Danbury in Yate, nr. Bristol, then Burford, Sept 12
Absinthe was due her 12 month major service so we’d booked to take her to Danbury in Yate, north of Bristol on Friday, 21st September. We set off after a Board Meeting on the Thursday evening to head to Gloucester where we’d booked a room at the Hilton Express.
For once the drive down the M6 was OK, with very little rain, and we got to the Hotel around 8.30pm after a short stop at the services on the M5.
Just as we arrived, so did a coachload of people from Eastern Europe, who completely filled the reception area. We left them to it for a while whilst we gave Boris a quick walk (he was allowed to sleep in the room) then dropped our bags off before walking over to a nearby pub, The Bumblebee.
We were agreeably impressed at the pub – the Hotel was on the edge of a Business Park so we weren’t expecting too much in the way of food but this was better than we’d banked on. There did turn out to be an issue though as the waitress told us that certain items on the menu weren’t available. She kindly crossed them out on the menu:
This didn’t leave to much to choose from and when we asked her what the problem was she said they’d had a problem with the grill, which they thought they’d fixed, but didn’t want to switch it on as they had a “small gas leak”! That didn’t exactly fill us full of confidence but the food we had was fine and nothing exploded.
After a decent night’s sleep we set off straight after breakfast to drive to Danbury at Yate. It was less than hour away so we were there for 9am.
|Absinthe, back home at Danbury|
After we’d booked her in, we walked to the Frome Valley Way (recommended by osg from the Forum) and followed the river through to the small village of Iron Acton. The weather was grey but still and Boris enjoyed being off the lead, although I was disappointed by how much litter there was along the stretch in Yate. Maybe it’s due a litter pick.
|The Church in Iron Acton|
We had a coffee and toilet stop at the Garden Centre on the edge of the village and then walked back along the road to Danbury, passing these chaps along the way:
We had a quick wander round Danbury’s showroom and, in particular, at their new teardrop trailer. Alison was quite interested when she saw pics on the web but in the flesh it was just too small and of no use to us. Looks good though!
We always leave biscuits for the mechanics (sorry; technicians) in the car when we have our vehicles serviced and it was a lovely touch to find this when we picked Absinthe up:
We left Yate about 1pm and decided to stop at a country pub for lunch somewhere, before we pitched up at Burford. Alison drove and I navigated but foolishly allowed the SatNav to take us on the Motorway which wasn’t really what we’d intended. We came off near Swindon and eventually stopped at Lechlade on Thames at a great pub called The Riverside. There were great views of the river and a decent lunch as well. Even the (southern) beer was drinkable!
We got to the Burford Caravan Club Site about 4pm and soon had the awning up and the kettle on. The site grass was immaculate (although we’d rather have had a hard standing, but they’d all gone) and there are a couple of dog walking areas, which was handy.
We had hoped to be able to get a bus into Burford but having checked with the Warden we found out there weren’t any (I should have checked really). He did tell me that the nearest pub was about a mile and three quarters away so we decided to walk down for an evening meal. He’d confirmed that they allowed dogs in the bar and that we’d get some food there.
We got to the Rose and Crown at Shilton about 7pm and it was heaving. It’s only a tiny place with a bar and rear restaurant area and all the tables were taken in the bar. Dogs aren’t allowed in the restaurant so we had a dilemma. It was too far to walk back and still get food somewhere, so I had a chat with the Spanish waitress who said we could have the next table which came free in the bar, although it might be an hour or so. That was no problem, although there weren’t any seats so we stood and waited. She even put a Reserved sign on someone’s table so that no one else could nab it.
We’d been waiting for about 90 minutes when she took pity on us and gave us the table in the restaurant nearest to the bar, on the basis that we’d hide Boz under the table so that the landlord wouldn’t see him if he came through. The food was ace, as was the Old Hooky Ale and the red wine.
The village of Shilton was beautiful with a river and a ford, so we decided to come back on the Saturday morning to take some photos. First though, we had to walk back to the Site. We’d forgotten to bring torches, it was very dark outside, the walk was along a narrow country road and initially up a steep hill. It had to be done though, so we stepped outside, only to find a minibus taxi dropping someone off. Alison used her charm to persuade the driver to take us, even though he wasn’t keen on Bozzer being in the bus. He stood on the floor though and wasn’t any trouble (Boris, not the driver!). The driver even took us right to the site entrance which was a bit out of his way. Result!
We’d visited the toliet blocks when we’d left the Site earlier and there was a guy hanging around who I thought looked a bit dodgy. He was standing outside the gents toilet and didn’t seem to have any intention of moving. Anyway, when we walked back through the site after the taxi had dropped us off, the police had detained him and he wasn’t being exactly co-operative,. Very strange.
It was extremely cold during the night and when we emerged in the morning there was a light frost. Has winter arrived already?
Another VW had parked next to us whilst we’d been out on Friday night, owned by two friendly ladies who’d had their orange van sprayed Safari Beige and it looked great. They had a Coleman Event Shelter instead of an awning and their cocker spaniel puppy had slept in it overnight – it must have been freezing, poor thing. I found out later that one of them was Louise Callow, Vice Captain of the England Ladies Fly Fishing Team. (I found out because she had her name on her England jacket and the internet is a wonderful source of information to fill in the gaps!)
After breakfast we drove back to Shilton to take some shots in the sunshine:
|The angle of entry was too steep to allow us to drive through|
|If I’d been in the Landrover I’d have been straight through|
We spent Saturday pottering about in the sunshine, going to Stow, where we had lunch and then onto Broadway before stopping in Burford for a cream tea and to buy some food for the evening.
|Lunch at the Old Stocks Hotel in Stow|
There was another Danbury on the site when we got back and I went over to say hello and to drop off a Forum card. There was no one about so I left a card on one of the chairs outside the van.
When we went out with Boris later, Chris, who we’d met with the Forum, jumped out of his mother’s caravan next to his bus (Sunny) and we all laughed about what a small world it is.
We were actually on our way to the Cotswold Wildlife Centre with Boris to look at the Llamas. You can get reduced price entrance tickets from the Caravan Site to get into the Wildlife Centre and, apparently, dogs are allowed, but we hadn’t had time to go. The next best thing was to walk down when they were shut and to look over the fence:
|They’re over there|
After a couple of bottles of red and a slightly warmer night we packed away in the morning, getting everything in just before the rain started. A good weekend over and a decent drive back up the M6.
Feel free to leave comments. There are more photos here if anyone’s interested.
Next week is the Northern Chapter Sleepover in Muker so that will be the next post.