Showing posts with label shropshire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shropshire. Show all posts

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Valais Caravan Park, Colebatch, Shropshire

We've spent a few nights at the Valais Caravan Park CL in the hamlet of Colebatch, about a mile from the small market town of Bishop's Castle in Shropshire.  It's close to the Welsh border and we came here because we wanted to get away from the normal tourist hotspots and enjoy some peace and quiet - we certainly found it!

The CL has only been running for about eighteen months, but it already has some excellent reviews online. The owners - Bruce and Anne - are very welcoming and they have created one of the best CLs we've stayed on.  It's in a lovely spot with excellent views all round and, although close to the A488, we've heard nothing except sheep, horses, birds and the occasional passing tractor.  The CL has the usual five pitches, but each is very spacious, more than double the size of most we've stayed on.  Each pitch has electric hook-up and there's a well-maintained and very clean loo dump, bins and fresh water point area at one end of the CL.  All the pitches are grass, but they're well drained and level.

There are sheep and goats in enclosures on the site, with chickens, ducks and quail by the owner's house. Eggs are for sale at the entrance and, when the goats produce enough milk, Anne makes her own goat's cheese. Unfortunately we hit a dry patch so none was available, but it'll give us an excuse to return and try it!  But we did buy some duck eggs which were very tasty.

The area is agricultural, with rolling green hills, woodlands and fields of sheep and arable crops.  It's a great place to walk and the footpaths are well signposted and marked, although a few of the stiles were a bit wobbly! Bruce and Anne provided lots of local walk leaflets, as well as places to eat in the local area. There are plenty of great walks and places to visit in the area, but we chose to stay put and walk from the site.  

We arrived on Sunday and were met by Bruce, who provided the leaflets and talked a bit more about the area, which was really helpful.  We were soon pitched up and after a cup of tea, took a walk to the local market town of Bishop's Castle, via part of the Shropshire Way.  It's only about a mile or so (20 minutes) and the town is lovely; lots of independent shops and six pubs, including two that have their own brewery.  There's also plenty of other options for eating - cafe's and restaurants.  It looks like they have a great community going, with plenty of music and other events throughout the year.  Back at the van I cooked some burgers and made a salad and the weather was kind enough to sit outside.

The next day we took on one of the walks in the leaflets; about six miles of fields, quiet lanes and forest tracks.  It was really peaceful and we enjoyed the distant views across the hills.  The rest of the day we chilled out by the van, reading and just listening to the birds and wildlife.  Dinner was a chicken curry I'd made some time ago and we brought with us.  

Today I cycled around some of the local towns and villages, about 20 miles.  The roads were fairly quiet and the traffic gave me plenty of room.  Turning off the main routes, the lanes became much more hilly and I was soon puffing!  I stopped off in Bishop's Castle to buy some wine for tonight; I reckon I could carry up to three bottles in the pockets of my cycling top!  Back at the van, Cathy had cleaned and tidied up and was sat outside with Salty enjoying the sunshine, although it's been a bit windier today. We repeated Sunday's walk into Bishop's Castle, before returning to sit outside the van with a brew.  Tonight's dinner was bit of an experiment!  I recently bought a Ridge Monkey to use on the gas hob and I've cooked a few things in it, but mainly simple toasties or part-baked baguettes and crumpets.  I'd seen someone make a pie on YouTube, so I'd brought some pastry and a tin of stewing steak and combined this with some grated cheese to make a steak and cheese pie.  It turned out well, although I could have done with more pastry to seal in all the ingredients. But it ate well!

Tonight is our last night here and we'll be off home tomorrow, hopefully stopping off somewhere en-route for lunch.  I've bookmarked a couple of other CLs close to the Montgomery Canal, so might go past those to check them out, ready for a future trip.  This was a short trip away, but it was really relaxing and it's definitely an area we'll return to......if only to sample Anne's goat's cheese!

The rain's coming in...

A very colourful Bishop's Castle

Return route from BC

Very spacious pitches

I'm saying nothing!

Great views

Thirsty and covered in grass seeds



Stage 1 - not looking too appetising

Stage 2 - it's a wrap

Stage 3 - coming along

Mae'n blasus iawn! (It's very tasty!)

Sunday 27 September 2015

Back in Ellesmere

We're taking as many short weekends as we can before the winter starts in anger although, even then, so long as it's not snowing or icy, we plan to use the van throughout.

This weekend was spent on a CL in Shropshire - Birch Hill - about a mile outside the market town of Ellesmere.  After picking up El Nido from storage on Friday evening, we drove down the A49 and arrived at about sunset; the owner was cutting the grass on a sit-on mower as we drove up the long drive and pointed out the pitches.  The CL is spread across 2 acres but they stick to the 5-pitch rule, so there's plenty of room. We chose to park up near the farmhouse, on top of the hill and with 360' views, including the hills of the Welsh borders. Electric plugged in, we enjoyed a glass of red wine as the stew Cathy had made earlier in the day warmed up in Oska (our Remoska oven).  The site was very quiet and after dinner and a long day we were soon nodding off.

Next morning after breakfast we made a packed lunch and headed out for a 10 mile walk; the day was surprisingly warm for the time of the year, with unbroken sunshine and no wind. The walk started from the Mere at Ellesmere (makes sense how the town got its name now I re-read this!), but we had a mile to walk to the start point.  It started with walking around the western edge of the Mere through a park and gardens.  It was at this point that Cathy had a bit of flash back to her childhood.  She always remembered visiting some old aunties who lived in three small adjacent cottages and walking down to some water to feed the waterbirds and paddle in the shallows.  But in her mind she thought this was Ellesmere Port. Now all became clear as she recalled the exact spot where she paddled around 45 years previously.  

The walk continued to the top of the Mere before heading off across rolling fields - lovely countryside with soft green hills, rarely used footpaths and, thankfully no angry cows (or 'bovins' as we've now nicknamed them after seeing a sign by a field in France).  Eventually we joined a narrow, hedge-lined country lane and followed this into the village of Welshampton.  Passing through the village, we crossed over the main road to walk out of the village before reaching a bridge over the Shropshire Union canal, where we dropped down to follow this all the way back to Ellesmere.  It was extremely peaceful and very warm in the sunshine and we stopped off along the way to eat our lunch.  After a few miles we were back in the town and had a wander around; a typical small market town with a few independent shops including a nice looking deli (we resisted!).  We walked back up the main road out of town and to the CL, arriving as a couple in a caravan were setting us.  We sat outside in the sunshine, enjoying a brew and the peace.  Chatting to the couple, they had just sold their house in Northwich and had bought a new house in Ellesmere, which was currently being finished off.  They planned to stay on the campsite for about 4 weeks, which would allow them time to fit carpets and so on before moving into their new house, close to their son and his family in a local village.  They'd over-wintered in Spain over several years to it was interesting to hear where they stayed and the best winter weather spots.

Later, as the sun started to set, we enjoyed a G&T before spotting a hot air balloon as it rose above the trees and slowly flew over - the air was very still, no breeze at all. The CL owner joined us and said they see them quite often as they're made in Oswestry, a few miles up the road.  Dinner eaten, we played a word game (I won!) and read for a while before heading off to bed.

The next morning was again clear, warm and sunny. After a lazy breakfast Cathy secured inside the van while I emptied waste then we drove off, heading for the Llangollen area but with nowhere in particular in mind to stop.  On the way through the town we spotted the sign for Horseshoe Falls, so followed the road up and managed to get a space in the free car park.  The view from there, down to the falls was lovely.  We had a walk around then followed the canal towpath towards Llangollen.  On the way we took some metal steps down to the rocks alongside the river and watched some kayakers shooting the rapids - looked fun!  Back on the towpath we eventually arrived at the marina and dropped down into the town, which was really busy.  We'd made the basic error of not taking our lunch with us, so ended up buying a couple of oggies, one of which we ate at down by the river on the way back.  Back at the van, we made a brew and chilled out for a while before driving back to storage and home.