Woodside Country Park
Camping, Herefordshire UK
I love camping so every few months now we try and get away for a few days to explore something new. This year we found a lovely place near Ledbury and the Forest of Dean where the scenery did not disappoint.
My husband, Phil and I have recently taken up cycling as a hobby so naturally we wanted to find somewhere where we could practice our totally noobish mountain biking skills (going around Grafham is fair enough but we wanted to go that little bit further!) so for my birthday a combination of cycling, walking and adventure was on the itinerary.
Growing up I had visited most of what the UK had to offer, every year my parents and grandparents would go away for 2-3 weeks and take my brother and I on an adventure which allowed us to see what beauty the UK really has to offer. From Scotland to the Lakes, Northumberland, Snowdonia, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset we saw it all. Almost 15 years on from that I have the opportunity to show their fantastic scenery to Phil as being South African he has never seen it before.
The campsite Woodside Park is set near the town of Ledbury near Hereford. A three and a half hour journey from home, it is truly a place of beautiful scenic countryside with rolling hills and patchwork fields. The site itself is family oriented and is split by a road with the campsite on one side and lodges and camping pods on the other. There are 2 large lakes that you can fish in and a few smaller ones and has a conservation area with mowed weaving pathways of grass which you can walk between which is a lovely stroll at dusk and very peaceful.
There are various ways to stay here by either staying in a tent or caravan which has electric and non electric pitches, crafted lodges, camping pods or by staying in the bunkhouse. The pricing for the camping we had was very reasonable for an electric hookup. If you would like to book the lodges we should be able to! They vary from sleeping 2-6 people depending on your needs but will be subject to availability.
It is in a beautiful part of the Herefordshire countryside and if you fancy a walk the town of Ledbury is about 2 miles from the site with a nice high street which has a few good places to eat. There is also a fishing and tackle shop if you need anything. If you are bbqing and you need to pick up some necessities there is a Coop and a Tesco's nearby. I would suggest you go to Coop and get their £4 Chimichurri steaks. You get 2 in a pack and for the price and flavour they are the best steaks I have ever had, especially on the bbq!
The surrounding areas are also very beautiful. The site in in the middle of the Malvern Hills and the Wye Valley which attaches to the Forest of Dean. All of which need no introduction as their scenery speaks for itself. They really are areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Our first full day was met with a visit to the Forest of Dean and what a stunning place it is. The scenery really is breathtaking and in some cases you could be in Canada! The tall fern trees really are quite something and there are quite a few path choices that you can take. You can either walk, run or cycle. The family route it is about 10 miles the long way and roughly 5 for the shorter cut through. I highly recommend cycling it! The path all the way around is fairly flat and is suitable for many. It was great fun and you can also hire from the Pedalabikeaway rental which is next to a shop which you can have snacks and coffee. There are also random points around the trail which are points of interest, have great views or cafes for refreshments. By the lake we stopped at there was also a GoApe centre which their zipline seemed very popular!
After a days cycling it was a 40 minute drive back to the campsite, both there and back we were in awe of my surroundings and there were so many cute little villages we passed through. On our return we were rather frustrated that Phil couldn't go fishing as there were 30 people by the lake with blow up inflatables and kids jumping in the large pond. It was very disappointing as we had picked this site so he could go fishing and he ended up not fishing at all (thankfully he only buys his licence when he needs it or it would have been a waste)
The great thing about this site though is that you can use bbqs. We bought ours from Aldi for £19.99 (I think they have sold out now, though widely available in other places but it was the best £19.99 I have spent!) You can also rent these subject to availability from reception from £5. Phil cooked us up some dinner, which was amazing. Again our Chimichurri Steaks didn't disappoint, some yummy sausages and veggies cooked in tin foil which were perfect!
The camp site also has outstanding toilet facilities. The new toilet block is very clean, well presented and has great showers which are free to use. There is also a freezer for your ice packs which always comes in handy.
We were lucky that there was someones birthday when we were staying there, they had a live 2 man band there in the evening singing and playing their drums and guitar; they were very good! They had almost the whole campsite around them and everyone was have a drink and a good time. It was a great atmosphere.
If castles are you thing you are surrounded by them. Eastnor, Goodrich and Hampton Court Castle to name but a few are the more interesting ones and the prices aren't too bad for entry. The day after our cycle ride we visited Goodrich Castle and had a wonder around. It is quite intact for a castle built in the 13th century and was very interesting. There is quite a lot to see and read and there is also an accompanying narrated tour if you would like to learn about the castle in more depth which you can get from reception. The small shop which is by the entrance although quite expensive has some really cool stuff in it for souvenirs and it also doubles up as a cafe with seated areas outside. The little house martins were also very entertaining! They nest all over the castle and if you stand under a nest long enough you may be lucky enough to see mum and dad bringing food for their little ones during breeding season.