Small Batch Campsite, Little Stretton, Aug/Sep 2012

A chance to escape back to Shropshire took us to Small Batch campsite in Little Stretton (just down the road from Church Stretton). We’d found the site in the Cool Camping guide and when I rang to book on Thursday I got the last pitch available.

For once there wasn’t any rain on the M6 and we had a relaxed drive, stopping at a Little Chef on the way for lunch. We got to the site about 3.30pm and the really friendly owner showed us to our pitch. She knew her Kombis as well, commenting that Absinthe was a new one and how much she loved the colour.

There was already a van on site:

and another one came along later:


Looks like they only allow green Kombis on site…

We had a pitch close to the end of the site and from there it was a short walk to hop over the stile and along the valley next to the Long Mynd. We took Boris along the path and hardly saw anyone else in over an hour:


R.I.P Kes



















We ate in the Ragleth Inn on Friday night – a very nice country pub that allowed dogs in, so Boz could join us, although he was too tired to even eat his pork scratchings…

Saturday was fine and sunny, so after walking Boris, we caught the bus into Church Stretton. It only takes 3 minutes but could have ended in a fight… A couple got on in front of us and made their way towards the rear of the bus as there weren’t any other seats. We paid and had to sit adjacent to them just in front of the rear seats, which were occupied by a bunch of 20 something men who had obviously had a drink (or maybe something stronger).

As we sat down, one of them, the loudest one, said, “Ooh, I’ve got some sexy chicks in front of me now” He then said something I’m not writing in this Blog (and definitely not something to be said on a bus within earshot of young children) but when I asked Alison if she wanted me to get involved now, she said “no”. It was only afterwards when I told her what he’d said that she told me she would have happily sanctioned a bit of violence in their direction. The other couple, incidentally, immediately moved forward and sat on two separate seats away from them. Very wise, but it annoys me that the rest of the bus has to say nothing whilst they behave like this. Even Alison was shocked that they were also blatantly smoking on the bus. Still, we were only on the bus for 5 minutes – I was just glad we weren’t going all the way to Shrewsbury with them.
Church Stretton sems to be a lovely market town with more than its share of coffee shops (which suits me). There weren’t many that accepted dogs though, so we sat outside the Hollybush Cafe and Alison went in to order breakfast.
As she was inside I noticed a commotion and when she came out it transpired that she’d been stung by a wasp on her arm (makes a change as it’s usually me). The assistant got her some tissue and she wiped vinegar on it, but it looked nasty. Fortunately, a passing neighbour of the cafe offered to get her some anti-sting cream and that helped a lot.
A good Samaritan applying some anti-sting cream


After a poor start the day got better. The sun was shining and we pottered around the town, eventually having more coffee and cake in another cafe (this one allowed dogs inside and even gave Boz a treat*).
We bought some steaks for the barbecue and picked up a walking booklet from the Tourist information desk in the Library. The walk back was brilliant, through a park, up a hill and along a bridlepath.
The path carried on until we were overlooking the camp site which was handy.

We carried on past the site to the Green Dragon Inn which was short walk down a country lane on the outskirts of Little Stretton.

Along the way I spotted a juvenile buzzard in a tree – we’d seen a kite earlier and spotted a pergrine later – a twitchers delight.
 Strangely, the pub closed at 3.15pm and so we walked back to the Ragleth for another beer only to find that as soon as they’d served us, they too shut at 3.40pm. Apparently, they had lots of prep work to do ahead of a busy night in the restaurant so were shutting until 6pm. Very odd, as people were still walking down from the campsite on a very sunny Saturday afternoon…

Mrs B and Boris crossing the ford to the campsite.

On Sunday, we packed up and headed home, stopping near Chester for some food and a break.

We’d had a brilliant weekend in one of the best spots we’ve ever been. On the face of it, the site wasn’t anything special, just a farmer’s narrow field with some basic showers and toilets and some hook ups, but somehow it seemed to have everything. It had a ford, a stream running alongside, a sheltered valley position (which cut out direct sunlight on one side of the field after 7pm but had the advantage of avoiding the wind). The walks from the site are fantastic and the two pubs are only a few minutes walk away. There’s even a small village store selling all the essentials opposite the Green Dragon, and there’s plenty of public transport if you don’t want to move the van.

If you have small children then this site is ideal – there were lots there this weekend and they spent their time paddling in the stream and playing on the steep sides of the valley in the bracken – all with huge grins on their faces and no wireless internet or 3G in sight (or on site, come to that).

It seemed to me as near to our own childhod experiences as you can get these days – with the added benefit of hot water and decent toilets. Alison’s reading this book at the moment – if you’re a Baby Boomer and went camping as a child we can thoroughly recommend it.

Full set of pics here: Flickr

* I go two treats by High Fiving for the first – the waitress couldn’t resist giving me another one – Woof! Boz

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