Tom and I recently took a couple of well-deserved days off to be tourists in our own area – something we like to do now and again to appreciate all the amazing things to see and do right on our doorstep! So while Tom was out and about on his sold-out tour of the Cotswolds last Sunday, I packed up the car with our camping gear so we were ready to go as soon as Tom finished work.
Our destination was Twitey’s Tipis and Camping Meadows at Lowe Farm near Wellesbourne – just a 30-minute drive away from home! We’d heard about this campsite from our friends Matt and Noelle, who’d gone camping in Wellesbourne with their two small children one weekend while Matt (and Tom) played an away cricket match.
What a fabulous little spot! Although only half an hour from our home in Alcester, and just 15 minutes from Stratford-upon-Avon, we really could have been anywhere in the beautiful English countryside.
We were greeted on arrival by Twitey himself – Mike Twite, that is – the friendly site owner, who gave us a quick tour. Although the facilities are fairly basic – “shabby chic” as Mike called it! – I was really impressed that he and site manager Stuart seem to have thought of everything. As well as clean toilets and hot showers, there were washbasins, washing up sinks, a large fridge and freezer to keep your food chilled, and if you had run out of milk or forgotten to pack the charcoal for the BBQ, there was a well-stocked shop on site containing everything you could possibly need. There was even a place to charge your mobile phone, which was great for Tom to make sure he didn’t miss any Go Cotswolds enquiries! As the name of the site suggests, if you’re looking for more of a ‘glamping’ experience, there are also three large tipi tents available to hire. They looked awesome perched on top of the hill – perfect for larger families or groups of friends!
A really nice thing about this site is that there are no vehicles allowed on the two large camping meadows. Although this does mean you have to put in a bit of effort to wheelbarrow your tent and belongings from the car park to your pitch, it also makes it very quiet, safe for children, and doesn’t spoil the lovely long meadow grass dotted with wildflowers. Each pitch is formed from a circle mowed into this grass, which gives the occupiers of each tent a semi-secluded little area to call home and makes a nice change from the usual regimented rows of tents barricaded by cars. We chose a pitch on the upper meadow, which was nice and flat and had a great view of the surrounding countryside.
After setting up camp, Tom and I lit the BBQ and enjoyed food and drinks al fresco in the warm evening sunshine. Our elevated position gave us a wonderful vantage point for a most spectacular sunset. Perfect!
After a late breakfast cooked on our camp-stove, on Monday we set off for a long country walk that would ultimately take us on an almost-13-mile circuit, mostly on public footpaths. Heading northwest and skirting the edges of wheat fields close-to-harvest, we passed through the tranquil and very pretty village of Alveston. Sadly The Ferry pub is closed on Mondays, but it looked like an inviting spot for refreshments so we’ll just have to go back another day. Turning to the west, we then wandered through Charlecote Park, the lovely grounds of a 16th century National Trust-owned stately home with herds of free-roaming deer and rare-breed sheep.
Heading southwards, we skirted the village of Wellesbourne and ambled along the banks of the River Dene towards the hamlet of Walton and its very grand-looking Walton Hall Hotel, a place we’ve picked up a few Go Cotswolds customers in the past. We stopped here for a well deserved pint of chilled cider in the bar, both to try and numb the pain in my legs caused by some rather vicious stinging nettles encountered on a lesser-used footpath, but also to meet up with our friends, fellow minibus tour company owners Chris and Jen Horsey of The English Bus. The English Bus runs a variety of tours out of London, but we’ve got to know them through regularly bumping into them on our lunch breaks in Stow-on-the-Wold, where they also make a stop on their Oxford, Stratford and Cotswolds Villages tour.
Leaving Walton Hall, Tom and I continued our walk, though by now our good luck with the weather had turned. We dived for cover from the rain at The Fox at Loxley, which is normally also closed on a Monday, but fortunately for us opens on the first Monday of each month. Here we enjoyed further refreshment of the apple-flavoured variety, but realising the rain seemed set to stay for the night, we reluctantly pulled ourselves away from the warm, dry pub, donned our raincoats, and took the shortest route back to the campsite. Here we took shelter in our (thankfully watertight!) tent and cooked up a BBQ feast with the help of a somewhat improvised rain cover!
All too soon we were packing up our tent (and ridding the porch of a small army of slugs!) and heading home, but not before enjoying a delicious breakfast at the Touchdown Café at Wellesbourne Airfield, walking distance from the campsite. This “posh greasy spoon”, which looks out over a runway for light aircraft, was recommended to us by friends as making “the best Full English breakfast ever”, and I wouldn’t disagree with that!