Since buying our little 2 -berth touring caravan last year, DH and I have stayed on some lovely caravan-sites - but this one truly took my breath away. It was the Caravan Club Site at St. Agnes Beacon in Cornwall.
We arrived on a beautiful, sunny May afternoon, which couldn't have been better. After we'd pitched up, the first thing I did was to get the camera out and take a photo through William's front windows:-
We paid £10 per night for this view - Jeremy Clarkson, please note!! THIS is why people have caravans!
Sadly, the beautiful weather did not last; we woke the next morning to an iron-grey cloud, a cold breeze and drizzly rain. After breakfast, we decided it was a good day to go to the Eden Project, so we locked up and off we went.
It was still grey, cold and damp when we arrived, but this worked in our favour because it had obviously kept the crowds away. We drove past car-park after car-park, all empty, and finally found a bay very close the entrance. We could see they were used to big queues here - covered walkways with seating led us up to the entrance, but we only paused to admire this incredible horse sculpture, made only from drift wood washed up on local shores.
Every piece of wood was chosen carefully for it's curve, length, thickness, etc, to fit perfectly into this incredible life-sized sculpture - from flowing mane and tail, to powerful muscles and pricked ears. As you can see, I almost felt I could lead this beauty off!
After buying our tickets, we stepped out to an amazing view - a valley hewn out of the hillsides, sheltering absolutely gigantic greenhouse 'domes':
The path wound it's way down into the valley, and I was glad I had my walker with me - but the paths were smooth and there were plenty of things to stop and look at as we went. In addition to fascinating plants, we noticed some more sculptures on the way, including this one, which I just HAD to take a photo of . .
By this time it had started to rain (yes, it's raining on me in that last pic!), so it was into the Biomes. These are just AMAZING, there is no other word for it. The moment you step into them, the heat hits you, and everyone starts taking off coats and sweaters. Unfortunately, it was at this point we realized the camera's battery was low, and we were very restricted as to what we could take photos of.
The Rain Forest dome was my favourite - it was just like stepping into another country! We walked through a Brazilian rain forest, huts in the depths of Asian forests, a lagoon (complete with sand and waterfall), and there was even a mini balloon used by the gardeners to reach the top-most canopy of the trees. A huge type of lily, which only flowers once a decade, was just about to burst into bloom - we were disappointed at first, and then relieved when the guide explained that it smelt like rotting meat and the scent would have filled the entire dome!
After the rain-forest, we decided to have some lunch - this was an experience in itself! The 'bakery' consists of a huge hall filled with benches. The benches at the back are laid out with a buffet; all the meals are vegetarian and all made from plants grown on the premises. You pick up a wooden slab for a plate, and choose what dish you want (I had a vegetable fritata, and DH chose a savoury Danish pastry). You then take this to a table to sit down. A 'helper' will provide you with tea, coffee or a cold drink. Once you've eaten, you go to one of the tills dotted about, and tell them what you ate - they work out your bill and only then do you pay.
We found this trust in people so refreshing - the Eden Project is a charity and this is emphasized, but even so, I couldn't help but think they must often get people not being entirely honest about what they'd had for their lunch, but as we sat there 'people watching', we didn't see ANYONE not paying. I think, like us, people were delighted to be trusted and showed their appreciation for it.
Once lunch (which was utterly delicious!) was over, it was back to the biomes, this time the Mediterranean one. This was much cooler than the RainForest - but nevertheless, warmer than outside. The scent and 'feel' of Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece enveloped us as we walked around. There were more sculptures, including this amazing piece showing Bacchus, God of Wine, and his worshippers -
Finally, it was back through a wet valley to the car - although we just had to take a last photograph of the gigantic 'WEEE man' (which stands for Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment). He's absolutely enormous! If you look down to the left you can see people taking pictures of him, which give you an idea of just how big he is.
We came back to William to have dinner, gazing at the views of the sea, no less amazing for the grey sky and the rain!
Next day, it was looking a little bit brighter, so we decided we would take a risk and go to see the National Trust garden of Glen Durgan. This incredible garden was created in a valley which cleves it's way down to the tiny fishing village of Durgan. Because the valley is so steep-sided, it's protected from harsh winds, and plants from exotic places thrive.
There is even a maze made to look like a coffee plantation, complete with palm-thatched 'huts'. Here is DH, crowing because he only took five minutes to solve the maze (he was tall enough to see over the bushes, which helped a bit, LOL!)
I wasn't able to cope with the maze, but I did get around most of the garden with my wheeled-walker - however the garden is very steep and in places there are steps to negotiate, so it's not the best place for wheelchairs.
The village at the bottom of the garden is right on the river, and a wonderful place for a picnic if you've brought one with you, but again, not really wheelchair-friendly. We decided to go back up to the top and have lunch in the cafe, which sold 'genuine cornish fare' - needless to say, it was delicious!
The next day I was really feeling the effects of walking too much whilst in flare, and decided to take it easy for a morning. We stayed in William, snug as bugs, reading books, stitching, and gazing at the incredible view, until lunch. However, a genuine Cornish pasty and a good cup of tea got me itching to be out and about again, but I didn't fancy a long-trip, so we donned walking boots and decided just to explore the coast-line across the road from the camp-site. We were very glad we did - what an incredible place, and we'd nearly missed it! Just have a look at these pictures -
It's not clear in the last photo but the hillside was covered in purple heather that was humming with bees!
It was with heavy hearts that we packed up the next morning - especially since the sun had come out again, turning the sea to a jewel-like turquoise - but we'd bought local pasties and cakes to take back with us - and some Cornish clotted cream!
All in all, a wonderful trip away - and I think St Agnes Beacon will definitely be re-visited in the future!
Our next planned trip will be to Southampton - I can't wait! :-)
In the mean-time, I am busy sewing, stitching, crocheting and designing . . I'm working on the next big SAL for The Stitch Specialists, which I hope is 'something a bit special', and I'm signed up for the new Chatelaine design that comes out in August, called 'Herbularius'. In fact, quite a few members of The Stitch Specialists are fans of Chatelaines and we now have a sister-group, TSSChatelaineSAL, to chat and encourage each other while we stitch on these amazing designs. You MUST already be a member of TSS to join it, though!
The Stitch Specialists is growing with such speed that it has all been a bit overwhelming. We have taken on a new Moderator, Nancy, to help out with all the work - she has been brilliant, rolling up her sleeves and getting stuck in to the admin with determination and energy. Thank you, Nancy! ((hugs))
Sadly, I have had to turn away several applicants to TSS because they have not filled out/returned questionnaires. Please, please, please - if you want to join The Stitch Specialists, check your in-boxes, spam-boxes, etc, for this questionnaire; and if it's not there, contact the Moderators and ask for one. It's so frustrating not to be able to approve new applicants because there's no questionnaire!
Happy stitching all,
Buzzzzzzzzzing off . .