Hesket Newmarket, Lake District, Cumbria

We recently spent a weekend up in the Northern edge of the Lake District or, as the locals call it, the ‘Back O’ Skidda’.

Our journey up was smooth without any hold-ups.  The weather was changeable, driving through drizzle and low cloud over the southern lakes then finally being greeted with sunshine on arrival at our destination.  Result! 😎

We stayed at Riverside Tourer Park in the hamlet of Millhouse, just a couple of miles outside the small village of Hesket Newmarket

It’s an open all year, adult-only site which suited us well during the busy school summer holidays.  There are both CL pitches for C&MC members and another section called ‘Millrace’ which we had pre-booked onto as the CL had already been booked up.

We’d originally booked for the previous weekend but had changed our plans and must say that the owners were very flexible with our request to move our stay.  Big 👍 for that.

On arrival there’s a ‘New Arrivals’ board by the gate which had our name on and a pre-allocated pitch number.   So we filled Jolly up and made our way to our pitch which was clearly marked with a reserved sign.

We were allocated Pitch 9 which was perfect for us in a quiet corner down by the riverside.   All pitches are a generous size, separated by mature hedges for added privacy and most, if not all, are hard standing.

The site appeared to be run very efficiently.  We didn’t actually meet the owners – maybe next time.  There was no need to though, having paid upfront by PayPal and just following the instructions on arrival.

We found it to be a wonderfully quirky site in some ways, especially the toilets, showers and the variety of piping gear provided to fit any type of waste outlet imaginable! 😀.

 

Once pitched up we had a cuppa and a chill out for a while.  The site was almost full but quiet.  Normally you’d have the sound of the River Caldew which runs alongside the site, but it was very low, little more than a trickle after the prolonged period of hot, dry weather we’ve had.

The River Caldew runs through Millhouse from it’s origin at Skiddaw, down through the nearby fells at Caldbeck and onwards to Carlisle where it joins the River Eden.

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During our stay we cycled around the local area, visiting the villages of Hesket Newmarket and Caldbeck.

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The first evening we ate at the 18th Century Old Crown Inn in Hesket Newmarket, Britain’s first co-operatively owned pub with its own brewery next door (Hesket Market Brewery).  The co-operative model of ownership of this pub has enabled it to retain a real community friendly feel.  We enjoyed a couple of excellent ales (particularly enjoyed the Skiddaw) and some good pub grub there that night.

Prince Charles has visited twice.  Yes, twice.  ‘Nuff said about this great little pub! 🍻 👑

The next day we cycled from the campsite back through Hesket Newmarket and on towards the larger village of Caldbeck.  Here we visited Priests Mill – a restored old water mill which was originally built by a Rector of the church next door.  It now houses the Watermill Cafe and gift shops.

After a wander around the mill area and a cuppa and cheeky slice of cake at the cafe, we headed towards the 12th Century St Kentigern’s Church.  We took a walk around the churchyard where the famous Huntsman, John Peel is buried, and went inside to write a message in the prayer book for a recently deceased friend 🙏.

By the riverside to the rear of the church you can see St Mungo’s/St Kentigern’s Well.   This Well was made holy by St Kentigern for early Christian baptisms.

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We finished the afternoon off with a short stroll from the village car park up to The Howk, a limestone gorge and waterfall.  This natural gorge has been called ‘Fairy Kettle’ and ‘Fairy Kirk’.

It’s a pretty riverside trail and although the water levels were low and the waterfall wasn’t thundering, it was still quite an impressive sight and sound.  There is a section of very steep stone steps at the waterfall.

Before reaching The Howk, you walk through the ruins of an Old Bobbin Mill.

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After our leisurely exploration of Caldbeck, we finished our day off with drinks and a meal at the Oddfellows Arms before cycling back to camp, calling in again at The Old Crown on the way.  The Old Crown was definitely our favourite of the 2 pubs.

And that was it, another adventure over so quickly!  Oh well, there’s always another just around the corner 🙂

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

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

Newchurch, The Donkey Sanctuary & Ventnor, Isle of Wight

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We arrived at Southland C&MC Site just outside the village of Newchurch in the Arreton Valley area.  It’s located on the more popular (tourist-wise) South East-ish side of the island, and we deemed it an ideal base for exploring places such as Sandown, Shanklin, and Ventnor.

Newchurch itself (just a couple of mins away by push bike) has a very nice inn, The Pointer Inn, where we had pre-booked a table for our first evening.  We found this to be our favourite pub over the other nearby one, The Fighting Cocks which is a mile away.  The Fighting Cocks is a very popular pub for families though.

http://www.pointernewchurch.co.uk/

http://www.thefightingcocksiow.co.uk/

Southland C&MC Site is beautifully kept and well laid out, offering many pitches, grass or hardstanding and some are serviced.  The wardens were extremely welcoming, friendly and helpful re local information and there’s also an info hut worth perusing.  The facilities looked well up to the club standards you’d expect but as usual we used our own.

On the day of our arrival, we were spoilt for choice of vacant pitches as many people seemed to have left that morning (nothing to do with our arrival!).  We pitched up on pitch 178, a hard standing pitch with a small privacy hedge to the side.  It offered great all day sunshine too.  All pitches are a generous size though and finding something to suit whatever preferences you have isn’t difficult.

It was a blisteringly hot day on arrival and so, after a long journey, we just pitched up and enjoyed a few hours sitting in the sunshine with a glass of bubbly watching buzzards flying overhead.

After lounging we hopped on the bikes and cycled to The Pointer Inn for dinner.

Next day, we decided to hop on our bikes and cycle 6 miles to the old Victorian seaside resort of Ventnor.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/explore/towns/ventnor

On our way we called in at the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary at Lower Winstone Farm in Wroxall.

https://www.iowdonkeysanctuary.org/

We spent an hour or so there meeting the donkeys and also a few Shetland ponies.  This Sanctuary does amazing work and is totally reliant on charity so although its free to enter, donations are desperately needed.  You can also contribute by adopting a donkey.  We left our donations and had a coffee in the cafe during our wander around.  Please pop in if in the area, its well worth a visit to meet these wonderful animals.

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Afterwards, we climbed back on our bikes and cycled the hilly roads towards Ventnor.  While cycling along, Suzie spotted 2 snakes writhing around by the roadside (this significantly increased our pace up the hill).

Upon Google investigation later on, however, it turns out that they were more than likely slow worms, a type of legless lizard (Latin name Anguis Fragilis).  We weren’t at all keen on this encounter (Latin term Maximus Scaredycatus).

A slow worm like the two seen

Ventnor was worth the effort.  We finished off by pushing the bikes down some of the steeper sections towards the beach.  As you arrive down the long and winding road, the Spyglass Inn comes into view.  The location of this inn is superb as it’s right on the rocks overlooking the bay with the sound of waves crashing and sea views as far as the eye can see.  For us though, the best find had to be the Crab & Lobster Tap on Grove Road which we discovered as we started our ascent from the bay.   It is purportedly the oldest Inn on the whole of the Isle of Wight, holding the oldest licence.

http://thespyglass.com/

http://crabandlobstertapventnor.co.uk/

After having spent a couple of hours taking in this pretty resort we began our climb out.  Our plan was to head to a pub called the Bonchurch Inn for tea on the way back to site.  We’d read about it on another online blog.  Unfortunately, unbeknown to us at the time, the photo that had been used on the blog was of a completely different inn in a different resort.  And so began our wild goose chase.   An uphill wild goose chase.  It was challenging and became more of a walk than a bike ride as we just seemed to climb and climb and climb and … you get the picture.

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While we’re sure it was a nice enough place, the pizza takeaway restaurant wasn’t  the beachside, thatched, historical inn we were after.  Our Bonchurch detour wasn’t without interest though.  We passed a charming, tiny, medieval church – St Boniface Old Church.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/st-boniface-old-church-p1069521

We also came across a grand looking house with a blue plaque dedicated to Henry De Vere Stacpoole.  We’d never heard of him but another Google investigation informed us that he was an Irish ship doctor turned poet and author who managed to live comfortably in later life off the success of his romance novel ‘The Blue Lagoon’ which was adapted into film.

So there you go, at least the afternoon was educational!

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Following our history lesson and now 6.5 miles from site, we rang for a taxi to collect us and our bikes.  This was a first for us but absolutely the right decision because our taxi journey home was ALL uphill.  We must’ve covered more area than we thought during the day.   We slept very well that night 😴😴 ready for more exploring the next day.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Santon Bridge, Holmrook, Cumbria

The Old Post Office Campsite at Santon Bridge, Holmrook in the Lake District was the destination for our most recent Jolly adventure.  It’s a privately run riverside site comprising both hard standing and grass pitches with the usual facilities.  We used our onboard facilities though.  Some of the pitches overlook the River Irt and we were lucky enough to be allocated one of these, a hard standing with EHU.

Couldn’t fault the location – riverside, countryside and just a short stroll over the bridge to the Bridge Inn pub which serves great food.   We ate here on both nights.

Many people visit this area to climb Scaffell Pike and enjoy the various other walks the area has to offer.   The scenery is truly spectacular in this less touristy western lakes area.

On the Saturday we jumped on our bikes to cycle the undulating country road that runs alongside the shores of Wastwater towards Wasdale Head.  This area has a number of  claims to fame as the home of England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike), deepest lake (Wastwater), smallest church (St Olaf’s) and the biggest liar 🤥.

This was the route we took.  If you look closely you can see I’ve placed faint red bike symbols along the yellow route.  Sorry if it isn’t particularly good you’ll just have to look a bit harder 😛😂

Map of our cycle route

The weather during our stay was fabulously hot and sunny 😎, in fact possibly the best weather we’ve experienced in the Lakes.  We had an active day, but made plenty of time to stop and take in the beauty of the area.   At one point we were sitting on a steep, rocky mound overlooking the lake when we both caught a glimpse out of the corner of our eyes of a cycle helmet rolling and bouncing down the banking … then into the lake  *splash* 💦😳.   Bri enjoyed the feeling of the wind flowing through his locks for the rest of the day.

As you can imagine in such stunning surroundings, there were a lot of photographs to be taken so I’ll stick ‘em in a slide show:-

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We had a well earned pit stop sitting out at the Wasdale Head Inn before our return journey by the same route, with a slight detour into Nether Wasdale.

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Wow, what a weekend made all the more perfect by the weather.  We couldn’t have hoped to see Wasdale in better conditions.  After our little detour on the way home we cycled back to The Bridge Inn next door to camp for some tea before returning to site to relax.

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The next morning was more overcast though still warm as we packed up for home, taking an unintentional route over some fell or other, we know not which (Birker Fell?).  Anyhow, we were pleased to descend back down into Broughton-in-Furness to pick up the ‘A’ roads again.

Yet more great memories made.  Our next adventure will be our annual Jolly June Jaunt.  Bring it on!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Pot Haw Farm, Coniston Cold, North Yorkshire

Last week, we managed to link a 2-night Wedding Anniversary Spa break at the fabulous Coniston Hotel & Spa, near Skipton, North Yorkshire, with another Jolly adventure.

We had pre-booked an evening meal in the Huntsman’s Lodge restaurant at the hotel on the evening of our arrival followed by a full spa day the next day.  It was fab, a really lovely couple of days, but instead of staying at the hotel we made use of a Camping & Caravanning Club CS Site just a 10-15 minute walk away.  Heaps cheaper, but also our preferred option is ALWAYS to stay in our Jolly.

The site was Pot Haw Farm at Coniston Cold.  It’s an adult-only site based on a working farm, beside Craven Country Ride, an off road horse riding venue.  We have to say it was a real gem of a find.  For the first day/night we were the only unit on site and enjoyed total peaceful countryside relaxation.

Wide open views and good sized pitches, the facilities here are very impressive, pristine, and even include an AGA cooker in a communal kitchen/dining area.  The lady owner (Jacqui) greeted us on arrival and took us on a tour of the facilities immediately.  She takes great pride in the site which is lovingly kept.  The warm, sunny weather showed the whole area at its best during our stay.  Here are some photos taken during our stay:-

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By our second night there was a group booking of 3 more units pitched up and by the time we left the following morning the site had reached it permitted maximum of 5.   It seems to be a place people return to.  We can see why and will definitely return ourselves and venture out on our bikes, although not along the main A road that runs below the site.  The owner warned that it’s one to avoid as it’s very fast and not cycle friendly, or walker friendly as there is no footpath.  In fact the walk we did from our pitch to the hotel was one the owner recommended to us as a safe route through the farm fields.  Be sure to ask for those directions if visiting the hotel.  There are other walks from site too and apparently a bus stop a short distance away.

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So, for us, this was just a cheeky last minute accommodation booking for our anniversary celebrations, but it turned out to be quite a find.

We didn’t take any photos at the hotel as we had a phone/camera free relaxation break, but we can recommend it for a pamper day and/or delicious dining.

A big fat 10/10 for this trip.   Excellento! 👍

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… until next time 👋

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Ainsdale & Formby, Nr Southport, Merseyside

Ow do!

We recently visited Willowbank Touring Park in Ainsdale. It’s about 3 miles outside Southport, next door to Formby, and only about an hour further down the coast from where we live so we spent very little time on the road.  It was a rainy day on our arrival but the sun soon appeared.

 

The pitches and facilities at Willowbank are excellent. No choosing your own pitch here though.  As soon as you arrive you’re taken to a pre-allocated pitch. It’s no biggie but it’s always nicer to have the freedom to choose your own. The main road outside the site driveway can get very busy but there’s a path and cycle way running alongside for safe cycling/walking. We could hear quite a bit of traffic noise late into Friday night. This didn’t bother us though, and we found the site to be lovely and ideally situated for our stay. We would happily stay there again.

 

 

For this break we used our bikes to explore the area. The first day we cycled down to Ainsdale beach and through Ainsdale village. It was a very damp and grey day, but this made for some quite atmospheric beach photographs.

 

After a beach wander and cycle around Ainsdale (calling in at a cosy, quaint venue called The Tipple Bar), we cycled to The Sparrowhawk where we enjoyed a cracking evening meal to round off the day. It’s just half a mile from the campsite and a must for a meal if you’re in the area.

 

Next morning after a good sleep, lie-in and a bit of brekkie we headed back out on our bikes to Formby, following much of the Asparagus Cycle Trail which takes in the Formby Red Squirrel Reserve.  This was our main reason for this Jolly trip so we were a bit excited!

It was our first time seeing red squirrels and we saw plenty, which it turns out was quite lucky as we’ve spoken to some people who saw none when they visited.  There was quite a lot of activity when we were there and some of them came up quite close for a photograph. They’re smaller than expected in comparison to the greys, and it was a really special experience seeing them thriving in good numbers.

Here are some photos of our red squirrel experience visit and our day out n about on the bikes (so much better than me wittering on):-

The elusive red 🐿

Gorgeous 🐿

Lovely 🐿 shot

Close-up

Inquisitive 🐿

A Jay bird

 

Afterwards we cycled back to site and cooked tea on Jolly, spending a chilled evening before heading home about midday the next day.

Our next Jolly jaunt will be probably somewhere up Cumbria way.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri