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  • Writer's pictureKeef Hellinger

Blog 198 - An almost Autumn travel blog, fun with pals

Updated: May 2

Created by KeefH Web Designs  September 27th, 2023, 7.53 AM


A Travel Blog by KeefH Web Designs Motorhome trip No57: 19th-25th September 2023


NOTTS-> Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Chester, Cheshire and Castleton, Peak District, Derbyshire -> NOTTS 289 miles


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INTRODUCTION

This is a 6 day travel blog. We left home about 11-ish and used the truck nav to navigate to our campsite at Emstrey just outside Shrewsbury. The route was torturous and should have been about 1 hour 30 minutes in duration and 77 miles in distance but for 2 reason that was not to be. Firstly trying to avoid the M6 toll and secondly a truck fire on the M54 outside Telford that created a nose to bumper diversion. Note to self next time we go to Shrewsbury use a different route #stress Anyhow we got to the beautiful Love2Stay campsite around about 2-ish and checked in. The rest of our absolutely fun time can be found under each successive chronologically order travel blog write ups below i.e. fun with pals in Shrewsbury, day out in the marvellous city of Chester and finishing in the spectacular High Peaks in Derbyshire. Only real downside was the weather, wet and windy nearly all the time. Sadly dry and sunny on the journey home from the Peaks. #typical but it didn't spoil our trip and fun.

friends: meal at the riverbank, victoria quay, shrewsbury after cruise
friends: meal at the riverbank, victoria quay, shrewsbury after cruise

CALENDAR

Here is a calendar entry I used to plan the trip, what is they always say prior to travel, make sure you plan properly otherwise it is the old adages "fail to plan, plan to fail" and "the 3 P's... p**s poor planning" #advice

september 2023 calendar for Blog 198 by KHWD
planning our vacation

THE FAB LOVE2STAY CAMPSITE AT EMSTREY

Arrived about 2-ish,checked in and set up camp on pitch FS1 near the amenities block, very convenient. Beautiful hill top views from this pitch, 360 degrees when the sky was clear enough to see. Checked up on buses from the site which are only every 2 hours and stopped pretty early in the evening for the way back. Our lovely friends ferried us back both nights for which we are eternally grateful. On the way in each day we used Shrewsbury's GoCarz app, very efficient and quick and they pick you up by the site reception, roughly £9 into town (dated sept23).


Here is the marketing blurb! Love2Stay really has it all. The fully serviced resort is set in 22 acres of stunning landscape, with the Shropshire hills within easy reach and the Welsh border in striking distance.

Love2Stay was created to make it easier to do something special with your down time, so we’ve made sure that there’s as much to do in the surrounding area as there is onsite. If you’re looking for a day off from driving, the medieval market town of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, is a short bus ride or taxi away. Shrewsbury is home to timber-framed black and white buildings with steep narrow streets and alleyways to discover. The Castle and Shrewsbury Abbey are both worth a visit and the River Severn flows past effortlessly. Try the River trip on the Sabrina.

We would definitely recommend the site if you want to find out more click here Love2Stay info by KHWD

Here are some images from the programme, very professional I must say, that we were given when we arrived, so much so that we intend going back next year with our extended family to stay in one of the Woodland lodges. You may find it of interest.



SHREWSBURY TOWN WITH FRIENDS, DARWIN's BIRTHPLACE

After arriving and setting up the van we phoned for a taxi and had him deliver us to the Riverbank restaurant at Victoria Quay. Had a bit of a look around and the Sabrina was just coming in from its current trip. Lovely area. We arrived about 5 pm and settled down at what was to be our table for the night post cruise with a lovely (and I mean lovely, better than my prize bean to cup machine at home). Mandy and Colin arrived at about 5.30 p.m. and Neil and Marice soon after. So lovely to catch up. After some drinkies, nibbles and a chin wag we crossed the road to wait for boarding. Guess what it was starting to rain. The river trip lasted about 45 minutes and was just lovely leaving from the Welsh Bridge we headed up to the English bridge past the posh boys school , lovely riverside dwellings and the funfair. The rain intensified and apart from the endless great tunes blasting out from the speaker system and humour from the captain it was time for the Icelandic hat to ward off the elements. I think everyone had a great time and it was then back to the Riverbank for a lovely meal. Frankly I have no idea how the combined cruise and 2-course meal was so cheap. Well done colin, £25.50 per head #amazing After a lovely evening Neil kindly drove us back to the site past the abbey and the odd red light #smile The security guard , a Maori looking guy who you definitely wouldn't mess with let us in. Tip you need your barrier key to get into site after 10 p.m. #justsayin


Bit of history for you about the origins of both bridges. During the 12th century this stretch of the Severn served as the frontier between England and Wales, so both the English and Welsh Bridges were fortified as they served as part of the town’s defences.

DAY 1 highlights - Friends, Cruise and Meal oh and cold blue steel soundtrack by her majesty Joni!

Here's the Riverbank menu , far to much food but very very nice, I would especially recommend the mushroom risotto and never fear sticky toffee pudding shared with a loved one, 2 spoons essential.

menu for meal at riverbank shrewsbury with cruise
riverbank menu

Up reasonably early, breakfasted and caught the taxi from site reception to the Premier Inn where our friends were staying, we drooled from the tradesman's entrance whilst they gorged on what can only be described as a Edwardian feast of a breakfast, no scraps available for the onlookers #smile we had a coffee. The weather wasn't great so Neil, Marice and Mandy took the car to visit the Abbey and beyond on their Cadfael tour. Annie, Colin and I decided to brave the elements and started the Town quiz. It did bucket down so we often took shelter. It was a fun way to discover parts of the town and a bit of it's history that I guess we would otherwise never have uncovered. The 3 of us aren't what you may call fast on our feet so it was a fun way to travel around.

Some of the cryptic stuff got harder and harder the further we were into the quiz. Colin was wonderful outside St Mary's church with the most confusing of questions. Some lateral thinking is required. We made a good team. i think it was after question 14 that we stopped for lunch and met up with the others at the Alb, a nice real ale pint and some good food. Weather very variable (ok mostly rain) we headed off in 2 groups again, us to complete the quiz, what heroes eh? The others sight seeing, we all met up at one point, in St Almond's place just up from the 3 fishes in Fish lane, grope lane and the home of John Wesley, Shrewsbury has got it all! A really fun day, back to The Premier in to rest and bask in the glory of solving the quiz. Indeed we were able to sit in perfect sunshine looking down Pike hill at the end of the quiz, self satisfied, and being curtsied to by both tourists and the police. Ok maybe that bit is fiction but the sunshine wasn't.


Some famous folks of Shrewsbury beyond Darwin were Clive of India, Sir Philip Sydney, Jane Webb, John Wesley, Neil, Marice, Mandy, Colin, Keef & Annie x


DAY 2 highlights - Friends, Cadfael discovery, Town Quiz, Premier Inn, Rain , The Alb for lunch and the Loopy Shrew (Screw) for supper #funtimes

Here is both the cover sheet and final answers page for the Shrewsbury town quiz, answers missing of course, know smugly by Colin, Annie and Keef, you will have to torture us, me hearties to get the answer either that or it is in Davy Jones locker!

The following are some memories from our Shrewsbury time


MORETON CORBET CASTLE (ENGLISH HERITAGE) & CHURCH

We drove just a little way outside Shrewsbury to Shawbury and Moreton Corbet castle and Church, a free English Heritage site. It used to be called Moreton Toret initially but changed names when the Toret's married into the Corbet family, the most famous of which was the 5th mistress of Henry 1st who bore him 2 children, one of whom the daughter Sybilla went on to marry Alexander 1st King of Scotland. You can see the family tree related to that as seen in the church. Very interesting to visit , shame such a regal manor was like many others destroyed by Cromwell's thirst for power.

Corbet's Claim to Fame

This extract from the Corbet family history is held in the church for all to see, as genealogists we found it all very fascinating, so worth a visit, castle and church combined, spent well over an hour there.

Sybill Corbets times 2, family history, Henry 1st mistress no 5 and queen of Scotland & Normandy image by KHWD
Sybill Corbets times 2, family history, Henry 1st mistress no 5 and queen of Scotland & Normandy

Moreton Corbet Castle is a Grade I listed building located near the village of Moreton Corbet, Shropshire, England 1. It was built in the 13th century and has been remodeled several times since then. The castle is open to visitors from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day of the week. The ruins of the castle are impressive and are the result of over 500 years of building works. The earliest surviving remains are those of a stone castle begun in about 1200, included the fine gatehouse. The Corbet family remodelled the castle in the 16th century, and the Elizabethan south wing is a rare survival from this period of a bold Italian-inspired design, which was devastated during the Civil War. Fine Corbet monuments fill the adjacent church. Especially the very well preserved crypts of both Robert and Richard Corbet and their spouses. If you’re planning to visit, please note that there is limited free car parking available in the layby next to the castle. Wheelchair access is possible to most of the site, but there are some short flights of stairs within the ruins. There are no toilet facilities at the castle. Dogs on leads are welcome. #hintsandtips.

See our travel bog slideshow with special effects created by KHWD

If you want to read more click here to enhance the KHWD travel blog

I have created a second version of the castle slideshow here minus the Don McLean "Castles in the Air" soundtrack for the benefit of friends!

Prepare to be scared

THE CITY OF CHESTER, CHESHIRE

Stayed at the Chester Fairoaks site for 2 nights, a caravan and motorhome club site, listed by us as M&CCsite tag because motorhomes are now more prolific than caravans in our humble opinion, and take far less time to set up, I would accept the use of the car by caravanners is a plus however but our little Wendy house autosleeper we can park almost anywhere. It is only 5.4 meters long.


We arrived at the site about 1.30 p.m. which was a good entry time, normally at Caravan and Motorhome club sites folk are queued out onto the main roads before 1 hoping to get in early or straight away, these are probably the folk we remember arriving on site at 9 a.m. in the old days blocking the site for leavers, I could say inconsiderate but who am I to criticise?


Here are some details of the site, we stayed on pitch x, it was in the wardens words probably there worst year for rain and as a clay undersoil the site was pretty boggy in places, indeed the continual rain we had whilst there didn't help either, our pitch was slightly under water at one point, nothing extreme but great for ducks.

On the second day at the site we walked up the lane, not great traffic wise because of the lack of pavements and across the bit junction down to the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet mall, wrestling the winds and driving rain, hey we are on holidays. Note on the right hand side there are also no pavements to get to the bus stops mid outlet mall. The site info suggest a 10 minute walk to get the bus and I know we are slow but I would allow 40 minutes as the buses don't run that frequently and you don't want to miss one. Stand B for Chester, stops at the zoo as well, Stand A on the way back and into Liverpool. Our trip took about 35 minutes and stopped at the new Chester bus station, where you can pick up the hop on hop off bus just outside. A bargain at £10 concession, we used it to go around once before lunch and once after. Had a great dinner at Chester's near the clock in I think main street, can't recommend it enough.


Here is a slideshow of our Chester stay fun. Note its about 7 minutes long but will give you a great overview of what there is to see there esp. the 2nd most photographed clock in the UK, Chester's fab fish and chip shop, great architecture, roman amphitheatre, town walls and a whole lot to do. View on.

This is the talkies movie recorded mostly on the Hop On Hop Off bus, guess what it was raining a lot, no surprise there then


THE WONDERFULLY FRIENDLY CHESTER TOWN CRIER, DAVID

Tee hee maybe David should be called a city crier rather than a town crier. What a lovely man, a retired junior school teacher whom we met on the X1 bus into Chester from our campsite, who then proceeded to show us around a bit, and ring us literally off the bus "Keef and Anne are leaving the bus" #smile

He is quite a tourist fixture in Chester, he helped us onto the Hop On Hop Off bus which he also went around on, just a lovely chap with a great sense of humour, hugely comfortable with the public. He even "rang" me in and out of the Bus station loos, an essential for us ageing population #teehee It is also a well known fact , by David mostly, that he is "ye moste handsome town crier in all the land" #fact

chester city cheshire's town crier
with the wonderful David at Chester bus station

Here is his calling card, maybe give him a ring if you need a guest speaker, at the very least use the Chester Hop on Hop off (HOHO) bus and you may well get the opportunity to meet up with him, you won't be disappointed, one of lives great gentlemen. PS Victoria Coren-Mitchell was nowhere to be seen (in joke!)


CASTLETON IN THE PEAK DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK, DERBYSHIRE & WINNAT's PASS

We left the Chester site reasonably late after packing up, all the water off the pitch had now gone. Not the best journey as around the Manchester airport area trying to get onto the A6 to travel through the Peaks there was an accident so we used a different route through some very nice Cheshire areas eventually going past the canal areas, the Torrs riverside park at Low Leighton and Bugsworth basin through to areas of the Peaks National Park we know well, going down Winnat's pass and eventually into our Caravan and Motorhome campsite at Castleton, not a place we have ever stayed at but one I have been to to pick up our pals Lawrence and Yvonne wo are site wardens at the Bolton abbey site so I knew where it was. A very nice site, weather not great, so we mostly spent time in and around the site and van, reading, watching stuff and generally relaxing. I like this site.

the wonderful Winnat's pass by KeefH Web Designs
the wonderful Winnat's pass
entrance to C&MC site at Castleton, Peak District
entrance to C&MC site at Castleton, Peak District

Here is a slideshow of the time we spent at Castleton, with special thanks to her ladyship Kate Bush for "running up that hill" to remind us of Winnat's pass.

Here are some details as well of the Castleton campsite, a lovely site I think, what do you think if you have been there? Leave comments at the bottom of the blog, thanks


TRAVEL ROUTE AND MAP

This was our route through Shropshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire, a fun 6 days

Here is a PDF google created for me of where we had been grabbed from my phones GPS settings #bigbrotheriswatching #smile

september 23 timeline from google
.pdf
Download PDF • 785KB


AUDIOBOOK


SUMMARY

That's all folks, a fab few days away in the van initially with pals but then discovering the delights of Chester which we haven't been to for an age, city walls with the kids when they were young, was our memories and so nice to be back in the Peaks, so close to home, note to self spent more time there! Winnat's pass is a must if you don't know it #hintsandtips





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Invitado
07 oct 2023
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Love2Stay Shrewsbury brochure added KHWD

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Invitado
30 sept 2023
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from David the town crier

"Oyez Keefe and Annie!

It was likewise a huge pleasure for me to meet you both.

Thank you for sending me the blog in which you feature me very generously. You even included 'handsome', which is a word often unaccountably omitted from descriptions of me! I am especially grateful that you gave my talks such a strong plug.

I hope we cross paths again.

David


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Invitado
28 sept 2023
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fascinating

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