Iona goes to Shakespeare Country

Trip 11: Stratford upon Avon Racecourse THS

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Once fully loaded we set off towards Stratford Racecourse, stopped for some diesel and headed to Leicester and the motorway. Then around Coventry and down the A46 to Stratford, it was about  98 miles so it should have taken us about two hours.

In the end it now us about 2 hours on the road , although we did stop in a lay-by for me to stretch my back that had gone into spasm. We took the ring road around most of Stratford but in the end we had to go through part of the town to get to the Racecourse. The Temporary Holiday Site is in the middle of the course which is why you cannot leave or join on a race day.

The Stewards were very pleasant and they showed us to our pitch, we were lucky again that it was almost level. We were soon set up with the gazebo in place. We did scare the sun away although it looked as if it would appear later.

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After lunch we sat for a bit and then went on a walk about to suss the place out. I check out my Map.me app and it showed a footpath across the Racecourse. We follow the path that took us to the river Avon. The path continued to an old railway bridge  over the river, it then took us under some arches and up onto the old track bed.

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Stanton Bridge
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A Relic of the Steam Age

We followed the track which ran beside the racecourse, after a mile we came across a couple of railway carriages on the embankment, one was a cafe, (closed) and the other housed a bicycle hire shop (also closed). From here the path split , left took us into town or onto the racecourse, the other lead to a path along the river and back to the bridge.

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Along the river there is evidence that it is a popular fishing match venue, well worn paths to the river edge where pegs were numbered. There were plenty of ducks about and we saw several fish.

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There is a weir which is bypassed with a lock and we did see a narrowboat going upstream to Stratford. We soon arrived back at the campsite as the sun came out.

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We had a bar-b-que for supper and sat outside until late. Roll on tomorrow.

Day 2:

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I woke at 06.15am to humming so I got up to investigate. Just over the hedge was a hot air balloon preparing to launch. I watched as the it took off and then the sound got loader as another flew over the motorhome. It must have been in a field in front of Iona. I went back to bed.

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Mid morning we walked through the racecourse and down to the river and headed into town. The first thing we came to was a Church where William Shakespeare is buried. A little further is Shakespeare’s park alongside the river Avon.

This led us past posh riverside eateries and into the town where there is a lock leading to a marina. We sat and watched the boats and people before moving off to Bancroft Gardens where we took some pictures.

Bancroft Gardens

We walked into an older part of town where you can see the Tudor buildings interspersed with coaching house/pubs. Most of them are now restaurants and with it being 12.30 pm most were full, or queuing for a table.

A little further and there was a young lady singing without any real backing sound. We left her and continued to another open plaza where there is Shakespeare’s Memorial Fountain and Clock, in a very ornate stone tower. This was donated to the town by an American for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.

Just over the road was a very inviting pub, The Old Thatch Tavern, so we went for a pint before heading home.

There is no doubt that without the Maps.Me app on my phone we would have got lost very quickly. Tomorrow another walk into town via a different route.

This evening just before tea there was some activity in the next field. I had to go and have a look. The balloon was being readied for a flight. I joined the campsite steward as we watched them prepare the balloon, give a pre flight instruction and then take off. After all this excitement we returned to our vans and Sue and I had a great pasta bake.

Day 3:

We spent the morning around the motorhome, it was warm but a little overcast until lunchtime. After lunch we went looking for a post box. Sue found the Draco’s website that shows all the post boxes in a postcode superimposed on a map.

On the way we called in at the shower block to check it out, before leaving the racecourse on the hunt for a post box. We soon found it on the other side of a main road, luckily right by a crossing point.

We posted Richard’s card. At a nearby road junction was a sign to Ann Hathaway’s cottage so instead of returning home we went for a walk. It was only a quarter mile away.

We passed a school building built in 1874, very much in a Tudor style. Further on at the end of the road we found a pub, it was tempting but we managed to walk by it and continued to the cottage.

Anne Hathaway’s cottage is a typical chocolate box tin thatched cottage, with a lovely garden complete with hazel sculptures. We took some pictures and made our way home.

I had only walked 6000 steps so we had not been far but by now it was full sun and extremely hot.

Iona beckoned, well the fridge and a cold cider did. Alas there was no cider in the fridge so I had to settle for a cold beer instead, life is tough as a camper.

Day 4:

My back was really painful this morning so we stayed around the motorhome. After lunch we went for a walk along the Stratford Greenway, this time in the opposite direction.

The old railway crossed a tributary to the River Avon and we could see rainbow trout milling about by the bridge. On the other side after a small weir, children were paddling in the stream.

The grandstands and the campsite from the old railway bridge

We did not go far and by the time we got back to the campsite we had walked about four miles.

Trip 11: 198 miles, 28.5 mpg, 37 mph av, 5 hours travel.

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