Credit Crunch Camping: part 2
£100 for a long weekend (four days) away? Yes, it is possible! We found a basic (but extremely clean) campsite just outside Bristol, which only cost £15 for three nights. After pitching the tent, we went for a quick walk in the surrounding woodland, before bed. The next day (Saturday) we set off for the Cheddar Gorge and our Somerset adventure began….
Cheddar Caves & Gorge:
The Cheddar Gorge was a particular highlight for Poppy (my dog) and I. For just £17.00, we bought a ‘Caves and Gorge Explorer’ ticket, which gave us BOTH access to:
- Open-top Gorge Tour Bus
- Gough’s Cave
- Cox’s Cave & The Crystal Quest
- Cheddar Man – Museum of Prehistory
- 274 Steps to the Lookout Tower
- 3-mile Cliff-top Gorge Walk
We bought an ice-cream each (!) and waited for the next bus departure.
We had a very warm welcome from the guide before setting off up a dry, prehistoric riverbed. We went up the steep winding road, whilst the guide talked about the rock formations and history (going back to pre-historic times) before the final stop outside Gough’s Cave.
Poppy simply loved the experience of being on top of the bus and was very well behaved during the entirety of the journey, which I was very happy about (it was the first time on any bus for her)
Gough’s cave was formed between 500,000 years and 15,000 years ago by the action of water dissolving the limestone rock, and eventually dripping through the caves to decorate it with the most magical stalactites and stalagmites, formed from calcite. I was provided with an Audio Guide upon entry (available in many languages), but Poppy decided to go without (she is a little nervous about wearing something on her ears), so I highlighted the main aspects to her myself. She was, however, intrigued with the dampness, smells and especially with the number of children!
We then visited Cox’s Cave – smaller than Gough’s cave – and did “The Crystal Quest” which was a bit frightening at times for her (scary figures and lighting) so we whizzed through at high speed.
The Museum of Prehistory (Cheddar man) was small but informative and exhausted afterward, we took one look at the 274 steps and decided we would have another ice cream instead!
All the shops and cafes welcomed dogs, and we spent a good four hours looking around.
Poppy and I arrived early and managed to find a car park space under a canopy in case I wanted to go to a shop that did not allow dogs. (I did not need to worry, however, as the majority of shops in Glastonbury welcome well-behaved dogs on leads.)
Glastonbury is not the usual tourist shopping destination, but Glastonbury is a “spiritual center” of England, drawing Pagans, Christians, new age thinkers and wandering souls from all parts of the world. As such, the shops provide for the eclectic – books, charms, furniture, clothes and crystals. A treasure trove of all things magical for those that believe….
One of my favourite stores is “Stone Age”, down a small alleyway just off the high street. Even the path leading up to it is paved with crystals and the building itself was moulded and decorated with crystals and figurines inset.
A visit to Glastonbury would not be complete without witnessing the ‘Legendary burial place of King Arthur’. Poppy and I decided that this was a great place to go and settle down with a book and a picnic for the afternoon (the ticket allows entry for the entire day) and so we did just that.
With 36 acres of parkland and beautiful views of the Abbey and Glastonbury Tor, we found a secluded spot, secured Poppy to her ‘tie out stake’, and set up camp for what turned out to be a beautifully sunny afternoon. We snoozed in the shade and relaxed in the calm surroundings.
Dogs on leads are welcomed at the Glastonbury Abbey, and there are even two ‘Dog Loos’. Poo-bags can be picked up at the ticket office when you enter the grounds.
Wells, England’s smallest city, is incredibly beautiful and historic, located at the foot of the Mendip Hills.
When Poppy and I arrived it was amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy market, where we bought something for lunch and sat in the shade of the trees outside the Cathedral. Unlike Cheddar, the attractions here were not particularly dog-friendly – it is not possible to take a dog in the Bishop’s Palace or in the Cathedral. However both grounds are open to dogs on SHORT leads and are certainly worth the visit just to sit and relax in amidst the historic buildings, people watch and, of course, explore the grounds.
Need to know:
Dog-friendly campsites include