For the beginning of 2017 we stayed put parked up on Riddings Wood Caravan Site and spent our time visiting our family and friends to say Bon Voyage 👋before we set off on another journey on the 5th. We are planning to spend the winter in England this year so we're starting with a couple of weeks in South Wales before continuing down to Devon where we will rove for a couple of months. Then at the beginning of April we're going to dash over to the Netherlands to see the myriads of 🌷🌷🌷🌷flowering bulbs and to attend their flower festival,🌷🌷🌷🌷 before hurrying back to our home town of Ripley just in time to get our MOT and service done.
However, we didn't go straight to Wales because T4rdis2 needed attention in the tyre department - we needed 2 tyres and a spare wheel - the latter being a commodity that we've never had. We just have 'gunk' that you squirt into the tyre if you're unlucky enough to get a puncture - a temporary 'fix' that is supposed to be sufficient to get you out of trouble, and although this 'fix' is legal in this country it isn't in some parts of Europe! Therefore, we were very keen to acquire said equipment, and with this in mind we'd made arrangements with our friend's son (who has a tyre business) to collect the wheel and tyres on our way south. But unfortunately, we're not much better off because although the wheel and tyres were soon in place he was unable to pump them up to the required pressure or supply the metal valve we need to use the spare, so a stop off at another garage will be required in the very near future😖!
Anyway, knowing that the above would all take time, we'd decided to book into a campsite near Monmouth for 3 nights to break our journey and to ensure that we would reach our destination in daylight. The site is actually in the little hamlet of Clements End and just across the road from The Forest of Dean. The forest covers 42.5 square miles and is a mixture of ancient woodland and conifers that is criss crossed with numerous cycling and walking paths so we felt that it would provide sufficient entertainment for our stay - and it would have done if the weather had been a bit kinder.
When we arrived 'Jack Frost' had been very busy and 'it' all lay round about - Deep and Crisp and Even - in fact it was so 'Even' that we did wonder if we would be able to fill our fresh water tank - luckily the site owner had lagged his pipes very well so no problems were encountered in that department and our kettle was soon singing a merry tune!
So following our arrival, we did no more than close our blinds and snuggle in, but on Friday 6th we were quite determined to get out for some much needed exercise despite the weather forecast of persistent 🌧 for most of the day!
We dithered a bit about if we should 🚲 or 🏃 but we thought the tracks and trails would be quite muddy (and we weren't wrong) so the latter won out! And we really we hadn't gone far when the first smatterings of light drizzle began to fall, but as our target was for the Cannop Ponds (about 4 miles away) we ignored the inclemency and determinedly continued on our way. However, we did become a bit concerned when we came across the sign on the left - happily if there were any about they saw us and scarpered before we saw them!
When we arrived we found 2 large ponds, the lower of which was created in 1825 to supply water via a 'leat' to a waterwheel at Parkend Ironworks, however the flow of water proved insufficient so the upper pond was added in 1829.
Now, I'm sure the area would have looked very beautiful in better weather - there were loads of ducks and swans (Mandarins and Mutes), and some of them were even managing to skate on the thin ice! Additionally there was a very pleasant pathway that circumnavigated the ponds, but that had become very muddy, and by now the rain was pouring so once we'd reached our target we very quickly found ourselves about turning and heading home.
On the 7th the weather was marginally better - at least it wasn't raining, but the murk and mist were well embedded! However, one of the things that we had come this way to see was The Seven Estuary, and as it was too far to walk, out came our 🚲 and off we peddled.
And Boy oh Boy were we glad of our bit of battery power - the quiet little roads led us up hill and down dale and I'm sure we would have had to push at least some of the way if all we'd had to rely on were our gears! Eventually, after about 6 miles we came to the settlement of Lydney and then to Lydney harbour which is situated right on the Estuary.
Tomorrow we're going to move on to a small site near Tenby, a place that will be home for the next week, and from where we plan to undertake a bit more removal of the excesses of Christmas - well that's the plan but with lots of cake and other goodies that I've found hiding in our cupboards it might not turn out to be the reality!
I'll let you know how we get on next time, but it's 👋👋👋 from us for now.
Take care 😘