Day 048 – Thistledown camping day 2…

A great walk through the pine woods in the valley below the camp site. There is a brilliant creeper which is by the main path down through the woods. Here is Mr Jo Smith doing a great job climbing up it. On the way back up, he managed to climb up maybe 6m.

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Day 047 – Thistledown camping day 1…

Our annual pilgrimage to our favourite camp site – Thistledown, at Nympsfield, which is near Stroud, which is 25 minutes drive from Gloucester. Anyway, a very nice and seni-eco site, with camp fires, composting toilets etc, positioned overlooking hills and forests, adjacent to the National Trust Woodchester estate.

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Day 030…

A vivid and contrasting paint peel. A former red wall, painted over with blue and a green weed struggling up into the frame.

Gloucester images 11.06.13 - 01

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Cornwall camping: day 5…

As starts to the day go, this wasn’t the best!

Packing up all our stuff into a very compact car while it was raining and getting stuck in the mud on the way out of the field – how does that sound? Being pulled out of the mud by a cool tractor was good and the boys loved that bit.

The idea for the last day in Cornwall was to pack up early and drive straight to St. Austell and the Eden Project, for as long as we could get there. After the first shower, it was clear skies and some sunshine which was fine for Eden, which has exhibits and landscaping & attractions both inside biospheres and outside in the surrounding landscape.

Since Claire and I went about 7 years ago during its first year open, it has changed a lot – grown up in many ways, with more facilities, bigger exhibits and lots more parking! It’s essentially an ecological and horticultural theme park, with the huge tropical biomes being the main attraction.

The boys loved it there and we saw all their favourite fruits – apples, bananas, mangoes and lots of cool play areas both inside and out, including an amazing bamboo and metal house on stilts in the main tropical biome. We made it to the top of the biome even though it was very very hot and humid inside.

Highly recommend it and was managed to get back home safely, through some more torrential rain on the motorways!

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Cornwall camping: day 4…

Another wet day followed the very wet night, which followed the very sunny day… the Cornish weather wasn’t making its mind up!

But, we had an ace up our sleeves, in the form of Falmouth Maritime Museum, which we hoped would be something which would get us out of the rain for most of the day. It ended up being a really good visit with great exhibitions, graphics, architecture and food. Everyone had a good time and the Seahawk Helicopter was particularly impressive.

At this point we had pretty much decided to cut the camping trip short by a day and head back home tomorrow as we had run out of indoor and dry entertainment!

Eden Project here we come!

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Cornwall camping: day 3…

Glorious sunshine for the whole day and just what Cornwall is all about. If it hadn’t been for this day, the whole experience could have gone in a different direction to what it did and we made the most of the break in the rain.

We managed to get to three beaches and touring around was a real pleasure. The first port of call was Lizard Point, the most southerly point of main land England and a very rugged coast line. A good beach and some very nice textures and constructions.

Back up north and two beaches on the way home, one good (Polurrian Bay), the last one very good (I will remember the name soon!). A great cream tea at the cafe overlooking the beach and the sun held out.

But…that night, the tent was literally battered by rain and wind. I’ve never experienced anything like it – being so close to the elements but being completely warm and dry inside the tent. : )

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Cornwall camping: day 1…

After a 4 hour drive in a very full car, SW down to Cornwall, a very misty and over-cast evening, which followed a rainy day.

The lights of the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose (RNAS), where the Seahawk sea rescue helicopters take off and land.

We did get the tent up, but we did also get stuck in the mud trying to get into the field! Always nice to achieve balance : )

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Thistledown camping…

Another camping trip, this time with the KPs to Thistledown.

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Thistledown camping…

Camping during the hottest days of the year so far…

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Camping in cold weather…

As we say to our boys, there are only two more ‘sleeps’ till we go on our first camping trip of the year! Lots of packing to do but the idea is to go fairly light, mainly so we don’t have to shift so much stuff when we get to the site and also we’re limited by the size of our Citroen C1! We’re only going for the weekend so no need to go crazy.

http://www.touring-gear.com/products/Campfire-Grill.html

Anyway, the weather here has gone from being cold and very wet, for the past 4 weeks, to clear skies and sunny since yesterday. This is very good news for camping but when I first saved the draft of this post, the last thing I was thinking about was dealing with heat, more about how to deal with the cold.

Following along those chilly lines, we did some research into cold weather camping, just to make sure we were all nice and warm at night – there’s nothing worse than bad sleep when camping to tire you out, especially having been running around after the kids all day!

http://www.chiff.com/a/camping-sleep-warm.htm

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Protected: Bucklegrove Holiday Park camping…

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Thistledown shed…

A new washing-up cabin has been constructed at Thistledown since we were there last year and there are a few ideas there for the shed at the allotment.

Can’t decide between horizontal boards which overlap or vertical close boards. Both would be water-tight but have different looks.

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Thistledown camping…

Our first camping trip of the year! We had a great few days camping with our friends the MK’s and their kids. We’ve been to the site once before and that was also really good so there was no hesitation in going back. We’ll probably go back there this year as we’ve found another area of the site and we’ve also explored the valley further.

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There’s a National Trust area at the bottom of the valley, around Woodchester Mansion and lots of amazing walks and trails to explore. We all went on what we thought was a kid-friendly walk down the valley through the woods, which turned into a massive hike! It was great though, but dd involve a fair bit of boy-carrying! We found lots of cool features and future walks, including a great boat and boat house and some amazing woodland. One thing that struck me about the conifer plantation we walked through was how little biodiversity there was and the lack of sunlight. It was almost barren, apart from the trees and some ferns on the ground.

The weather was really good and we had some good camp fires in the evenings. The nights were cold and the second night sleeping I had a t-shirt, two long-sleeve shirts, a cotton button up shirt, fleece and cardigan! Also a hat. Slept really well though! It was great just sitting around the camp fire and there were some potentially big decisions made!

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Thistledown camping…

We got back from our latest camping adventure on Monday. We travelled over on Saturday and came back on the Bank Holiday Monday. Two nights there was a good amount of time, particularly when you’re running around after toddlers and just being on your feet most of the day!

It was a really good site, set into the hills, with a number of large flat areas, with hedges and trees forming the boundaries. It’s generally an eco site, with a massive wind turbine close by and composting toilets etc. We were there first out of the two families so we chose a spot by the side of the largest area, which was near two water taps, a small fire pit and a toilet shed. It had great views across the site and was meant to be more sheltered, but it was still windy!

Oh man, 109 photos from the trip, taken on my DSLR and mobile camera – the hardest (and most enjoyable) part of blogging is choosing the pictures which sum up what i’m trying to say. I’ve used nearly 20% of my total 30GB WordPress allowance so far, so loads of space left!

It was so cool to be able to have a fire each night which really helped, given it was on the cool side and slightly windy! The owners would drive around in their little flat bed truck delivering wood and servicing the site etc. You could buy a wheelbarrow of wood for £10, but we bought a half barrow full the first night then went on a mission of mercy back home to get wood for the second night! The car going to site was totally full (mostly with bedding and tent etc) so I couldn’t bring much of my own wood. Our camping friends picked up some for us which i’d left out!

Anyway, we got back and chucked loads of wood in an Ikea bag and had a good fire for the last night. J constructed a defence wall around the windy side to protect the fire which helped to get it going. The kids liked helping and chucking on wood etc and also dodging the smoke!

Amazing being outdoors the whole day and the changes in weather, from cold and fresh in the morning to hot direct sun and cold overcast with wind! The last night was quite cold but our sleeping bags were super-warm! One down-side was the bug bites! 2 days after the trip, i’ve counted 21 bites, which are now really itchy!

Everyone had a good time and we’ll defo go back there next year. We spotted loads of other areas we could pitch next time and particularly more sheltered spots! Lots of trails in the woods and other places to see in the immediate area which we didn’t get a chance to see this time. Also very reasonable price (£12 for our family per night). The kids even got a ride in the little truck at the end, when all our stuff was collected and taken back up the hill to the cars!

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Thistledown camping…

Looking forward to 2 things over the next week…The first is the Bank Holiday Weekend camping trip to Thistledown, which is just SW of Stroud, nr. Woodchester. Sounds like plenty to do and see + you can setup camp fires!

http://www.thistledown.org.uk/index.htm

The prices also seem very reasonable, and we can camp there for roughly £12 per night. Even when the boys are over 4, it’s still only an extra £3! It was meant to be an NCT thing, which has now been basically cancelled and it’s our family and 1 other!

When we get back on the Monday, we’ll be ready to welcome Tinkerbell (the new cat) to the mad house. We had the house check earlier this week and everything is ok. Just have to sort out some food for her + get her some pet insurance.

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