Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Perfect Pembrokeshire

We were told that Pembrokeshire was beautiful – and it is, stunningly beautiful. We were captivated, and ask ourselves why we’ve not discovered it before now? We were camping in our motorhome on Shortlands Farm - a Caravan Club Certificated Location at Druidston Haven, above St Bride’s Bay, and we explored the area within a 12 mile radius of the hamlet.

We wanted to learn more about this ancient land and discovered that the Pembroke peninsula is a tribute to the force of nature. This plateau is over 200 ft high, which extreme movements of the earth has shaped into folds, smoothed by ice and cut by rivers. Over 500 million years ago, volcanoes erupting created hard rocks which have stood up to erosion, and which can be seen in the isolated hills on the St David’s peninsula and the Preseli Mountains. To the south, caves, arches and blow-holes have been carved out of the limestone by the sea.

The sea makes this coastal area a wonderful place for wildlife – sea birds on the cliffs, grey seals breed in early autumn in remote caves, and we spotted porpoises near Marloes, whilst taking in the views from the Coastal Path.

This stunning, gently undulating footpath is nearly 170 miles long, and follows the coast almost all the way round Pembrokeshire. Visitors do not have to do it all in one go, as there are many walks from points where the road meets the path, with plenty of car parks dotted about.

We walked to Broad Haven one way, and to Newgale the other, both extremely picturesque walks, but without doubt, one of the most beautiful walks we have ever done was a circular walk from the car park at Whitesands Bay, and around St David’s Head – about 3.5 miles. The area is steeped in legend with evidence of ancient civilisations dotted around. Every inch of the walk provides stunning views – we did not want this walk to end and will remember it forever.

We only explored a tiny corner of this truly wonderful county, but will be back to discover more in future holidays.


Sunday, 15 April 2007

AvailablePitch stays at Shortlands Farm, Druidston, Pembrokeshire

Since we’ve had our motorhome, so many people have said “you must visit Pembrokeshire – its very beautiful” that we finally got round to it this Easter. And what a wonderful week – 7 days of unbroken sunshine, calm days and clear nights – absolutely perfect.

A search for campsites with availability showed that Shortlands Farm Caravan Club Certificated Location had touring vacancies in early April and on checking their availability calendar for Easter, we saw they had a few touring pitches available.

This popular site has to be booked well in advance - not surprising as it is a campsite with seaviews over the fields from all pitches. It is also very peaceful and secluded, with coastal walks direct from the farm. If you are lucky, you will see amazing sunsets, and, on a clear night, an incredible view of the night sky.

David and Pam Williams have farmed there since 1997, in what they laughingly describe as “semi-retirement”. They made a lifestyle decision to move into dairy farming in 1982, then subsequently moved to the 75 acre Shortland Farm to rear rare breed sheep and cattle organically. They also have a holiday caravan and The Granary cottage for rent, both with stunning seaviews. There has been a CL here for 35 years, and they are now welcoming third generations of visitors to the site, which has remained unchanged over the years, with just the addition of fencing, 8 electric hook-ups and a pretty family shower room with wash basin and loo.

Opposite the CL, over the Bumpy Lane, is the camping field with pitches for 5 tents, which have probably the best views of all.

Organic lamb and beef is sold from the farm. To read more about it, visit their website

10 minutes walk downhill is The Druidstone Hotel, an amazing quirky place, with an incredible atmosphere and a brilliant menu, with a strong emphasis on vegetarian cuisine. Much more about the Druidstone in a later blog. A further 5 minutes and you are on the dramatic Druidston beach, with towering cliffs, caves and rock pools to explore. It is incredibly beautiful.

If you love peace and quiet, beautiful sea views, some of the best walking ever and a slow pace of life, this site is perfect. We absolutely loved it here, as do most people who stay. We’ll leave the last word to David, who summed everything up by saying “we just love sharing this place with people”. We are very pleased they do!

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Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Woodland Caravan Park invite AvailablePitch to their Grand Opening

After 4 years hard work, Charles and LindaJane Stanton opened their brand new caravan park in Derbyshire today, and AvailablePitch were there to join in the celebrations and have a good nose round. Greeted with Bucks Fizz and amazing homemade cakes (more about these later), we heard how Woodland Caravan Park came into being.

Whilst not from a camping or caravanning background, Charles and LindaJane got expert advice from Don Amott himself and stayed on his Lincolnshire site, where they picked up lots of hints and tips.

Woodland Caravan Park is the grounds of Snelston Hall, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, on the edge of the Peak District. Where once was an old World War 2 building, there now stands a new, top quality building housing the office, reception, laundry, disabled/family wet room, showers and toilets.

Looking to diversify from farming, and using their lovely location, they have created a continental-style park, in a mature woodland setting from which caravanners and motorhomers can explore the paths which run through the 900 acre estate, and the area around Ashbourne itself.

The hardstanding pitches are huge, flat, and with electric hookup. Planning allowed 52 pitches, but they decided on 39 pitches to allow caravanners privacy and plenty of room to relax. Dogs are especially welcome and very well-catered for, with their own fenced woodland area, where they can run around and chase rabbits.

We learned that the cakes were made on the farm opposite the campsite by “Two Women in a Kitchen” and caravanners should ask LindaJane to direct them over the road where they may be able to buy their wonderful products.

When we left, LindaJane was settling new arrivals onto their pitch, whilst Charles was busy putting the finishing touches to the site.

The site is fully booked for Easter, however campers looking for vacant touring pitches for May Day and Spring Bank Holiday are in luck, with some pitches available for caravans and motorhomes. wishes Charles and LindaJane lots of success with their new Derbyshire campsite.

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