On tour at home and abroad with the Sumpners

The view below is Toad Rock, Tunbridge Wells

Bransgore – 1 to 3 March

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It had been a while since we had been to the New Forest and so we had selected the Caravan Club’s Centenary site, just outside Bransgore for this weekend. It’s built on the site of one of the old New Forest airfields – I think it must be the Winkton one, but I can’t find definite confirmation of that. It is very smart-looking and we arrived on the first day of the 2013 season. The welcome was warm and we were soon setting up on our “fully-serviced” pitch. To the uninitiated,  this type of pitch has its own drain,  so no need for worrying about waste water and its own tap, so you get a constant uninterrupted supply of fresh water without having to fill up.  A little more expensive but much easier on Paul!

The facilities were very new, sparkling and warm and welcoming, even exceeding the usual high standard you expect of a CC site. The dog walk was more than adequate – if a little boggy in places. It is a very nice site and we are very likely to return (when we get time!).

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Saturday was  bit cloudy but there was promise of better weather and we set off, late morning for a visit to Christchurch. We parked down by the Town Quay and stopped for morning coffee at the cafe on the quay, just by Place Mill (which is a restored Anglo-Saxon watermill. Sadly it does not open until Easter so we’ll save that for another trip). They sold food for the many swans, ducks and ubiquitous pigeons that can be found along the riverside walk. I couldn’t resist!

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You can see how grey it was in those pictures. Once Paul had dragged me away we walked past the mill again and along the Convent Walk, past the Castle ruins and into the town centre. This seems to consist largely of  a numerous variety of eateries and a fair old sprinkling of charity shops.  Bliss. We paid our customary visit to Waitrose to buy lunch and decided  to eat it at Hengistbury Head. By now the sun had come out and we went for a walk down to the beach.

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Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head

We popped back to the caravan for a cuppa which turned into a snooze opportunity,  before setting off for Bournemouth to meet up with my cousin (once removed, it transpires) Joe and his girlfriend, Lisa.  We walked from their flat through the gardens , with their abundance of squirrels (Archie was in his element!) and thence down to the pier.  Interesting to note that they are demolishing the IMAX. Whilst it is/was a bit of an eyesore, it seems like a massive waste of money – especially as it only opened in 2002!

Joe, Kay, Archie and Lisa

Joe, Kay, Archie and Lisa

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Sunset

There was Ska event on the Pier which looked like good fun and we might have popped in, had it not been for Archie. Instead we went for a drink, sitting outside as the sun went down.  It was very pleasant until then, but suddenly became very chilly so we moved on. We walked back up through the town (I had forgotten how hilly it was) and made for The Goat & Tricycle, a proper pub with real ale and dog-friendly to boot.  It was pretty busy but we eventually managed to get seats and had a very nice meal. After dinner we walked back to the flat and popped in for coffee, before taking our leave of Lisa and Joe. It was a lovely evening.

We arrived back at the camp-site and the temperature gauge showed it was -2C! We had a very cosy night, though and a peaceful sleep.

We had hoped as it was quiet season, we might be allowed to stay on for a bit, but sadly those serviced pitches are very  sought after and we had to vacate by midday. We were home by 1 pm and so had time to unpack, get the washing on and do a few bits of housework and such. I like this! Now, we are looking forward to our next trip away, over Easter, when we are taking a trip up to Herefordshire with friends.

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