The Isles’ of Wight & Purbeck


Our early autumn trip this year (2008) took us from our Norfolk home down to Chichester for a few days. Whilst here we were fortunate to have good enough weather for some pleasant cycle rides.

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After our enjoyable stay on the Camping and Caravanning Clubs local site, including visiting the 2 J s (son Julian and wife Jan ) who live nearby we caught the pre-booked ferry to the Isle of Wight. Watching the mainland sights which included the wonderful Spinnaker Tower fall rapidly astern the usual exciting feeling of foreign travel still swept over us. A little diluted perhaps as we were only sailing across the calm waters of the Solent.


Once on the island we soon found our pre-booked campsite for the coming week and had just settled in when were welcomed by a harsh hailstorm with pea size hail. After which we were treated to a week of settled weather.


The time went all too quickly with some lovely cycle and walking excursions to places like Sandown, Shanklin and Cowes. All appeared in a time loop, back a couple of generations to seaside towns of yesteryear.1-4.JPG

Using the very good bus service (with our bus passes meaning nil expense) we explored the island; from the magic of the Needles protruding from the multi-coloured sand cliffs of Allum Bay, to the charm of the model village in the village of Godshill.


1-6.JPG 1-5.JPG Then once more we drove on to our Wight Link ferry, this time for the half-hour comfortable crossing back to mainland England and the present time.Our base for the next week was a little westward at the settlement village of Corfe under the gaze of its hill top castle. 1-9.JPG

Though by name the surrounding area is called the Isle of Purbeck it is only an island on three sides being more an area of land jutting out into the sea. Still Isle of Purbeck sounds insular. Which I suppose it is with its steam trains and lovely ridge walks overlooking the sea.

1-10.JPG Our stay here was on the quiet, tucked away, C. & C.Club site, just a pleasant ten minute field walk to Corfe, with spectacular views of the ancient castle on the way.There are some great walks up on the ridge of the Purbeck Hills, eastward to Swanage (where you can return by steam train) with views down to Brownsea Island and Poole harbour, or westward with some marvellous 360-degree views of sea or land.i-o-wdorset-3-2008-24-frame-145.jpg

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Whilst here the 2 J s joined us in their tiny tent for a few days, they for some local cliff climbing while we walked the coastal paths, all in bright sunshine.

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After a lovely time chilling out in this unspoilt part of Dorset it was time to point our faithful van homeward, on the way stopping off at our club’s site at Graffam in West Sussex for a few days. Set in wild woodland with pitches in small clearings or glades it s a magical place to wake and be part of an early autumn morning.


The local walking is mostly flat along quiet lanes and over fields; with nearby pubs serving meals of various price and choice to suit most tastes and purses.

The nearby village of Pentworth is a short cycle ride through woodland trails and roads. Once there you can spoil yourself in the numerous antique shops, stroll up the old cobbled street to take in the grounds of the country estate of Pentworth House, complete with deer herd and lake. After which, like us, you can top up your energy reserves with a grand fish and chip takeaway on the edge of the village on the way back to the campsite in the woods.

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The next day, at the crack of dawn (dawn starts a little after nine for us), found us breaking camp and returning to Norfolk after another mini-adventure in our trusty sixteen year old Avalon camper-van ..

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