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!|
|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!)|