Dorset and North Devon, Motorhome trip No2 : May 8th -21st 2012
NOTTS->CAMBRIDGE->NEW FOREST->DORSET->NORTH DEVON->NOTTS 1000 miles
Apart from our trial run for a couple of days to Clumber Park, Notts (in the rain) this was our 1st holiday in our brand new van. Our lovely Autosleeper Clubman Anniversary (nicknamed ‘Gav’, sorry can’t tell you why but it makes us laugh :))
We stocked up and set off to visit my friend Kev in Linton, Cambs and parked the van at the Caravan Club (CC) site at Cherry Hinton, Cambs. Quite a nice site but with differing levels and a rather sereve one-way system which meant you had to queue up at the gate to be registered and then ferried in one at a time, still very convenient for Linton, which we must say is a lovely traditional English village, give it a visit if you have not been there.
We then set off the next morning after a lovely meal, wine fest and sleep at Kevs for the Centenary CC site in the New Forest, Hants travelling round the outskirts of London, it never stopped raining so we were glad to arrive at the site (one of CC’s best) based on an old airstrip. Very modern and well laid out but guess what it never stopped raining. The setting for the site is brill and just out of the gate to see New Forest ponies. We will certainly go back again and maybe spend a little longer there next time.
We travelled from the New Forest to Knoll beach Studland one of our fave beaches in all the world to meet up with Annie’s 3rd cousin to ‘do some’ genealogy. Alas no beach today as a washout but nice coffee and lunch in the café. We then went off to Hayman’s Cross , Dorset and stayed at Haycraft CC site for 2 nights. Just opposite Dunshay Manor, originally owned by one of Anne’s relie, way back. Rather fortuitously our Thurs / Fri stay there coincided with the Railway & Beer Festival, 5 mins walk from our site, now what more could one ask for, well ‘no rain’ really is the only answer! Went into Swanage on the steam train and visited the family tree research centre on the pier to finally meet up with the wonderfully helpful David Haysom who runs it.
After leaving Haycraft we spent the day as getting sunny on Studland beach and did our first walk in the sand dunes. Even read our books on the beach. After this we checked into Crossovers CC site near Bovington. Best site in the UK we have been to so far, like being in a Canadian outback forest site, but with eco long drop toilets. Not as bad as they sound (honest!) The Sunday we spent walking and sun bathing and reading, bliss!
Monday morning did some shopping in Tesco’s on the outskirts of Dorchester then visited Athelhampton house in the rain. Not NT but privately owned. Interesting history and gardens, never stopped raining alas BUT local uni students shooting a movie there, medieval costumes, swords etc what a hoot .
We then travelled on to almost Sidmouth / Honiton and a rather nice CC site at Putts Corner where we met a German couple on the next pitch who had bought their hired van over for Hannover for 3 weeks in the uK, claiming it was cheaper to hire and pay the ferry costs that hire in the UK, now that worries me . What are our UK companies doing? Our new pals had difficulty in getting the electrics to work, nothing too difficult, it was just the usual CC site electric ¼ twist to get it to lock in. How many others have suffered form that 1st time – I know I did
We then moved onto visit NT house at Killerton, been there before but love it, especially Tom the bears house. After Killerton it was onto Minnows campsite at Sampford Peverell, Devon. Lovely walk out the back of the site along the Grand Western canal, and such a lovely evening stroll ending up with a pint of Otter ale in the local pub.
We then had a lovely drive across Exmoor via Bridgetown. We both fell in love with Exmoor and are ashamed to say it is the 1st time we have visited but we will definitely be back again. After Exmoor we visted the delightful medieval village of Dunster and the NT castle before moving back into Somerset from North Devon and stayed at the Minehead CC site. A nice 3 levelled site with easy walking into town, we even went to see the outside of Butlitz (hehe), actually I was expecting minehead to be quite tacky and tasteless in a Scarborough sort of way but it was surprisingly nice, in fairness I’m sure Scarborough is now, it’s just memories I have from my childhood (Discuss!).
From Minehead we went off to Selworthy up a very interesting narrow road, not ideal for Motorhomes but do-able and visited the NT Holnicote estate (pronounced Hunnicutt), now this is what quaint English thatched villages are all about.
After Selworthy it was the prospect of Porlock hill (1 in 3), I chickened out and we went along the Porlock Manor Estate toll road (£4 for a van) and so glad we did and the views are tremendous. You can stop at the top and look out across Porlock Weir and the coast, yummy and those Exmoor ponies ahhh!
Then onto the lovely UK’s little Switzerland at Lynemouth & Lynton. Loved the place. The old funicular railway still runs but seems to be no longer water powered, which was its claim to fame. Nice place, nice Devon pasties. Oh and the Glen Lyn gorge is well worth a view.
We stayed the night at Willingcott CC site (no one there) having been through Coombe Martin and Ilfracoombe, not really our cup of tea I’m afraid, but Woolacoombe we loved. Voted 3rd best beach in the UK and I can see why.
Went to visit NT Arlington Court and the National coach and cab museum, all very interesting especially the convoluted link to Sir Francis Chichester.
Then stayed our last 3 nights at Damage Barton associated CC shared between the Caravan Club and Camping and Caravan Club, nice site, great sea views would thoroughly recommend it.
We had trips out and visited the charming Appledore and had fresh fish and chips whilst overlooking the sea. We gave Clovelly a miss as probably similar and just too packed /steep for the van. We did visit Bridport / Barnstable/ Broughton & Westward Ho as well.
Since the Olympic torch was being run thru our area causing 6 hour delays we got up at 5am on the last day and were well clear of the hold ups by the time the procession started. We made pretty good time back to home here in Notts.
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