Forest Holidays Deerpark

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April, 2016

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Where would we go? Scotland – too far for a few days – or Norfolk – too near; the others within reach we knew, so the choice fell between the Forest of Dean and Cornwall. We had friends in Dorset: one to visit en route and two to join us if they wished, which they did. That made it Cornwall.

“Forest Holidays”: sent plenty of information: route map from Liskeard, good advice about not following sat-nav into a narrow track – our friends went that way to their cost – and offers of spa treatments, food hampers and treats. All this as a prize courtesy of Silver Travel Advisor: we’d have to work really hard not to enjoy it.

The journey was much easier than expected. We met our friends at Castle Drogo – that for another review – just as the weather turned from threatening to sunny. Lunch and a walk around the gardens then, as we’d never done it (though I remembered being taken as a child) we drove across Dartmoor. Having known the ways of sheep in Yorkshire we were prepared to drive carefully among them, not to ignore ponies. It is an amazing landscape, even in sunshine, easy to imagine the foggy gloom of old times when the prison was in use – thoughts of Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Plymouth for a petrol stop, then across the Tamar Bridge: unfortunately no chance of a photograph. Without use of a motorway we still arrived within a few minutes of the four o’clock check-in. It was no deadline and we had registered on-line, so it was only a matter of confirming that our friends were there already. They kindly offered us the upper room with en-suite, then it was settling down for a first evening meal.

What to do for the rest of our stay was more a question of what not to do, there are so many options. We’d all agreed the Eden Project was a priority but that it could be saved for a rainy day. A morning walk, then a light lunch and afternoon in Looe was the simple decision for the first day. We checked the tracks around Deerpark – there is a handy map for sale but the waymarks are clear without one. The path we chose ran up from our cabin past a farm then turned to descend on the other side of a stream that feeds the Deerpark ponds. Primroses were out in plenty and a very few bluebells were open under the trees.

Lunch in Looe was the first of several treats the town had for us. Crab featured in everyone’s choice. The staff at the pub told us where to buy the best fresh fish, so that was our next target – after a glance at the beach. Looe is of course a very interesting town, with narrow crooked streets and houses of all kinds and ages. We were to spend another day there, and make it a base for visiting Polperro.

The tourist information office is very helpful, and Miss Marple’s tea room, which does the most generous and delicious scrambled egg imaginable, has chatty and friendly staff.

As it happened, we had to settle for a less than rainy day to go to the Eden Project. No problem,except that the high platform in the tropical bi-ome became too hot to be visited. A good deal of the time can be spent out of doors, a necessity after intense information gathering in some areas, and the Mediterranean lunch under appropriate sky is recommended. So much research has gone into the various habitats that a day is too short. For those who can return the annual ticket at no more cost than a day ticket is highly recommended. Also recommended is booking via Deerpark: an extra discount beats the on-line price.

Our one error was expecting to buy fish on our return journey in Fowey. The small supermarket and a butcher were the only options. Neither could oblige. It seems a place more for the sailing fraternity and sightseers than ordinary mortals. Fortunately Deerpark came to the rescue. The shop there has a creditable fish pie and will cook other meals for delivery to the cabin. The one ordered came right on time and a good meal was had by all at a reasonable price.

Birdlife around the cabins is unafraid of humans. We regularly had a robin – as expected – blue tits, great tits and chaffinches – less expected – on our balcony. I even saw my first ever goldcrest, on a branch above me as I walked to the cabin.
Inside the cabins there are most home comforts: heating is generously provided, the furniture is of a good quality and all conveniences are modern. Not having instant internet is no loss to those of us who live in rural Suffolk; nonetheless the shop and restarant area offers wi-fi free of charge. Such contact as we needed with the world outside was available. Though we didn’t use it, our cabin had a hot tub; bicycles can be hired and there are ranger-guided activities available. Children would have a splendid time, even more with silver relatives than parents perhaps.

There was no difficulty in being ready for departure by 10 am, though arrangements to leave later are available. Our five days had passed all too quickly but we had managed to pack a great deal into them, and all of it enjoyable. Thank you Deerpark and, of course, Silver Travel Advisor.


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