Iona finds a Secret Garden

 

 

With six inches of snow three days before we were due to drive to Wisbech, it was touch and go if this trip would go ahead.

The drive to the Secret Garden Site was fine although I had added a way point to the sat nav route to ensure we missed a narrow lane. On arrival I did go in the wrong entrance but we ended up at reception where we were met by the own

ers. After a briefing and a tour of the local products in the shop I followed Neil through a wooded track to the campsite pitch.

Neil explained where everything was and left to get us a fire pit. While he was away I got Iona stuck instantly. Sue and Neil tried to push me back but it was no good, so I put in the traction control and it pulled us slowly forward out of the mud. I was then able to reverse back into the pitch which is amongst trees and has its own water and electric, and we are less than fifty feet from the shower block.

The facilities block and the Pod

 

The shower block and toilets plus outside pot washing facilities are some of the best we have seen. Plus there is dog walking area and children’s adventure spaces. The on-site ginger cat, ‘Vernon’ , was quick to make friends and was soon in the van asleep on the sofa.
The Bush Craft area

 

A Tree house in the woods
Just some of the Bees

The Secret Garden also has pigs and chickens. Lesley explained that they run a woodland craft day, sausage and beer tasting events and a bee keeping day. There is a distillery and Cider making along with honey and vinegars making on site. The Mile Tree brewery was on site but has had to move to bigger premises in Peterborough, however the beer is stocked in the shop.

The River Nene
The River Nene

The weather was very mild so we walked down to the river nene about a mile away, this was a practice before we walk into Wisbech tomorrow. The town centre is about 2 miles from the campsite. On the way back we stopped at the Shop/Office and chatted to Lesley. They are no longer growers but are still part of a growing syndicate and they run the sales office as well as the Secret Garden business. I purchased four of the Mile Tree Brewery beers to try. If I like them I will buy some for Richard so he can add them to his portfolio.

Mile Tree Brewery was on the site but has now moved to bigger premises in Peterborough

 

Over the evening I tried the beer and with the exception of the dark ale they were worth trying, the dark ale was a little too bitter for my taste. Tea was prawn risotto , a favourite of ours.

Day 2:

Elgood’s Brewery featured on an information board.

 

Quite a dull day this morning but we are going to walk into Wisbech and try to find the Museum. We walked down Mile Tree lane to the river Nene and followed the road into town. Wisbech was at one time a great port, before the wash was drained. Wisbech was on the coast and the sea came right upto the Church which stands in the middle of the town.

Watch Tower looking over the River

The river Nene is tidal and as we got nearer we were walking past the  Georgian houses of rich merchants and ship owners like Richard Young (1809-1871) who operated 43 vessels out of Wisbech and went on to become an MP. We passed the Elgood’s brewery. Once there were thirteen breweries in Wisbech,but now there is just Elgood’s . We passed two pubs along the road into town. There are some impressive bank buildings to be seen as well as hotels either side of the river by the old bridge.

 

Wisbech is also famous for Thomas Clarkson who was a strong campaigner against slavery. We walked around the Crescent which is famous in the town. It is a crescent shaped mews of large Georgian houses with a Methodist Chapel being part of one side.

 

The crescent and the Chapel

 

The site of the Old Castle
We found the museum and spent an hour or so looking at the exhibits. Not everything relating to Wisbech but a wide varied cross section from farming, police, a display of grocery shop goods, ceramics, Roman finds including a skeleton , Egyptian artifacts, a mummified hand and a cat. Cases of stuffed birds and much more.
The Museum

 

After the museum it was back into the town to look for a supermarket, we found Aldi and managed to get the Worcestershire sauce needed for tea, plus a presentation box with four gins and four mixers, they seemed too good to leave so we bought two. It was then the long walk home, but the temptation to look in the Elgood’s brewery shop was too much and I bought four bottles of beer to try as well as a bottle of Apple and Vanilla wheat beer at £1 in a bargain barrel, it may not be very good but something different. During the evening we tried the Apple and Vanilla wheat beer, but it was not very nice and was thrown out.

Elgood’s Brewery today
When we finally got back to Iona we had walked a total of 6.5 miles and our legs were feeling it.
Day 3:

Today was a chill day by the van although we did walk around the site and stopped at the shop to buy some sausages for lunch. The weather brightened up and I got the fire lit in the fire pit with the wood we had with us. Sue and the cat sat and watched. Once the fire had died down to leave just the embers I got  the  sausages on the grill.

 

The sausages did not take long to cook but once ready we had to take them into the club room so we were not mobbed by the cat who seems to eat anything and has a never ending appetite.

We spent the afternoon in Iona reading while outside the weather kept changing from Sunshine to rain and then back to sunshine.
Day 4

Bright sunshine and strong winds this morning. We are walking into Wisbech again today. Once the rain stopped at about 1pm we headed into Wisbech to replenish some supplies and get some beer from the brewery for our son who reviews them on his Instagram page (the.art.of.beer) he also designs a graphic for each beer. On the walk in we came across a Sparrowhawk that had caught a bird and was in the process of eating it, as we got closer we disturbed it and it flew off with the bird in it’s talons.

The second watch tower with the Rose Tavern behind

We did our bit of shopping and headed back, calling in at the brewery shop as we passed by. We continued home, only 5.5 miles today.

On Friday when we left I got stuck in the soft ground. Luckily Neil had a tractor and he towed us to harder ground.

We got stuck leaving
Trip 2: 100.3 miles, 33 mph, 26.5 mpg, 3 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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