Somerset, Devon and COVID

This story happened on: 26/06/2022

Late June and we set off on what was to be a three week tour of the West Country, mainly Somerset and Devon. It didn’t quite turn out like that but more of that latter. Our first stop was Wellington in Somerset where we stayed at the Club’s Cadeside site. Tiny compared with most Club sites with only 16 hardstanding pitches but an excellent stopover or perhaps like us a short stay of three nights. The town of Wellington is about a mile away albeit slightly up hill. You do have the option of the regular bus service so one day we walked and the next we got the bus. It’s quite a nice little town. I rather liked the shoe shop called Wellington Boots!!!

After our short stay at Cadeside it was time to move on to Plymouth. We searched high and low for campsites and CL’s that would give us easy access to the City but Riverside Camping was about the most convenient we could find. It was a nice enough site even if the bus stop was three quarters of a mile away! We had, had a chat to a lady waiting for the bus on a recce we did. She kindly explained what number we needed to get into the city and what number we needed on the way back which was different. We had been to Plymouth in the distant past. It reminded me a bit of Southampton, where I was born. Both cities suffered from severe bombing during WW2 and the rebuilds have similarities. We were surprised to find the Frasers Store still open so decided to have a comfort stop. All was well on the upward journey in the lift but on the way back the doors jammed closed!! Never been trapped in a lift before and not keen on doing it again. At least we weren’t between floors! We certainly needed a coffee after that excitement.

Refreshed and nerves calmed set off to  discover Plymouth Hoe. A map at a bus stop showed us the geography from the shopping centre. I realised that the Hoe and the Centre were on the same axis albeit and uphill climb. On the way we passed the Plymouth Bowling Club, was it here that Francis Drake had his game of bowls before sorting out the Armada? Further on is the Royal Navy Memorial with the names of many seamen that lost their lives in various battles. Beyond that is the Smeaton’s Tower which looks suspiciously like a Lighthouse to me! We didn’t go up the Tower as there was a group of excited junior school pupils going up in small groups. The excitement on the faces was obvious. So back on the bus to the campsite.

Our next stop was Dawlish Warren at a campsite called Lady’s Mile. Now this is a large, large campsite of over 400 pitches and I could imagine it being something of an of a Marmite choice for some. Having said that it was well organised and it had good facilities including indoor and outdoor pools and lots more besides. Considering all the facilities and the more than decent sized pitches the price wasn’t too bad either. We were surprised we got there in one piece as the sat nav directed us down some exceptionally narrow road so the mirrors were hitting the bushes on both sides. I would like to say that I closed my eyes and kept my fingers crossed but I didn’t but I was counting down the distance all the way. Margaret probably had her eyes closed!

Whilst at Lady’s Mile we visited Dawlish Warren which we access via a back gate from the site. It’s a downhill walk to the sea front and quite steep in places so we caught the bus back. On another day we took the bus in the other direction to Dawlish which is a pretty little town. It achieved notoriety a few years ago when the sea wall, including the main line railway, was washed away in a storm. They are still working on it but the restoration is essentially complete.

Unfortunately, towards the end of our stay, I started to feel unwell as thought I had a cold. This worried me because these are also the symptoms of COVID so on the Saturday I did a test which showed, I was positive. So now the dilemma, do you sit it out or go home. Having no idea how it would develop we made the decision to pack up there and then and make our way home. Fortunately, the traffic was kind to us and we got home nearly six hours later. That was not the end of the story as had we were due to move onto the Wells Touring Park the next day. As a curtesy I emailed them to explain the situation hoping they might take pity on me and offer a deferment of our stay. But nothing and £175 advance payment down the drain. That episode has rather put me off using sites where I have to pay up front some weeks before arrival. But hey-ho we have to put that down to experience!

More details and photographs of the trip here

brue commented on 24/07/2022 13:22

Commented on 24/07/2022 13:22

You did well with Covid brewing in your system! Nice photos and stories, the typical Devon lanes around Dawlish are a bit daunting. Dawlish used to be full of convalescent homes in an era when a good recovery from illness meant companies sent their employees to the seaside. My Dad had a stroke in his fifties and enjoyed a stay there! Did you see the Dawlish Black Swans, it is a nice little waterside town though greatly expanded.

You will no doubt remember the ending both in health and monetary terms!! Hope you are both well now?

DavidKlyne commented on 24/07/2022 13:28

Commented on 24/07/2022 13:28

Thanks Brue

I wasn't aware of the black Swans. I have tested negative again today and Margaret has also tested negative so we hope that is that? Unfortunately symptoms are still hanging around and we are both very tired. Next trip not until early September so hopefully will be more in the mood by then!


Tinwheeler commented on 24/07/2022 13:37

Commented on 24/07/2022 13:37

You visited Plymouth the City of my birth, David. Sir Francis Drake is said to have played bowls on Plymouth Hoe while he waited for the tide to be right to put to sea but it’s very unlikely to have been the bowling green we see now. His home, Buckland Abbey, is near Yelverton and is a NT property.

Smeaton's Tower is indeed a lighthouse. It was once in place on the Eddystone Rock and its successor can just be seen on a clear day 14 miles out on the horizon. The stump left standing beside the present lighthouse is the base of Smeaton's lighthouse which was left in place on the Rock when the rest of the tower was moved and rebuilt on Plymouth Hoe. 

Anyone fit enough to climb the stairs in Smeaton's Tower can see the cramped conditions the lighthouse keepers lived in for the duration of their lengthy stays and if you venture to the very top, you can walk around the lamp gallery and enjoy views over the City and surrounding countryside.

Incidentally, Coypool Park & Ride is close to the Riverside site along with the Plym Valley Railway, cycle track and bike hire. 

HelenandTrevor commented on 24/07/2022 19:59

Commented on 24/07/2022 19:59

Enjoyed your story and nice photos David, sorry you had to cut the trip short due to Covid.

We have just enjoyed a lovely stay in Somerset and really liked Wells, especially the cathedral, hopefully you will be able to make a return visit.

We stayed on a CL a few miles away, but the village had a  fairly regular bus service.

Woman sitting in camping chair by Wastwater in the Lake District with her two dogs and picnic blanket

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