A Little Gem of a Site – Ettie’s Field
A Little Gem of a Site – Ettie’s Field
Alison and I had a discussion recently about which were our favourite camp sites in the UK. The list was always going to be subjective, but we did agree on some that we felt would be in our Top Five, and, unsurprisingly, they were all smallish independent sites, mainly (but not exclusively) found in the North of England. The list included:
- The Cud Life, near Harrogate
- Horgabost, Isle of Harris
- Masons, Appletreewick
- Ivy Bank, Kirkby Malzeard (for Glampfest)
- Usha Gap, Muker
Well that list is going to have to change after we stayed at Ettie’s Field in Warwickshire (or is it Leicestershire?), last weekend. Originally, we were heading to Shropshire to chase some sunshine but the weather forecast kept changing all week. On Wednesday, Alison went to Bolton to visit her parents and by the time she’d come back I’d switched our trip to Warwickshire, where the forecast looked much better.
We left home around noon to make the two hour trip down the M6 and arrived at 2.30pm, after a stop/start journey on my favourite motorway. The weather was sunny but quite windy and once we’d checked in with Linds at Reception we soon had the Glawning up and were chilling with a brew. On this occasion, we opted not to attach the Glawning to the van, because we planned to go out and about from the campsite and it was easier to use it as a stand alone bell tent.
I’m aware that this Blog post is in danger of looking like we’ve been sponsored by Ettie’s Field, but we really haven’t, it’s just that the attention to detail on the site was so good we were blown away. It’s obvious that the owners are both VW fans and also experienced users of campsites and know what’s needed to keep their visitors happy. Entry to the site isn’t available to large motorhomes, nor standard caravans, so there’s sure to be an eclectic mix of interesting vehicles there when you rock up. Whilst we were there, there were lots of VWs of all shapes and sizes, a group of 4×4 Offroaders and several interesting bell tents. Talking of entry to the site, there’s a very clever system which involves a Sim card in the gate mechanism, which is opened by a simple phone call – impressive.
On Friday night, we walked a mile along the lane to the nearest pub, The Gate Inn, in Ratcliffe Culey, had a few beers and some food, then headed back to the Glawning, where we soon had the stove burning. We chilled, watching the sunset over the Airstream caravans on site.
On Saturday we explored the site a bit more. There are some lovely Donkeys and Alpacas, one of which had a nibble at Alison’s shoulder when she went over to talk to them. They are such cute animals and we’d definitely have a couple if we had the room. There are also some free range Peacocks, who make their presence known with their fantastic cries.
The facilities on site are superb with luxurious toilets and showers, plus a composting toilet at the far end of the pitches. The highlight though is the Club House which is furnished brilliantly in a BoHo style and has a lovely sitting area outside. Fire pits are also allowed, although you need to hire a base so that the grass doesn’t get damaged. As I mentioned above, there are 4 Airstreams which you can hire and the site is also a wedding venue. Saturday was the first anniversary of the site opening and the owners should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.
We had a drive out during the afternoon to a local craft centre but it wasn’t what we were expecting, so we moved on to the town of Market Bosworth, close to where the Red Rose lot scraped a lucky win on a neutral venue, during the Wars of the Roses. The highlight for me, though, was seeing the Town’s award winning chippy, which is called the Batter of Bosworth.
In the evening, Alison’s brother and Sister in Law picked us up at the site entrance as we headed back to the pub for more food and a few pints. The pub was almost empty – the landlord said it was because the Champions League Final was on TV, and the same thing had happened last year. It was good to catch up with Richard and Mandy, and they very kindly dropped us back at the site on their way home. We were soon back in the Glawning, but we maybe shouldn’t have put three logs in the stove – at one point we had to step outside because it was too hot!
We had a lazy Sunday morning and there was some rain about, but in the afternoon we headed to the Ferres Centre, near Ashby de la Zouch, to fulfill Alison’s retail therapy needs. The guy manning the car park kept us chatting for 20 minutes, with tales of a VW Splitty he’d had in the 70s, something that everyone with a T2 will have experienced on lots of occasions. We bought a few things before heading to a pub Alison had spotted for lunch. Unfortunately, the way out of the centre was different from the way in, so we missed the pub. No problem, we thought, we’ll do a Google search and find another. After the fourth pub telling us they’d stopped serving we’d given up hope of having a meal out, when we came across a place on the road back, where we shared a delicious Chateaubriand for our tea. It was definitely worth the wait.
Monday was a day for packing up, and driving back home – the M6 was relatively benign and we stopped on the Toll Road for some food at Norton Canes Services. We had the trailer with us, so needed to park in the Caravan area of the car park. What is it about some car drivers who think they’re ok to take the caravan spaces? Can’t they manoeuvre into a normal space? We managed to get parked and went in to eat but when we came back to the van, it was all kicking off. A couple of young guys in a white van had parked in front of us, but, to be fair, they’d left a space we could get through. The driver of a Motorhome parked next to us had taken exception to the van being there and encouraged me to get involved, The van guys were ok (although they shouldn’t have been there) – they weren’t rude, which was more than you could say about the gammon faced chap driving the Motorhome. He threatened to get a knife and slash the van driver’s tyres and shouted abuse at them as he left. Takes all sorts doesn’t it?
We were home by 2.30pm after a brilliant few days away, and we’ll definitely be going back to Ettie’s Field.
Things We’ve Learned
It’s not rocket science, but some site owners understand, whilst others don’t…
With a bit of effort you can achieve a lot in a year
Chasing the weather instead of planning too far ahead can pay dividends
Those Motorhome drivers can be a feisty lot
Spotting a bird I’ve not seen before can be quite exciting (step foward; the Yellow Wagtail)
There’s a full set of photos here: Flickr