The Triple Eight Tour | Part 4 - Wiltshire

To those on social media who already know that we’ve been staying at Longleat Caravan & Motorhome Club, The Lion Sleeps Tonight is an appallingly corny musical reference to the fact that we’ve been adjacent the famous safari park for the last week. However it is the most recent performers of the song - in the early eighties - that gave me another tenuous link - as the groups’ name - Tight Fit - is an increasingly accurate description of the waistband of many of my clothes, not least my trusty leather trews that got a rare summer outing at the launch of the Bailey Phoenix in Swindon this week. Yes, like last year we abandoned Patsy for the night leaving her in the care of the lovely wardens on site for a night away prior to the launch so I could get all my photos and get a blog ready for when the embargo was lifted. Caravanning may be good for many things - but my waistline isn't one of them!

Fellow caravanning vlogger Martin joined us in staying over and  having had a nightmare of a journey down from the north-west was keen to get stuck in to some research. It was well past the witching hour when we finally retired.

The day itself saw the coming together of many bloggers & vloggers quite a few of which we had never met in person so it was a great opportunity to catch up. Having clicked away the day before we were able to enjoy the morning but did get the opportunity to record several ‘Natters’ for our weekly Sunday night video series on YouTube. After lunch, with the departure of the guests and the caravans we adjourned to Cirencester club site to continue the chat with caravanning pals Karla, Stephen, Juliet & Phil. There is a photo special which you can find HERE.

So apart from the launch - and many congratulations if you somehow avoided the social media blitz - what have we been up to?

Well, let me tell you something - it’s not compulsory to visit the Safari Park if you stay here. Because we didn’t. Yes, I’m sure it’s terrific - enough people have said how much they’ve enjoyed it - but the thing is we wanted to see what else Wiltshire had to offer. And after having done the Cotswold Wildlife Park earlier in the trip and was not top of the list and what with the Bailey Phoenix launch we ran out of time. This time.

The little town of Warminster, about a ten minute drive from the site was a pleasant place to walk around and I was grateful to find a shop selling cheap compatible cartridges for my awkward old inkjet printer. An interesting selection of pubs too that have sadly all remained un-researched.

Dents - leather glove manufacturers - had their factory shop on the outskirts, so yes a visit was paid and yes a pair (ok, another pair as Trev said more than once!) was procured.

The infamous White Horse can be seen from Westbury, just a few miles further away and whilst it is stunning, it was also worth a drive up to Bratton Camp - you could walk from there to said horse but we stayed by the road and the views over Wiltshire were superb. This is a county I’m liking more and more.

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My heart sank as we spotted the retail park on the way into Trowbridge and sure enough here was a town centre that didn’t appear in the best of health. I’ve seen this so many times on our travels around Britain. Retail parks with easy access and parking sucking the life out of town centres and then local councils wondering what to do about it.

The park though was a pleasant place for a stroll though and the sensory garden looked lovely too.

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A little further north was Bradford-on-Avon and if you’re looking for picture postcard towns then you’ve come to the right place. The scene - as we arrived from the south was wonderful. Another great place to explore but a bit hilly:

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You may have recalled me talking about Treasure Trails in previous blogs - we did one in Moreton-in-Marsh and in the Swansea Maritime Quarter. Next on the list was Frome - hence the need for ink cartridges to print it off. This was certainly the toughest so far - not least because of the hills and my blimmin’ knee but some of the clues were pretty tough too. Good fun though and a great way to explore.

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We were told about Heavens Gate by a number of people - both on line and on site and - what a good suggestion it was. From the (free) car park a fifteen minute walk rewarded us with cracking views over Longleat House and estate.

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Another recommendation was Shearwater lake  - about fifteen minutes drive from the site. A great spot to fish - if that’s your thing, stroll, run (yeah, right) or just sit and enjoy (that’s better). Again, local knowledge and that of experienced travellers beats a guide book any day. Which is just as well as we didn’t have one!

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A good half an hour drive from the site was Lacock Abbey & Village under the stewardship of the National Trust. The village is a delight to walk around particularly if you can imagine it without the cars and the Abbey with it’s medieval cloisters provided some welcome respite from the heat. Lacock is where, in August 1835 a chap by the name of William Henry Fox Talbot captured the world’s first photographic negative - of a window at his home - the abbey. More recently has been used for a number of films including Harry Potter.

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There was no pub within walking distance of the site - not the sort of distance we would walk anyway, but the Royal Oak served up a great Hunters Chicken (for me) and Gammon (for Trev). Two other pubs we visited - the Horse & Groom and Cross Keys - purely in the interests of research obviously - were both community run and very well patronised. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

And that was our week in Wiltshire - and a little bit in Somerset. A real mixed bag of a week but an enjoyable one and a big thank you must go to wardens Gail & Mark and Lorraine & Neil for looking after us - and Patsy. As I type this we are a day into our fifth stop having had a trouble free tow across the country and around the M25 where dear old Rosie belied her advancing years - and increasing mileage - with an excellent 31mpg.

Look out for Site Tours, Site Arrivals and more coming on our YouTube channel this week.

Thanks, as always and until next time,

Cheers & Beers

Rich & Trev

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2 comments:

  1. Lovely read x thank you for such a fab write up of the area hopefully will do the site some good xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Full of great information, thanks.

    ReplyDelete