Welltrough Hall Farm, Lower Withington, Cheshire

Last weekend we visited what we found to be a top rate CL site.  It was at Welltrough Hall Farm in Lower Withington, Cheshire.

This is an adults-only site which began as a 5-pitch C&MC Certified Location and has been extended to provide more pitches, all fully serviced and refreshingly spacious with hardstanding and a grassy area.  Some have wooden boundaries.  There are also grass pitches and a camping pod.

The original 5 pitches have the most impressive views across open countryside, although all have open views.   However, we found a cosy corner pitch (no 13) which was located by a small pond and trees.  It provided plenty of quiet and privacy.  Although most pitches are level, pitches 10-13 definitely need levelling blocks.  We were at the top of our ramps and still slightly sloping although this was no issue to us.

Facilities provided:- elsan chemical toilet disposal point, 2 portaloo-style toilets, showers (and one for doggies), washer/dryer, information hut, a farm walk and also a well signed walk through 2 fields to the local Red Lion Pub in the village of Lower Withington, about half a mile away.

We visited the Red Lion on our first evening for a chilled couple of drinks & game of cards in the bar area before moving into the dining area to eat later.  It was lovely food.  Would definitely recommend 😊

On site, our pitch provided a clear view of the impressive local landmark that is the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.  This is just 2.7 miles from site.

Lovell Telescope in distance

We visited Jodrell Bank the next day while out and about exploring the area on our bikes.  We spent a pleasant 1-2 hours there which was plenty of time for what we wanted to see.  It was a perfect winter’s day with sunshine but VERY cold.  It was pleasant walking around outside and seeing the Lovell Telescope up close.  We also caught a film (on continuous play) in the film pod indoors.  This gave an interesting, detailed insight into the history and current role of the telescope in space research. There are several other interactive and informative displays inside and a couple of cafes.  It’s definitely a worthwhile visit if in the area.

Tickets were £8 per adult (£7.30 without gift aid) but we saved 10% booking online in advance.  It’s also worth noting there’s work ongoing on the car park at present.  This didn’t affect us being on bikes but car parking spaces were reduced.

Other villages we cycled through during our day out included the old farming village of Goostrey, Twemlow Green and Swettenham.  We had planned on calling into The Yellow Broom for refreshments but it was closed when we arrived so we headed another 3 miles or so through Kermincham and into Swettenham.  It was worth the often-uphill effort because we found a fine country inn, purportedly haunted, called The Swettenham Arms.   It’s easy to cycle past as it’s tucked away to the rear of St Peter’s Church.

After re-fuelling with well-earned fodder, we headed back by just the lights on our bikes to site.

A great day and top weekend.   Roll on the next one!

Chatty Chappy

A chatty blue tit chirped “Cheerio!” as we left


Suzie & Bri

Chirk, North Wales

Last weekend Jolly took us to Chirk, a small town in North Wales between Wrexham and Oswestry.

We stayed at Lady Margaret’s C&M Club Site which is beautifully situated in woodland.  The site offers good sized pitches to suit all preferences, be it the shade and privacy of trees or open grassy areas.  We loved this site and the location, it’s pretty with a sense of space, and the sun shone too which always shows a place at its best.  We had noted some comments on the site reviews about facilities needing upgrading but we can’t comment on the showers because we used Jolly’s onboard shower as we always do. However, we used the toilets which were fine and spotlessly clean.

The wardens were very welcoming, smiling, chatty and laid back despite always being busy with a steady flow of arrivals and departures.

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The site is located beside Chirk Castle, a grade I listed 13th Century fortress built during the reign of Edward I.  It was sold to the Myddelton family at the end of the 16th Century and descendants of this family still live in part of the Castle today.  You can just lose yourself wandering through the grounds, admiring the ornamental statues, or join a guided tour of the state rooms, and visit the tea room and shop.

There’s a striking entrance to the Castle in the form of intricate ornate white wrought iron gates, bearing the Myddelton Coat of Arms.  Dated 1719, they’re the work of local brothers, Robert & John Davies.  We stopped a while at these gates to admire the intricate detail of the work on them.

Ornate gates at Chirk Castle

The gates bear the ‘Red hand of Chirk’.  A tale of how this symbol came about relates to a Lord Myddelton issuing a challenge to his twin sons as he lay on his death bed.  Chirk Castle was to be passed to his eldest child but he was unsure which son had been born first.  The sons had to race on horseback around the estate, the winner being the one who returned first to touch his father’s deathbed, thereby inheriting the estate.

Legend has it that as the feuding sons returned neck-and-neck running towards the chamber, one of the sons tripped.  Fearing he would lose the race and the inheritance, he drew his sword, sliced off his own hand and threw the bloody thing(!) onto his father’s bed thereby claiming his right to the inheritance.

Lucky that he had his sword ‘handy’ wasn’t it …

We noticed this symbol in places throughout Chirk as we wandered around the town on our first afternoon.  It’s about a half hour walk from site but we rode our bikes down.  We ate later on at a café/restaurant on the main street, called ‘The Castle Bistro’.  It’s a delightful, cosy bistro with a friendly atmosphere. We enjoyed some very tasty, well presented food washed down with a cheeky bottle of rosé wine.  Mmmm.

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The Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal runs through Chirk and we got out on the bikes the next day to enjoy a scenic bike ride and a little photography along the canal towpath from Chirk Railway Station, over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and into Trevor Basin (NCN route 84) where there’s a Visitor Centre.

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The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the tallest aqueduct in the world, with its 18 arches it stands at 38 metres (126 feet high) and was built between 1795-1805.  It’s recognised as being the first great masterpiece of Civil Engineer, Thomas Telford.  We walked our bikes across as you can’t cycle it, and the pathway is quite narrow with just enough room for people to pass by.  It’s quite an experience to cross it, especially if you aren’t too keen on heights.  You can take a narrow-boat ride across if you prefer.

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We stopped for a wander around Trevor Basin, and ate lunch at the Telford Inn there.  This building was initially called Scotch House, and the name is still visible in the glass above the doorway.  The house was used by the Supervisor of the construction of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and sometimes by Thomas Telford too.  The building was converted into a pub from a private dwelling in 1981.  We had a lunch snack here and a nice pint of Telford Tipple outside in the beer garden overlooking the canal.

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Afterwards we took NCN route 85 along the canal towpath into Llangollen, stopping off briefly for a swift one at The Sun, Trevor .  When we arrived in Llangollen we noticed it was very popular with visitors and no shortage of shops, pubs and restaurants.  It’s definitely somewhere to return to on a future Jolly adventure.  As it was, we had only called in to check it out and didn’t have a great deal of time to explore it much.

We cycled over Llangollen bridge to grab a pint at the Corn Mill an old mill turned modern bar/restaurant which has still managed to maintain a lot of its original features including the water wheel that turns behind the bar.  From the outside decking area, we watched the white waters of the River Dee and were lucky to see a steam engine departing from the station across the water.

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We then re-joined the canal towpath for our return ride back to Chirk.  In all, throughout the day, we probably cycled a leisurely 19-20 miles and had cycled up an appetite so we decided on tea at the Chirk Tandoori in town.  Not before Bri got pooped on by a bird outside the Hand Hotel though *snigger* 😮

Even early evening the Chirk Tandoori was full and clearly a popular place with locals.  The food and service was great and it was like travelling back in time as Indian restaurants go – we even got a carnation on leaving!  Lovely.

With that, another Jolly jaunt came to a close and the following morning the journey home flowed nicely, no hold-ups.  Next adventure will probably be Cumbria way.

In the meantime, I need to get to the gym after all that lovely fodder and before the next adventure! 😊


Suzie & Bri

Overwater Marina, Audlem, Cheshire

We booked this two-nighter last year as we thought it looked a pretty one.  Our destination was the village of Audlem on the South Cheshire border with Shropshire.  The village is situated alongside the Shropshire Union Canal which starts in Wolverhampton in The Midlands, running northwards towards Cheshire, the River Mersey and Ellesmere Port.

The Audlem stretch of the canal is famous for its 15 locks, designed by Thomas Telford to raise the canal up to the Shropshire Plain from the lower Cheshire Plain.  These locks cover a distance of approx. a mile and a half.

We stayed at Overwater Marina just outside Audlem.


We had booked a pitch in the Caravan & Motorhome Club 5-pitch CL area (£15 per night with EHU).  They are attractively laid out, spacious, hard-standing pitches with a separate grassed area and picnic table.

On arrival we were informed that we had been allocated pitch number 3 but it was immediately clear that somebody else was already pitched there.   Staff expressed surprise that it was already occupied and then told us that somebody must have either overstayed their occupancy or pitched in the wrong place.  They didn’t really know and to be honest didn’t seem that bothered.  In fact, even when the pitch later became available nobody bothered to tell us.  So, a shambles is the best way to describe check-in to be honest!

Oh well, we found ourselves a pitch on the new section of 10 hard-standings.   Not as pretty but functional and serviced which was a positive.  Facilities were good.

We spent the first afternoon and evening around Jolly just having an end of week wind-down and chill out before an early night in preparation for the next day exploring the area.  We woke to blazing sunshine and had again struck lucky with the weather.  That’s 3 breaks in a row of sunshine.  Hope this run of luck lasts 🙏😎

We began the day with a breakfast at the on site ‘Cafe at Bridge 80’.  The food was good and set us up for the day.  We then rode our bikes along the canal towpath into Audlem.  It would be about a 20-25 minute walk or there’s the option of taking the ‘Audlem Lass’, a canal boat taxi, which runs between the marina and the village.


It’s a really beautiful walk/cycle/boat ride, whichever you choose.  Very scenic and part of what is considered to be one of the prettiest walks in lowland England.

On arrival in Audlem, we stopped for a swiftie 🍻 at the Shroppie Fly pub, situated by a lock on the canal.


While sitting in the sunshine we decided to change our original plan which had been to visit Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker (not so secret, there are signs everywhere!) in Nantwich, a further 3 miles down the towpath.  It was just too nice a day to be spent in an underground bunker.  We got chatting to a local who said the bunker is definitely worth a visit at some point though and is quite an eerie experience.  It gives us a good reason to re-visit this beautiful area another time.

Hack Green (not so) Secret Nuclear Bunker


Audlem has an interesting history and a lot to offer for a village.


There is also a busy calendar of events happening in and around the area throughout the year worth bearing in mind if planning a visit.  A local particularly recommended the Music & Arts Festival and Beer Festival for a great atmosphere.  There’s a list of events here:-


Free parking in the village and some lovely shops including the ‘Lllovely Chocolate Shop’.  No shortage of good eating and drinking establishments including three pubs – The Shroppie Fly, Bridge Inn just around the corner from the Shroppie, and further along the main road from there is the Lord Combermere at the centre of the village.

At the end of our day’s wanderings we ate back at the Shroppie Fly where we got talking to a lovely & interesting coupe who owned a narrow boat ‘Layla’ and loved to travel –

Hello, if you’re reading this Ann & ? sorry we didn’t manage to call in for a nightcap but we had probably had enough by then and at least we didn’t interrupt your football match viewing! 😉   

The food at the Shroppie was great and so was the atmosphere.

With full bellies we cycled the towpath back to camp at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable day.  Definitely a visit we’d recommend and repeat.  A big thumbs up!

This year has been a great one so far both weather-wise and destination-wise, and we’re still only in Spring.  Loving it!  Bring on the next adventure.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Leyburn, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire

Wall to wall Spring sunshine, peace & tranquility, wildlife galore, pretty villages, stunning scenery and one of the best Caravan & Motorhome Club sites we have visited so far.  All in all we’ve just spent a pretty perfect weekend in the lower Wensleydale area of North Yorkshire.

Our approx. 2 hour journey took us up the M6 to Junc 34 then across to Ingleton, up through the Yorkshire Dales National Park, past the White Scar Caves (visited previously – see our ‘Ingleton’ post), and the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct, through pretty towns and villages such as Burton-in-Lonsdale, Chapel-le-Dale, Hawes and Aysgarth, then finally into Leyburn, where just a mile further down the road into Harmby we turned left at the Pheasant Inn and took the narrow road up to site.

It’s clear to see why it’s important for visitors to adhere to the specified arrival/departure times here as there would be no passing space for two units.  Big thumbs up to the Lower Wensleydale Caravan & Motorhome Club Site.  It’s a gem.  Set in an old disused quarry, which is now well-established with trees and wildlife, including LOTS of rabbits.

From the moment we arrived we were struck by the great welcome and bright smiles from the wardens.  They were also very helpful in pointing out the best available sunshine pitches.

It was a busy weekend on site, probably due to the great weather, and yet still so tranquil.  Facilities were spot on.


The Wensleydale Railway, which provides some tourist steam services and special event days, runs from Northallerton to Redmire and passes through Leyburn and along the bottom of the site.


We spent our first afternoon soaking up some much needed sunshine before biking the mile or so along the main road into Leyburn via Harmby.

It’s a thriving market town which is quite big on tourism with a variety of things to do or visit, including many walks and cycling routes.

Rather than list them all, check out this Leyburn Tourist Information vid for a bit of inspiration:-


After some deliberation about food on our first evening (plenty of choices), we finally decided to eat at a gastropub called The Sandpiper Inn in the town centre.  Right choice!  This places gets great reviews and served us some fabulous food.  OK, not the cheapest but worth the money.   With happy, full bellies we cycled back to camp for the night and slept likes logs 🙂


The next morning, we awoke to birdsong and, wow, the sun really shone for Suzie’s birthday!  After a fried egg on crumpet brekkie, the breakfast of champions, we saddled up for a day out on the bikes.

Check out the link below for our ‘Jolly Wensley’ale Bike Trail’ we put together.  Let us know if you try it:- 🙂

The Jolly Wensley’Ale Bike Trail

Obviously drinking responsibly, the main aim was really to visit as many of the surrounding villages as we could in the day but with the added interest of calling into some olde worlde hostelries.

There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn” ~ Samuel Johnson

With the scenic rolling hills, there was a good balance of ups and downs, the downhills always compensating for the uphill pushes.  The final stretch up Harmby Bank is definitely a walker though, unless you’re a real fittie 😀

Next day, another great weekend over, we enjoyed a brew in the sunshine before heading home from the Yorkshire Dales back to Lancashire.

The clocks have sprung forward now for British Summertime so bring on the summer adventures!


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.


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.


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 …


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.


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.


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.


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

Wirral Country Park, Merseyside

We recently enjoyed a 2-night stay at Wirral Country Park Caravan Club Site, Thurstaston, Merseyside, over the Bank Holiday weekend.  It was our first trip for a couple of months and we were ready for it!


And we’re off!


Arrival at site

This a very scenic site overlooking the Dee Estuary, and the weather couldn’t have been better.  It was a scorcher of a weekend, and the site was full.


On arrival and after finding a pitch providing us with plenty of afternoon sunshine, we set up and sat out for a few hours just enjoying the peace and quiet.  We later fired up the barbie for tea, before having a reccy around the site and heading down to the estuary to watch the sun set.  All in all it was a perfect, relaxing first day B-).


Pitched up



Wirral sunset

After a good night’s sleep on this quiet site which has very little nearby traffic, we cooked breakfast before heading out for the day on our bikes.  We joined the ‘Wirral Way’ just outside the site as it passes through the country park.  This old disused railway track is now a cycle/walk/bridle way running along the Wirral Peninsula from West Kirby to Hooton.



We cycled some way along the track in the West Kirby direction, but veered off through Caldy and up to the Hoylake area at the northern tip of Wirral Peninsula.  We were just taking in the scenery, with a pit stop for some liquid refreshment along the way.



On our return, we stopped for tea at a cafe just outside the campsite, but there was very little on the menu so we decided instead to cycle into Thurstaston itself and the nearest pub to site which is The Cottage Loaf.  This pub can get busy, however, with the lovely weather most people were seated in the spacious outdoor beer garden.


The Cottage Loaf


There aren’t really a great deal of places close by to this caravan park so you need to be prepared to walk, cycle or drive; unless just relaxing is your thing in which case the setting is perfect with stunning views right on your doorstep.  We will happily return here in the future.

However, the immediate future involves our longest trip to date …. our long awaited 10-night tour of the Jurassic Coast kicking off on 5th June until 15th June.  Any recommendations, feel free to comment or please tweet us @JollyMajestic on Twitter.


Suzie & Bri

Coniston, The Lake District


Some top advice 😉

This was our third visit to the Park Coppice Caravan Club site at Coniston and it never loses its appeal for us.


This was our first motorhome destination in 2014 after buying Jolly.  Check out our two previous blog posts for info on what we got up to.

We were extremely lucky with the weather this time, having booked this jaunt several weeks ago and finding ourselves blessed with the best weekend weather of the last few weeks.  We arrived on site mid-afternoon and were soon pitched up and relaxing.  This is a large all year round site of 252 good-sized pitches set within woodland.  However, the site only has the top end pitches open out of season.


Pitched up

We enjoyed a couple of hours taking in our surroundings in the sunshine with a brew or two and some nibbles, before climbing on our bikes and cycling the couple of miles into the hamlet of Torver.  The bridleway there is an old rail track which takes you safely away from the main road.  It is easy to blink and miss Torver as you pass through, but we recently discovered that Torver has an extensive history since its very earliest days when Vikings settled there and farmed the land.  Also, an interesting fact we discovered is that in 1954 the first major UFO sighting in Britain is recorded as taking place near Torver …


Ooooh!  Anyhow, hoax or no hoax, it is our tradition for the first evening at this site to have a few drinks and tea in Torver.  Previously, though, there has only been one choice of pub in the village – The Wilson’s Arms.


… but this year we discovered that the Church House Inn, just across the road, has now reopened adding a little more variety.  We noted too, from chatting to another couple of motorhomers, that the Church House Inn provides 5 caravan/motorhome pitches to the rear with electric, shower & toilet facilities.  They hold regular live music nights, food nights and beer festivals at this pub so if this is your thing it’s worth checking out their website for upcoming events.


Needless to say, we managed to fit both pubs in and enjoyed a few drinks, game of cards, and a hearty meal of fish and chips at the Wilson’s Arms before returning to Jolly to cabin up for the night.


An impressive Torver sunset

Our next day was spent well wrapped up and cycling in and around Coniston, just taking in the fabulous scenery on a perfect winter’s day of sunshine and blue skies.  Suzie enjoyed some great photography too.  We meandered around and enjoyed a warming hot chocolate and cake at the Bluebird Cafe down by the boating centre at Coniston Water.  Yum!



We then decided to explore Tarn Hows which we hadn’t done on previous visits.  This is approx. a mile and a half away from the centre of Coniston.  It is an often quite steep wooded track up to the Tarn, which was made trickier for us as we pushed our bikes all the way up to the top car park!  That said, the rewarding views of the Tarn and the exhilarating downhill return journey by road more than made up for our earlier efforts.


Tarn Hows is a popular visitor attraction and said to be the most photographed water in the Lake District.  It used to be three smaller ones called High, Middle and Low Tarn. Until in 1862, a dam was built to raise the level, and with other landscaping the Tarn we see today was created.  The Hows are the surrounding small, wooded hills.  The spot was once owned by Beatrix Potter who later passed it on to the National Trust for future safe-keeping.

We managed to capture some lovely photos of the amazing scenery encountered during our day:-

After all that exercise we were, understandably, quite thirsty(!) and cycled down into Coniston for a couple of well-earned pints of Bluebird Bitter by Coniston Brewing Co at the Black Bull Inn.  We then ate at The Ship Inn on the way back to camp.


We slept well that night 💤💤 after a perfect weekend.

Our next planned Jolly jaunt isn’t for a few weeks, unless we manage to cram a cheeky one in between, who knows!?


Suzie & Bri

Horns Dam, Goosnargh, Lancashire

Whoop!  Our first trip of 2016 and we were ready for it.  We had a last minute change of plan for this trip, very last minute, just an hour before we were due to set off.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, we ended up at a real belter of a site just down the road in Goosnargh.  Also, after weeks of rain, wind, rain and more rain, we were blessed with 2 days of glorious winter weather, frosty with lots of sunshine.  It made for a really brilliant break.

We stayed at the Horns Dam, run by a lovely family who were friendly and attentive to the needs of visitors.  We pitched up on a spacious corner pitch (No.1) surrounded by fields and a lake.  Perfect.  We were grateful for Jolly’s warm air blown heating system throughout our stay!



Countryside view from our pitch

Horns Dam is a Caravan Club CL site set in beautiful countryside, surrounded by 4 fishing lakes of differing sizes.  Fishing was the main purpose of this trip as we hadn’t really done much of it recently.


Jolly, with built-in rod holder 😉


We opted for a couple of pegs on the larger of the lakes, Horns Dam, and fished for about 5 hours.  We were hoping for a carp or two but they didn’t seem to be biting that day.  Instead, we caught 5 small roach & bream.  On leaving, we spoke with another angler who had had a similar catch.  It was an enjoyable and relaxing afternoon in tranquil surroundings.


Waiting for a nibble … 🎣


Relaxing way to spend the day


Beautiful, tranquil surroundings


View across the lake, with Jolly in the distance to the left of the bungalow


In the evenings, we walked approx. 5-10 mins up to Ye Horns Inn, a traditional 1700s coaching inn. The Inn serves ales from its own microbrewery and was voted Pub of the Year for 2014 by CAMRA.  It features in the Good Pub and Good Beer Guides 2016.  This was certainly a busy little pub, even mid-week, and it was well worth booking to be sure of a table in the small dining area.




The morning we left the site, a couple of the lakes were partially frozen after a heavy night frost.


Freezing lake, brrr! ❄️

At last the proper winter weather is here!  In fact it’s snowing here at home as I write this blog post.

This will undoubtedly be a regular haunt for us from now on.  Loved it!

Our next fishing trip, though, is to a different location at the beginning of February.  So carp beware, we’re coming to get ya!  Until then …


Suzie & Bri


A Christmassy Castleton, High Peak, Derbyshire

Castleton is described as one of the most beautiful villages in the Peak District, and it’s easy to see why.  From the quaint architecture to the unspoiled natural features surrounding the village, the whole place is pleasing to the eye.  The welcome from and interaction with locals here was very friendly and relaxed too, making it a place we will return to.


* The Caravan Club recommend that you don’t use SatNav on the approach to the village and list on their website a recommended alternative route *

We approached from the west side of the village via Winnats Pass which was an impressive sight as the narrow, winding road passed through some spectacularly high limestone rock faces.  This road isn’t suitable for vehicles over 7.5 tonnes or towing caravans.

Driving through the towering limestone pinnacles of Winnats Pass

Driving through the towering limestone pinnacles of Winnats Pass

"Are we nearly there yet?"

“Are we nearly there yet?”

A rainy arrival into Castleton

A rainy arrival into Castleton

On our return journey we took the road out through the village of Hope in the opposite direction as you turn out of the club site.  This was due to foggy weather and although the route also took us high over the tops it was a wider road.


A daunting drive through the fog on the way out of Hope Valley

A daunting drive through the fog on the way out of Hope Valley

For our 2 night stay, we pitched up at the Castleton Caravan Club Site, a 10-minute leisurely walk from the centre of the village.

Perfect weather for the site ducks 💦

Perfect weather for the site ducks 💦

The Caravan Club site reception trimmed up for Christmas

The Caravan Club site reception trimmed up for Christmas

Jolly pitched up on site

Jolly pitched up on site

This site is open all year round and we were surprised at how busy it was for the end of November.  That said, this is good walking country all year round and the village is also known for being particularly pretty at Christmas time with lights adorning the streets and the festivities drawing in visitors.

Festive charm in Castleton

Festive charm of Castleton

It’s a lovely time to visit.  There were still plenty of good size pitches to choose from and as the site is located just at the edge of the village there was no noise.

Wildlife on site

Wildlife on site


The ruins of Peveril Castle stand majestically overlooking Castleton at its foot.  The Norman Castle was built 1080-1086 for William Peverel, a favourite Knight of William The Conqueror (some rumours claiming he was his illegitimate son).  Unfortunately for us, visiting out of season, the Castle was only open to visitors at weekends.  Suzie was looking forward to the opportunity of some good photography from here, but still managed to capture a shot she was happy with of the Castle against a brooding moorland and sky.

The imposing Peveril Castle standing above the village

The imposing Peveril Castle standing above the village

As the Castle was closed we walked a little further on through the village.

The stream that runs the village was swollen following the recent rainfall

The stream that runs through the village was swollen following the recent rainfall

"Make sure you get my best side" 📸

“Make sure you get my best side” 📸

We walked up into the notorious Devil’s Arse … also known as Peak Cavern!  We had a very animated and entertaining tour guide who regaled us with stories of the ancient rope making works situated there in days gone by.  She was also very keen on talking quite dramatically about the cave flooding as it had done just the night before.  Bearing in mind the amount of rain that had fallen over the last few days, we were prepared for a sharp exit if the alarms started sounding!

Walk up to the entrance of Peak Cavern

Walk up to the entrance of Peak Cavern

Bri trying his hand at rope making. The hemp stinks!

Bri trying his hand at rope making. The hemp stank … quite apt I suppose, as we were in the Devil’s Arse 😉

There are around 4 show caves in the area.  Speedwell Cavern, an 18th century lead mine is worth checking out although we didn’t have time during this visit.


All this activity obviously led to quite a thirst which needed quenching.  Castleton apparently used to be overrun with ale houses, and even today there is no shortage.

We visited Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Inn and Suzie enjoyed her first mulled wine of the season (followed by another … and I think another …).  This is the first pub you come to when walking from the site and is a traditional half-timbered 17th century coaching inn offering B&B.


Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Inn

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Inn

Just next door is the Peak Hotel, an independent pub which has recently been renovated and refurbished.


Inside The Peak Hotel

Inside The Peak Hotel

The Peak Hotel is a gin lover's paradise. Lost count of the different varieties stocked behind the bar

The Peak Hotel is a gin lover’s paradise.  We’ve forgotten how many different varieties the landlady said she stocks

The Castle pub was definitely, in our opinion, the place to eat within the village itself.  We ate here on our last evening and were very pleased with the food and service.  If we’d known how exceptionally good it was we’d probably have eaten here both nights.  We can highly recommend this one.  Apparently the Poacher’s Arms, further out from the centre has a good reputation too but we didn’t visit this time.


Top scran at The Castle. Yum.

Top scran at The Castle.  Yum.

The evening before we’d eaten at Ye Old Nag’s Head.  The food was fine but not of the same standard as The Castle.


We also visited The George Hotel and The Bulls Head.  It was difficult not to, as they were all just a stone’s throw from one another.  Perfect! 🙂



This was another fun and memorable Jolly adventure.  The winter trips are every bit as enjoyable for us as the summer ones, there’s always something to do whatever the weather.  You really feel the changing of the seasons too when you’re adventuring throughout the year, and we think it gives us a bigger appreciation of it.

Well, another one down.  December is a busy month, so our next trip won’t be until Christmas time for Bri’s Boxing Day birthday, and it’ll be back over to Clitheroe and Waddington.  Not too long to wait.

ONWARD!>>>> 🎅🏻🎄

Suzie & Bri