2021 UK Post Lockdown England Tour II Trip Summary


I am trying to catch up with some of the Trip Summaries. This one was from earlier this year, including my 60th Birthday – the relentless march of time…!!! It wasn’t supposed to be spent on a Campsite!!!!

Click on the map picture to enlarge.

2021 Post Lockdown England Tour II

DateLocationGrid Reference
16th June 2021Woodbury, East Devon
16th June 2021High Onn CMC, Church Eaton, Staffordshire52.81733 -2.25021
17th June 2021Buxton CMC, Grin Low Road, Buxton, Derbyshire53.24560 -1.92857
28th June 2021Anita's, Mollington, Oxfordshire52.12599 -1.35513
7th July 2021Bladon Chains CMC, Woodstock, Oxfordshire51.83825 -1.34094
11th July 2021Sunnydale Farm, Hamble, Hampshire50.88573 -1.34141
16th July 2021Woodbury, East Devon

Mileage chart…

StartEndMileageTime (approx.)
WoodburyHigh Onn CMC1844.5 hours
High Onn CMCBuxton CMC572 hours
Buxton CMCAnita's1191.5 hours
Anita'sBladon Chains CMC221 hour
Bladon Chains CMCSunnydale Farm, Hamble792 hours
Sunnydale Farm, HambleWoodbury 1153 hours

Birthday Cruise


Some time ago it had been our intention to cruise to St Petersburg for Joe’s 60th birthday along with twin Ali and hubby Chris. Coronavirus put paid to that so an alternative plan was hatched.

We would spend a few days at Hamble-Le-Rice and dine at the Jolly Sailor for our joint 60th celebrations. The Jolly Sailor is nestled on the banks of the River Hamble with stunning views of the river and harbours.

We travelled from Woodstock to our campsite at Hamble (Sunnydale farm caravan park) and were allocated Pitch 2, for the second year in a row. A fully serviced pitch close to the toilet block.

We were not blessed with nice weather on our joint birthday bash but we secured a great table at the Jolly Sailor. Food was good, Ali’s choice of pink champagne excellent. Long lunch followed by a cream tea at the caravan.

60th lunch celebrations at the Jolly Sailor

Spent the next day with Chris and Ali at their retirement place on Hayling Island. Nice walk to the pub for lunch and refreshments – The Ferry Boat Inn.

Ferry boat Inn, Hayling Island

Watched a seal swimming just off-shore.

Seal at Hayling Island

The next day was very hot and sunny. A mini heatwave has finally arrived so Joe finally got his birthday cruise – albeit a few days late.

Cruising the River Hamble
…on the Hamble to Warash ferry!!
This ship is in a class of it’s own!

There are some nice walks along the coast and up the estuary alongside the River Hamble. This Egret was the most interesting bird we saw.

Egret on the River Hamble

There were some interesting boat names. The “mouette blanche” and the one below caught our eye.

Boats on the River Hamble

Tomorrow we pack up for an early departure on Friday morning. The site has already cleared out substantially this week, but somehow a group of “proper” travellers has occupied a number of pitches here. Could there be a link?

I can see now why many sites ban White Transit vans with lettering, German caravans and twin axle caravans. This group would have been caught by all three.

Giant Propane bottles are leaned against the caravans and black sacks of litter strewn around. Bicycles are tossed in the hedge. Need I say anymore…

Assuming we have an event free packing day tomorrow and a safe return to East Devon on Friday, this will be the last posting from this trip. I think it is nearly 5 weeks ago that we headed to the Peak District and the weather was damp, often downright wet and very cold. Temperatures in the South are now a very pleasant 25 degrees and we look set fair for about a week of excellent weather.

Bladon Chains – Finale


This is our last visit to the Caravan and Motorhome club site at Bladon Chains – a short walk away from Blenheim Palace and the Oxfordshire town of Woodstock.

The site has been rented by the Club from Blenheim Estates and it seems Blenheim estates just can’t build houses fast enough on their vast “bank” of land assets. In this case it appears that they are going to build dozens of Log Cabins. It’s a shame because this site is always a sell-out and it’s the perfect location to explore the surrounding area and has regular bus and train routes into Oxford itself.

We have visited this area on a number of occasions and here is a link to a prior stay.

We arrived after a very short tow from Mollington near Banbury arriving around 12:30. The wardens here are helpful and polite and the site is well-kept despite the fact it will be handed back as early as September 2021.

The Kampa Leggera Awning was swiftly erected devoid of any “divorce” moments. In the evening, Bob and Mandy hosted a BBQ and we settled in to watch the England (2) v Demark (1) Euro 2020(1) tournament semi-final on Bob’s not so-wide-screen TV!

Thursday and made our first foray onto public transport and caught a train to Reading From Long Hanborough. Met some friends and spent the afternoon eating and drinking. The food at the London Street Brasserie was as good as ever.

The 3 wise monkeys at the London Street Brasserie, Reading

Friday we set out on what was described by Bob as a 7 mile hike. Some 5 hours later and we arrived at the Black Prince, having covered some 10 plus miles with another one or two until we arrived back at Bladon chains.

We entered Blenheim palace grounds “under” the car exit barrier. Apparently there are public footpaths through most of Blenheim, one just needs to avoid the area close to the building itself.

Blenheim in the distance

We saw lots of butterflies on our route through Blenheim and beyond and lots of froglets crossing the paths

Ringlet Butterfly
Froglet at Blenheim

From Blenheim grounds we exited towards and through the village of Combe and finally arrived at the Roman villa of North Leigh.

North Leigh Roman Villa
North Leigh Roman Villa
North Leigh Roman Villa

From the Roman villa we headed back towards the grounds of Blenheim palace, before dropping into Woodstock by the Black Prince public house.

Monument at Blenheim
Blenheim Palace in the distance

The plan was great, a decent 6 or 7 mile walk and lunch in town. In reality, the final tally of nearly 12 miles, limited water and no food en-route proved a challenge. Arriving at the Black Prince after the kitchen closed at 14:00 was just the icing on the cake!

Blenheim, the long way round

The landlady took pity on Moe and provided her with chocolate ice-cream and a wafer – on the house – a very nice touch. The guys enjoyed a couple of beers and a packet of crisps!

Evening we were entertained at Bob and Mandy’s, eating take-away pizza from a “home chef” in Combe. The pizzas were delicious.

Final days with Anita!


On Wednesday (tomorrow) we leave for a very short drive from Anita’s Camping and Touring park to Bladen Chains Caravan club site at Blenheim, Woodstock. Predicted to take an massive 45 minutes.

The weather over recent days has been rather mixed.

On Saturday, the morning was a washout with very heavy showers. In the afternoon we managed a walk along the Oxford Canal towards Banbury.

Walk along Oxford Canal

In the evening we enjoyed a BBQ back at the campsite which was a great pre-cursor for the Euro 2020 (1) fixture, England (4) v Ukraine(0).

Sunday we headed towards the National Trust property at Farnborough Hall, which, just our luck, was closed – it only opens for two half days each week. There was however a 5.5 mile circular walk from the Farnborough Hall National Trust overflow carpark taking in some stunning countryside and views across the Cotswolds. Half way around the heavens opened – fortunately at the time we were just finishing our picnic in Aston Dassett and managed to shelter under the porch of the local church.

Farnborough Hall circular walk
Farnborough Hall circular walk
Farnborough Hall circular walk

Monday was a “work” day. We filled the Safefill bottle at a local industrial unit “The Nursery” (see mylpg.eu). It was service only and the guy wasn’t impressed attending to us for a top-up fill of 6.6 litres!

Some shopping at Costco Coventry and then a visit to the accessory shop at Broadlane Leisure, Kenilworth, where we managed to buy a couple of very sturdy folding chairs. Will take a picture sometime but they are very comfortable and look like they will last the test of time.

Tuesday was a visit to Upton Hall and gardens at Edge Hill (another National Trust property) – who’s idea was it to buy Moe a lifetime National Trust pass?

National Trust – Upton Hall
Upton Hall
Mirror Pool at Upton Hall
Upton Hall Gardens

Hidcote and Cropredy


Friday morning and we headed towards Chipping Campden and the village of Hidcote Bartrim to the Hidcote Manor Garden.

Hidcote, National Trust

It is one of the best-known and most influential Arts and Crafts gardens in Britain, with its linked “rooms” of hedges, rare trees, shrubs and herbaceous borders. Created by Lawrence Johnston, it is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.

Hidcote Gardens
Manor house at Hidcote
Hidcote Gardens
Hidcote Gardens

Our drive back from Hidcote Bartrim took us through the village of Edgehill and we just had to stop at the Castle Inn for a quick pint. Truly lives up to it’s name.

The Castle at Edgehill
The Castle at Edgehill

In the evening we headed into Cropredy which is a village in Oxfordshire through which the Oxford Canal navigates. Cropredy is apparently famous for it’s annual festival “The Cropredy Festival”, which certainly isn’t annual this year! A group called Fairport Convention use it as a re-union type concert – think some of the band live in this part of the world. If you are under 60 then you probably haven’t heard of the town or the band!

We ate at the Brasenose Arms and then took a stroll along the Oxford Canal.

The Brasenose Arms, Cropredy
Pods at the Brasenose Arms
Oxford Canal, Cropredy
Oxford Canal, Cropredy
Cropredy Church

Mollington, Northern Costwolds


The drive from Buxton to Mollington (Monday) took around 4 hours and was un-remarkable – save for the state of the A53 Buxton to Stoke road. It must qualify as one of the worst roads in the UK and doesn’t appear to have been maintained for years. Many of the 50 mph sections we could travel no more than 30, unless we wanted to see the caravan strewn across the carriageway with nothing left to tow but a trailer. Find an alternative route if you can!

We posted some details about our latest site (Anita’s) here.

After a few days at home to sort some things out, we returned to Mollington on Thursday afternoon. In the evening we visited the village of Warmington and ate at the Plough Inn.

Warmington is another picture-postcard Cotswold village with its own pretty duckpond.

Manor House, Warmington
Warmington Duck pond and Village Green

The Plough Inn has a nice garden, which we had more or less to ourselves although the pub was doing a decent trade indoors. It seems to be a bit of a thing around here in that many of the pubs seem to have an Italian twist to the menus and the Plough was no exception. There was an extensive selection of Italian pizzas but in the end, I ate a Chicken pasta dish. Moe ate a Bruschetta so she would have room for a pudding!

The Plough Inn, Warmington

Buxton, preparing to leave


We move on from the Caravan and Motorhome clubsite at Buxton tomorrow so we spent much of the morning packing away the awning and preparing to leave.

For lunch, we headed to the Parks Inn at Harpur Hill and ate their carvery. A week ago, we were lucky to get a table outside as the pub was absolutely full but today, we were able to eat inside with plenty of social distancing.

The food was good and the carvery priced at 11.95. If you are staying here, be sure to check it out.

Lunch at the Parks Inn, Harpur Hill

Around the White Peak


This area around Buxton is known as the White Peak region because of the lightly coloured limestone. The Dark Peak area is renowned for it’s dark granite stone.

Thursday morning and we headed over to Macclesfield and the National Trust Gardens at Hare Hill. Not a great amount to see – the Lakes in need of some algae removal but there is a nice walled garden. According to the National Trust literature, those who visit Hare Hill “gain aesthetic and spiritual” refreshment. Never did find the bar…

Walled Garden at Hare Hill

In the afternoon we headed back to Fernilee reservoir and walked some distance along another section of the High Peak railway. This was an industrial railway, constructed with the standard gauge connecting the canal at Cromford Wharfe with the Peak Forest Canal at Whaley Bridge. The railway, which was completed in 1831, was built to carry minerals and goods through the hilly terrain of the Peak District. It was closed in 1967 and has been converted into a multi-use trail between Dowlow and Cromford.

The section we walked ends with a closed off tunnel nearby the reservoir.

Closed tunnel on a dismantled section of the High Peak railway.

Saturday and the weather was a little better than the previous day which had been pretty much a washout.

An early start for us and we loaded the bikes up and headed off to Parsley Hay car park on the High Peak Trail. Parking was plentiful here today, in contrast to our trip along the Monsal Trail earlier in the week. Whilst we started on the High Peak Trail, we took the branch trail to Ashbourne – the Tissington Trail.

The Tissington Trail, Peak District

We cycled around 30 miles, from Parsley Hay to Ashbourne, enjoyed a picnic and then we retraced our tracks. By mid-afternoon some of the gloom had lifted and we enjoyed a pint or two in the sunshine at The Waterloo Inn, Biggin, Hartington. Moe was not impressed with the route we took from Hartington which was steep and around 3 miles in duration. In reality, The Waterloo Inn lies a mere 300m from the trail.

There is also a nice looking campsite at the pub which would be a great location with virtually direct access to the Tissington trail.

Tissington Trail, Peak District 2021

The ride was actually just over 30 miles but Joe forgot to stop the GPS tracking at the end of the trail.



Monday morning and we’d arranged a visit to Hillside Leisure, Derby to consider buying a replacement Tow car. This would not be a typical towing vehicle but a VW Transporter Highline, converted as a small motorhome.

The idea being that we would tow the caravan but also be free to do some wild-camping along the way.

Anyhow, like everything post Covid-19, they had not a single automatic in stock. They couldn’t even provide a delivery date as to when one might be available for conversion. That and the eye watering prices (circa £60k for a converted VW Transporter) suggest the Sorento will have a reprieve for a few more years.

We attempted to stop off for lunch at Bakewell but the traffic and amount of people in town convinced us to give it a wide berth!

In the evening we ate at Simply Thai, Buxton. The food and service was superb, fully explaining why this restaurant was a sell-out, even on a Monday.

Simply Thai, Buxton
Simply Thai, Buxton

Tuesday and we spent the day in Buxton. Walked from the campsite at the former Grinlow quarry through Grinlow Woods / country park and finally meandering through the immaculately kept Pavillion Gardens of the spa town of Buxton.

Route through Grinlow Woods
Pavillion Gardens, Buxton
Lake at Pavillion Gardens, Buxton
Buxton architecture

Wednesday and we cycled along the Monsal Trail from the trail head near Buxton to Monsal Head where we would leave the cycle route and head to the Packhorse Inn at Little Longstone.

We have cycled this trail previously. https://www.caravanramblings.co.uk/?p=1611

Monsal Trail, view from Monsal Head
Millers Dale station, Monsal Trail

We met Keith and Carolyn for a very peasant lunch at this fine establishment.

Keith and Carolyn at the Packhorse Inn, Little Longstone, June 2021

White Peak Loop


As it’s fathers day today, Joe got to choose the itinerary, and it was a run-out with the bikes. A route recommended by our neighbours would pick up the White Peak Loop trail – it is an ambition in these parts to join the main off-road cycle trails into a single loop, connecting seamlessly the towns of Cromford, Matlock, Bakewell, Buxton and Ashbourne. Once complete this will be an amazing place for off-road cycling.

Our neighbour had already made a witty comment about how steep this track is (for our hybrid bikes) as it heads upwards from beside the Parks Inn car park at Harpur Hill. He wasn’t wrong and our bikes struggled to gain traction up the steep hill – wrong kind of bike, tyres and electric motor spring to mind. Clearly his mountain bike didn’t have a street legal motor on it, judging by the size of the rear wheel hub!

Anyhow, we made it to the top of the peak where we would join very quiet country lanes. Perfect for cycling but the one thing about this part of the Peak District is that the terrain is very rugged and mountainous in sharp contrast to the the usual area we stay – Carsington Water.

View down from the White Peak loop
Almost at the top of the White Peak loop

Our return would encompass a stop at the Parks Inn for a couple of pints of draft Bass. Not a common ale these days but was always one of my favourites.

An apt Fathers Day card from my daughter Sue.

Fathers Day 2021 – The White Peak loop

Before any wise cracks that we could have walked the route quicker, I hadn’t turned the tracking off for our picnic nor the ale stop!

White Peak loop, 2021