In Sylvester, July 2018
Left home Monday 9th am
Stopped for lunch at The Four Alls Welford on Avon, CV37 8PW, www.thefourallswelfordonavon.co.uk
Looked a big blousy sort of pub from the outside, not one we would normally choose but I had been tempted by the menu on line. We were not disappointed: plenty of vegan choices, many varied seating areas including an outside riverside setting and helpful, polite and cheerful staff. Very good service, a lovely meal and a couple of real ales to choose from.
Stayed at Wyre Mill Club campsite. OS Map ref: 150/956468. WR10 2JF
Caravan and Camping Club CS site. Lovely setting by River Avon with private moorings alongside. The old mill is now a social club owned and run by members and the very passable facilities are housed within this building. In spite of the proximity of road and industrial site the site had a very tranquil air about it, especially in the evening. Not a lot of natural shade.
Tuesday 10th July in the afternoon headed south to Bath. Planned to stay at Lower Chatley farm, Woolverton, BA2 7RQ. The field was nice enough but the approach all looked a bit scruffy, as did the facilities. It was on the Main Road but signage wasn’t good, we missed it a couple of times. We decided to give it a miss and ended up at Stowford Manor Farm, Ba14 9LH, www.stowfordmanorfarm.co.uk . Riverside setting, lovely old farm buildings. Some light road noise. This was the site of the Trowbridge Village Pump festival! great to be back here.
We ate at The Acorn Kitchen in Bath on Tuesday evening. 2 North Parade Passage, off Abbey Green, Ba1 1NX www.acornrestaurant.co.uk Unfortunately Jon was disappointed with his main course, cauliflower, whereas my mushroom parfait was splendid. We had a lovely canned lager called Beavertown Neck Oil. www.beavertownbrewery.co.uk .
Bath was packed with graduating students and their proud parents and the next day we failed to find The Green Rocket café for lunch. 1 Pierrepont St, BA1 1LB www.thegreenrocket.co.uk . However we came across Ring O Bells by accident. 10 Widcome Parade, Ba2 4JT. www.ringobellswidcombe.co.uk They offer a ‘small plates’ menu. Not like tapas as they don’t all come at once. We had two each with sides of chips and green beans. Presentation, taste and service all excellent. A very lucky find. No downstairs loo for me on my crutches but waitress advised me to use the pub over the road, which was fine. (My favourite restaurant so far – JS)
So after lunch on Wednesday 11th we went in the direction of Winchester passing through the charming looking village of Stockbridge (not to be confused with Stocksbridge near Sheffield which is quite different!).
The first site we arrived at was Folly Farm, Stockbridge Road which we again found on Pitch4night website. SO21 2PH. It would have done but it was a bit bland and busy so we tried another CCC Site, River mead SO21 308.
Pitched by a stream with young cattle grazing on the other side. Tranquil apart from the trains. Very close to the mainline from London to Southampton. The loo was in a shed. It was lovely; hot and cold running water, Lots of information leaflets laid out and even an iron to borrow. Free range eggs for sale. We would have stayed another night if it hadn’t been for the trains. They were probably 1/2 a mile away but a busy freight line. Skies were lovely and dark. He made a note of please no unnecessary outdoor lighting.
The next day, Thursday 12th, we explored Stockbridge and were non-plussed to find it very ‘Hunting, shooting and fishing” However it did have a co-op. Not impressed with Lilly Langtry’s tea shop; warm lager, melted butter and no option of non-dairy spread offered.
For lunch we found . The pubs did not seem to offer interesting menus so we thought we would give it a try. It was empty, didn’t have a full menu on display and didn’t seem quite certain whether it was a shop, takeaway, café or restaurant. I asked the proprietor if he could offer lunch to two vegetarians. A cheery Essex voice replied “of course!”. He sat us down and proceeded to discuss what we might like and then went and cooked it. Very tasty linguini with vegetables and a touch of chilli, with or without cheese according to one’s taste. Just check out the excellent TripAdvisor reviews! A good find. Jasmine House, High Street, SO20 6HB www.pregodeli.co.uk
We continued on our way towards Sussex. What horrendous traffic they have down South. We took a detour onto Hayling Island for Jon to visit old haunts and got to smell the sea. Eventually arrived at our site, the Runt in Tun, a field behind a pub of the same name. www.runtintun.co.uk TN21 0DJ Maynards Green, East Sussex. The site was lovely, surrounded by mature hedges and trees providing welcome shade, and quite spacious. Toilet and shower were in festival blue plastic toilet cabins which was initially off putting but all plumbed in, clean and working. The landlord was friendly and helpful, in spite of being busy as we arrived. It all seemed very laid back. The chef kindly made us some sandwiches, with chips and salad, even though the kitchen had officially closed for the night.
The next day, Friday 13th, we visited Charleston, home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, I found it as fascinating as I had done on my previous visit, 16-18 years ago. A challenge on crutches but well worth it. The gardens were a mass of hollyhocks. Must try again to grow some at home. Excellent unusual salad in the café. Good vegetarian choices.
We witnessed a full house fire en route; the speed with which the thick black smoke and then flames took hold was scary. Nothing really left worth saving by the time the Fire service arrived.
After our 2nd night at The Runt in Tun, Saturday 14th we only had to travel about 20 miles and had all day to do it in so we went on a ride on the Bluebell Railway from Sheffield Park (in Sussex!) to East Grinstead. A fun but very hot day out sampling railway heritage and appreciating the passion and commitment that enough people have to preserve it all for everyone to enjoy.
A 60th ceilidh birthday was held at Scaynes Hill Millennium Village Centre was a good do and she obviously had a great time. We camped in the car park overnight and fortunately were not accosted as vagrants 🙂 Not the most comfortable spot and we were awake and on our way by shortly after 6.00. A good time to travel on a Sunday morning up the M25 and M1. Northampton services were far more pleasant than Pease Pottage on the M23. We found a suntanned Aussie photographing the van in the car park. He duly had the guided tour as he is thinking of doing similar to take down the Atlantic French Coast. He was either very impressed or very polite.
Back home by mid morning to water the parched plants. Here endeth our first road trip in Sylvester.