Category Archives: Travels & Camping

Woodlands Caravan Park

This weekend for Mandy and myself happens to be a long one with us both having the Friday off work. As our month long trip to Croatia looms ever closer the pressures to organise the locations / campsites increases. For months we have been consistent in our promise to organise the trip as each weekend passes, we have also been equally consistent at not doing so, due to the distractions of home life.

So our main aim of this micro stop over at a local campsite was to do as little as possible other than get us into camping mode, and plan our holiday.

We have broke the camels back in as much as we have booked our ferry crossings and two nights in Bruges to start the vacation. We also have our eyes on two very nice campsites on the shore of the aptly named Wolfgangsee Lake, and have earmarked some really nice campsites but on the coast of Croatia.

So this single nights stay has been a success. We are a little more relaxed (which is always the case after staying in idyllic surroundings in the van), and looking forward to our main 2019 holiday with enthusiasm, instead of trepidation.

The campsite we chose for this single night stop over was just about as local as it gets. Ashbourne is about 30 minutes from our home which was ideal to maximise our stay and limit fuel. I have stayed here in the past for a couple of nights on my own when recovering from a shoulder injury. It’s surrounded by pine tree and has a cosey feel to each pitch. It’s well maintained with excellent toilet & shower facilities.

matlock -tax farm

Weblink: Tax Farm

The weather has been pretty bonkers for a February. It’s at the same time last year we were exposed to the Beast From the East, and now were hitting 21 degrees which is a record. It’s still officially winter, at least for the next month! The low sun casts long shadows, but it’s surprisingly easy to find the rays of sunshine, and when you do its positively warm. Mandy had some holidays to use up as we approach the end of the financial year, so dotted a day here and there to make sure she didn’t lose them and I found myself with a flexible day off also.

The forecast was good for the foreseeable meteorological week, so we agreed to get the van out and book into a local campsite we had stayed at back in 2015. We knew the views were nice, and we could only commit to one nights stay so we couldn’t consider going too far afield. So i collected the van on Saturday and gave it a good wash. Preparation was pretty minimal and we just had to consider a days worth of food.

So sunday morning we set off for Matlock Bath and managed to get a parking spot on the main road before the bikes engulfed them.

We were just killing time as we couldn’t get on the campsite until post 12pm. So we found a cozy little coffee shop to chill in until we had reach the 1 hour parking limit imposed on the main road. It was always nice to spend time in Matlock Bath, but even in the midst of summer there is always shade, and the winter’s must seem really long in the valley to anybody that lived there.

So coffee drunk we got in the van and drove through Matlock and up the steep hill towards Tax Farm. We were still far to early to check in to the campsite so found a secluded spot to pull into and read for a while. The odd car passed and a few cyclists, but other than that it was really peaceful. As it approached 1pm we headed towards the campsite and drove down the steep incline onto the lower teer.

The afternoon was spent enjoying the views, reading and listening to the radio and eventually settled down in bed to an hour or two of Netflix.

The clear night meant we awoke to a frost, but as a result there was an amazing sunrise with mist filled valley towards the Two Dales / Darley Dale. This was enjoyed over coffee and breakfast with the night heater whirring away to keep us warm. The morning followed a similar pattern to the previous afternoon, but we had to vacate the pitch before 12pm. So as late morning approached we dropped the roof and prepared the van for the road. Matlock was only a mile down the road and as the sun was still very much in play, we decided to spend a couple of hours in the town before heading home.

View from the bridge towards Riber Castle

Bristol – Baltic Wharf

Why go to Bristol again I hear you say when we have been there four times already? Explanation is fairly simple. The first time we did a Park and Ride for a day, and it wasn’t until we realised on the way back to the van on the bus that we had missed the best parts of Bristol. No such excuses for the second, third or fourth time, but it’s just about as good as a winter vacation in a campervan gets location wise!

Seeing the New year in looking at Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Wharf.

The first week of 2018 we spent at York, Rowntree, Caravan Club site mainly because we had stayed at Baltic Wharf in 2017 and the year before in 2016  . However, after making an early booking at Edinburgh Caravan Club site, we decided that Bristol would be a much more local venue giving us the flexibility we needed if the weather took a turn for the worst.

Anyway, we were not disappointed. We chose to take in lots of free attractions right on our doorstep such as the M-Shed museum, and although the week long break started unseasonably mild (shorts and T-Shirt), the temperatures soon dropped to sub zero towards the end of our stay. That said, the Webasto night heater kept us warm so the stay was a great start to 2019!

Historic Dock right next to Baltic Wharf Campsite.
a modern reconstruction of the original Matthew that John Cabot sailed to Newfoundland in 1497.

Baltic Wharf Link is below for anybody that wants to stay at this location. You must me a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club site.

Sandringham – CCC Site

Camping and Caravan Club – Sandringham

Nothing on this holiday had been arranged other than the first stop at Deepdale, which incidentally was done the the morning we left home. The second stop of our September holiday, sy. Sandringham Camping and Caravan Club, was booked on the fly also. We were comfortable with this as it’s late in the season, and the sites are not likey to be busy.

We arrived late morning, but couldn’t check in until 1pm. So parked in the car park and had a few hours cycling around to get out bearings. We knew that the Saturday was going to be by far the best day of the weekend, so we saw no reason to sit idle until we could access the campsite, and thought we would appreciate our accommodation more after a little exercise.

After approximately 3 hours we collected the van and were and entered the camp site. The grounds were really picturesque and we had lots of flexibility regarding pitch location. We didn’t realise until waking the site later that afternoon just how big it was, but ironically we feel for a location within a stone’s throw from the entrance with close access to toilets and shower block.

We awoke on Sunday to the forecasted rain which left us both feeling lethargic. We climbed out of bed well after 9am, and struggled to do anything but drink tea & coffee with the heater on for much off the morning. Breakfast became brunch and as we approached midday the rain turned to drizzle, and finally stopped. At this point we both knew it would be in our interest to take this opportunity to stretch our legs and get some fresh air before cabin fever kicks in. Initially we circled the perimeter of the campsite having a nosey at the variety of caravans, motor homes and tents. Not long after the sun appeared, so our walk extended to the forest behind the entrance, so all in all the day was a nice combination of chill and exercise 😊

Burnham, Deepdale & Wells-Next-The-Sea

Our September holiday has been a minimum two weeks for as long as we have been camping (6-7 years). Certainly since we have owned the van it’s been at least two weeks, and last year it was three. This year has been a little disjointed for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was always going to be later due to a wedding we had been invited to. This meant from the off we were going to be going later than usual. On top of that, I was in the process of trying to get a car ready for sale, which distracted me from finishing my solar upgrade. Suffice to say, this delayed our even further, so we were going to be limited to approximately 10 days.

We erred towards Norfolk as it’s not somewhere we have explored extensively, and it was a lot closer than the more familiar jaunts of Devon & Cornwall. I had my reservations, but we didn’t commit until the night before we left home.

Our first stop was booked on the Wednesday morning of departure after reading a online review of the best campsites in Norfolk.

We left home under extremely windy conditions, heading for Burnham, Deepdale. The wedge shaped, flat sided Wolfgang was a real handful to keep in a straight line during the strong gusts of wind. But I was relaxed knowing that if Google maps navigation was correct, in 3 hours we would arrive at the campsite.

Deepdale Backpackers Campsite

At reception they had already penciled in a pitch for us and were all ready to chaperone is to said location. As seasoned campers we questioned the flexibility of other pitches.After a few taps of the keyboard and numerous biro scrawlings on the campsite map we had choices. Ironically, we chose the pitch right next to the reception area because it had a cosy feel to it. The grass was green, and it was effectively walled on all sides with tents aplenty. The alternatives were on higher ground, and far more exposed to the elements.

Other than a few tweaks to set the van up, a trip to the local Nisa store to get some supplies, and a stretch our legs (a whole 1 minute walk !) , the day pretty much ended there. We could both relax knowing we would be able to get up and explore in the morning.

So breakfast and a cup of tea saw us leaving the van at 10am. There are numerous, small independent arts, crafts and coffee shops within a few hundred yards of our campsite. It’s nice, and offered a couple of hours perusal, but not enough to hold our attention any longer.

With the bikes on the back of the van we decided to explore the local surroundings a little further. We spent best part of a couple of hours cycling out of the village, onto the Brancaster Straith Quay. It was really great to see Mandy enjoy the ride as much as I did. It rained 50% of the ride, but she still was in high spirits when we got back to the van.

After the ride, the weather took a turn for the worse. We were largely confined to the van, but with Netflix Series 2 of Ozarks downloaded on tablet, what better excuse to chill with the curtains closed 😀.

After a broken nights sleep due to exceptionally windy conditions, we decided to catch the early bus into Wells Next The Sea. I’m constantly amazed at just how beautiful our country is, and just when we think we’ve seen the best it has to offer, we find this!

For this evening we are chilling….

Tomorrow we head to Sandringham, so forests, villages and Staley homes will be the order of the day 😀