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

ONWARD!>>>>

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.

http://www.overwatermarina.co.uk/caravans/site-information.html

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.

http://www.audlemlass.co.uk/

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.

http://www.shroppiefly.com/home-5863.html

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

http://www.hackgreen.co.uk/

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

http://www.audlem.org/features/tourism-heritage.html

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:-

http://www.audlem.org/whatson/village-events-2016.html

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

Delamere Forest, West Cheshire

From the moment we arrived at the Delamere Forest Camping and Caravanning Club Site, we knew we were going to have a very enjoyable stay.

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/cheshire/northwich/delamereforest

The site staff couldn’t have been friendlier on arrival, full of good wishes when they learnt we were newlyweds, and a good sense of humour.  Just one teeny weeny niggle, we were shown to an area of pitches but given a choice of only 3 apparently larger ones which looked the same size as several other empty pitches.  We were then told it would be preferable to them if we used a certain pitch as some people visited with other families and often preferred to be pitched next to each other.  We don’t think pitches should really be suggested in this manner.  Whether you travel alone or with friends, everyone has preferences.  Anyway, it was no problem when we instead selected a quieter corner pitch with good sunshine.

We sat out for a few hours after pitching up, enjoying the sunshine and a celebratory bottle of bubbly!

Celebratory bubbles :)

Celebratory bubbles in the sunshine

Late afternoon/early evening we unloaded the bikes and cycled a short distance (approx. mile) into Oakmere to the Vale Royal Abbey Arms.  A quite traditional pub, the building 200 years old and listed.

https://www.oldenglishinns.co.uk/our-locations/the-vale-royal-abbey-arms-oakmere

We had already looked up and planned to eat at The Fishpool Inn, and so later we cycled a little further on to get there.  We had definitely made the right decision!  The interior is beautiful, cosy, and oozes class!  Even though we were in cycling gear, however, we felt totally at ease and welcome here.  According to the website the place underwent a multi-million pound renovation in 2012/13, and is now one of Cheshire’s most popular gastro inns and has been awarded the much sought after accolade of ‘Best New Pub’ in the UK at The Publican Awards.  We had to try a famous hearty, home-made, hand-crafted pie it sounded just too delicious to resist!

Cosy charm of The Fishpool Inn

Cosy charm of The Fishpool Inn

Starters

Starters

Delicious hearty, homemade, hand-crafted pies.  The pastry melted in your mouth - yum.

Delicious hearty, homemade, hand-crafted pies. The pastry melted in your mouth – yum.

Suzie was beaten at this point, but Bri managed a cheeky Knickerbocker Glory

Suzie was beaten by this point, but Bri managed a cheeky Knickerbocker Glory

There is also a very good selection of Real Ales, as they serve permanent local ales and a variety of guest cask ales.  Even the toilets, wow! they do say a lot about a place though!  The Fishpool Inn is a must to visit if you stay at Delamere. It is clearly popular so maybe book to be on the safe side although we were seated no problem.

http://thefishpoolinn.co.uk/view-pictures/

The following day we spent cycling in and around Delamere Forest.  The campsite is surrounded by the forest and the visitor centre is just out of the gates, over the railway bridge and to the right.  You can travel to other places from here, including Chester and if we had been staying longer we might have used this service to explore further afield.  However, for our 2-night stay there was more than enough to keep us occupied.

Delamere Station Cafe

Delamere Station

The station cafe

The station cafe

All sorts of activities here for different abilities/interests:-

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/delamere

We opted for a 7 mile bike ride through the forest, making it more 8.5 miles as we took a slight detour from the forest route to call in at The Carriers Inn on the banks of Hatchmere lake for a spot of lunch.   The 17th-century original smithy building is believed to be haunted …

http://www.thecarriersinn.com/

Bri meets and chin tickles the Gruffalo

Bri meets Gruffalo

The 7-mile White Moor Trail through Delamere

The 7-mile White Moor Trail through Delamere

Trail scenery

Trail scenery

Forest den

Suzie at one of many forest dens

Always time for a selfie ...

Always time for a selfie …

The Carriers Inn, Hatchmere

The Carriers Inn, Hatchmere

Lakeside beer garden at The Carriers Inn

Lakeside beer garden at The Carriers Inn

Refreshment (Hobgoblin real ale & a thirst quenching cider)

Refreshment (Hobgoblin real ale & a thirst quenching cider)

Early evening we cycled back to site.  There is a fish n chip van that visits the site at 5pm on Saturdays, but we didn’t make use of this service as we had already eaten.  We sat out until sun down with cheese, biscuits and wine and playing cards until it became chilly.  Then we decided to cabin up in Jolly after another thoroughly enjoyable break.

Oh, and on our return Suzie had a quick lesson driving and maneuvering Jolly ready to start driving him a little more in preparation for longer journeys.  Exciting!!

Suzie let loose at the controls

Suzie let loose at the controls

Our next trip is back to an old favourite of ours, Ravenglass.  That’s just a few weeks off.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri