A short trip around Oswestry and Shrewsbury

A short stop at the delightful CL Marton House Campsite. Unfortunately not too much to say about the area. It was pleasant enough, and maybe the delights of Shrewsbury would have been more obvious had it been a normal year.

On leaving Symonds Yat we headed a short way north towards Shrewsbury. Chosen as we have never really visited this area, not really coast or country it seems to be a little neglected by us campers…

We had already had to change our plans slightly; with the lockdown being reimposed further north we decided against visited Ingleton (it didn’t help that the weather forecast would also have meant pretty much being stuck in the van rather than out walking and enjoying the scenery). We’ll have to save that delight for another time.

We were able to stay an extra night at Greenacres and Felicity at Marton House was very, very helpful. The friends that we had been due to meet up with in Yorkshire were able to book in as well, so all was good.

We arrived the day before Steve and Denise, finding the wonderful (if expensive) farm shop a couple of miles down the road (Moor Farm Shop – located next to a polo club if my memory serves me well). It was empty on our first visit, and we gave into several edible temptations! On our 2nd visit, with Steve and Denise, it was very busy, which, as you all know by now, was exacerbated by all the Covid measures in place.

On our first day, and before Steve and Denise arrived, we decided to take a trip to Oswestry. We actually liked the town located just 5 miles from the Welsh border. It’s impossible to ignore that it’s rather run-down, but there was a nice atmosphere there and some interesting buildings. We also liked the individual decoration hanging outside the town centre buildings, including the many pubs (Oswestry is know for the number of pubs it has!)

We found the remains of the castle (just a mound now really) and also the park on the edge of town featuring lovely flower displays and a statue of Wilfrid Owen, who was born in the town, as well as mini-golf, bowling, a bandstand and many other leisure activities.

Once back at the campsite and with Steve and Denise also settled we set about trying to book a table in 1 of the local pubs. The trouble was this was just as the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme had started and there were literally no tables to be had 😦 So we headed to Baschurch Chippie which Calv and I had driven past on our travels, after having visited one of the local pubs of course (The Red Lion in Myddle) and managing to book an early table for the following day (a day not included in the scheme!) It was well worth it though – the fish and chips were good and so was the meal the following day in the pub 🙂

The following day had been reserved for a day trip to Shrewsbury. I’d heard great things about Shrewsbury so was really looking forward to this. Unfortunately I was left a little underwhelmed, although I genuinely believe this was in part due to covid restrictions, which left me feeling as though the town had little soul, there was very little open and I felt that there could have been more information available to help bring the history alive. eg. Walking back to the car parked near the Abbey, we discovered Wyle Cop. This hill leading back down to the river is full of history and, now, independant shops. But the only reason I know anything about the history is because one of the, closed, shops had put up a display in their window detailing it.

Some of the detail about Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury shown in a shop window display

We seemed to do alot of walking for little reward, but maybe we just took the wrong paths… We did find the castle (closed) and from there the magnificent railway station. We then took a rather long route back to the car, by mistake! We failed to find The Quarry which was probably another mistake. All in all I do think we should visit in happier times to give Shrewsbury a 2nd chance…

On our final day we drove out to Ellesmere, which was lovely, and busy. Definitely worth a visit and helped by the warm weather breaking through 🙂

Whilst I say we would give Shrewsbury another chance, we would only do so if we were passing on our way somewhere else, maybe on our way to Snowdonia..?

Our next stop on this mini roadtrip was to be the highlight (yes, even after Lymouth & Lynton and then Symonds Yat!!) when we headed up to Derbyshire to stay near Buxton.

We stayed at: Marton House Campsite (CL)

Previous post: Symonds Yat

Next post: Derbyshire Dales (staying at Beechcroft Farm)

Walking and Kayaking in Symonds Yat

I’m always surprised how many people HAVEN’T heard of Symonds Yat! Yes, I have childhood memories of trips here, but it is such a beautiful spot it should be on everybody’s UK bucket list (IMHO) 🙂

After our time in Lynmouth we headed north again for the stunning Wye Valley. We stayed at Greenacres nr. Coleford, which gave us the perfect excuse to walk 12 miles to take in Symonds Yat 🙂

We arrived mid-afternoon to find that our booking hadn’t been updated from the previous Saturday – oh no! Mild panic ensued, but we waited patiently until we got the good news that there was a pitch for us – phew 🙂

Once pitched up we headed off toward Monmouth to get in a few supplies for a bbq as my sister and her husband were joining us for a couple of nights. We were very confused on entering Lidls. I kept nudging Calv.. ‘They’re not very mask compliant here are they?!’ Then we realised that we were in Wales where (at that point in COVID history) they weren’t required to wear masks… We took ours off, and then found it didn’t feel right and put them back on again! (Who would have thought it?!!)

Back in England my sister arrived, we enjoyed our bbq and evening and in the morning we checked the route we needed to take for Symonds Yat. The footpath starts in the campsite and, although I’m pretty sure we took a few wrong turns, it was a lovely walk and we eventually made it to the river and the sanctuary of the ancient Saracen’s Head Inn, situated in front of the old hand-pulled chain ferry across the river (sadly not open at all during our visits). Here we navigated all the new rules and found a seat on the terrace for a drink and a spot of lunch.

Debs and I set off up the hill to the viewpoint before the boys. Luckily I had forgotten what a hard trek this is uphill!! But it is sooo worth it as the views are truly spectacular 🙂

It was a very tired group of 4 that arrived back at the van late on, so we decided to eat out. We investigated many local pubs, finding most were either booked up or we didn’t fancy what was on offer. In the end we chose to head into the nearest town, Coleford, and see what we could find.

We found the town of an evening to be not particularly, shall we say, inviting… Lots of people milling around, drinks in hand, outside the pubs.. Anyway we found a little Indian Restaurant that had a few tables, Cinnamons, and decided to give it a go. Very pleasant it was too 🙂

I must say that Calv and I had visited Coleford before and did note one place of interest, which was just off the main car park, being the GWR Railway Museum. (Every town has something to offer 🙂 )

Having extended our stay at Greenacres by a couple of nights (we had to move all our bookings around suddenly when Greater Manchester and the surrounding areas had new restrictions put in place – meaning we decided to cancel our stay up in Ingleton), we didn’t need to rush off in the morning. This meant that Debbie and Paul were able to come back down to Symonds Yat with us (this time in the car) as we had missed Biblins Bridge the day before. This is a rope bridge across the river.

It’s a couple of miles back upriver from the car park, so was a decent walk. There is a tearoom on the other riverbank, which we took advantage of, as well as a campsite for tents and small camper vans (which looked absolutely idyllic – Biblins Youth Campsite). Obviously there was another visit to The Saracen’s Head involved as well…

I need to just mention that the roads in this area are narrow and steep in places with some very tight bends – careful driving is required!!

Debbie and Paul headed off home on Sunday afternoon, and I’m pretty sure we just relaxed in the sun.

Monday was set aside for a spot of kayaking on the river, having discovered that we could launch from the carpark for just £2 (on top of the £4 per day parking fee).

Another beautiful day dawned, and we made our way down river, ‘beached’ for a short time (when Calv managed to drop his phone in the water – but don’t worry; he eventually found out that it’s waterproof (after a couple of days panicking), and he’s stopped telling everybody he meets now….!)

Once we’d landed and put the kayak away we headed back (yep, you’ve guessed it) to The Saracen’s Head – it would have been rude not to!

All in all another wonderful visit to the area, and we are certain that we will return again, and would highly recommend both the area and the campsite to others 🙂

Next up: A short visit to Shrewsbury and Oswestry

Where we stayed: Greenacres Campsite, nr Coleford

Related Posts: Walking in Lynmouth

Walking Lynmouth to Watersmeet

May 2016 – Cycling into Combourg & a wander around old St Malo

A lovely stop not too far from the ferry at St Malo. Lovely site near to an interesting town. Also within striking distance of St Malo, where the Old Town is a must see

We’re staying just down the road from Combourg – the nearest town to La Chapelle aux Filtzmeens.  In keeping with most towns in this area it is mainly medieval in style with so many ancient buildings.  We kept forgetting to look up though, and probably missed loads of it.

We cycled there!  Into a headwind and uphill most of the way (very grateful for the extra power!)  The next challenge was to make the bikes safe – which we managed to do outside the tourist office – unlike any tourist office we might see at home!  If you look carefully at the picture below you can see our bikes chained up under the tree 🙂

Combourg Tourist Office

There’s a beautiful chateau here, but we tried to visit at 12.30pm, just after they’d closed for an hour and a half.  Then whilst staring through the bars that were keeping us out we noticed the long list of things that weren’t allowed in the chateau – including backpacks.  That was us excluded then!

We went off to cycle round the lake and have our packed lunch by it’s shores, before heading back to the site.  11 1/2 miles complete we were done in and needed to sit with a nice cuppa before even thinking about anymore activity!

At this point Calv announced that he was craving fat chips – yes already!  I said he’d have to make do with a curry, and decided to get on with making it ready for later.

Having finally agreed to go to St Malo old town rather than Dinan we set off (we also gave the SatNav another chance, even though we knew the way, to see if it actually does work – it does!)

We parked outside of the old town because the bridge was closed when we got there, and walked in (by which time the bridge was, of course, open).  When leaving we watched it open to let a few yachts into harbour.  So we wandered in and  spend a good couple of hours walking around the ramparts and the old lanes and alleyways.  I’ve got to be honest, the cathedral with no lighting bar a couple of small electric lamps, is quite possibly one of the loveliest I’ve been in, very tranquil.

St Malo cathedral

Another 3 1/2 miles walked and we really are jiggered now, and hungry.  That’s why we ate a whole French stick with (and before) our curry (as well as rice).  Oops….

Successes:-

  • Found the camera charger (which we thought was lost)
  • Found Calv’s wet jacket (I’d put it in the inside pocket of mine for ‘safe’ keeping – we’ve spent the last 2 days thinking it was lost…)
  • 11 1/2 miles cycled
  • Didn’t get lost once all day….
  • Found the right satellite 1st time – so could get English news

Fails:-

  • Leaving my FitBit behind on charge when we went to St Malo – Calv refused to come back for it!

Weather – overcast (I think we saw the sun for about 5 minutes all day), and cold.  Never mind we trek further south tomorrow when we set off for Talmont St Hilaire which is just south of Les Sables d’Olonne.