Thursday 16th and Friday 17th March 2017
Today we moved from Padstow to what is reputed to be the birthplace of the legendary King Arthur - Yep T4rdis2 is now parked up for the next couple of nights in the mixed parking area of The King Arthur's Arms Public House at Tintagel. And we haven't been alone - on both nights we've had the company of other vans, and really that's not surprising because we're located right in the middle of the village of Tintagel, and for that privilege we're only being charged 4 quid a night.
Anyway, by the time we got here on Thursday it was well past lunch time, so we did no more than nip out to a Cornish Pasty maker that we'd patronised on previous visits to this area, and brought 2 of the biggest and most delicious steak and stilton pasties which went down a treat! So by the time all that had been accomplished the afternoon was wearing on, but we'd already decided that after our exertions at Padstow over the last few days we were going to have an easy day. But just to shake our delightful dinner down a bit we went for a gentle stroll around the village to see the sights which had hardly changed since we were here in September 2015 and also before that when we did our Tour of Cornwall 450 mile 🚴 ride!
On Friday we toddled out onto the Coastal Path again and headed off to do a bit of it that we'd not seen before - specifically the bit between Tintagel and Boscastle. Now, our trek was only about 9 miles, but what this walk lacked in distance it more than made up for in arduousness as we followed the very steep contours of the path. However, I think I should also add that, although I've gone on about the fantastic vistas of a lot of the Devon and Cornwall coastal path, this bit has to win the prize in jaw dropping stunning rugged beauty, and if your only ever able to do one bit of coastal walking this should be it! Pictures just aren't able to do it justice, but there is something about the waves crashing up against the rugged coast line the kept us mesmerised thought out our walk.
And added to that we discovered Rocky Valley along the way. The Valley was formed over the millennia by running water along a fault line that leads down to the ocean, and along it's length cauldrons, waterfalls and gorges add to it's enchantment.
This beautiful valley is part of The Tintagel, Marsland and Clovelly's special area of conservation, and it is also recognised as an area of Outstanding natural beauty. Additionally this part of the heritage coast is a regionally important Geological and Geo-morphological Site, and part of it's great biological interest is it's national importance for Moss with 161 different species having been recorded there, (however we have our own very special little Moss - Thomas)
|This bit was under several metres of water in the 2004 flood|
Eventually we came to Boscastle - another place we've visited several times and one that is quite famous because of the devastating floods that occurred there in 2004. We pottered around the village and then found a bench that was partly sheltered from the coastal blusteryness where we paused for lunch while watching the waves washing in and out of a blow hole/cave - every now and again the torrent of water entering it built up and a huge plume of foam erupted from it with a loud boom!
And then we retraced our steps, but on our return journey we paused for longer to explore more of Rocky valley, particularly the area where the river runs into the sea.
Saturday 18th March 2017
Today was another moving day - from Tintagel to the New Forest - a journey of about 160 miles, so most of it was spent driving. However, along the way there were 2 things that are worth mentioning! The first was our lunch stop overlooking the magnificent Chesil Beach - a unique 18 mile long band of shingle that isn't really a beach - it's a tombolo. A tombolo is a thin strip of sand, shingle or rock with water on both sides that joins two bits of land together, and that is exactly what the Chesil does - it joins Portland to Abbotsbury.
The other event of the day occurred when we noticed 2 large deer grazing at the side of the main fast A35 dual carriageway. They were quite content munching their grass, but goodness knows what would have happened if one of them had stepped out!
We eventually arrived at our target campsite in the New Forest at about 4pm - The Camping and Caravan Club's Greenwoods Certified Site, and we were soon parked up with a couple of other vans in a small orchard that is smothered in daffodils and other flowers. And the only thing that marred the beauty of the setting was our next door neighbours van - I think it's seen better days!
Sunday 19th March 2017
Today we cycled from the site which is near New Milton to Hythe - a little jaunt of about 36 miles, there and back along delightful cycle tracks and quiet roads, many of which had ponies roaming at the sides. Our trail took us down the old converted Southampton and Dorchester Railway line and into Brockenhurst, and after that we passed through Ladycross and Denny Lodge enclosures where loads more ponies of all shapes and sizes were grazing
And then when we arrived in Hythe we learnt some of it's fascinating history. The unique electric train that runs along it's pier is listed in the Guinness Book of records as the oldest working pier train in the world!
Additionally, from along the promenade we could see a fair bit of activity, both on the water in the form of small vessels nipping about, and also a huge ocean going liner parked up in Southampton docks.
Interestingly, it was from there that the Titanic started her fatal maiden voyage back in 1912, and more recently in 1969, it was also the launch place of Cunard's QE2, a ship that I can recall seeing passing along the Solent when we lived opposite the docks during my childhood.
(Do you remember Pete when we lived in Cliff House?)
And then just as a final treat, on the way home we saw these guys munching their lunch as we passed by. It's a bit difficult to see from the pic but their antlers were huge!
Apparently, in the 19th century they almost became extinct in the forest due to hunting etc, but now they have re-established themselves and are once again happily breeding with their babies being due in May.
Monday 20th March 2017
Today we treated ourselves to a lazy one - well everyone does it sometimes😀! Rain was threatened so we whiled away the morning messing about with our techno gadgets, but eventually we came a bit distracted when we noticed a pair of blackbirds building a nest in a hollow in one of the old apple trees just a few metres from our van window. However, as the nest will only be about 18 inches off the ground it made us wonder how safe their 🐦 will be!
In the afternoon we poddled out for a walk to a local farm shop where we found a whole host of goodies to supplement our already nearly full cupboards 🍄🍅🍞🍯🍰🍗🍖, and then it was back to the van to scoff some of it😁
Tuesday 21st March 2017
Today dawned bright and sunny so it was an ideal day to do a bit of a circuit of the New Forest and see a bit more of what it'd got to offer, and as it can trace it's origins back to 1079 when William the Conqueror first declared it his hunting ground, we knew it must be steeped in history both new and old. However, even though we saw some very ancient dwellings and some trees with massive girths I don't think any were quite that old!
Now, everyone knows how famous The New Forest is for it's ponies but I hadn't really considered the other animals that roam there - apparently deer, cattle, donkeys, sheep and pigs all lend a hand in maintaining the forest landscapes and have grazed and roamed freely there for centuries. But, as on Dartmoor, most of the animals belong to local people - here they're called 'commoners' and each has their own specific brand which, on the ponies can be seen just below their shoulders.
We left out little camp site about 11ish and headed towards Tiptoe Road, but we didn't really have to go quietly down it, instead we turned off and headed towards Brockenhurst and then onto the Rhinefield Road that leads to The Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive. Here a quite road runs for a couple of miles through majestic Douglas firs and Redwoods, and even though we peddled slowly we still felt we hadn't got enough time to fully appreciate it, so when we spotted The Backwater Picnic Area we pulled over and got our flask out! There we learnt that many of the ornamental conifers had been introduced and planted as far back as 1860, but unfortunately many of the oldest were lost in storms in 1987 and 1991.
Then from there it was only a short ride to reach our next point of interest which was the Boulderwood Deer Park where the Fallow Deer are fed daily around 2pm, but we were a bit to early to see that! So on we pressed through more ancient woodland until we reached the Portuguese Fireplace - a monument that has been left from the cookhouse of a hutted camp occupied by the Portuguese Army in The First World War. At the time of our visit a fire was layed in the hearth but not burned - we wondered if chimney needed sweeping!
|Spot the Cow!|
By now lunch was high on our agenda, and just after we'd passed through Lyndhurst we were lucky enough to stumble across what is described as 'a major New Forest Landmark - Bolton's Bench' - we'd no idea it was there but it made a very welcome stopping off point. Apparently the Bench commemorates the 18th century New Forest Master Keeper, the Duke of Bolton, and one of the major attractions is a giant yew tree at the top of the park from where 360 degree views of the surrounding country side can be appreciated - but guess what I didn't take a picture of! (But if you really want to see a pic click here). However, I did manage some of the nearer views, but while we sat in the sunshine enjoying them the wind kept sending icy fingers down our necks, so after about half an hour we decided it was time to get on our way!
So on we went through the lovely village of Beaulieu, and a little after that we made our last stop off at Hatchet Pond which was first created in the 18th century. The name 'Hatchet' means 'gateway' and it was here that 'commoners' would drive their ponies and cattle from their smallholdings onto Forest land to graze. However now, along with lots of waterfowl, it is also home to a variety of leeches - therefore we decided not to go paddling!
And then all that was left was another 8 or so miles back down the off road section of the Southampton and Dorchester Railway trail before we could turn our wheels towards Bashley and Home - and we just made it before a horrible heavy hail storm that would have painfully soaked us through.
Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Happy Birthday Pete - Hope you had a good one 🎂🍻
This morning started with quite torrential rain, but the weatherman says the 🌞😎 will shine later so we've delayed out outing until later. Therefore, if he's right we're going to have a short jaunt out to Milford on Sea - a small village that has a shingle beach and from where we should have views out towards the Isle of Wight and the Needles.
Anyway, my wifi data has nearly ran out and the rain has stopped so that's a good excuse not to write anymore! So from us - Goodbye for now 😗.
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