Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Up Hill Down Dales. Just Like the Grand Old Duke of York.

Up Hill Down Dales.

We decided that we really needed to broaden our outlook on the local camping scene and with the May Day Bank holiday looming and the rush of happy campers booking up every available pitch we looked for a new place to go. Browsing UK Camp Sites I found a contender. Not too far away, near a small village and not far from a local pub. It was very rural with decent reviews, so a quick phone call and we were off. A beautiful drive through Somerset and a slight diversion down a rather narrow lane, found us at Batcombe Vale. We did follow Madam SatNag's directions, but I thought the turning suggested was a bit tight, so thought I would test Den's driving skills on a tighter, narrower course. Fortunately nothing was coming the other way. I should have read the camp site instructions!

Soon we were settled in on a flattish......  grassy pitch overlooking the boating lake, things looked promising. Our pitch was huge, if dry it would have been perfect, but the ground was damp, although relatively well drained.

Batcombe Vale is, as the name suggests a camp site nestling in the valley between Bruton and Batcombe. A rather hilly part of the world. We were pleased we came down in a spritely camper and not towing a caravan, the turn at the top was tight, we made it in two turns anything longer than 6.5 m would have been fun.

There was a promise in the air that the weather may be dry, warmth was a vain hope. 

As we had arrived relatively early and the weather was actually dry we decided to climb the mountain and take a trek into Bruton. Do not be beguiled by the gentle slope it's a mountain, we staggered to the top and wandered the 2.5 miles through lovely countryside to Bruton. A lovely little village filled with well heeled parents and kids who attend the local boarding schools. We mixed with the gentry at The Sanctuary and sampled the coffee before trekking back.

However, as the sun set over the boating lake it looked a promising weekend.

The next morning broke, dry and cold, but we had a snuggly night in April with the heating on low. We took a little jaunt around the site, I quite fancied a row but sadly we never quite got round to it,the boats and oars
were all lined up and expectantly waiting, perhaps next trip.
Our next little excursion was out for lunch. We decided to try "The Three Horseshoes", a little jaunt over the hills and along a few country paths. We got suitably togged up, coats, hats, gloves, boots and rucksacks, nothing like "Being Prepared". Den carried the rucksack, I took the camera! 

The walk was actually beautiful and through some stunning scenery. Part of it was tramping across the muddy cows field, but we found a better route back.

Passed The Old Post Office, that used to be the Old Telegraph Office.

A few more trips down beautiful country lanes and we found the pub. Gastro, very busy a bit pricey and all the tables were booked. Luckily, pleasant enough to sit outside for travellers.

For foodies, we had the ploughman's and very tasty it was too! I don't normally like publishing pictures of food in the blog, there is a limit to how much we want to share! However,this one did deserve a picture. All homemade, except for the crisps.

We drank the wine, stuffed cheese and wandered home for a pleasant evening watching the sun go down, over the boat lake.

Our final day was spent being just like "The Grand Old Duke of York". Marching up to the top of the hill and back again. This hill in the picture , twice and believe me it was steep. Half way to Bruton we marched and back again, in the rain. 
Someone, forgot his wallet.........

The hill was a lot STEEPER than it looked ( have I said this before?). The road we marched up and down was also steep and a long way! 

Would we go back? Possibly on a predicted warm weekend. Lovely rural retreat, great for wildlife , birds and bees, good for walking, friendly wardens and lovely views. Pick a flat pitch and make sure the water in the showers are warm, before stripping off.The toilet block is rustic but clean. Homemade cider on site. Yes, I think another visit is on the cards.