It was time to start making our way towards home so we set off for the Forest of Dean and Symonds Yat which had been recommended to us by several people. Its attractive riverside location makes it a popular choice and there is plenty of space to park and a choice of walks to take so sounded ideal for us. Having parked Buzz Laika our trusty motorhome in the woody car park we went to take a look at the beautiful Symonds Yat viewpoint. With far reaching views over the Wye river and valley it didn’t disappoint.
We weren’t looking for a long hike, just a gentle stroll, so we chose a riverside walk which was mostly very easy but finished with what seemed like a never ending climb which left us both puffing! At the halfway point there’s a very wobbly, wire suspension bridge, called Biblins Bridge, which you have to walk over to cross The River Wye to make your circular walk. It was quite fun for us (although there were strict instructions not to bounce!) but if you don’t like heights it would probably make your toes curl!
At the other end and the highlight of the walk, there is a traditional ferry-crossing point called a hand ferry. Its a hand-over-hand human operated boat with a pulley system for a gentle crossing back over the river. We were a little bit disappointed to see the operator as we thought at first that we would get to operate it ourselves. Instead we had to sit as passengers, slowly watching the inviting sight of the pub on the opposite bank of the river get enticingly closer and closer!
Needless to say that’s where we headed next! After all, it was a beautiful sunny day, a gorgeous riverside setting and just a lovely location. Some places just make you want to linger and soak up the scene and this was definitely one of them.
With only one day left of this particular trip we weren’t entirely sure where to go next. However much we try to plan we just can’t seem to. We’ve never been like this before, but the motorhome life that we’ve experienced over the last year has been so liberating and so different that we both feel so relaxed. Some days it can get to 6pm and we don’t know where we’re going to sleep let alone what we might do the next day.
As it was, we decided to stop off at Bourton on the Water, a town I had highlighted as a possible place to stop on the way. It’s a picturesque Cotswolds village set on the river Windrush with beautiful stone buildings and olde worlde charm. Using Search for Sites, we found overnight parking in the Royal British Legion car park, right in the town, for just a small donation. It was perfectly placed and quiet with just one other motorhome and plenty of cars. We instantly loved this little place, so full of character, postcard pretty sights every way we looked and such a beautiful riverside setting. The only downside was that inevitably lots of other people liked it too and there were a lot of tourists posing this way and that at all the best spots which did get a bit annoying at times. Saying that, we were taking pictures ourselves, but whereas many people seem to strike about a dozen poses at each spot trying to get that Instagram perfect photo, we’re far more quick to get our snap.
We enjoyed a good walk around, up and down the river, over the little stone bridges and exploring the quaint shops and bakeries. It was quite a balmy early evening so we found a pub with an outside terrace and sat enjoying a drink until about 15 minutes later when it suddenly started to rain. Neither of us had coats or anything warm with us so we retreated inside, finding a small table alongside the bar. Before long we noticed a group of men with a particularly lovely year old blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier and having asked his name (Sky) we were soon having a good long chat with three friendly locals. We’d only intended to stay for 1 drink but were so enjoying ourselves we were on our third before we realised we really ought to leave and go back to Buzz for dinner, saying goodbye and making our way ‘home’.
It was later than we’d planned and we couldn’t be bothered to cook when we got back so we got ourselves sorted out and went for the lazy option of some cheese and biscuits. We’d just about got it all out on the table when there was a knock on our door, which we opened to find the smiling face of Jumbo, who had come to invite us over to his mate’s house for a BBQ! It was a total surprise and a good one too so we quickly put everything away again and walked the 5 minutes over to what turned out to be a magnificent, custom built home with a beautiful kitchen and character. It’s funny how you can meet some people and just instantly get on. When we arrived in the village we didn’t in a million years imagine we would be spending the end of the evening in the stunning home of someone we’d just met. After a couple of hours we knew more about them than we know about most of our neighbours at home! Definitely one of the many benefits of travelling is just getting talking to different people from all walks of life, and it’s something we’ll try to do more of in future.
The next morning, with slightly sore heads, we had another wander around and then took a relaxed drive home. A lovely end to a great few days.