This month we returned to Coniston in the Lake District. It’s definitely one of our favourites, not only because of the beauty of the area but because it was the destination for our maiden Jolly adventure back in March, 2014. We’ve been here three times now in Jolly – see previous blog posts by searching ‘Coniston’.
Jolly doing his best Elvis impression – I’m all hooked up ooh hoo hoo, ooh hoo, yeah yeahhhh …
It’s a huge site of 228 touring pitches, some tent pitches and there are now some camping pods named after Coniston’s famous speedster son, Donald Campbell, and a few luxury chalets. The site’s open all year round but out of season only the top end remains open. During our visit the whole site was still open, a first for us and we really got a feel of the size of the site. There are pitches to suit everyone, well spaced too.
We find this site ideally located between Coniston itself and the small village of Torver which we like to visit on our first evening there. We’ve had some good times at the Wilsons Arms with its warm open fire, friendly welcome, good beer, great food and relaxing ambience. Perfect.
The Wilsons Arms, Torver
Welcoming open fire
There’s another pub in Torver, the Church House Inn which is equally nice and also has a 5-pitch caravan/motorhome site to the rear. Facilities provided are: a toilet and shower block and water supply. Prices for Caravan Club members start at £10 per night. We didn’t call in this time though as it was shut on the Friday night which was unusual. Maybe they’d heard we were coming?
This was our first visit to Coniston in Autumn and what a stunning show of autumnal hues we were treated to. The weather was wet and there was already quite a lot of surface water before we arrived. Never ones to allow a bit of rain and mud to stop us though, we had a great time … and plenty of mud-caked laundry on our return.
A great weekend. Not sure where we’re off to next just yet.
Oh, nearly forgot, Ed Sheeran works at The Ship Inn, Coniston where we ate on our last evening following a day out on the bikes around the local area …
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.
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.
Our first trip of 2015 was in early February, back to the Coniston Park Coppice Caravan Club Site. It is open all year round, but in winter time only the top part of the site remains open. This was the site we made our maiden trip to in Jolly last March. See last year’s blog post. Special memories 😊.
We stopped a couple of times en route. Once at the Lakeland Motor Museum and again just outside Coniston to enjoy the scenery and take a few photos.
We got some sunny, if chilly, weather during our stay, and again got on our bikes to cycle the local area. The first evening we cycled to nearby Torver to enjoy some good food and ale at The Wilson Arms. We’d visited last year and it was nice to return. We sat outside until it became too cold. There’s an unusual telephone kiosk aquarium at the front of the pub. We could hear water, but it took us a while to figure out what it was (and that’s before we’d had a drink!).
The next day we cycled into Coniston and spent time having a look around the area and shops. Last time we’d visited Donald Campbell’s grave, this time we saw the poet John Ruskin’s final resting place (a much larger and ornate affair!). We also made a point of trekking up a steep hill to the 16th Century Sun Pub which we’d missed last time. There are a good selection of ales on draft there. Bri wasn’t disappointed!
After a full day in Coniston we cycled back to the site via the main road and had tea at The Ship Inn. It’s a warm and friendly pub and we enjoyed our meal before making our way along a track in the dark back to the site.
We always enjoy Coniston and will return here many times no doubt. Next stop though, Bolton-le-Sands in March.
Well, after almost a fortnight’s delay in picking our “Jolly Majestic” up (but that’s nothing when we’ve years of adventures ahead), we set out on our maiden trip to Coniston this weekend. We stayed on the Coniston Park Coppice Caravan Club Site.
Friendly, helpful staff and fellow campers, we didn’t encounter any difficulties but returned a little more informed about minor things that will ease future trips.
The campsite was very clean, quiet, and due to open fully for the season next week. Good coverage of trees, not ideal if you’re sunbather(!) but plenty of surrounding countryside to overcome that obstacle if it was one. It wasn’t for us, still a spring nip in the air, but overall we were lucky with the weather.
We took our bikes with us, and the first afternoon took a short, easy cycle ride of approx. a mile and a half into a nearby village called Torver. We sampled a few drinks and enjoyed a delicious meal at The Wilson’s Arms – Steak, Kidney & Old Man’s Ale Steamed Pudding with chunky chips and peas … mmm. We recommend it! We then set off back to Jolly to cabin up for our first night. It turned out to be very cosy and warm and the onboard hot shower in the morning surpassed our previous tent camping experiences! 🙂 Perfect.
The next day we cycled into Coniston and enjoyed a hot chocolate at the Bluebird Cafe by Coniston water before visiting Donald Campbell’s grave then a couple of village pubs, including the 400 year old Black Bull Inn. Our cycle home took in a scenic route by the waterside and an impromptu stone skimming competition (I won!). We ended up off the beaten track for approx. a mile though, having to push our bikes up a steep, rocky track but on the plus side we burned some calories off! Back in Jolly, we chilled out for the evening.
Hot chocolate by the lake
Skimming stones, I managed a niner!
Bri catching some rays
Donald Campbell’s grave, Coniston Village graveyard
The Old Man of Coniston, a fell to the west of the village
Other nearby attractions to this campsite include:- Beatrix Potter’s Home, Pony Trekking, Steam Yacht Gondola, Ruskin’s Brantwood, and Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway.