A few days away.

We had a few days away in the campervan this week. About 130 miles away from home near Burnham on Sea on the Somerset coast.

The tide goes out a long way on the North Somerset coast into the Bristol Channel – but mud is a big sticky danger with over a couple of miles on mud to the waters edge at low time some places having a 35 foot drop in water at low tide. Several of the coastal towns have RNLI Hovercraft rescue craft as well as lifeboats.

These pictures show the tide going out at Weston-super-Mare The Island in the background is Steep holm. A place of nature and old coastal gun batteries.

Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier. Opened in 1904. The pier was gutted by fire in July 2008. but was rebuilt and open again on 23 October 2010. £3 for Donkey rides but closed for the winter.

If anyone remembers the 1967 British TV series The Prisoner you will recall the beach ball stopping people from leaving the village I had “I am a person not a number moment “while on the beach when I was passed by a giant beach ball bouncing along the beach!

There is a gem of a pier at Weston-super-Mare Birnbeck Pier which is sadly in a poor state  It is the only pier in the country which links the mainland to an island, linking to Birnbeck Island.In the past the pier was popular with locals and tourists as a boarding point for steamers in the Bristol Channel. During WW2 the pier was commissioned as HMS Birnbeck by the Admiralty as part of miscellaneous weapons development site. After the war the steamer trade declined and by the 1970’s the pier started to fall into its current unsafe state. Today it is in a largely derelict state. Part of the pier collapsed during storms on 30 December 2015.

Heading up the coast to Clevedon is a pier that has been restored and well worth a visit and this shows you what a great attraction Birnbeck could be.

A modern lighthouse at Battery Point,

There is a good view across to Wales from the point.

A warning sign at Battery point and a memorial.

Black Nore Lighthouse which is also known as Blacknore Point Lighthouse) at Portishead. it was judged to be no longer needed for navigational purposes, and the light was decommissioned in September 2010. It is a listed building and now owned by a trust.


Calshot Spit.

In 1539, King Henry VIII ordered the construction of a castle at the end of Calshot Spit to defend the port of Southampton.Its strategic importance continued through both world wars. In 1913 the RFC established a flying boat station on the spit known as RNAS Calshot and later RAF Calshot.

Schneider Trophy.

Jacques Schneider was a french industrial manager, and licensed  pilot, After giving up flying due to a serious accident, he supported various competitions and aero clubs financially.

On December 5th, 1912, at the Aéro-Club de France, he offered a trophy for a seaplane race and proposed a course of at least 150 nautical miles.This competition became known as the Schneider Trophy. Each club would be permitted to enter up to three competitors with an equal number of alternates. In 1921 the course was increased to 212 nautical miles,

Any team winning 3 races in 5 years would retain the cup and the winning pilot would receive 75,000 francs. Each edition of the race was to be hosted by the previous winning country.

In 1923 The Supermarine S.5 won the Schneider Trophy Race so the British became the host for the 1929 race. Calshot was the base for the race.

The Supermarine S.6 won the 1929 race so again.

Further refinements led to an improved Supermarine S6b and the 1931 race became the 3rd race win for Britain and that kept the Schneider Trophy in England for good.

Sopwith Hanger although the hanger has been reclad in modern materials the 1913 wooden structure of the hanger roof is clearly visible inside.

General views of Calshot Spit.

Itchen Valley Park.

A short walk in Itchen Valley Country Park. In part of the wood we came across some building remains. Having lived very locally for over 60 years I was surprised not to have seen anything about this ruin before. The remains are the remains of a pair of 3 flue scot brick kilns. Dated to the late 1800s,They were used to make bricks, tiles and drainage pipes made from local clay. The heavy wooded area around them was used for fuel. This kiln is quite rare and one of only two such sites that remain in Hampshire.

Some nature spots along the way. Ganoderma applanatum is a common perennial bracket fungus. The underside is creamy white and can be scratched with a sharp point to leave brown marks and over the years has been used to draw images on it hence the common name. Artist’s Fungus.

I am struggling to identify this bug possibly a Brown Shield Bug or a Dock Bug.

Another Nursery Web spider.

Dark waters.

The Elan Valley Reservoirs are a chain of man-made lakes created from damming the Elan and Claerwen rivers within the Elan Valley in Mid Wales . The reservoirs, which were built by the Birmingham Corporation Water Department, provide drinking water for Birmingham in England,

It all started in 1893 when the building work began. About 100 people living in the Elan Valley had to move, only landowners received compensation payments. Many buildings were lost including 3 manor houses, 18 farms, a school and the church. 

On 21st July 1904 King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra opened the Elan dams and water started flowing along the pipeline to Birmingham. The scheme employed 50,000 men constructing it.

The church in the valley was lost to the raising waters of the dammed rivers – a new church was built and the graveyard from the old church was relocated.

Cofiwch Cwn Elan sign to remember those who lost their communities land and farms when the dams were built.

Monument to the workers that built the dams.

NB apologies for gap where a photo has dropped out I can not seem to edit out the gap!

A Tomb in the hills.

Another post of our August 3 days away in the campervan this time on the wales Hereford boarder’s.

Arthur’s Stone, Herefordshire is a Neolithic chambered tomb. On the edge of a lane but poorly signposted an OS map or google maps a must to find this tomb.

It is situated on the ridge line of a hill overlooking both the Golden Valley, and the Wye Valley.

Crossing the river.

Chepstow Bridge. Also known as the Old Wye Bridge or Town Bridge crosses the River Wye. The townside at Chepstow is in Wales cross the bridge you entre England in the County of Gloucestershire. There has been a bridge on the site since Norman times which these bridges were.

In the Regency period the current cast iron bridge was built by John Raskin in 1816. It is a grade1 listed building.