Caravan Writers Guild has a Trip to Norfolk

Not unfortunately to Virginia but to sample a part of England that not too many people know much about, maybe that could be that there are no motorways going to it. From our Herefordshire home the journey took us around six hours, all of it across Country with slow traffic holding us up, we did not see a man with a red flag but it was though one was there!

The weather forecast was not very good and the day that we travelled, 23 September, the rain was beating down as though it was never going to stop, we were very disappointed when we arrived at Deer’s Glade Caravan Site to find that we were on a grass pitch, well half grass and half mud. Although the forecast for the rest of the week was appalling it did stop and in the end we all had a reasonable week. There were 13 outfits, both caravans and motor caravans and we had a full week of visits ahead of us.

Monday was still very wet as our colleagues started to arrive one by one from all over, we think that the last one arrived at around 18.30ish. Luckily the rain had abated somewhat by this time so that you could at least go out to have a natter without getting soaked. 

Tuesday morning was not too bad at all, we were due to travel by mini bus to a place called "How Hill" this is a rather wonderful house built in 1904 by a local man called Edward Thomas Boardman as his family’s holiday home. The house is surrounded by fantastic gardens with lovely views over the River Ant. The house is now owned by a trust and is a study centre. The grounds extend to 365 acres and have in them an eel catcher’s cottage, tiny, and restored windmills, there is also the "Electric Eel" which takes up to six passengers and explores the narrow water ways and a bird "hide". As the name suggests it is battery driven and is uncannily quiet, a very nice experience.

We all had a communal barbeque in the evening with stacks of food which all disappeared, hungry people Journalists!

Wednesday dawned reasonably bright and the mini bus arrived to take half of us to the Wherry "Albion", to digress, Wherrys were known as "black sailed traders", in their heyday there were over 300 sailing on the Broads carrying all manner of cargo. The "Albion" is 114 years old and is one of only two still sailing the Broads, "ours" is the only one that is used for hire. "Albion" is owned by a trust to keep it going, the vessel is in excellent condition and is due for a major refit during the Winter.

We had a spell on the tiller, boy what hard work, the rudder is as big as a barn door and the force needed to be applied to the tiller is immense. An amusing thing occurred during our trip, we were sailing down a fairly straight section of the river and passed a boat with two members of the Broads Authority with a speed gun checking boat speeds, five miles per hour is the limit, we were managing two and a half. We arrived at Ranworth Broad to have a nice lunch at the "Maltsters Inn".

For our evening meal we were taken just down the road from our campsite to a very nice Public House called "Alby Horse Shoes Inn", very well kept place, lovely people, and excellent food.

Thursday, our penultimate day, and we were to go on a coach mystery tour, the route unfortunately was a mystery to us as well, suffice it to say that the Country is very nice but totally different from our Herefordshire, pretty flat whereas ours is all hills. The part of the day that we were looking forward to was a trip on the "Poppy Line" railway with a lunch on board.

The "Poppy Line" alias the North Norfolk Railway is a heritage steam railway running between Sheringham and Holt. It passes through the Countryside to the East of Weybourne with views of its windmill and passes through the nice little station, this houses a locomotive shed together with a carriage maintenance and restoration centre. The line, which is five and three quarter miles long, once formed part of the Midland and Great Northern Joint railway.

Our very last event of the get together and of this Thursday was an evening meal at Delia Smith’s restaurant at Norwich Football Club, we had a good few guests that we had invited and the atmosphere was nice, the food that we had was quite good but not as good as we had imagined, but the prices were extraordinarily high for things like bottled water and wine.

Friday and it was time to start the long and tedious journey home, no nice motorways on this trip, all cross country, we were hoping that the road that was closed on our Norfolk bound leg so that we had to make some detours was now open, it turned out that it was.

We stayed at a caravan site called "Deer’s Glade Caravan and Camping Site" this is just off the Norwich to Cromer road, the A140, about six miles from Cromer.

This site is a little like the "Curates Egg" good in parts, we were disappointed with our pitch, grass and mud, it seemed to us that most of the hard standings were occupied by seasonal caravans.

The site had two toilet blocks, the one that we used was cold, we mentioned this and it was warmed up for a day. For fishermen there is a lake and for those who like camping but don’t want to take their tent there are a few "Pods" which looked very nice. Please note that these remarks are our own personal opinion with what we found, we have no idea what anyone else thinks at all. Grass pitches are fine in dry summer conditions but should not be used in wet cold weather, it takes very little to make grass into mud.

The details of the site: Deer’s Glade Caravan and Camping site, Whitepost Road, Hanworth, Norwich, Norfolk, NR11 7HN Telephone: 01263 768633.

Once again the few Guild Members that made the effort to support their Guild had a very good time and all of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, here’s to the next time.

Posted: pre Jan 2015