A wander when weather permits!!!

The weather has been atrocious with rain, harsh gusting winds and what seems like a constant stream of endless storms, you tend to notice these things even more when you live in a tin tent, how I wish we’d again gone over to enjoy the fairer weather Portugal or Spain has to offer at this time of year!!!

I had to go to Plymouth late one afternoon for an appointment with the Dr and I was dreading the hours drive as I have absolutely no sense of direction, and without a sat nav I am useless, although Pete did make me even more nervous when he kept telling me directions of where I had to head too and again after I phoned him upon leaving the campsite to tell him the sat nav wanted to take me the A38 way instead of the A30 (I’d remembered him telling me to get to the A30 and not to go the A38 way) he then did nothing but worry, telling me not to go the way the car sat nav was trying to take me as it was just constant narrow country lanes for at least half the journey if I go that way… I had to kindly remind him it would still be fine and not to worry, as unbelievably I do actually hold a current UK driving licence and I am sure I could handle an hours drive to Plymouth, country lanes or not…

It seemed his worrying was totally unnecessary as I bravely (for me anyway) ignored the Sat nav went in the opposite direction and would you believe it I managed to find the A30 (the easy peasy route), After my appointment with the doctor where I then again bravely obtained 5 steristrip stitches and also managed to have a quick rare catch up with my mum before my trip back to the campsite in the dark…

The drive home started out well, I figured it wouldn’t be too bad a drive, that I’d just head to Tavistock from Plymouth and head out to Oakhampton from there, this was a great idea until I hit a “road closed” sign at Yelverton roundabout and was then diverted by the satnav to Princetown, now it seemed my only way home was to go over the moors, actually it turned out to be a really great drive and although it was pitch, pitch black out there on the unlit moorland roads, they were also pretty quiet at that time of the evening, so the drive was tranquil and pretty easy going…. I went past the Warren House Inn on my journey this pub is also worth a visit it has a fire which has been burning and never once gone out since the pub was built in 1845, having visited in the past I remember it’s a very quaint and lovely pub to visit… now the only downside to driving home on this route was I hadn’t managed to get any food as I’d planned to stop off at Morrisons on my way through Tavistock and grab something to eat on the road before my detour…  so I was starving when I pulled up to the van just over an hour later!!!

Fingle Bridge

We have managed to get out and about when the weather has permitted us but we have had to wrap up warm too as it’s been pretty cold with the wind chill and there’s been lots of water on the roads!!! On one of the intervals where we had a respite from the bad weather we visited Fingle Bridge for a walk, what a lovely place to visit, an easy walk for most abilities the walks here are pretty flat which was a bonus for me, we walked from Fingle bridge to Clifford bridge and then back, the woods turned out to be such a stunning place to walk through… We walked approx 4 miles that day easily and only turned back because it was getting late in the day and the dark comes in so early on the short winter days…  There’s also a lovely pub at Fingle bridge so after a nice walk here you could alway grab some food or refresh yourselves with a quick drink if it takes your fancy!!!

Chagford and Mortenhampstead

Our next visit was to the stannary town of Chagford and then on to the town of Mortenhampstead both are lovely quaint towns and nice places to visit although Pete annoyingly kept correcting my pronunciation of the town name Chagford which I much preferred to pronounce with a “Sh” at the start…!!! after our exploring we decided to stop and grab ourselves a treat of a pint and a packet of crisps in the rather lovely pub the Three Crowns in Chagford, where Toffi was also treated to a few dog biscuits and a rather lovely fuss over from the bar staff who also took her picture!!! I was told by the camp owners there’s a place called the Birdcage that is a great place to eat in Chagford too!!!

Oakhampton and Simmons Park

We shopped at Oakhampton where we also purchased some bird feeders/food and also found a suitable kitchen roll holder for the caravan, we decided to check the little town out while we were here, it turns out Oakhampton is much bigger than we gave it credit for and to be fair we only figured this out by chance, I’d asked in a haberdashery shop for a certain wool item (I’ll explain it later) she didn’t sell what I wanted but told me where to go to get it instead, so we ended up in a part of the town that we hadn’t even realised existed, we also found the post office which reminded us we also needed stamps and then spotted a sign for the local park which we thought Toffi might like a walk around, so off we went to check out this “Simmons” Park, it didn’t disappoint, the park was quite large and full of dog walkers, the park itself even has several houses inside it and then theres a riverside walk to top it off, well who knew??!!!

Buckland Beacon

We also took a stroll to a place called Buckland Beacon on Dartmoor a place where there are tablets with the ten commandments engraved into 2 large tabs of rock, apparently I’m told these are called commandment stones… we had a rather windy, chilly and soggy walk to get to them where Toffi revelled in running through large muddy puddles and then managed to confuse herself behind a gate she had somehow gotten behind… the hill here was used as a fire beacon signal point, it’s rumoured that from this point the Spanish Armada was also first spotted!!! The wordings on the giant tablets here were first engraved in 1928 by a W A Clement who was commissioned to do the job by the Lord of Buckland Manor, history says it was seen as a victory for Protestantism where parliament rejected the proposed new book of common prayer!!!

Finch Foundry & Sticklepath Village

We visited Finch Foundry and although we found the place to be shut there were information leaflets available giving info of the 2 local walks available, one just a short 20 minute walk around the outskirts and village then a 45 minute one going through the Oak wood along the river Taw just a little further on the outskirts of the village and also this part of the walk being part of the Tarka trail, we opted for just the short walk as the rain had started to come in again and Toffi hates walking in the rain!!!

Pete took a visit to Plymouth and stayed over night there to have a night out with friends, not only did he come back with a hangover, but he also brought back germs with him, he assures me it is most definitely man flu… but not to worry Toffi is already helping him get over his ailments with one of her great snuggles…20181216_134550

As mentioned before the weathers not been all that great so I’ve been keeping myself busy with a hobby I hadn’t be able to do in ages, Crochet and amigurumi… I haven’t made anything for a couple of years until now, this has been due to me having had poorly shoulders, but here’s a few of my past makes… I’ve made two of what I call mindless granny blankets in the last week… I like to make these as I just don’t have to concentrate on them at all and I can easily be doing these while watching TV of an evening!!!

 

Andy and Carole came down and introduced themselves to me while Pete was away in Plymouth, they brought us down a Christmas card and some spare bird food, they have a caravan on a seasonal pitch here at Woodland Springs and had read our blog post, we had then chatted on facebook they are coming back down Boxing day and have invited us up for a couple of Christmas drinkies on Boxing day that will be lovely… P.S Andy and Carole if you’re reading this your feeders have been filled and you have a lovely red robin who has been feeding from there regularly!!!  (the birds on this site can certainly eat some!!!) have a lovely Christmas and have yourselves a safe journey we’ll see you when you return…

I cannot believe it’s Christmas day in a few days time!!! I have done the old traditional thing and purchased a good ole “TV Times”… haven’t done that in years… I’ve already been studying what programmes are on over the Christmas period to keep us entertained, and I have laid sole claim to the remote!!! I aim on going Christmas food shopping in Exeter in the next couple of days, it’s always hectic Christmas food shopping even though the shops only really close for 24 hrs these days everyone always still buys enough to see them through a week easily (remember the days when the shops would actually be closed for a week at least???), to be honest I’m really just looking forward to living on Turkey leftovers for days, eating masses of brussel sprouts and chocolate!!!

What ever you are doing for the Christmas period this year enjoy and have yourselves a very Merry Christmas!!!

Until next time take care

Donna x

Woodland Springs Touring Park – Venton

We arrived at woodland springs touring park on the morning of Sunday 25th November 2018 we received a warm welcome by the camp owners Chris and Jan who allowed us to pull up earlier than usual and showed us to our pitch and helped us settle in before they themselves set off for a lovely short break to Tiverton in their caravan for a few days…

We managed to settle in and have a lovely quiet night before the storms that were due finally hit us, well storm Diana certainly wasn’t a storm to be ignored, not so much for the rain but for the strong winds and with gusts of 70+ mph, boy did those gusts make themselves known, luckily the direction we were parked in with our back end into the wind helped stopping us getting bucked and rocked around too much in the gusts, but the tree on our pitch caused a bit of concern when I noticed the whole turf area at the base of the tree was moving around and lifting when the gusts were really harsh, that poor tree took a beating that night and I just hoped it didn’t come down and more to the point that it didn’t come down on us or anyone else passing by… Update: the tree survived as did we all thankfully, although we did have to help some other campers take down a tent in the wind when we noticed them struggling…

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While the storm was raging outside we were stuck inside all cosy, even the dog was refusing to go outside into the wind and rain so we stayed in until the weather started to improve, when it did improve we took the chance to go get some more fat feed balls for the birds as we’d found that there were ample empty bird feeders here at the site and so we figured it would be a nice gesture for the birds at least, if we filled them and gave them some food and boy were these birds hungry… they are currently going through at least 2 fat balls a day plus a feeder full of peanuts every other day but what a joy to see so many birds taking the opportunity to get a good feed, they seemed to be having a real party and telling all their friends about the feeders here too, it’s been a constant feeding frenzy from them… and then what a lovely surprise when we looked out and noticed a greater spotted woodpecker feeding from the peanut feeder!!! (not such a great thing when the bird starts to peck on the roof though!!!)

 

After suffering cabin fever during the storm, once it had eased it was time for us all to get out, stretch our legs and explore some nearby places our first stop was to Lidford Gorge owned by the national trust we arrived at the cafe had our cards scanned and then drove down to the Gorge because for winter large parts of Lidford Gorge are closed off for safety reasons although you are still allowed access to the gorge but walkers at this time of year are urged to take extra care as the pathways and steps down are extra slippery due to the wet climate and autumn/winter weather…

 

 

 

We next took a very soggy and muddy walk up to Brentor Church where we just managed to take shelter inside the old church as the rain came down in a heavy shower, so while waiting for the rain to ease off again we inspected the inside of the church, once the rain began to subside we finally stepped back outside and were treated to the sight of a double rainbow…  the original church built on this site back in 1130 and I can certainly see why they chose this special and scenic spot…

 

 

 

We aimed on finishing off the outing with a nice pint but sadly by the time we got to the Highwayman Inn at Sourton we found it had closed at 2.30pm, disappointed we instead took pictures of the outside, this is a pub if you are passing through that you must visit while in the area, it is renowned for the eccentric building and collection of allsorts of items inside and out… originally built in 1282, on the outside it now has shoe on one side of it and a stagecoach entrance on the other side, it’s a very, very quirky pub and well worth popping into for a visit, there’s lots more quirky stuff inside to view!!!

On the Saturday rather than rest we decided to explore somewhere much more locally, so leaving the campsite via a gate at the back of the site, we joined a rather muddy and water logged byeway and made our way to a place called Spinsters Rock, an old buriel ground, allegedly the rocks here fell down one night and 3 old spinsters managed to lift them back up into place all by themselves before dawn… Inside the field where the stones were located there were also some very angelic sweet looking sheep… those who know me will know I hate entering fields that have farm animals in them and I try to avoid doing this at all costs.

I am not so hot on farm animals they always seem to want to approach me, most likely sensing my fear, so you can guess what this lovely looking little flock of fluffy followers did… yep you’re right they tried to approach me, so with me panicking having these fluffy white animals taking a lively interest in what I was doing in their field, there was me threatening them with becoming my next meal advising them to keep their distance and assuring them I was most definitely not known to be vegetarian and I meant what I was saying if they came any closer or god forbid tried ramming me, I was going to eat them!!!  (crikey though these sheep are quite stocky, strong and sturdily square looking things when you get close up and cosy with them, I really forget how big these animals can be sometimes… as for Pete he doesn’t take much notice of his surroundings at all and insists all farm animals are friendly… for example a few months ago Pete forced me to walk through a field full of massive bulls telling me it would be fine only to find a “keep out” warning sign on the final gate on our way out telling the public “Danger, keep out, dangerous bulls loose in the field” I could have turned the air blue with my words on seeing this sign and also cursed the farmer also for only putting one warning sign on just a single gate instead of each of the at least three gates entering into that single field… After all I would have had a much stronger argument in persuading Pete that day why I was unwilling to walk through that field, luckily the bulls were having a mellow day and mostly ignored us… just giving the odd stare as if to ask why we were trampling over their patch that day… but I was keeping a close eye out just in case I needed to jump the electric barbed wire fence and hedgerow next to me anyway!!! It reminded me of when I was young and we’d first moved to Plymouth I was taken on a school trip to a farm and the farmer literally had to carry me out of the field of cows, I was that petrified… It was the first time I had ever come face to face with a cow and these guys are big!!!…. Well you just don’t get to see cows when you live on a council estate in London!!!

We will have been at Woodland Springs Touring Park for 2 weeks come this Sunday, we have found the owners Chris and Jan to be lovely, they have been both friendly and helpful, and have also helped patiently with my parcels. The park is an adult only site so there’s no children running around, the facilities here are clean, heated and to my delight there’s a hairdryer available, there’s other things I really love about this site too like the fact there’s total recycling, even any leftover food waste has its own recycle bin (although Toffi usually finishes off any leftovers we have), but I think being environmentally aware is really important, and it helps minimize our overall impact on the environment, it’s nice to see site owners realising how environmentally and cost efficient recycling as much as possible also is, there’s also no bright or intrusive overnight lighting here either which again is great for the environment, wildlife and overall countryside… the site definitely benefits from being without any of the garish lights glaring out from everywhere and obscuring the sights of the stars in the night sky,  so with the place being free from light pollution you really get to see the sky at night clearly here, just remember to bring your torch though in case you need to go out after dark…

The site benefits from being a really peaceful and what I would call a tranquil getaway site, its located in the middle of Dartmoor with lots of surrounding places to go visit, we aim to happily stay here until after the Christmas period.

The site also has washing machines and tumble dryers available at a reasonable cost and free to use iron and ironing board…

The tariff here is £23.50 per night but Pete pointed out the special deal here that is 7 nights for the price of 5 this brings the daily tariff down to £16.78 per night for us therefore bringing it back into an affordable and reasonable price range that is acceptable for us… the site also has seasonal pitches available if you are looking for a seasonal pitch.

We went on a visit to Exeter city to see what hand made goodies the Christmas market stalls had to offer and took a stroll through the city trying desperately to get myself into the Christmas spirit, for various reasons Christmas is not always such a great time for me, but this year I have decided to try to feel just a little bit Christmassy and Pete has even purchased a small Christmas tree for us to have in the caravan, and I even bought us advent calenders (any excuse for a bit of chocolate)!!!

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Today once the rains had eased off a little we decided to get out and take Toffi out for a nice stroll, we visited Stover Country Park, it was a crisp cold day but it was a lovely muddy woodland and lake walk and so very scenic…

After our walk we dropped into Trago Mills where I purchased a bucket of 50 fat balls for the birds and quickly looked for some new wellies, Trago didnt have my size in the wellies I needed so going to have to order them from the internet, hopefully the site owners here forgive me for all my package deliveries!!!

May you all take the time to visit many of the lovely Christmas markets around at this time of the year… until next time take care

Donna x

Woodland Springs Touring Park 7 nights for price of 5 @ £117.50 per week (£16.78pn)        GPS 50° 42.302 N 3° 51.099 W  or locate the park via postcode EX6 6PG