Cornish Weekender 2020 (Delayed)

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  Southern Section diary

Postponed from June, we were finally able to head to Cornwall for our annual caravan weekend at the end of August. The weather forecast said overcast and cool, but at least the only rain would be on the way home.
Chris Bagley and Godfrey & Chris had already arrived at the small caravan site in St Breward that was to be our base for the next few days, so the party was complete and we made our way to the only pub in the village for a very convivial meal.
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Saturday 29th August.
Erica, Paul & Marion and Mike & I met for breakfast at The Haven on the A30 just outside Salisbury at 9.30am, all looking forward to an excellent weekend.
We headed along the A30 to Honiton for a coffee stop, took the motorway round Exeter then backroads across Dartmoor. Whatever the weather, Dartmoor is one of my favourite places and by now the sun was shining, the temperature had warmed up and the ride across the heathland was as beautiful as ever (spoiled only by the number of tourists).
Dartmoor in the sunshine
Sunday 30th August
The temperature had dropped significantly overnight and it was very cold in the morning. Godfrey and Chris had travelled down in their car and were going their own way, so the rest of us wrapped up and set off for breakfast. We soon found a very nice café on the A30 and then carried on towards St Just.
St Ives looks very pretty and definitely worth a return visit - out of season! We stopped for photos on the way and for an ice cream at Hell’s Mouth Kitchen before fighting our way to Fistral Beach in Newquay for Erica’s charity treasure hunt entry.
Back to the only pub in the village for another excellent evening meal.
Chris B was going to look for points in the South West Region photographic competition, so he left us at Penzance and we followed the coast road north. Once again, the sun was shining, and it soon became much warmer. There were a few moments where cars had difficulty passing on the narrow road but, despite the fact that it was a bank holiday, the roads were surprisingly free, only becoming busy around the popular bays and beauty spots.
Monday 31st August
This morning everyone except Chris B was going to the Lost Gardens of Heligan (something of a misnomer, since we found them easily enough!). The gardens were part of a private estate that had been in the same family for 400 years, but at the start of WW1 the gardeners all went to fight and, sadly, never returned. The gardens became neglected and overgrown and were “lost” until the house was sold in the 1970’s and restoration began in the 1990’s. Today the gardens are open to the public and we had an enjoyable few hours exploring the different zones. The rope bridge in the jungle was particularly amusing, as was the insect house.
We took a longer route back via Fowey and the Bodinnick Ferry. Fowey is a small harbour town at the mouth of the river by the same name. It has typical Cornish narrow, winding streets and, on a warm and sunny bank holiday Monday, those streets were thronged with tourists. It was not easy to negotiate past cars, people and dogs!
We didn’t have long to wait for the ferry and were soon sailing across the river. After a three minute voyage we headed back to St Breward, losing our way briefly when we came across a new housing estate that the sat nav didn’t know about.
A thoroughly good day, finished with another good meal at the only pub in the village, which was made even more attractive because the government had agree to subsidise the cost.
Tuesday 1st September

We loaded the bikes, tidied the caravans and said goodbye to our hosts, Julie and Steve, promising to return next year.

Godfrey and Chris made their own way home and the rest went to the Strawberry Fields Farm Shop, where Chris left us. After breakfast we followed A30 all the way to a coffee stop at The Udder Farm Shop near Shaftesbury. Traffic was light and we made good time. At Stockbridge we waved and went our separate ways.

We’d had a really good weekend. The weather was much better than we’d expected, which made the riding and the scenery even more enjoyable, and the hordes of tourists hadn’t interfered with our plans too much. Looking forward to next year.
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