Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Summery Somerset

When I started this blog it was going to be about life in a Bailey! As things have turned out it's become more of a kind of ramble about our rambles. Rest assured any relevant Bailey bits will be mentioned!!

We were left with a week in August which included the Bank Holiday Monday. We were hoping to go somewhere mildly more exciting than Brean, but as I had left it so late to book, we had to grab what we could get! So Unity it would be. We thought Smartie had better have an outing, so suitably loaded up off we went for our epic adventure and a mere 45 minutes later, we were safely settled in the Yellow field by the duck pond on a super pitch.

The sun beamed down, so out with the sun loungers and an early glass of wine and a bit of evening sunshine!  We decided we had better do holiday things as we were staying for a whole week, so I had downloaded loads of holiday touristy things to do which we thought we would try out. The first thing would be to explore the fort at Brean Down.

Half way up the steps!
We made it to the top 209 steps!!
The morning was beautiful, clear and sunny. Brean Down is nearly 100 metres high, sticking out into the Bristol Channel which has the second highest tidal range in the world. It's the bit before Steep Holme and Flat Holm and gives fabulous views out to the Somerset Levels. Mendips, Bristol Channel and on a clear day Wales. Cobwebs will be cetainly blown away here, a good stout pair of shoes or walking boots essential, although we saw loads of Grannies and children in flip flops and a few Yummy Mummies in the odd pair of heels! The walk is fabulous, steep in bits but not that strenuous, we were glad we were not pushing a push chair! A National Trust stronghold , so if you are a member free parking.

Even Den made it to the top with a bit of huffing and puffing!
We wandered on to the the fort. Built in Victorian times, how you may wonder it's in the middle of nowhere? Smelly in places, but a very interesting hour spent rambling around the site and taking the bracing sea air and sunshine.

We ambled back via the lower pathway , spectacular views all the way and a steep path back down to the car park. Certainly worth the effort and I would imagine different views at different times of the year.

Our next foray was to explore the area around Uphill. We had heard that there was a campsite near the beach at the marina. It was a beautiful spot but not really for our kind of camping! We did have another fabulous walk here among the sand dunes and along Weston Beach. certainly a return trip called for. Also a great little cafe by the marina which looked good to eat in although we didn't try it.

This is such an interesting area of Weston and not one we had been to before. This part of Somerset is beautiful and we only managed one of the many walks I had downloaded for this area, so a return called for.

As the week went on we were really getting into the tourist spirit! Next on the agenda was Axbridge. What a lovely little place that was. Again full use made of our National Trust Membership at King John's Hunting Lodge on Axebridge, we still had to pay to get in though, the building is only rented to the NT.

 We walked around the reservoir braved the wild animals ( sheep) climbed a mountains ( well, grassy banks) and tramped down a few very long lanes. Finally, we arrived back in Axbridge for a well deserved cuppa in Ye Olde Tea Shoppe. Another very satisfying day.

For the remainder of the week we managed a trek on the beach at Burnham to see the weird 9 legged lighthouse. Moules by the beach in the Cove at Weston, a trip to the Helicopter Museum and loads of beachy walks. A great week in Somerset , glorious weather and strangely a holiday to remember.

The quaint Victorian 9 legged lighthouse.

The marine lake at Weston. We had Moules in the restaurant overlooking the Marina, outside in the sun.

There be donkeys on the beach.

Alien goings on, on the beach at Brean. Or perhaps too much cider? Seriously we couldn't work out how they did this, it was like the crop circles. Spooky!!

Finally, a modellers paradise on the beach. The day of the aeroplanes. Models of every description flying. Apparently, it's a kind of unofficial modellers convention held every year. We spotted the planes on the camp site and then went down on the beach to watch.

Now, I wonder what Autumn will be like in them  there parts of Zomerzet?? Time to find out soon.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Out and About At Parc Verger, France.

Just back from a great three weeks in France. We did the Portsmouth to St Malo crossing which was perfect. As usual , a fabulous meal in the restaurant and a smooth crossing. I am always amazed by the boat crews and how they fit you on the ferry.

Billie our motorhome, behaved perfectly, as we were towing Smartie we are always a little apprehensive with all the ramps and bumps. We were right at the front and they actually put the bow doors down so we could creep forward and reverse back in a space. An interesting exercise with a car on tow, glad Den was driving !!

The trip to Parc Verger in the Haut Vienne ( just North of the Dordogne, in central France) was fine though rather long. If we go again we'll stop on route. A toll free relatively straight forward journey, we travelled on a Sunday so hardly any traffic!

The camp site was great, even though we were woken up most morning by Monsieur Chanticler, crowing merrily at his merry band of hens.

Pitches at Parc Verger were huge, we had a gravel RV pitch with our own drainage, water and loo emptying drain. The toilet block was small but perfectly formed and very clean. The owners live on site and run a tight ship so it feels very safe.

Pitches at Parc Verger
 Loads of room for the biggest RV's.
 Plenty of room for Billie, Smartie and the trailer.
 It was so hot we actually got in the pool which on one day was 24degrees!

Billie was more than happy with all the space we had!
We spent the time sitting in the sun, although we did manage a few bike rides along the cyle track which ran near the campsite and was perfect. In both directions two lovely little villages and a peaceful ride through the trees.

 We actually rode the whole 12k in bits, although it was so hot , that was an effort. Nice restaurant on the way, so we will have to go back next year and try it.
We really enjoyed this part of the country, there were so many beautiful man made lakes within driving distance. St Esteph was another one where we managed "lapin" for lunch!

 St Matthieu, 15 min drive from Parc Verger.
Mielet, another walking and picnic spot.
If you find yourself in the area, visit Oradour St Glade, the French village distroyed by the Germans during the war. We had been many years ago and went again this time. Always a haunting experience and time for reflection.

So much to see here, if you want chateaux, they are there by the bucket full.
Will we visit the Haute Vienne again ? Yes, with an overnighter on the way down we,ll be back next year. We need to go back for another meal at Dino's in the village and to try out the restaurant on the cycle track. Au revoir!! 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Choosing A Campsite

Choosing a campsite is very personal. Some people choose the destination and then the campsite , others choose the campsite and then the destination!

We tend to hover between the two but our main criteria are:-

  • Flat with hardstanding if possible
  • Decent toilets and showers
  • Easy access in and out
  • Things to do nearby
  • Electric hookup
This is not a definative list and 3 out of 5 is OK!

Other criteria on our "wish List" sometimes include:-

  • Adults only
  • Near a small town with shops
  • Nice walking or bike riding country
  • Not too crowded
  • Near water
  • Eating establishments near by
  • Spacious pitches
Two weekends ago we were looking on a Friday afternoon for somewhere to go for the weekend. We wanted somewhere within an hours drive and not south on the M5. Doing a quick trawl around, I found The Apple Tree near Gloucester.

"Have you vacancies for this weekend, like this afternoon?" 

" Have you a hard standing, we have a 25 foot motorhome?"
" Not sure will get someone to look, no hardstanding but the grass is very firm underfoot, it will be fine!"

"Is it flat?"
"Flattish, we have loads of motorhomes here"

We booked. To be fair, it was a very well kept site with a beautiful and immaculate toilet block and lovely well mowed grass. It wasn't flat, far from it. There were gravel pitches but they were all in use. Communication with the customer needs to be improved! Why campsites can't be honest in their answers is a mystery. Was it too difficult to say we only have a grass pitch available on a slight slope you will need chocks!

Not a site we would use again because of the very loud road noise from the nearby motorway, but could be handy for anyone travelling up the A38 and needing an overnight stop. Lots of campers there and regular stayers, it just wasn't a site for us. "One man's meat is another man's ............"

The toilet block was new, very clean and modern with great washing up sinks and very hot water. local eateries within walkingish, distance. Bus stop outside the site, lots of room for kids to play.

We did wander up the main road a way and spotted this very interesting travellers camp on the roundabout!

We were in luck, the sun god shined on us, so we had a nice weekend, we were just pleased we were well stocked up with vittals! We even managed to put out the awning and have a BBQ, so not a total failure, infact quite a restful weekend!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Costa Del Brean

A bit of sun works wonders! We have been so lucky this weekend and had our second weekend away and a bit of beach time.

After the "shake down" trip last weekend with a promising weather forecast we decided to go for our second weekend on the coast. With bikes packed and being more organised this Friday I had even got some food on board!  We arrived at Unity in beautiful sunshine and were quickly settled in the Yellow Field backing onto the golf course. We had taken the bikes so did a quick trip around the camping fields which were remarkably full. The telly tuned in with no problems and a pleasant evening quickly passed.

Saturday morning dawned with a beautiful cloud free sky. A bit windy but sunny, we decided to give the bikes a good try out on the beach and see if we could ride from Berrow to Brean Down. Fine for the young and hearty a marathon for us! The beach was really like the Costas without the crowds, warm, sunny, a bit windy but beautiful!

We even spotted another Bailey on the beach! Brave person!!

It was a lonnnng, ride but we made it, cycling into the headwind on the way down the beach was "challenging" riding back was fun. We had a quick coffee in the cafe at Brean Down but enjoyed the sunshine and even got the sun! I got a new picture for my facebook page!

Yes it is England in June! The tide is out but the sand is golden and clean, not sure if I would want to try the water out though!
We rode back to camp after a nice lunch in a local watering hole.
A very successful weekend!!