What did you do last Halloween?
Halloween half term in Dorset. Did we Trick and Treat the campsite? Read on to find out...
By Nicky Atkinson
I finally get round to posing this blog update. A shocking delay since October; no excuses other than Life, Christmas and all that Jazz!
Finally I'll briefly fill you in. In the end we didn't Trick n' Treat the whole campsite; just the Wardens and our friends...that got us enough sweets to see out the rest of the trip! Nice little earner that one!
We spent the first few days at the C&CC site at Verwood in the New Forest, a nice little sprint over from Shoreham meant we were all pitched up and cosy in time for a delicious Spag Bol supper. One of our favourite, although pricy, things to do in the New Forest apart from just walking or cycling the area is to visit Beaulieu. Not only is the village idyllic but the House and National Motor Museum owned by Lord Montagu is fantastic. It is also very well set-up for all ages and the free heritage transport used to ferry you around the entire site is as welcome by youngsters as they are their older companions. There is also a Mono-Rail trip (again free) that actually takes you inside the Motor Museum giving you a great aerial view of the cars collected.
From Verwood we travelled to South Lychett Manor. There were two very clear reasons for picking this site. Firstly I had come across it many years ago and despite lots of planning had not managed to get there. Also a few different friends had stayed there and highly recommended it. Secondly we were on a mission to visit the National Trust owned island of Brownsea in Poole Harbour - one of the last bastions of the Red Squirrel native to our country. Actually there was one more reason - TV ariel points at each pitch! Again for purists in my defence it was October and card games can get a little too competitive!
So did it all live up to expectations? A most hearty YES !
The campsite was pretty, well maintained and as friendly as I had heard and expected. The camp shop was well stocked - the odd random thing to amuse and all the essentials had been well thought through. Its location is also ideal as a base for visiting a lot of Dorset. There is a Bus Stop right outside the gates so handy for some car-less journeys further than a walk/cycle away. Definitely a site I would personally recommend to my customers.
Brownsea Island surpassed our expectations. To begin with there is a short ferry ride over to the Island in the brightest yellow ferry you have ever seen. It is located near the undeniably expensive and exclusive Sandbanks area. Unfortunately the ferry costs extra (over and above the NT entrance fee) but there is some free parking nearby. We had unfortunately parked at the wrong end of Sandbanks. Not knowing this initially we wrapped up and headed over to the Beach...mmmm no sign of a boat or even a jetty. A nice little Tourist Info office though assured us it was just a 10 minute walk along the beach.
A 10 minute walk! Hurrumph! I would have to say this was at least a 25 minute walk with some sea defence blocks to negotiate and a rickety metal ladder to get up before you find the ferry to Brownsea. Lesson - make sure you are in the right place before paying for the parking! Unfortunately having crossed the sandy beach/assault course in wellies my legs were turning to jelly so we stopped in a caff for a brief cuppa to warm us up before the boat came. A mere ten minutes later and we were stepping off the quay at Brownsea Island. This location has now come top of our list for NT properties and in fact we have made a pact to revisit in Easter or early summer as it is without doubt THE most gorgeous island. As always at school holiday time the NT had laid on some great children's activities including games to play, treasure hunts and even ghost stories to be listened to. Did we see the infamous yet elusive Red Squirrel? Yes we did; couldn't get a photo of the blighters though After a few spell incantations and a spot of chestnut picking we headed back to the campervan.
Whilst in the area we also managed to fit in another visit to the Tank Museum at Bovington where the ride in a tank/lorry 'thing' is an absolute must if you feel brave enough...click on the first image below to see the slideslow for more info.
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