Ashridge Farm – Our 2021 Holiday

Falling behind in getting the words out of my fingers into the blog. Lack of caravan time this last couple of years has given me little motivation to write. We’ve been back home now a couple of weeks and it feels like a lifetime ago. Our one and only holiday this year, 4 nights at Ashridge Farm, CAMC site. So, a little bit of a catch up for you.

All packed up, legs up and hitched up, leaving Burrs Country Park today, heading towards Ashridge Farm in Hertfordshire. That’s work done for the year, now it’s our turn for time away in our caravan. The roads and the weather are kind to us and we make the journey in good time. This is a site where it’s good to read directions from the club once you get close, some of the roads could prove tricky on the approach.

A weak sunshine is just about to dip behind the hedges as we pull in, no rain today puts a smile on my face. Pulling into the new arrivals lane, in front of us a motorhomer is unhitching his tow car. The warden stands to the side scratching his his head. My creaking limbs climb out of the car, still watching the antics in front of us, mask, membership and money, I’ve got everything I need. It’s only as my hips start to loosen that I realise we know the motorhomers and the warden. We all trained together nearly 5 years ago. Fortunately no one else arrives as it took us ages to check in, exclaiming on the chances of us all meeting up like this.

Ashridge Farm is a lovely little 39 pitch site with 25 hard standing pitches used over winter whilst the grass is closed off. One service point and a toilet block provide everything we need. As far as club sites go, I failed in taking photos of the site, just trust me in that it’s a little gem of a site, all the pitches within ten seconds walk of each other, plenty of greenery, nice and quiet and a little village within a fifteen minute walk.

Away from work, although it is a bit of a bus man’s holiday, I start to switch off. It’s funny how different it is being pitched on a site that you haven’t worked on. Other vans around us twinkle with Christmas lights, ours sits in darkness. Our van is lacking in Christmas cheer, having come straight from work we aren’t very organised in the carting around of anything other than the essentials.

Waking up on our first morning the skies are blue but it’s cold outside. Tea and toast on the go, feet up, I take time to enjoy a lazy morning. I might put some clothes on in a bit.

We’ve got friends arriving today, although I fail again on the photograph front. Aaron and Vicky come to join us after lunch, not a selfie was taken, not even a photo of their fur babies, Max and Ronnie. What I lacked in photographs I made up for chatting. It’s so long since I had a good natter, they hardly got a word in when they first arrived. Still bitterly cold outside, we wrapped up and plodded into the village of Ashwell before the light faded. Heading out of site one of the local houses displays doll’s heads impaled onto the gate of his drive, might just make sure the doors are locked when we go to bed. Nowt stranger than folk.

One of the first things we seek out is Ashwell Springs, a tiny oasis of green set back slightly off the high street. It’s where the River Cam makes it’s first appearance, bubbling out of the ground and trickling through the trees. Stepping stones take you from one side to another, perfect photo opportunity I thought as The Boss tip toed over the stones, we hadn’t noticed elderly dog, Ronnie deciding to dip his toes into the icy cold water and follow him in for a paddle. Shouting him back, tail wagging he heads back to a steep bit that he can’t get out of. Aaron had to go ankle deep in mud to encourage him another way out. Wet muddy boots and paws aren’t good in a caravan on a cold winter’s day but boy did we laugh. We decide to head back after an obligatory warm in a local hostelry. It seemed polite to sample their wares whilst admiring their pretty lights and open fire. Our cockles warmed, we decide to call it a day as the light is fading fast and our bellies are starting to rumble.

Exploring the village in the light the following day we find it’s got 3 pubs, a couple of shops and a church. All very quiet, Omicron has a lot to answer for. The high street is deserted, we shuffle around admiring Christmas shop windows and doors before heading off in search of the local ‘Lock up.’

Ashwell Lock Up is one of only four in Hertfordshire and was built in 1800. Used by the local village constabulary to lock up people who were making a nuisance of themselves. After spending a night here, the following morning they’d be taken to the local magistrate where their fate would be decided. These kind of buildings were used up until the early 20th century.

Standing proud in the centre of the village with grave stones so old the writing has all but disappeared. The church offers a respite from the cold, we venture in, removing hats as we go. Peace, perfect, peace.

Post box, toppers, shop windows and pretty lights get you in the spirit of things, just doesn’t feel quite right it being so quiet. According to the news people are choosing to stay home and are cancelling any bookings in an attempt to try to save Christmas.

A table booked for the evening in the Three Tuns, a beautiful pub with a roaring fire and a festive carvery on the menu, perfect. Again, deserted, unheard of before Christmas in normal times. We sit and chew the fat in front of the fire before heading through for plates of Christmas fayre swimming in gravy. A northern lass who loves her gravy.

And so, our only holiday of 2021 comes to and end. 4 wonderful, relaxed nights at Ashridge Farm. A site I would definitely recommend, somewhere I’d like to be able to stay for longer and explore the area further. Now time to head home for Christmas and time with our Jellybeans.

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