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.
Southport pier in the distance
Driveway to site
Arrival at site
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 definitely stay there again.
Jolly pitched up
The sun soon shone 😎
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.
A murky day at Ainsdale beach
Gulls at Ainsdale beach
Lots of cycling in the area
Shore Road Roundabout Sculpture
Oot n aboot on t’bikes
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.
Cosy Tipple Bar
Lovely decor and ambience
It was Grand National weekend
The Sparrowhawk, Ainsdale
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):-
Formby National Trust Red Squirrel Reserve
Red Squirrel reserve
The Squirrel Walk
Very cycle friendly area
Hmm, which way to go
Along the Asparagus Cycle Route
Along the Asparagus Route
A little bit of history
More history …
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.
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-).
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.
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.