Friday, 8 February 2008

Hodsock Snowdrops

"A magical sight you will never forget - myriads of flowers in the five-acre gardens plus a half mile walk through the wood with sheets of snowdrops to delight you. Certainly worth travelling a considerable distance to see"

Just up the road from Clumber Park Caravan Club site, Nottinghamshire, is
Hodsock Priory, near Blyth, home to one of the best snowdrop collections and displays in the country, with 5 acres of formal gardens containing snowdrops and other fragrant flowering winter borders.

Not a Priory at all, but a stately home, Hodsock Priory, garden and snowdrop wood are situated in the middle of the 800 acre Hodsock Estate, which has been owned by the Buchanan family since 1765. The 700-acre farm is run by Sir Andrew Buchanan and grows carrots, sugar beet, wheat and barley. There are nearly 100 acres of woodland, which is actively managed and the whole Estate is run in an environmentally friendly way

Entry costs £4.50 for Adults, £1.00 for kiddies, with under-5's free. Dress warmly, with good footwear and allow a good three hours for the visit. Start off with a stroll round the gardens, taking in the wide variety of Snowdrops, Sarcococca, Daphne, Winter Honeysuckle, Leucojums, Golden Aconites, Cyclamen and Irises. Follow that with a gentle walk in the 12 hectare ancient woodland, with millions of snowdrops growing underneath the trees. Warm yourself by the bonfire and have a cup of tea from the cabin (or take a flask), and finish off buying some snowdrops, bluebells or winter flowering jasmin from the plant stall close to the exit.

The Priory is only open for 4 or 5 weeks during February and early March, and attracts over 40,000 visitors from all over the world. It's a magical day out for everyone young and old, with wheelchair/pushchair access to many parts, brand new tea rooms, an informative history room and the best toilets ever. Oh, and don't forget your camera to capture some beautiful and memorable winter scenes.

More information at

Labels: ,

Friday, 1 February 2008

Island Hopping Scotland - Loch Lomond

There are two Camping and Caravanning Club sites at Loch Lomond (greedy or what?), Luss on the west side and Milarrochy Bay on the east. Because Luss is situated immediately off the A82 Glasgow road, it is an ideal, and very beautiful, stopping off point. The only trouble was, one night was not enough and we didn’t want to leave! This site is incredibly popular, and booking well in advance is essential. The decision had been made some weeks earlier that this was to be the last campsite stop in Scotland and a pitch had therefore been booked. A good job too, as the site was completely full that evening.

On arrival, we were amazed to be allocated a loch-side pitch with stunning views through the shoreside shrubs down to our own private beach, and across the loch to the mountains. The friendly Warden walked us down and guided us onto the grass pitch and we parked sideways on to the Loch, with the 'van door opening straight onto the view – absolute bliss.

The village of Luss is very pretty, and is a model village, having been built on the wealth of slate. An untaxing circular walk of about an hour (map available from Reception) goes through the village, across ancient woodland, past the old slate mines and gives a good feel for the area.

Being at the side of a main road, there is some road noise, however, this is more background than intrusive. Midges? Yes, a few around at dusk, but our well practiced trick of pulling the awning out and lighting incense sticks made sitting outside comfortable.

Tomorrow, the journey south would continue, but for tonight, a leisurely evening meal of seafood from the Loch Fyne shop, cooked on the outdoor griddle and a cold bottle of Chablis whilst soaking up that fabulous view, ended yet another wonderful day.

Labels: , ,