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Dubs in the Forest, New Park Manor, Hampshire

Dubs in the Forest was the first VW event we were due to attend this year, an event organised by the New Forest Dub Club and held in at the New Forest Showground at New Park near Brockenhurst.

We made good time heading South, arriving at the site at around 6pm and found ourselves a quiet corner suitable for us and the two other Brazilian campers who would arrive a little later.

Preparing supper in the sun!

Despite the wet weather that had been forecast – we’d dodged a few showers on the way – the evening turned out to be dry and bright although the clear sky did mean we were in for a chilly night. The other campers arrived and the field slowly filled, and we sat around a picnic table chatting and enjoying the sounds from the entertainment marque at the other end of the field.

Saturday morning started well with our normal breakfast and tidy up routine, but rain soon arrived so we donned our waterproofs and went off to investigate the trade stands and displays.

Dubs in the Forest is a relatively small show, although it gets bigger each year, so there were only a few trade stands to look at. That said, there was a good selection and several we’d not seen before, so great to have a good look at everything they offered.

There were a few displays and activities organised, and although the weather was trying hard to interrupt things, everything went as planned and those who braved the conditions (including us!) enjoyed them.

We treated ourselves to fresh baked pizza for lunch, thanks to the Great British Pizza Company then headed back to our campers to catch up with a few other Brazilian camper owners who had come along as day visitors for a visit.

The weather continued to worsen into the evening, but there was a great band playing in the entertainment marque and a supply of good beer from the bar so everyone continued to have a good time.

Packing up in the rain

On Sunday morning it was obvious just how much rain had fallen over night and several of the campers (mostly T4 and T5s!) struggled to get out of the field. A few needed ‘extra’ help and one or two needed to be pulled out with a 4×4. I’m pleased to say that all the Brazilian campers made it out of the field without any problem although they would all need a good clean to remove splattered mud!

Once packed up we joined the cruise through the New Forest to Lepe beach, the route had to be altered due to local flooding and only half of the car park at Lepe was available for the same reason, but lots of people stopped to look at the convoy and once again everyone had a great time.

Looking forward to Dubs in the Forest 2013 and hoping for better weather!

Wyke Down Touring Caravan & Camping Park

A 40 minute drive south west from Reading would take us to the outskirts of Andover and Wyke Down Touring Caravan and Camping Park. Sorted.

We left at 2pm Friday following what is now our favourite route, the A4 out of Reading, the A340 through Aldermaston then smaller A roads through Kingsclere and Whitchurch.

A great drive through some amazing countryside with fabulous views and 40 short minutes later we arrived at Wyke Down.

As well as the touring and camping site, Wyke Down is also a working farm with cows, chickens and ducks, a fair sized pub and a well regarded restaurant – book early to avoid a long wait.

The site itself is well laid out, reasonably flat and has good, clean, well maintained facilities that include everything you would expect plus a good (although small) children’s play area and an outdoor swimming pool.

Oli’s bike was the first thing unloaded so while he went exploring, Tallulah was levelled, plugged in and attached to her awning. It was a gloriously sunny day so after all the hard work we relaxed with an ice cold cider – so glad Tallulah has a fridge!

We had booked ourselves a table in the pub when it opened at 6pm and enjoyed a very nice meal, then relaxed with more cider – this time from the bar – while Oli made new friends in the children’s play area.

The site was almost fully booked so it was noisy until quite late, not helped by the owners deciding to empty the bins after 9pm and wheeling them along the road, the grass would have been much quieter choice. Not the best with a 5 year old who is trying to get to sleep, but he eventually fell silent so after a few games of cards and a read of a good book we turned in ourselves.

After our usual bacon and egg breakfast we went for a wander to check out the swimming pool. Still a bit chilly for anything more than a paddle, but we would come back later when the sun had warmed everything up and have a proper swim.

We have friends who live nearby in Whitchurch so they came to meet us late morning for a catch-up and kick about with a football, then we had a late lunch in the pub and went for longer walk.

The weather changed in the afternoon, becoming increasingly windy and cloudy, the weather forecasts were changing every few minutes and not looking good, so we decided to make a head start on the packing up. It’s easier to pack a dry awning than a wet one even when windy and it would help us get away earlier in the morning.

We ate nice meal in Tallulah while watching others struggle to pack up their tents in the increasingly stormy conditions, played a few games and settled in for an early night.

Our first thunder storm! Lots of lightning, plenty of very strong winds, a bit of thunder yet no rain. Not that it mattered, we were snug an warm in Tallulah.

Coffee, light breakfast and finish the packing and we were on our way at 8.30 in the morning, heading back to Reading to unload, freshen up and head out again to the VW Rally at Stoner near Henley.

A great campsite only 40 minutes away with good facilities, definitely a place to go back to.