Cycle ride to Portchester Castle

This is the 1st time we have actually cycled to Portchester Castle (despite the fact that we only live a couple of miles away…)

And what a beautiful day we chose to do it!  We headed off down the hill and took the road towards the water.  We first visited Wicor Marine from where you can access the Salt Café, sitting directly on the shores of Fareham Creek and well worth a visit for a cuppa and a slice of cake (or perhaps even a glass of wine 🙂 ).

(There is actually a lovely walk around Fareham Creek that can be started from the café (or the castle itself), that takes you around the golf course at Cams Hall (covering much of the Fareham park run route).  Click here for details.

Having stopped by Calv’s sister’s for a cuppa and some oil for Calv’s bike chain we took the path along the shoreline as far as Hospital Lane where we emerged into the heart of old Portchester.  The path was good (although there is a bit with steep drops on either side, 1 down to the shingle beach, the other a grassy ditch, so if you’re not very confident on your bike you would probably get off and walk here!)  The views are just lovely, particularly on a beautiful sunny day (which we are experiencing so many of at the moment 🙂 )

 

20180701_120705.jpg
View from our ride along the shore of Fareham Creek towards Portchester Castle

At the end of the path you can continue straight to the castle along the shore – although a short section is on the beach so it’s not really suitable for cycling.  Therefore when you get to the end of the fence separating the shore from the lane down to Turret House, turn left to go up Hospital Lane, where you will found a couple of lovely old houses.  The view of Castle Street when you get to the top is lovely 🙂  (I didn’t take a picture as on a sunny Sunday afternoon the cars have sort of taken over!)

From here it’s just a short hop to the castle (about 20 seconds on bikes, maybe 2 mins if you’re on foot.  Continue reading “Cycle ride to Portchester Castle”

Advertisements

More Northumberland Beaches. And Castles :)

Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (18)
Bambrugh Castle from the beach

 

Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (6)
Bambrugh Beach
Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (8)
Bambrugh Castle landside

 

20171002_150206
Looking towards Dunstanburgh Castle
Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (128)
One of the towers at Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland
Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (136)
Looking ‘through the keyhole’ at Dunstanburgh Castle!
Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (145)
Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland

We still weren’t finished with Northumberland.  Our remaining days there before we headed into Scotland took in beaches and castles.  We headed slightly inland to visit Ford & Etal and we even had a daytrip into Scotland, visiting Eyemouth as well as a couple of hidden coves.  We were busy!

We weren’t experiencing wonderful weather; we had some extremely windy conditions – but the sun was out too at times 🙂

From Holy Island we had spotted, what looked like, some rather lovely beaches across the channel, so we headed a couple of miles back down the A1 and took a left.  The 1st turn took us to a dead end.  We did get out to have a look, but there were bird hides and this wasn’t on the agenda for us so we carried on and took the next left!

After a while we found a lay-by from where we could access the shoreline, so we stopped and headed out for a walk along the shore.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the most pleasant experience as the tide was coming in and we had to negotiate the muddy shoreline around the bay.  However we eventually came across the sand  which very nearly made the challenging walk to find it worth it!  Rather than tackle the shoreline, with the tide even further in, we left the beach via a footpath that took us out to a lane, past a caravan site and finally back to the main road.  Although there was no pavement there was room on the verge to walk on when cars went past so it was fine.

Not necessarily my favourite afternoon out, but we did get a fair bit of exercise 🙂

The next day dawned bright and sunny but windy.  We had already decided to head down the coast to Bambrugh, which has an amazing stretch of beautiful wide sandy beach backed by dunes you can get lost in!  We very nearly did!  Continue reading “More Northumberland Beaches. And Castles :)”

A few more days on the Moors and seeing the Transporter Bridge

We did a lot of walking in the North York Moors – even when we were ‘going’ somewhere!  So this post will deal with 1 of the days that we were, sort of at least, heading somewhere and I will do a separate post for the days we actually set out just to walk (to the top of Roseberry Topping and to see Captain Cook’s Monument to be precise).

On day 2 in the Moors we headed to the nearest decent sized town, Stokesley, which turned out to be extremely pleasant.  The parking system was disc parking and, not having a disc, we drove through and parked as soon as we could, giving us a short walk back into town.  There are an awful lot of old buildings in Stokesley and the centre has a really nice feel about it, with lots of independent shops and several butchers, bakers and greengrocers.

We also found a dedicated running shop here (I needed a new water bottle).  The 1st bottle they showed me was £35 – I politely explained I wasn’t actually THAT much of a runner!  I did get what I wanted though, and then realised that I recognised the couple from my previous morning’s ‘run’ – I had stopped to wait for them to pass me with their 4 dogs as I was embarrassed by my shambling and didn’t want them to observe it!  These 2 are proper runners – he went up the hill like it  was a Sunday afternoon stroll, whereas I had to bully myself up this hill (all 20m or so of it…).  The shop is called Let’s Run, and they are very involved in coaching and getting beginners out with groups.

From here we headed towards Middlesborough as we both wanted to see the Transporter Bridge that crosses the Tees there.

We found it, and we went across the river on it (£1.30!), a very quick crossing after which we found ourselves in an area called Port Clarence, which used to be very busy, but which is now less so.

We had a quick drive around Middlesborough and were impressed by the evidence of past grandeur, and also the clear evidence of ongoing regeneration.

Making our way back the, slightly long way, we saw another bridge that appears to lift.  I have since discovered this to be the Newport Vertical Lift Bridge which is no longer in use, so no chance of seeing it in action unfortunately 😦

A couple of days later we decided to head south through the moors towards Helmsley.  Continue reading “A few more days on the Moors and seeing the Transporter Bridge”

Richmond & Leyburn

On our last day in the Dales we decided to go to Richmond, but on the way we stopped off in Leyburn to do some washing.

Whilst waiting for this to finish we first of all did a bit of shopping in a local supermarket, Campbells (actually a CostCutter but also a family run grocery store), and then a quick wander down to ‘The Shawl’ (I was intrigued by the name 🙂 )

We got some wonderful meat in the grocery store (which made us both a wonderful beef stew and a somerset pork casserole).

We found the initial part of the shawl to be playing fields leading up to limestone terrace that extends for almost 2 miles (but we didn’t have time to find this bit).  Romantics like to think it’s called The Shawl as Mary Queen of Scots  dropped her shawl in the area whilst escaping from her imprisonment at Bolton Castle.  This may well not be true! But the views are amazing 🙂

20170909_123213

We moved onto Richmond, where we drove around for a while trying to find a parking space – eventually parking halfway down the hill towards the old station.  Before heading to the castle we had a drink overlooking the market place, followed by a quick mooch around a little market in the old Victorian market hall.

Then onto the castle that dominates the town.  It’s not huge but is a pleasant enough way to pass an hour or so.  The views from the top of the keep are wonderful : Continue reading “Richmond & Leyburn”

Harrogate and Knaresborough

In between our 2 visits to York we had already decided to go to Harrogate.  Harrogate is an elegant spa town about 20 miles west of York, and it has a rich history as such.

We parked a little way before the town centre, paid our £2.80 for 2 hours, and walked in, keeping an eye on the time as we went.  There are numerous beautiful buildings and grand streets and hotels.  These were built for the hordes of wealthy Victorians, although it has been a spa town for much longer than that.

You can visit the Pump House museum for just a few pounds each, and it’s a very interesting visit, dealing with the growth of the town as a popular spa.  There are almost 100 thermal springs in the area, each of them providing different health benefits.

Other places of interest include The Royal Hall (originally named the Kursall, but re-named Continue reading “Harrogate and Knaresborough”

Bolsover and it’s Castle

We headed off on our travels again following the August Bank Holiday.  We’re beginning to make our way to Northumberland via York, the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.  But first we had to go to Sheffield as Calv was able to book a medical here to renew his entitlement to drive HGVs (no appointments until mid-September at home…)

So it was that we found ourselves at a Camping and Caravan Clubsite in Teversal.  We don’t usually use club sites as they’re too expensive but they are generally fantastic (as was this one!)  We intended to just stay the 2 nights, but ended up extending this by an extra night so that we could visit Bolsover Castle.

I have to say that we were pleasantly surprised by how lovely this area is.  The site we were on is directly opposite access to Silverhill Trails, 1 of many off-road trails that link up throughout the area.  On the site of an old pit you can see chimneys used to allow gases to escape from underground (we guess), plus here there is a rather wonderful sculpture at the top of the hill (not to mention the views).

Having seen to the business of Calv’s medical, and also spotting the trams in Sheffield – many disconcertingly running down the middle of the road – we headed back to the van to finish the paperwork.  Followed by a quick trip into the nearest town of Huthwaite to post the form, and then onto Sutton in Ashfield to do a spot of shopping.

Our extra day was spent visiting Bolsover Castle and Stainsby Mill (part of the Hardwick Estate which was, literally, on our doorstep 🙂 ).  We didn’t visit Chesterfield, but did see the famous twisted spire (caused by lead being laid on top of unseasoned timbers – apparently), as we drove past.

Anyway, I digress.  We found the castle at Bolsover but there is a small car park right next to a Weatherspoons pub, which was full to the hilt.  So we drove left and left again to bring us up behind the castle and found plenty of free parking on the main road.

We were really impressed with Bolsover Castle; (English Heritage) there are 3 separate, and quite distinct, areas within the complex – the stables, the terrace range and the little castle.  All very impressive in their own way.  In particular the ‘little castle’ which is complete (as we’re fond of saying – ‘you could move in tomorrow!’)  Take a look at the photos below 🙂 Continue reading “Bolsover and it’s Castle”

Finding a little gem right on our doorstep – Warblington & cycling the Hayling Billy

During our time at home, as well as meeting with family, friends & work colleagues and helping Louise to celebrate her birthday on the actual day, we also managed to find a hidden gem right on our doorstep.

This happened on our very last day at home, the very hot Bank Holiday Monday 🙂  We were to meet up with Calv’s daughter, husband and grandchildren at the beach in Hayling, and Calv thought it would be a good idea to cycle there.

He had often told me that the little lane on the left, just before you joined the A27 from Emsworth towards Portscmouth, had a house that had ruins in it’s garden.  So we decided to start our ride from there.

We found that the lane stopped where the church, St Thomas a Beckett, and cemetery are located.  The church was a huge surprise, and rather special.  The huts in the graveyard (with the blue doors) were commissioned in the early 19th Century to enable a close eye to be kept on the churchyard to deter graverobbers – read more about this fascinating history here.

From here we headed back up the lane and took another lane (the only 1) on the left.  Going left again at the end we came to the beach where it was possible to cycle across (even when we returned at high tide there was enough beach left – I don’t believe that would necessarily be the case in the winter though!)

The path after the beach is quite busy and we did have to push our bikes for most of it.  But it takes you past a couple of duck ponds, an old mill (now a private house) before you come to a lovely pub, The Royal Oak, fronting the water.  When you reach the main road cross over and cross the bridge – this is where the Hayling Billy starts.   Click here for the route (although it’s easy to follow and is completely off-road.

The trail ends at the old station, now a theatre.  It is a very popular trail, and was particularly busy on this hot August Bank Holiday.  It’s wonderful to see so many families out enjoying themselves.

We continued on to the beach – also very busy!  We weren’t to stay too long as we had to get ready for leaving the following day, but it was a lovely afternoon with Calv spending time on the paddle board with his grandson and me making sandcastles (only for them to be immediately knocked over!)

My point is that we may well all be able to find a hidden gem, or two, on our doorstep – if we would only but look 🙂

Happy hunting!