The National Forest beckons

Ingles Hill Farm,  Ashby de la Zouch,
Trip 17: Sept 11th-13th


Day 1:

This trip is going to take us to the National Forest for a short three night stay. We needed to get Iona back to Grantham Caravans so they can check the broken gas hob valve and order a replacement under warranty, however they have since told me they want £60 to do an inspection before they order the replacement part. Appointment cancelled.


The site has 6 pitches and a large rally field. We were on some hard standing looking out onto the National Forest. The wind is fairly strong today but the pitch is sheltered. I went for a quick walk around the woodland planting but it was very wet and it soon started to rain. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the van reading.


Day 2:

A great sunny morning so after breakfast we headed for the National Forest. The owners of the campsite, Mr & Mrs Stanley gave 16.7 hectares, about 42 acres, of farmland to the National Forest scheme, and the plantation on their land has been split into sections, each is enclosed with styles at various points. I have to say that the tracks tended to be circular so we made sure we moved from one plantation to another.

We found a plant nursery and attached to it is a RHS Arboretum, so we spent a bit of time looking at trees from various parts of the world. We made our way back to the van via another forest track. It had been heavy going in places and our legs were suffering when we got back. It was worth it and we had done almost 8000 steps, about 4 miles.

This will be a peaceful site but at the moment they are building a housing development nearby and there is the constant sound of banging as they pile drive the supports for the foundations into the ground.
Day 3:

Today we walked into Ashby de la Zouch, the walk was a bit longer than we thought but we found the high street and walked up the hill towards the church where we found signs to the castle ruins.

The Tower with spiral staircase
We paid and collected our digital guides and set off around the ruins. After a while it was obvious we were going in reverse order but we could still get the guide to tell us about each point. The kitchen was huge and there was an underground tunnel of about 50 yards long that lead to the main tower across a courtyard. The tower was blown up in the 1700s but there is still a large part remaining including the spiral staircase that takes you to the top. Sue declined but I thought I would give the 96 steps a go. On each floor there was a door into the tower, now they were doors onto the outside so each one was barred but I managed to get a picture of Sue on the ground. Near the top there was a stone bench that looked out over the ruins , I continued up to the top. I don’t like heights but I managed to take a picture looking across the ruins but leaning over to look down was sometime I could not do.

The castle was three stories high and you could see ornate fireplaces on different levels on the walls, great sockets that once held huge beams to support the floors, on the outside there were dents in the stone work made by musket balls. There was a chapel within the castle and a great hall with ornate stonework. Overall it was very interesting and the mixture of commentary and information boards gave you a sense of how it was in the 1600/1700s.

The tunnel from the Kitchens to the Tower



A View from the Tower


On top of the tower


One of the ornate fireplaces

We met Henry the tame squirrel, he goes into the gift shop if the door is left open.

Henry the tame squirrel

The walk home was all uphill and it was great to get back to the van for a cup of tea and a sandwich. The weather turned and the wind and rain came back with a vengeance, the rest of the day was spent reading.

Trip 17:
114 miles, 32 mph,  25.7 mpg, 3.5 hours.

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