I thought I would do a blog to share with you some of the beautiful places we've seen and visited this summer in our first real outing as caravanners.
We stayed for ten days on a really lovely site at Burrowhayes Farm. Just four miles past Minehead and a mile from Porlock. The site is beautiful and has all the amenities you need that are kept immaculatey clean. The staff are extremely helpful and went out of their way to sort a TV aerial for us and help with advice after our carbon monoxide alarm went off twice!! There is a lovely little stream running alongside the site which is fine for paddling in. A horseriding venue is also situated on the farm where children and adults can do a bit of pony trekking. Just up the round is the little hamlet of Horner which has an amazing tea garden there, a definite place to visit if you're in the area! All of this is situated on and around the Holnicote Estate, owned by the National Trust. The photo below I found of the farm is literally where our caravan was positioned.
The reason we decided to come down here was because my dear old gran was born here in a little village called Withycombe, I had visited the area as a child with my gran and thought it would be good to show the girls where their Great Grandma was born. Whilst visiting Withycombe we bumped into the assistant trainer at Philip Hobbs' yard as they were walking some horses through the ford in the village to get them used to it (photo below)
He invited us up to the stables later that afternoon for a tour. Whilst there we met Philip Hobbs himself and a few of his stable stars including Fair Along, Fingal Bay, Snap Tie and about another 50 beautiful horses. The staff and Philip were all incredibly friendly and polite and we all loved the visit!
Whilst driving around the area we went to various places that were simply beautiful. Lynton and Lynmouth in North Devon is a must, labelled Little Switzerland. The drive into Lynmouth is amazing as you come down Countisbury Hill this is the view of the coastline and Lynton in the background. Simply breathtaking!
Once in Lynmouth, and after devouring a cream tea, we had a look at the Memorial in the Town Hall telling the tale of the great flood they had in the 1950's. We then ventured up the cliff side railway that connects Lynmouth to Lynton on the hill. Again, awesome views and a really fascinating piece of machinery, that is water powered. If you ever get chance I recommend a journey up, and down the cliff, not for the feint hearted amongst you as you can see below!
We also visited Watermouth Castle which is just a little beyond Lynmouth and was a great day out ( if a little expensive ) for the kids. It's basically a kids theme park with lots of rides and things to do for them. Again, set in beautiful surroundings and close to the lovely bay at Combe Martin.
Be warned though, all these places that we visited had to be accessed by going up the infamous Porlock Hill a 1 in 4 climb, with two hair pin bends to negiotiate too. I always remember as a youngster that when you are heading down the hill there is a sign that tells cyclists that they need to dismount and walk – a sensible piece of advice, trust me!
We also had a visit and another cream tea in the beautiful village of Dunster. You can visit the castle which is owed by the National Trust or just wander around this quaint little place with lots of shops and some great eateries! I can whole heartedly recommend the Ploughmans Lunch in the Victorian tea rooms, simply beautiful. Dunster takes my breath away every time I visit, one of my favourite places in the UK, especially the old Yarn Market.
We ventured on the West Somerset Steam Railway from Minehead to Blue Anchor on our final day. It's such a great journey and really good to see all the engines and carriages so well restored and looked after. All the staff work on a voluntary basis and want to keep this special part of Somerset's history going for all to enjoy. The line was closed by British Rail in the seventies and was left to ruin until it was restored and opened by the same company that runs it now, all the stations on the line are just perfect. You can imagine what a sight it was in the war eras with all the comings and goings of servicemen. This was how my Grandad (from Burnley, Lancashire) first met my gran, then uprooting her to Lancashire.
My little daughter thoroughly enjoyed the beach at Blue Anchor and proceeded to sink in the wet sand and mud when the tide had gone out. Sunk up to her knees and after falling backwards into the mud you can image the screaming and panic that set in to her. Thankfully, just as my wife and I were taking off trainers etc a young teenager who was having fun in the mud came and helped her. Having to wash her as best my wife could in the station toilets and to then travel back wet, with no dry or clean clothes wasn't ideal, but we saw the funny side.
So, would I recommend Somerset, of course I would. We have had a fabulous time and wish we could stay longer. We know though we've got many more exciting holidays ahead in the caravan. This was just our first, our taster, and frankly we love it!