The drive from Allerford to Lynmouth was amazing. Originally we were going to take the Porlock Hill road, however there was a sign warning caravans and motorhomes of the steep descent and a recommendation to take the toll road. We were a bit hesitant but decided we would be guided by the sign and take the toll road and are we glad we did! The scenery was probably the best we have seen since coming to the coast. Rolling hills and forests on one side and the Celtic sea on the other. It was truly beautiful and well worth the £4 toll if you are ever in the area.
Had my birthday lunch at the Beggars Roost pub which is next door to the caravan park we are staying at in Lynton. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudd (again!). It’s the only time we get to eat beef as it is very expensive here. Had a big walk after lunch, firstly down to Lynton town which is very pretty. Caught the water powered cable car down to Lynmouth which is also a very pretty place right on the beach. The two rivers, the East Lyn and the West Lyn flooded in 1952 and badly damaged the town of Lynmouth however it looks a picture now. It is very much a geared for tourism, just like Minehead. Caught the cable car back up and then had to hike up the hill. We must be getting fit as it didn’t seem so bad. Will sleep well.
The weather today is just awful. It rained most of the night but it is the wind! It’s howling. We were planning on going back down the hill to Lynton and do the walk along the North Coast hill path to the Valley of the Rocks and since we have good quality wet weather gear we decided we would still do it. So back down the path to Lynton then up around the hillside on a good path with no safety balustrade. It was straight down to the water and with it being so windy was a bit scary. The view up to the Valley of the Rocks was really good. We continued walking around the hill until we came to castle rock. There was a path leading up to the top, so we had to climb it, didn’t we? Luckily we didn’t get blown off and we were glad we climbed up. The rugged coastline around these parts is breathtaking and this view was no different. We made it home in one piece and very tired.
Supposed to be a thunderstorm tonight but I don’t think that will stop us sleeping! Drove to Dulverton to visit the Tarr Steps through some amazing scenery again. Over the Exmoor moors through some wooded areas with beautiful trees and wild rhododendrons.
The Tarr Steps are an ancient stone clapper bridge haphazardly placed across the River Barle and shaded by gnarled old trees. The bridge was supposedly built by the devil for sun- bathing. We did the circular walk of about 2 kms following the River Barle through the forest. There are trout and wild otters in the river, however we only saw a trout.
From there we drove to Tiverton, our stop for the night. The scenery has been wonderful, we have been amazed at just how beautiful England is. It is going to be really difficult to decide which leg of our journey in England was the best! I’m sure there is more to come before we leave.
We had a pleasant drive to Lyme Regis, up hills and down dales. Parked Matilda and went for a walk along the foreshore. It is a pretty seaside place, with lovely coloured beach huts for hire as well as a multitude of ice cream places, cafes and the seaside amusement parlour. Lyme Regis is part of the Unesco listed Jurassic Coast and is very popular for fossil hunting although this can only be done on a low tide. We went out and Dave found a fossil that looked like a crustacean of some sort. We gave it to a young girl who was looking for fossils with her father.
We are now comfortable on our CL pitch for the next two days overlooking a field full of sheep, with goats bleating, chooks and ducks running around and a lovely view towards the hills.
Our CL site is in the suburb of Rousdon just on the outskirts of Lyme Regis. We decided we would walk along the cliff path from Rousdon to Seaton, another seaside town approximately 5 miles away. Seaton has a tramway that runs all the way to Colyton which is a distance of about 3 miles. Unfortunately there has been a subsidence of the cliff and the path was impassable. We managed to go almost three quarters of the way before we had to turn around. The path went through a lovely forest with glimpses of the ocean along the way. Our 12 km journey also took us along the side of the Rousdon Estate. We know nothing about this estate however we will check google as there appears to be very old bollards evenly spaced around the perimeter of the estate with a huge main house and a gatehouse that looks extremely comfortable.
On our journey to Swanage today, we stopped at Corfe Castle and had a wander around the lovely little village. We didn’t visit the castle, firstly because it was in ruins and secondly it was £8.50 each ($33) to get in however we did get a good look at it from the road. It is one of Dorset’s most iconic landmarks, these towering battlements were once home to Sir John Bankes, right-hand man and attorney general to Charles I. From there we drove to Worth Matravers where we wanted to do one of the National Trust walks. We got onto the Dorset South Coast path which took us right along the coast through sheep paddocks overlooking a very rugged coastline. 8 miles later (12.8 kms) we returned to Matilda for the remainder of our journey to Swanage, where we are staying the night. Strolled into town for a quick look, what a pretty place. Like Minehead, it is right on the beach and geared for tourism with cafes, restaurants and a nice beach where you can hire deck chairs. There are also lovely coloured beach huts for hire.
We had a big drive today, with our destination being the beautiful city of Salisbury however we did make a quick detour at the beginning of our journey. We walked about a mile along a path just outside of Swanage to see the white rocks known as Old Harry. These rocks were named after a notorious pirate. Similar to the cliffs of Dover they were quite dramatic. We were lucky enough while there to watch the Brittany Ferry pass by full of passengers to who knows where, Spain we thought.
The drive to Salisbury was quite pleasant, the scenery wasn’t as stunning as we have been fortunate enough to see previously, but nice just the same. After filling Matilda up with diesel, LPG and air, we took a walk into town, lots of people about, not sure if it had anything to do with the long weekend (another bank holiday), the arts festival or if it is normal. Except for the people, it was just as we remembered it from 2009 however this time there was no scaffolding around the cathedral. We will visit there tomorrow.
Had a lovely day today walking around Salisbury. We took the guided walk tour for 90 minutes and learnt a lot about the city that used to be called New Sarum. It was renamed to Salisbury in 2008! Had lunch in the grounds of the cathedral before taking another look at this splendid place. As it is the 800 anniversary of the Magna Carta there was an additional display of which a page of one of the four remaining UK versions of this piece of history was on show. The Magna Carta helped define our laws, 4 of which are still adhered to in the UK, not sure about other countries like Australia and America. We are currently sitting in Matilda listening to the bells toll for today’s evensong.
On our way out of Salisbury we called into Old Sarum which was where the original city of what’s now known as Salisbury existed. The ruins are the remains of the cathedral and the castle. As we were there early, the castle part wasn’t open however we did get to have a wander around the cathedral. This weekend they were having a Viking show and there were many people around in old costumes preparing for the event with lots of the olden day tents in which they had slept in the previous night. From there we headed to Winchester, our stop for the night. We had a big walk around, venturing down the High Street before our first attraction being the Wolvesey Castle a crumbling early 12th-century Castle. It served as the Bishop of Winchester’s residence throughout the medieval era. According to legend, its odd name comes from a Saxon king’s demand for an annual payment of 300 wolves’ heads. We walked to Winchester Cathedral however we didn’t go inside, partly due to the cost but also because we had just been to one of the best cathedrals around. After lunch we visited the Great Hall which is the only part of 11th-century Winchester Castle that Oliver Cromwell spared from destruction. Crowning the wall like a giant-sized dartboard of green and cream spokes is what centuries of mythology has dubbed King Arthur’s Round Table. It’s actually a 700-year-old copy, but is fascinating none the less. It’s thought to have been constructed in the late 13th century and then painted during the reign of Henry VIII.
Exhausted after another big days walking we headed to the caravan park we are staying at for the night. After a couple of nights freecamping, we needed to power up Matilda’s batteries, iPads, phones etc. plus it was nice to have a long shower without worrying about the water running out!
We had another lovely drive today, quite a long one, 53 miles to Worthing. We spent as much time on the back roads as we could before joining up with the A27, the road to Brighton. The back roads really do have the best scenery, again many livestock in the paddocks, lovely copses of trees that overhang the road and a couple of really pretty little towns along the way. Upon arriving at our park for the next four days, we were a bit disappointed to find that they didn’t have a shower block or laundry. Even though it is a lovely park, it’s no more really than a car park except for the fresh water and waste facilities. We had to be in Worthing so this will have to do. Had a lazy afternoon, sitting in the sunshine.
Matilda had some bling added to her today, two shiny new solar panels. It took about 3 hours to have them installed by a really nice man who works for Sunstore in Worthing. We could not fault the service we received from this company. Not only did they provide everything they said they would, the installation went really well with the installer being very friendly and professional and offering suggestions along the way of how to get the best out of our system. Would highly recommend them. We had a big walk this afternoon, we ventured into Worthing, a return journey of around 10 miles (16 kms). Had a walk along the beach that had views to the white cliffs, perhaps Dover, our final destination in the UK. We had a stroll down the High Street before stopping for a beer at a cafe on the beach. It also gave us a chance to check our emails as we don’t have wifi where we are staying. The solar panel installer told us of a couple of nice walks about 5 miles from where we are staying which would give us great views around the bay and across the land behind us. We decided we would do both of these today as you can walk over the fields from one to the other so we drove to the first spot, Chanctonbury Ring. We couldn’t park Matilda anywhere! A nice gentleman came up to us to explain that in Sussex they put barriers across the parking lots to stop gypsy type people from parking up and staying for long periods of time and leaving a huge mess behind. Didn’t help us though as there was absolutely nowhere else to park so we drove to the second spot Cissbury Ring. While we thought there may have been rock formations (Stonehenge comes to mind) it was a circular walk with many paths leading off in all directions but with stunning views out over the ocean and along the coast for as far as they eye could see. We had our sandwiches there admiring the scenery before heading back home.
Bad weather predicted so we decided to stay put for the day. Have finally managed to arrange to get most of Matilda’s small issues fixed early next week so will be staying around this area for a few more days. Had a quick drive into Worthing, mainly to see if we could get wifi access but it was not to be. We couldn’t get close enough to a pub to pinch some access so we came home again. Took a small walk around the neighbourhood once the rain stopped and we are now cosy and warm and in for the night.
Today we were headed to Chichester for two days but thought we would stop at Arundel Castle on the way. Are we glad we did. Arundel is such a pretty little town that we have decided to park here for one night instead. Entry to the castle included the Castle rooms and bedrooms, the gardens and grounds, the chapel and the keep. It was a little pricey at £16 each ($62.75) but after seeing it we have decided it was well worth it. The gardens were lovely, although will be even better in about three weeks when all of the rose bushes are in bloom. All sorts of flowers, vegetables and herbs are grown here, mainly for use in the Castle kitchen with the flowers being cut for the rooms as this castle is still lived in by the Duke and Duchess of Arundel. Climbing the stairs of the keep afforded us a great view of the surrounding countryside and out to sea. Inside the stately home, the furniture, tapestries and the rare collection of paintings were amazing. Included in one of the displays was the original bible and rosary beads that Mary Queen of Scots took with her to her execution. A huge amount of gold and silverware abound the sitting and dining rooms, with the table settings changed each week, this week was breakfast. The mahogany panelling and vaulting in the library is noted as being one of the finest regency interiors in the world. I did the bedroom and Victorian bathroom tour by ascending a grand staircase, oh how the other half live! We had a walk through the little town and up to the Swanbourne lake where there were many families of swans with their babies and lots of ducks. Another full day’s adventure which we ended by watching the FA cup.
Had a short drive today, 12 miles to Chichester on the A27 so not much scenery to look at! The weather today is wet, it’s been raining most of the night and off and on during the day, but it didn’t stop is walking into town for a look. It’s much bigger than we thought it would be. A nice pedestrian mall with the usual High Street shops. We wandered over to the cathedral but as the Sunday service was still on, we decided we would go back there later, which we did. It was small by cathedral standards, especially when you have seen Salisbury cathedral but was lovely just the same. Had a quiet afternoon, not much to see here apart however it’s nice to just relax for awhile.
Another drive on the A27 get us to Portsmouth where we have spent the last 12 days. We stayed on an Island just off the coast called Hayling Island. It is a lovely spot, lots of farms where horses are agisted, as is the place we stayed at. We have spent one day in Portsmouth where Dave visited the Mary Rose and I had a few hours walking around the shops and getting a much needed haircut. We have done many walks and bike rides here, too many to mention individually. Had a visit to a local farm during an open day and learnt about the milking process of dairy cows as well as taking a cart ride that was pulled by a tractor. We have seen lots of equine action in the work yard where we stayed, most days there was something going on. There is a lot more work involved looking after horses than we thought. One lady spent almost everyday there tending not only to her horse but helping others out with the mucking out of the stables, feeding and exercising these magnificent creatures. We made sure we visited them each day, it was just a pity that we didn’t get to ride any of them! Hayling Island has lovely feel about it, very much like Rottnest Island at home. We are just waiting for our DVD to be fixed before moving on to our next destination. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer!
We have utilised the beach for the past 4 nights, freecamping with quite a few other motorhomers, watching the ferries and container ships coming and going from Portsmouth. We had a light show last night just after midnight. We awoke to rumbling and decided to get up for a peek. We sat in the front for about 15 minutes watching the Lightning flash across the sky. Richard turned up at 9 this morning to reinstall the DVD! 10 minutes later we were off on our drive to Brighton.
Took the A27 for part of the way and the
Brighton Road along the coast for the rest. Brighton is much bigger than I thought it would be. We drove straight to the caravan park, had a bite of lunch and headed back to the main beach area as the rain started to fall. We continued on towards the Brighton Pier and were surprised that it was free to walk along. What a fun place, lots of rides and amusement parlours, ice cream venders, donuts, you get the drift. Bought some Brighton Rock. The rain had stopped so we walked to the Brighton Pavillion which looks like something out of India. £11.50 to get in ($45) so we didn’t! The beach at Brighton is very wide, with lots of vendors renting out deck chairs, although no takers today. There is also said to be the oldest electric railway that runs from the Pier to near the marina along the beach. We walked it! Only here for one night as the CC park is fully booked and is the only one in Brighton with no CLs in site.
Hooray, Matilda has been given a clean bill of health, nothing more to fix and we are free to move on at last!
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