Managing to get away that bit earlier is a huge bonus for a weekend advanture, it gives you more flexibility and basically more time away in the van, which is what it’s all about!
Most of our recent weekend adventures have taken us in a Westerly direction but this weekend we are heading East. Being brave and tackling the M4 motorway on a Friday, madness many would say but its a small price to pay for the end goal, vanlife in wonderful Wiltshire and beyond!
Making good time we arrived at a small campsite we’ve stayed at many times over the years, Piccadilly Campsite https://piccadillylacock.co.uk/ a small and reasonably priced spot that gave us a boost of electric and much-needed water for Hank. It’s in a great location, not too far off the M4 and just outside the stunning village of Lacock, Wiltshire. https://visitlacock.uk/
Once settled in and after a nice cuppa we headed across the road to Lacock. It’s a really pretty National Trust village with the focal point of the village being the renowned Lacock Abbey, founded 900 years ago by Ela, Countess of Salisbury. The Abbey has a rich history and has survived the passage of time and its machinations. For the past 300 years it was owned by the Talbot family and remained with them until Matilda Talbot bequeathed the Lacock Estate of the Abbey and the vast majority of the houses to the National Trust in 1944.
It’s a lovely place that has had lots of films and TV use it as a set backdrop. Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice to name but a few! You can see why though as it’s streets are quintessentially oldie worldie, that’s a technical term, that screams of visiting tourists snapping away and buying overpriced jams and chutney in the National Trust shop.
After an hour or so of wandering about we headed back to Hank and left the houndies while we visit the Abbey and the Fox Talbot Museum. A great place covering the history and start of photography many years ago. I’d always wanted to visit but never got around to it. We walked through the Abbey and noticed some nice dog walking spots along the river so definitely a place to return.
Back to Hank, catch up with the Hounds and settle in for the evening. It the first time to get the Silver screens out for Hank as the temperature looks like plummeting tonight. We’ll review them in another post!!
Dogs fed, watered and then walked around the good-sized ‘dog field’ at the campsite, a good excuse for Tilly and Belle to go manic for a while investigating somewhere new. Its getting chilly so we settle in with some nice warm food and plan tomorrows Ridgeway Trail adventures, hope the weather holds up!
Oh well, never mind, firstly its bloody freezing, Hanks has got a frosty jacket on and the hounds seem a bit reluctant to get out for a morning wee! It also looks like its going to be a bit wet later.
After breakfast for all of us and a quick freshen up we pack up and say goodbye to Piccadilly campsite and head off to Avebury and the Ridgeway National Trail. Arriving at Avebury we quickly realise it might end up being one of THOSE days! The car park is rammed, there’s some kind of family event on for Halloween and with it being the pagan festival of Samhain in a few days time there are lots of people here to celebrate early.
Unfortunately we couldn’t find anywhere to park, the downside of vanlife I guess so we made a quick decision to head off to nearby Hackpen hill to go for a walk on the Ridgeway. Parked up, quick spot of lunch, warm cup of tea as its freezing out today and all wrapped up we head off.
Claire and myself have walked the whole Ridgeway Trail, all 120’ish miles a few years ago for Greyhound Rescue Wales. It was an amazing experience and we raised loads of money for the charity. We love walking sections of it and really enjoy getting to experience sections of it with Tilly and Belle, they seem to benefit from the ancient vibes!
It was definitely cold today though as both houndies had their Blizzard coats on and not a moan at all, there are pretty used to braving all-weather and are not phased by rain, wind or snow, see Greyhounds can be tough!!
As we drove away from Hackpen Hill and headed towards Barbury Castle, our destination for the day it started to pick with rain and off in the distance we could see the storm clouds gathering, it looked a bit ominous. Decision made, we hightailed it back to Hank and just made it into his warm embrace when the heavens opened and it started to rain. Oh well, the Ridgeway will wait and I’m sure we’ll be back again so we decided to try to stop in a roadside Pub we’d passed earlier and get some late (warm) lunch. Not serving, well why say on your bloody roadside sign, aahhh. Today is deffo one of those days.
Time was getting on so we hatched a plan to try Avebury again, hopefully it has quieted down and we’ll get a walk, nope still pouring with rain and the car park closes earlier so again no luck. Leaving Avebury we stopped at the ‘Waggon and Horses’, an old roadside Inn just outside Avebury and managed to get some decent, warm, tasty veggie food before heading off to Castle Coombe, approx. 40 mins drive away to aim to wildcamp for the night. It’s a village car park, oddly not that near the village but we’ve stayed before (see the marker on ‘Our Places’ Map) and its a decent, quiet, flattish spot with somewhere to walk the dogs.
So that’s it for Part One, check back soon for Part Two and our lovely day in Westonbirt Arboretum.