Our Tour of Southern England – Part 2 & 3: Lynton to Exeter (Our Tour of Wales Part 7 & 8) and on to Sturminster Newton, before heading back to Sussex.

Rain, Rain, go away, come again another day…. We’re heading south in search of the sun! (Update as I write, be careful of what you wish for – we are currently in the middle of an amber extreme weather warning for heat with the temperature currently rising to 29°C – it’s 11:00a.m in England).

We have chosen to stay at Plymouth Sound Motorhome and Caravan Club Site, overlooking the Sound and watching Brittany Ferries, cross-channel ferries, arrive and depart wishing we were on them to head back out to see more sites and continue our trips (technically, I’m glad we aren’t on them, as I don’t sail too well, without seasickness meds, but I’m sure you understand what I’m saying)!!

Plymouth Sound Caravan and Motorhome Club (CMC) Site https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/devon-and-cornwall/devon/plymouth-sound-club-campsite/ is located in the village of Downs Thomas, overlooking The Sound, with great views, when the weather allows! A short walk down the hill takes you to the beach and part of it is dog friendly and on to the Coast Path. The village has a pub, local store and Post Office and the local bus stops outside the shop to take you on to Plymouth or the surrounding areas. The Club Site Shop stocks local Pasties from the Pasty Maid, advance order – Monday and Fridays.

Leaving Plymouth Sound we headed to Newton Abbot and the CMC Site at Stover https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/devon-and-cornwall/devon/stover-club-campsite/. Located on the edge of the Stover Country Park, with lovely walks and a lake. We followed the Heritage Trail up to The Canadian Forestry Corps World War I Statute. The Canadian Forestry Corps was affectionately known as the Sawdust Fusiliers and was made up of 1600 Canadians, drafted over to help fell trees for the troops in France and Belgium. Our short walk turned into a 4 mile trail, up to the Stover Canal – a disused canal and over the railway, which doesn’t look like its been used in a while, but take care crossing, just in case! We arrived on the right day to get an lovely wood-fired pizza from Sid’s Woodfired Pizza, who just happened to be at Stover CAMC, on Wednesdays https://www.facebook.com/sidswoodfiredpizza/ Whilst in Newton Abbot, we attempted to buy rear brake pads, from Euro Parts, but apparently they don’t stock them! However a very friendly person in Halfords directed us to their website, where we ordered them from EuroParts to be delivered to our next stop – Exeter.

A short drive up the road to Exeter, we collected the previously ordered brake pads and checked in at Exeter Racecourse CMC Site https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/devon-and-cornwall/devon/exeter-racecourse-club-campsite/. Located in the centre of the Racecourse, you are able to walk the course too, along the road, unless it’s race day. It’s a very popular site for stopovers to and from Cornwall and the Ferry to France and Spain, with lovely helpful and friendly staff too. The facilities are a little dated, but owned by the racecourse, and spotlessly clean. Whilst here, we thought we’d change the brake pads. We borrowed a Torque Wrench from another camper and removed one of the wheels, only to find the pads were the wrong size! But, we did discover that they aren’t worn as much as we thought so still have plenty of life (miles) left! We opted to stay another night here, the weather was heating up and we were settled! It was here that we were the victims of fraud – a phone call with a lot of personal information supplied by the fraudster, meant I let my guard down, we will let you know more soon, but we are still awaiting the investigation results. As far as we are aware, it has been sorted, but it’s very quiet out there….

We returned to EuroParts and returned the brake pads, before we headed east to Sturminster Newton and a CMC Certified Location, aptly called What a View https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/certificated-locations/england/dorset/sturminster-newton/what-a-view-cl/. If the weather had been a bit cooler the village was a short distance away and we could have walked in to see it, but we were walking the dog before 08:00, along the very pretty footpaths and bridleways as it was much too early for the village to open up! We did, however, drive in when we left, and visit the lovely Oxfords Bakery for lunch on the road. We had been trying to find somewhere, affordable, for our next few days but many were full, so we decided to cut our losses and return to Sussex and the local Slinfold CMC site https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/club-sites/england/south-east-england/west-sussex/slinfold-club-campsite/ – it was a bit of a drive in the heat, but gave us a good base to sit out the expected increasing weather temperatures.

Slinfold CMC site is one of our go-to sites. It is close to home and family and being volunteer run and without a toilet block, is only £17.00 per night- a significant difference to the larger sites in August, charging over £40.00 a night. The weather did heat up and we were able to sit it out with our newly acquired sun shade attached to the awning (a much welcomed Father’s Day present). We also parked up facing east instead of our usual west facing preference! It was hot though…

As always, thank you for reading we hope you and your families are safe and well and have survived the heat, hopefully the much needed rain will arrive as expected and cool us down a touch. We’ll be back soon, with more news and updates…

Back on the Road: Weeks 8, 9 and 10 – Kent, Dorset and Sussex…

Another Mileage Milestone 30000 miles – it’s been a while since we’ve managed one!

Apologies for the combination of posts, we have had really poor internet connection over the last couple of weeks and trying to upload anything was a real chore! Instead of bombarding you with loads of posts, we chose to send just one.

We left our base at the Gatwick Caravan and Motorhome Club Site and headed back to Kent and the Camping and Caravanning Club Site at Sevenoaks. We had not stopped at this part of Kent before and were keen to complete our tour of the County. It is fairly close to our home and probably one of the reasons for not stopping here before! The site at Oldbury Hill, is in National Trust land and opposite the site of an old Iron Age Hill Fort. There are plenty of places to walk and once, you’ve negotiated the hill up the walks are particularly flat.

Internet signal was not too great here (nor phone signal), but the views and the site were great. You will need some great chocks though to get level, especially if you’re in the top two rows – we weren’t able to choose a pitch as there had been a lot of recent rain and the ground still drying out. We had a walk to the local Farm Shop at Chart Farm, a short 10 minute walk (or so)!

Thursday, after four nights, we set off again, back to Sussex and one of our favourite sites – Slinfold Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. Although, it has no facilities, the atmosphere, staff and location are just so welcoming. No doubt we will return again, later in the year. From the site, there are several footpaths off the Downs Link and we spent some time wandering along some of the most beautiful. We saw deer in the woods and fields, woodpeckers on the site and a little cheeky squirrel outside the door.

One of the reasons for stopping here, again, was for Sarah to have her second COVID vaccination. Once complete we are both fully vaccinated! We managed to clean half of the very dirty Nortia, before leaving too, (the rest will have to wait).

We left Slinfold and headed back to a little Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Location, we had stopped at before, last year – Omaha Meadows,https://omahameadows.com/ just outside Bournemouth, in the little town of Verwood. Omaha Meadows is on the edge of the Moors Valley Country Park https://www.moors-valley.co.uk/, plenty of dog walking, golf, trails through the woods, Go Ape, Segway Hire and a Gruffalo Trail, perfect for all the family!

We had two cycle rides and numerous walks through the Park. Note to self – don’t think it’s a short circular walk through the park and around the seemingly short road back (two hours and six and a half hours later – needless to say the dog was tired out for the rest of the day)!

From Omaha Meadows we headed to Sumners Ponds,https://www.sumnersponds.co.uk/ we still have credit for the lockdowns here – it’s our Bogey site, each time we arrive and Boris has an announcement, we are forced into Lockdown. This time though we were lucky and we still have the green light to travel. We spent a birthday afternoon with Sarah’s mum, Ric spent some time fishing on the lakes and in a horrendous rain storm we headed back home for two nights for a family Barbecue, to celebrate Sarah’s Birthday and Father’s Day. This time our stopover wasn’t enforced!

We’re heading off on a proper tour next. Our appointments have been kept and we can head off. Our plans for last year are still in our minds and hopefully we’ll be able to fulfil them this year. Where we are heading and how we get on will be our next set of updates. As always, thank you for reading, stay safe and well and hopefully we’ll all be able to fulfil our dreams…

The Adventure Continues: Dorset, Somerset and Wales.

Leaving Dartmoor, we headed east and into the most torrential rain we’ve seen for ages. We stopped to stock up as we’d found a little CL (Certified Location) site to stop at in Middlemarsh (just outside Sherbourne), Dorset https://www.cherrycottagecl.com/ The Caravan and Motorhome Club Certified Locations are small independently run campsites with 5 pitches.

The following day the rain stopped and the sun arrived. We went for a walk in the countryside, getting lost once and resulting in a climb over an eight foot high gate! Luckily, there was a wee gap at the side and Reg was able to be sent through – we did try it but it wasn’t wide enough for us!!

Then, more rain – all day on Wednesday. Even walking the dog around the dog field resulted in a soaking, each time we tried to go out in the dry, halfway around the field, the heavens would open! We spent the day catching up on the blog and just chilling. This is one site we are definitely coming back to so there will be plenty of time to explore.

Moving on, we headed north to Minehead, we were here a few weeks ago and knew we liked it, but it was a stopover and an ideal place to catch up with some of the family. We caught up with the washing, did a quick top up of LPG and had a Chinese Takeaway from the local parade.

After a night we were heading off again, it’s getting close to the Bank Holiday and places are getting booked up, we were heading off to Newport, Wales. We’d checked with Ditsy Daisy and Gloria Google Maps, and on the motorway it would take us 58 mins from Bridgwater. We’d arranged to meet some of the family at a lovely cafe, just off the M5, Pyne’s of Somerset https://www.pynethebutcher.co.uk/ it’s so much better than a usual motorway cafe, and worth the drive.

As we set off to the M5, we were stuck in traffic, this queue continued all the way to Newport and two and a half hours or so later, we arrived at Tredegar House. We have stayed here before, but many years ago, in the Campervan. The house was closed (again – it was the last time we were here too), but the gardens are open and an ideal place to walk Reg.

On Saturday, the rain returned, so we had a tour in Nortia. We drove to the Fourteen Locks, but despite having checked the website and finding it had parking for coaches, there was nothing suitable on arrival. We headed off up to Caerphilly, in search of cheese. Despite a good walk around there was no cheese shop to be found, but we did find a statue to Tommy Cooper, who was born in the town. Next, we headed into Cardiff, and the National War Memorial and the Norwegian Church, before heading back to the campsite.

On Sunday, the weather brightened up and we took the bikes out for a trip, along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal aiming to get to the Canal Basin at Pontymoel, along National Cycle Route 4. After 10 miles of derelict and overgrown canal, we decided to head back and a wrong turn later, we arrived at the campsite having completed 26 miles!

Reg has now crossed his first country border. He has a few to go before catching up with Albi, but Albi hadn’t crossed a country border at this age!

We’re heading off again, tomorrow. Thank you again for reading this. We hope you and your families are safe and well.

The Adventure Continues: Week 4 – Dorset to Devon

On the Prom – Paignton

The COVID-19 pandemic is still prevalent and some of the sights we would ordinarily like to do and see are off our list. We are so grateful to be able to be out and about and trying to enjoy our little adventure. We have started spending longer in places and trying to use and see the local resources, walking or cycling, where we can. We are able to travel around and take in the places we’re visiting, rather than our usual rush to a place.

We left Bridport and after a trip for groceries, we set off to Putts Corner, a little village between Honiton and Sidmouth. The countryside and views were amazing.

We arrived at the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site, at Putts Corner. A little gem of a campsite with a great dog walk – which also goes to the pub! We took a stroll into the village, its at the bottom of a steep hill, but a typical Devonshire village. The steep walk back was worth it.

We left Putts Corner and headed to Stoke Gabriel, just outside Paignton. We found a lovely grassy spot, completed a few chores and sat out in the sun. The following morning we headed off on the bikes to Paignton Beach, about 5 miles away, down some amazingly tight country roads. On the way, we stopped off at Pets at Home, as Reg has outgrown his puppy collar (sob) – he’s definately growing up!

The beach at Paignton was busy and although most people were socially distanced it didn’t appeal to us, so we cycled back. Reg didn’t get to swim in the sea here!

After Paignton, we moved on to the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site at Modbury. The approach to the campsite is very tight and after a couple of miles from the main town, we arrived. We found one of the only remaining pitches – next to another Etrusco (an I 7400 SB – A Class). This makes our total number of Etruscos seen on the road now 4!

There was not a lot to do around the site, but thankfully the dog walk was great for teaching Reg a few commands! The weather also changed and it got fairly wet, the chocks sank slightly into the grass, but we didn’t get stuck!

We’ll be moving on again next week – thank you for reading. We hope that you and your families are safe and well. Enjoy the good weather and take care. Stay Safe, we’ll give you another update soon.