistle, Northumberland

Recently back from an enjoyable weekend at Haltwhistle.  Our first time at the Camping & Caravanning Club Site there, which is situated by the River South Tyne.

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/northumberland/haltwhistle/haltwhistle

Our pitch was beside the pathway down to the river which, along with birdsong, was pretty much the only sound we heard on site.  We believe this pretty little site to be the quietest we’ve stayed at so far.  Bliss.

Haltwhistle is a small town in the North East of England just over the border from Carlisle, lying in Northumberland.  It is described as the geographical centre of Britain (although the village of Dunsop Bridge in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire is also often cited as the centre of Britain).

http://www.visitnorthumberland.com/haltwhistle

It is a couple of miles into Haltwhistle from the site and we cycled down the old railway track which can be accessed not far from the entrance road to site.  It’s a tarmac pathway with a gradual decline going and, obviously, more pedaling required coming back.  It follows part of the old 13-mile railway route from Haltwhistle to Alston (the highest market town in England).  The line was opened in 1852  to transport minerals from Alston Moor, and it closed in 1976.  By 1983, there was a narrow gauge railway operating along a small section of the line with plans to possibly extend this at some point.

The disused section from the campsite now forms part of the 26-mile South Tyne Trail (for both cyclists and walkers) which runs from Tyne Head to Haltwhistle.  It takes in the restored Lambley Viaduct, built to cross the South Tyne River.

http://www.gps-routes.co.uk/routes/home.nsf/RoutesLinksWalks/south-tyne-trail-walking-and-cycle-route

Haltwhistle is rich in Roman history and approx. 2 miles away is the central section of Hadrian’s Wall, which is the location of the best preserved section of the wall.  For around 300 years, Hadrian’s Wall was a frontier sprawling 73 miles coast to coast from Wallsend in the East to Solway Firth in the West.  It was built by approx. 15,000 soldiers on the instruction of Emperor Hadrian in 117 AD to protect the roman empire against barbarians, and was finished in under 6 years.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/hadrians-wall/

About 5.5 miles from Haltwhistle is the Vindolanda Roman Fort and Settlement with museum.

www.vindolanda.com/

It’s one of the North East’s most famous tourist attractions, particularly noted for the Vindolanda Tablets – considered some of the most important archaeological finds of correspondence (written on wooden tablets) discovered anywhere in the Roman Empire.  Speaks for itself that this is worth a read-up on and a visit.

We had great September weather during this trip and spent a lot of time cycling through the beautiful countryside.

For food and a good pint, Bri had researched The Black Bull Inn, in the centre of town.  It receives excellent reviews and we had planned on trying here, but by this time our travels had taken us away from town.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g616269-d1544997-Reviews-The_Black_Bull-Haltwhistle_Northumberland_England.html

At the end of our full day there, after covering several miles, we finished off along the South Tyne Trail, a little further on from site to call in at the Wallace Arms, Featherstone.

https://whatpub.com/pubs/TYN/6852/wallace-arms-featherstone

We arrived there half an hour before opening time, but the landlord saw us and opened up early to pull us thirsty cyclists a couple of pints 🍻  Nice one Mr Landlord!  👍  We had planned to eat our evening meal there but discovered that they don’t serve food.

Instead we sat outside and enjoyed the last of the day’s sunshine, a couple of real ales from a local brewery, and chatted at length with one of the new occupants of this now family run pub.  There were lots of lazy, grumpy wasps around as there are at this time of year, which we both spent a while dodging … until Suzie eventually jumped up dancing around, shaking her t-shirt to get rid of a wasp that had got inside and stung her armpit!  😖  Another pint eased the pain though 😃

On arrival back at site we ordered fish and chips from a takeaway in Haltwhistle that provided delivery.  The info and menu for this is in the site information file.  Good fodder before turning in for the night and our journey home the following morning.  A thumbs up for Haltwhistle.

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September sunset

Our next Jolly jaunt is back to Uttoxeter Racecourse where we went last year for the Marston’s Beer Festival.  This year we’re returning for the Oktoberfest weekend in … err … October funnily enough.  Roll on October!

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Home time

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Meathop Fell, Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria

Whoop!  Our first Jolly jaunt for a few months.  A few months that we are very happy and relieved to put behind us, but enough about that.

This site has been on our ‘To Do’ list for a while now, and we finally got to spend a short but lovely two-night stay at the Meathop Fell Caravan Club Site in the South Lakes, approximately 2-3 miles from the seaside town of Grange-Over-Sands.

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Meathop Fell Caravan Club Site

The site staff were friendly and helpful and seemed keen for visitors to get the most from their stay.  We were informed of the direction to head for eateries, villages and the town of Grange-Over-Sands.  The site information hut is well stocked with leaflets, etc too.

This is such a relaxed site, where you can really appreciate the feeling of privacy, as pitches are a good size and many are separated by grassy areas or shrubs.  The site appeared almost full when we arrived but we found a perfectly spacious and sheltered corner pitch (No.75).  It was near to the play area but this was extremely quiet at this time of the season.  It’s a real haven for wildlife in and around the site and a treat to listen to the owls at night.

http://www.caravanclub.co.uk/caravanclubapps/applications/uk-caravan-sites-and-parks/SiteDetails.aspx?csid=21935

We arrived on site just after lunch time and, after pitching up, heated up some homemade chilli which we enjoyed with homemade jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins.  This was washed down with a chilled glass of Doombar.  Yum!

We spent a few hours just unwinding and enjoying the peace, quiet and beautiful surroundings on site.  The rain set in late afternoon so we got togged up and went out for a walk up to the Woodlands Hotel, just a 5-10 minute stroll away.  There’s a signpost at the site entrance (left out of the gates, then right at the pine lodges).  It’s a country house hotel which welcomes visitors from the campsite (dog friendly too), and where you can get decent pub style food and a good pint of Wainwrights.

http://www.lakedistrict-stay.co.uk/accommodation/Woodlands-Hotel.html

The heavens opened that night and a lot of rain was put down before we awoke to a fresh day.  The weather improved considerably from then on.  We fired up the cooker and enjoyed a cumberland chipolata sandwich before jumping on our bikes to explore the local area.

We decided to cycle to Grange-Over-Sands which was a pretty, scenic route from site, avoiding the busy A590 road.

We cycled along part of the promenade and could see in the distance a large group of Morecambe Bay Walkers.  There are about 30 walks a year across Morecambe Bay.  They take place during spring and summer. Most walks are undertaken by charity fundraisers, and cross the sands between Arnside and Kents Bank.  The walks are guided by Cedric Robinson MBE, the Queen’s Official Guide. In 1963 Cedric Robinson was appointed the 25th guide and for 53 years has escorted many thousands of people across the dangerous sands of the stunning bay.

Grange-Over-Sands is a delightful town of higgledy piggledy streets with an impressive clock tower and an array of shops, cafes, and a couple of pubs.  It’s easy to spend a few hours meandering around the town, which is what we did before cycling a little further afield to create a circular ride back to site through Lindale.

On arrival back near site, as it was such a beautiful day, we decided to ride a further couple of miles to The Derby Arms at Witherslack for tea.  Here we sat out and enjoyed the last of the day’s sunshine.

Another great Jolly adventure and the next is under two weeks away.  Can’t wait!

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Charmouth, Dorset – Jurassic Coast Adventure Pt 4

Day 8 – and our final destination for June’s ‘Jolly’s Jurassic Adventure’ was a 45 minute (25.5 miles) drive further westwards along the coast to Charmouth, near the border with East Devon.    We’d booked a pitch at the Charmouth Camping & Caravanning Club site.

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/dorset/nrcharmouth/charmouth

This site is located at Monkton Wyld Farm, about 3 miles outside Charmouth itself, and is a beautiful, spacious site located down a quiet country lane away from traffic noise.  It was a good job we had our bikes on board as there isn’t much in the immediate area of this site so you do need to be able to walk a distance even to access public transport or have other means of getting out and about as most things to do are a short drive/ride away.

By now, the weather was beginning to turn and the glorious sunshine that had welcomed us on our arrival into Dorset had reduced to sporadic periods of sunshine through cloud and rain showers, some heavy.  This didn’t in any way dampen (pardon the pun) our Dorset experience, however,  and there was still adventure to be had!

During our stay here, one day we jumped on our bikes and cycled an approx 18 mile round trip to Seaton in the Axe Valley, East Devon, for the afternoon.  It was a pretty welcome into Seaton as we rode over the bridge and alongside the River Axe.   We locked the bikes up at Seaton Tramway and took a ride on one of the narrow gauge heritage trams from Seaton to Colyford and Colyton.  The track runs alongside the River Axe estuary, giving great views of bird life.  We aren’t very knowledgeable on birds but we definitely saw a buzzard on the overhead line as we passed beneath!  The tram driver was clearly very happy in his job and made it a fun and entertaining journey.

http://www.tram.co.uk/

We rode the tram up to Colyton where we disembarked for a stroll around the village.  It was pleasant walking through the winding streets.  We enjoyed a real ale as we sat outside the Gerrard Arms (freehouse) while listening to an impressive ringing of bells from St Andrew’s Church next door.  It was a very quintessentially old English village feel to the moment.  We later called in at the Kingfisher (freehouse) too before walking to catch the tram back into Seaton.

By this time it was late afternoon and we headed off on our 9 mile ride back towards site.  Unfortunately, the weather quickly changed and we found ourselves riding, often uphill, into a head wind with the rain pelting down.  It was quite a challenging ride!

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River Cottage HQ appearing through the mist on our way home

Just as we were on the verge of losing our will to live, and looking like drowned rats, we reached The Hunter’s Lodge Inn, just about a mile from site.  We were pretty knackered and had never been more ready for some pub grub and a pint.  As Suzie headed to the toilet, Bri went to book a table but was told there was no room at the Inn! 😱  There was a pub quiz on that evening and all bookings had been taken for this.  As luck would have it though, as Suzie returned and was informed, the barman took pity on her pitifully sad, disappointed, exhausted expression  … and managed to squeeze us in!  RESULT! 😃👍

We would definitely recommend that you book a table if wanting to eat here as they seem to regularly be full.

http://www.hunterslodgeaxminster.webs.com/

Another day, we decided to go fossil hunting on Charmouth beach as we had read that it is one of the best areas to do this.  After the previous day’s bike ride, and as the weather remained wet, we decided to unhook Jolly and take him into Charmouth.  Obviously with this, you are more limited with parking but this wasn’t a problem at a car park just up the road from the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre at the beach.  At the Heritage Centre, we were able to watch a video on fossil hunting and saw some very impressive fossil collections.  We weren’t successful with fossils that day but had a good couple of hours wandering the beach and searching 🙂

http://www.charmouth.org/chcc/

On our way back we were thinking of possibly having a wander around West Bay, one of the locations used for the filming of ITV’s crime drama, Broadchurch, but by this point it was quite late and we also discovered that motorhomes weren’t too welcome in the car parks we looked at which was disappointing but not entirely surprising.  I think Station Yard Car Park, West Bay allows some motorhomes, not sure how many.  We’re usually on bikes so hadn’t really experienced this difficulty before.

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A flying visit to West Bay harbour

This site is helpful re. parking in Dorset:-

http://www.motorhomeparking.co.uk/dor.htm

No worries though, we headed back to Jolly for our tea before an early night and a long journey home the next day.

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Final checks, then homeward bound 🚐

We waved goodbye to Charmouth and set off on the 265-mile return journey back up North to Lancashire, after an absolutely brilliant time on our 10-night Jolly Jurassic Adventure and got a real buzz from touring.  We just want to do more and more.  Here’s to the next one which will be June 2017, destination yet to be confirmed.  Until then …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Weymouth, Dorset – Jurassic Coast Adventure Pt 3

Day 5, and we travelled 18 miles or so further westwards along the Dorset coast towards the seaside resort of Weymouth.  We stayed on a fully serviced gravel pitch at a private site – East Fleet Touring Park in Chickerell, just a couple of miles outside the centre of Weymouth.  Just along the driveway from site up to the main road, you can easily catch a bus into Weymouth, or alternatively there are plenty of taxi services.

The touring site lies along part of the 18 mile stretch of Chesil Beach, which for much of its stretch, including this part, is separated from the mainland by an area of saline water called Fleet Lagoon.  The touring site is in a idyllic setting situated within a 200 acre organic farm.  We stayed in the ‘Stable Field’ area and the facilities were second to none that we have experienced before – Norwegian pine log cabin unisex luxury shower suites with underfloor heating.  VERY impressive!

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This site has an Old Barn family bar which we noted was also used by some locals, giving a friendly and welcoming buzz to the place.  We picked some useful tips & information from chatting to a local chap there.

The bar itself does not offer food, but there are a couple of evenings when food is available from local vendors on site – Portland Pizza Company with their wood fired pizza oven and Bennett’s award winning Fish and Chips.  We tucked into the fish and chips one night and they tasted sensational after a long day out and about.  We ate back on Jolly but you have the option of eating at the bar or even ordering a takeaway to be delivered to the bar if you prefer.

http://www.eastfleet.co.uk/

http://www.weymouth.co.uk/

The most charming location in Weymouth, for us, is the 17th Century Old Harbour.  It is home to a number of good pubs and restaurants and was always bustling.  We spent two of our three evenings here, where you can watch the fishing boats returning with their day’s catch and just generally watch the world go by.

http://www.waterfrontweymouth.co.uk/

Our favourite meal of our stay in Weymouth was at Mallam’s Restaurant on the harbour front.  It was something a little special washed down with a couple of cheeky champagne cocktails.  Delicious fayre and lovely staff, making it the perfect evening.  We would recommend this one without hesitation.

http://www.mallamsrestaurant.co.uk/

One day we hopped on the Jurassic Coaster bus, at the end of the campsite’s driveway, and headed to the quaint little village of Abbotsbury to visit the well known Abbotsbury Swannery.  The Jurassic Coaster bus service runs the length of the coast from Poole to Exeter and is ideal to hop on/off as you explore the many towns and villages along the coastline.

jurassicbus

We spent an enjoyable day in and around Abbotsbury village with its shops and tearoom, but most importantly for us was experiencing the Swannery with its colony of nesting mute swans.  This is a must if you’re in this area of Dorset.  It’s the only managed colony of these swans in the world.  We were lucky to see cygnets hatching before our eyes and take photos as we walked among the colony of swans.  There’s also a subtropical garden to visit and a children’s farm for families.

http://abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk/swannery/

As you enter/leave the Swannery, there’s a Barnes Wallis Dam-busting ‘Bouncing Bomb’ which was tested on the Fleet back in 1943, an interesting piece of wartime history and in stark contrast to the tranquility of the Fleet today.

Also, during our stay at this touring park, we used public transport from Weymouth front to cross over to the Isle of Portland with the aim of visiting the lighthouse there.  Unfortunately, however, the Portland Bill lighthouse was closed to visitors as there was work being undertaken on it.  It’s a Grade II listed functioning lighthouse and we’d hoped to go up it and have a nosy.  No worries though, it was a hot and sunny day so instead we just enjoyed taking in the local area and scenery, with some light refreshment along the way.  We spent a relaxing afternoon on the island.

http://m.visit-Dorset.com/things-to-do/portland-bill-lighthouse-p683283

The time was really beginning to fly by on our Jurassic Adventure, and we were thoroughly enjoying our first touring experience of any length.  The next morning we were heading off West again to Charmouth, our final destination …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri