Forest of Dean, Bracelands

Tuesday 1st November

We left Hertford, where have had a seasonal pitch since April, and headed west aiming for The Forest of Dean. 

We had booked three nights at Bracelands, a Camping and caravanning club site. ///joys.cobras.mural.

After a couple of miles on the M-25 we took the A-41 through the Chiltern hills, Berkhamsted and Tring and at Bicester we diverted to the A-40 which took us through the Cotswolds and Gloucester and then into the Wye valley AONB and The Forest of Dean. We selected a hard standing pitch with electric and we had soon made camp! Here is a video of the route.

We walked ‘D’ through the wooded area which surrounded this beautiful campsite and then settled down for the evening eventually falling into bed at around 9pm. There was absolutely no phone or TV signal and no internet so why not?   

Wednesday 2nd 

A lovely sunny morning so we got the new e-bikes out and set off to Norchard station where we were to embark on a steam train ride! ///adapt.riverboat.once

Andy was as excited as a 9-year-old boy who had never seen a steam train before, Sue was non de plus! The hills were steep, and we worried about the journey back, but Andy was determined and kept going. ‘D’ was in his trailer and seemed oblivious to it all. Eventually we arrived at Norchard and locked the bikes up behind the ticket office and settled down with a couple of Mochas and a cheese toastie each, £14! The train arrived and armed with our cream teas (mochas) scones, cakes and sandwiches we found our seats and started munching. 

The train was soon moving towards Lydney where the engine turned around and pulled us to Parkend. Here it turned again and filled with water before pulling us back to Norchard. Andy really enjoyed the ride but when we got back to Norchard it was just beginning to rain, so we set off up the hills and back to Bracelands, 9 miles and about one hour away. Eventually, after stopping off to buy some booze we arrive back at the van we locked the bikes up and stripped off our wet clothes, that was everything then, had a lovely bean curry, wine and bed!

Thursday 3rd 

Up refreshed and aching we got the van road ready and drove to the Wye valley Butterfly Zoo. ///originate.positions.boil 

It was only 6 miles away, but we didn’t feel like another epic bike ride today. We wish that we had taken the bikes because as we were just picking up speed having left the site we heard a bang but couldn’t decide what it was. When we got to the Butterfly Zoo Andy noticed that the front bedroom window was missing. It had obviously not been shut properly and had blown away as we picked up speed! We had no choice but to bung the hole up with insulation bubble wrap and gaffa tape! The butterflies were amazing. We didn't really learn much about them, but we enjoyed the experience.

Back to the campsite, secure the van, on our bikes and off to ‘The Globe Inn’ ///expensive.craters.cuddling, where we drowned our sorrows (lost window) with a couple of ales and a single malt each. 

Take away Chinese opposite the pub was too good to be missed so filled a bag up with our favourites and headed back to base.  Tomorrow we are going to head across the border and into Wales to try to find 'Coco's wild camping site'.