Two weeks in August

Arts and Crafts Centre, Gloucester Docks.
Arts and Crafts Centre, Gloucester Docks.

15th August 2011.
Almost left home on time, 10:09 am Miracle! Stopped for lunch at a service station. Arrived at Sharpness Dock picnic site around 2:30 pm. Had a walk around the docks, the sign said area locked at 7 pm, so that spoils our plan of staying overnight. Drove up to Saul Junction where you can stay, bought a 72hour ticket for £10. Vince and Sarah (son and partner) came for tea. They didn’t arrive until 8 pm, Katie was almost knorring her fingers off by then. Spent the evening playing Yahtzee.

16th August 2011.
Woke at 5.45am weather was cloudy so stayed in bed, after breakfast we drove up the road to a garden centre to look at the animals, Katie wanted to buy a chicken to live indoors as a house chicken. We parked at Rhea bridge on the canal and walked along the tow path to Gloucester docks 2.6 miles each way.

The docks at Gloucester are great for a day out, all the old warehouses have been refurbished and are now shops, restaurants, and art places. We had a look around the cathedral, they had scaffolding all around the front which meant I couldn’t get the photo I was hoping for, but the inside was very impressive especially the stonework on the ceiling, the walk back to the van was a bit painful but at least the sun came out, back to Saul Junction for tea, the exhaust on the van broke on the way.

17th, Got up at 5.30am the sky was ablaze, it was stunning. Walked along the canal to the next bridge, misty over the water, a perfect sunrise. Back to bed at 7 am. We all got up late, left at 11.30am, stopped at Halfords for an exhaust repair kit, drove on to Abbagaveny in Wales, stopped at the supermarket and the on to the Llanthony Priory. Ruins of a twelve century Augustine priory, really nice place. Serena and I walked up the hill to get a photo overlooking the ruins, lovely light and a great view of the valley. We had lasagne for tea and stayed overnight in the car park, we had the place to ourselves.

Honesty Book shop, Hay-On-Wye, The town of books on the English / Welsh border
Honesty Bookshop, Hay-On-Wye, The town of books on the English / Welsh border

18th, Went to Hay-on-Wye, we all love books and never thought it was possible to have too many bookshops in one place until now. Of course, we bought a few books and some maps then went on to the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal at Brecon Town and had a short walk along the canal. The exhaust broke again on the way so I had to make a temporary repair, stayed on a CL site near Builth Wells.

19th, Went to the Elan Valley Reservoir. We drove around the lakes to the far end and walked up the dam. It’s a nice walk with a lovely view. Drove back to the bridge overlooking Foel Tower for lunch, it is an absolutely stunning area and we must come back another day but today we are in a rush so we can go to the kite feeding at Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, where

Red kite feeding station at Gigrin Farm, Wales
Red kite feeding station at Gigrin Farm, Wales

hundreds of kites and buzzards come in to feed on beef scraps whilst you watch from hides. This is really fantastic to see and is a must do if you are anywhere near here. We had an ice-cream after then went on to CL site, Ladymeadow Farm at Leominster as we need electric to recharge the batteries, a nice quiet site.

20th, Went into Worcester to pick up our sons, then drove on to Eastnor Deer Park, had a quick lunch then walked up to British Camp on the Malvern Hills, walked round past the oblisk and then back to the van, a long pleasant round trip.Fixed the exhaust on the van and had Chinese for tea. Played games till 1 am.

British Camp, The Malvern Hills
British Camp, The Malvern Hills

21st, Got up late 10 am, had a walk around the lakes with Lawrence, after breakfast, we went to the other end of the Malvern Hills. The weather was really nice and sunny. We had a really nice walk with fantastic views from the top. Went to Sainsbury’s and the pet shop we have to look at the animals whenever we see a pet shop, zoo, or park. Back to Eastnor Deer Park for tea, roast duck and new potatoes, it was delicious. For pudding, we had a chocolate mousse. I couldn’t resist but a bit of a mistake and I suffered for pigging out so much. The deer park is a really nice place to stay.

Steam train driver looking out of window, Bridgnorth, Shropshire
Steam train driver looking out of window, Bridgnorth, Shropshire

22nd August 2011.
I went for a walk around the park while everyone was getting washed and dressed and saw a stout but wasn’t quick enough to get a photo. We drove to Stourport-on-Severn, lots of locks on the canal leading to the basins full of boats, it’s very pretty along the waterfront, it also has a lovely park with a fairground, skate-park and crazy golf. The town was a bit disappointing. We had an ice-cream and then went to CL site, Corey Green Cottage just outside Stourport. Serena did some washing and I mended the drip from the pump, roasted sardines and prawns for tea.

23rd, Headed for Bridgenorth, there was an accident on the roundabout in Kidderminster which delayed us for two hours, we parked by the river and had lunch, Walked along the river and over the bridge at Low Town which is very pretty along the river. We then went up to High Town by the cliff railway which made Marisa happy as she didn’t have to climb the steps to the top. Walked around the park and ruins of the castle, there’s not much of it left. Then down the other side to the Seven Valley Railway Station, girls giving me lots of grief for wanting to see the steam trains.

Rowing boats on the stratford upon avon Canal
Rowing boats on the Stratford upon Avon Canal

Long drive to the CL site, Meon view at Stratford-Upon-Avon arrived just before 6 pm, just in time for tea, fish pie for Katie and I, Serena had stew and dumplings and Marisa had veggie meatballs, the site seems nice but not as quiet as last night.

24th, Went to Stratford-upon-Avon, parked at the Recreational Ground by the river, walked along the river under the weeping willow trees a really pretty place. Saw some coots with babies, the waterfront area with all the boats is really nice, stopped and listened to a busker playing a Spanish Guitar he was very good. Went into town a little disappointing, its the same as any other town really. Marisa got stung by a wasp. The sun is shining and we all enjoyed the day. Went back to Saul Junction, Gloucestershire to see the tall ships coming along the canal. Heavy downpour for around an hour, I had a short walk before tea, we had Mexican for tea, the evening had very nice light but no sign of the tall ships yet.

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25th August 2011.
Stayed at Saul Junction all day waiting for the tall ships to pass by, rained on and off all day, one of the ships came past late afternoon but only a small one, found out later the Katherleen and May had arrived early on Tuesday!.

26th August 2011.
Went to Sainsbury’s by the canal in Gloucester. Serena and the girls did the shopping whilst I went to find the tall ships. Drove to the Forest of Dean, we went to New Fancy viewing area, it would be nice on a sunny day we had grey and overcast. We drove around the forest looking for somewhere to spend the night but it’s all owned by the Forestry Commission and locked down at night, if everyone would live and let live more in this country we would all be happier. We ended up at a CL site in Copleford, Highmeadows Farm, in the book it cost £6 but we were charged £9, quiet site and surrounding area good for walking with nice views. Heavy rain all night with thunder and lightning.

27th August 2011.
I got up at 7 am and went for a walk around the fields, had to ring the owners so we could pay and leave. Drove down to Chepstow and across the old Seven Bridge, We got caught in traffic on the M5 around Bristol, slow all the way, not a good road to be on Saturday morning of a Bank Holiday.
Arrived at CL site Mud Horse Cottage at Stolford near the Hinkley Point power station. A lovely site ran by a chatty old man it was very windy. We went for a walk along the sea front towards the power station and back through the fields on paths that hadn’t been used for ages and were overgrown.

28th August 2011.
Awoke to rain, packed up and drove home.

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