A motorcycle parked in front of a tent on a pleasant green campsite

Home Travel StoriesLedbury Easter 2016

Dawdling Around Ledbury

By Ren Withnell

I haven't slept all that well really, but I rarely do in a tent. I'm not a natural camper and would prefer the luxurious surroundings of a 4 star hotel. Unfortunately I am too lazy to work hard enough to pay for such extravagance. We'd had a little rain in the night and the forecast for today is "sunshine and showers". Those readers who live in the UK will know this translates into "we don't really know, probably wet". 

Batty the toy stuffed bat hangs upside down in the tentWell someone's had a good night's sleep and is wide awake now.

Our "just add hot water" porridge does the job for breakfast and soon enough we're up and ready for whatever this day may bring. I think the first stop will be Ledbury to see what the little town is all about then we can spend the afternoon getting lost down more narrow lanes to see what this area is all about. I hope Ledbury is nice, we're supposed to be in Ludlow so if Ledbury is horrible then I might be in trouble with Sharon. 

We park next to "The Market House" which is a good start and after perusing the information signs we move on to the pleasingly eclectic Church Street. I think I'm safe - this street is short and narrow but contains a fascinating mix of buildings from throughout the last 400 years I'd say. A small timber framed building houses a simple collection of historical displays to wander around. A tiny pub nestles tightly to the museum. Brick houses lean into the affray and a trinket shop sits cheek to cheek with a cafe.

Market House Ledbury. A timber framed house on stilts, the market would be held beneathThe Market House. A good start to an interesting town.
A narrow lane with timber framed and old brick buildings in LedburyA compelling street of diverse properties, fascinating.

To round this off there's a curious church at the end of the lane that has a separate bell tower. It's hard to figure out the history, I'm guessing the tower was once part of a church that somehow was destroyed and the new one built nearby. But...then the new bit looks older in places too. I guess this is where Google and Wikipedia might come in handy, I'll have a look later. We decide not to go inside, today is Easter Sunday and it seems likely a service is in progress. 

The main road, while not as pretty as the lane still manages to contain more buildings from different eras. We sit and munch on a couple of sausage rolls while pondering the stone building across the road, even this looks like it was built in 2 stages. This town has a history, different architects with different materials and different design philosophies have all made their mark. The modern looks less attractive and too sharp - but one day in 400 years time perhaps someone else will be admiring and preserving the things we consider monstrous today. It's all a matter of taste I guess.

The main road in Ledbury, we see a long old stone built houseI wonder what the locals thought of this when it was first built.

A light shower passes over so we take shelter beneath The Market House. It is soon gone so we kit up and head out into the countryside.

I would like to tell you where we are but for the most part I have next to no idea. 'Tis not a problem though, this is exactly what we love to do and this is precisely why we ride small capacity motorcycles. I lead us down narrow lanes while Sharon follows through the gently undulating countryside. I contrast it in my mind to the billiard smooth and wide open spaces of East Anglia then the wild and angular mountains of the Scottish Highlands. This is middling countryside, neither flat nor steep. 

The villages we pass through are also middling. Not quite chocolate box picturesque nor are they run down. Meh...middling is not really my thing, that's the problem. Give me the extremes not the average. I like to be wowed or impressed, moved or stunned and there's none of that here so far. And yet despite me being unimpressed I am happy like a mature cat that's found the warm spot on the sofa. I am comfortable at our steady pace just mooching around the back roads and enjoying the lack of rain. The wind is blowing a little and the skies are light grey, after the wild and wet winter this is bliss.

The hedges and fields roll by, the cottages and tractors too and after a some time I notice what I can only describe as a very English vineyard. Why English? There's no hot sun, the vines look rather sparse and there's a distinct lack of château, no men in stripy jumpers, no berets, no Citroens and no other French cliché you can think of. There's a Range Rover and a mangy barking dog, definitely English. 

thin sparse new vines growing on a grey overcast english dayVineyards don't look the same without clear blue skies and sunshine. 

Having passed through many more fields filled with vines now feels about the right time to stop for a brew. Murphy's law means we no longer pass through villages with quaint cafes for mile after mile so I finally give up and pull into a pub car park. Within the pub we find comfortable seating, hot beverages and a TV showing the sport news but it is thankfully turned right down to allow normal conversation in the room. 

After our rest and refreshment we're preparing to leave when one of the 2 locals at the bar strikes up a conversation. She is curious as to our visit and from where we hail from. She's never been further north than Birmingham within the UK, I chuckle to myself, I bet she thinks we've got whippets down our trousers and steam powered velocipedes. She looks the sort that takes holidays in warm resorts while sipping cocktails. As we leave I have a word with myself, I know nothing of what she might think of us nor of how she spends her holidays and it is not fair to presume. I still giggle at the idea of riding a motorcycle wearing a cloth cap in a northern town and shouting "eh up lad!" to everyone.

Sharon checks her mobile phone as we get ready to ride the bikesGet off bloody FACEBOOK!!

It takes a bit of motorway to find ourselves back in Ledbury and eventually back to the campsite. This evening folks Sharon Parker is in for a treat. Yes indeed I am going to prepare a lovely meal for the lady and we shall dine like royalty. I start out by boiling some rice in a pan and then...opening my tin of chicken tikka massala! The tinned curry is heated in a separate pan (yes we have more than 1 pan). Next, I deftly share the rice out then the curry and present her with piping hot Tikka served on a metal pan lid. Don't ever tell me I don't know how to spoil a girl. After we both dine I lovingly prepare a hot cup of tea too. All this happens within the luxurious campsite common room as various campers come and go. She's a lucky lucky girl.

The stove on a table with 2 chairs at the campsite's common roomLuxury! She is one spoilt lady is that Sharon Parker I tell ya.
 
We remain within the warmth of the common room as Storm Katie gathers force. We knew she was coming, we've been incredibly lucky today as we've had but the lightest of showers and the odd spell of clear warm sunshine. Now outside the trees are bending in the wind, the temperature has plummeted and the rain has returned with vengeance. The tent looks as welcoming as...well...er...as a small wet tent in a storm frankly. Yet once we are ensconced in our sleeping bags it doesn't feel so bad. Not for me at least, Sharon seems most concerned about the tempest, I just fall asleep.

Soaking Ride South Our dubious duo take 2 overloaded 125s to a place they never intended to visit in weather set to get worse. While doing this they get lost and get wet. It's not all bad news though.
Dawdling Around Ledbury Sharon and Ren take a little walk through Ledbury then a genteel and leisurely ride around the area. Later that evening as a tempest rises outside there's a treat in store for Sharon. Lucky girl.
Wobbling Home Our heroic duo manage to survive Storm Katie and now it is time to return home. This leaves Ren feeling a little deflated which doesn't help with the handling on the 125.

Reader's Comments

Henrik said :-
Very interesting, love those old houses, just been in Stockholm, now working on a gallery from "gamle stan", and several other area's it was kinda photo-trip
6/5/2016 7:29:33 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
When you get the pictures up Henrik put a link up here for them, would like to see them. Stockholm, it seems so far away!

What's the weather doing there Henrik? It's actually dry and perhaps even warm here. Don't worry though, there'll be more wind and rain soon enough.
6/5/2016 1:30:51 PM UTC
Henrik said :-
Sunny here, 17 deg celcius, at the ferry, hitting Helsinborg SE in a few minuttes, from there we got 200 km to our house


6/5/2016 3:56:10 PM UTC
Henrik said :-
I will post gallery later, thanks for the interrest, here is a taster from "gamla stan"


6/5/2016 4:00:08 PM UTC
Henrik said :-
One more


6/5/2016 4:01:10 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
You're doing it again Henrik...making me jealous! We too shall be on a ferry in a few weeks as we head into The Netherlands and perhaps a little Germany too. Then I'm going to take lots of pictures and try to make you jealous for once.

I've looked up Helsinborg on Google maps. Am I correct in thinking this is an alternative to the big long bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo? Is it any cheaper?
8/5/2016 7:59:22 AM UTC
Henrik said :-
Yeah, that's right, NL/DE you go soon, and who know maybe later Scandinavia, in that case we should definitely meet up somehow :-) first of all I look forward to be jealous !!!

Foto's are a very big part of my trips, that be by MC, ship, Car, plane, kayak, bicycle, on feets, or like Stockholm, by train, it was my wife's revenge for me being 50, when she was 40 I took her to London,..

I see how you spoil Sharon with luxury :-) this time I was spoiled on hotel

You are right about Helsingborg vs Bridge, prices on par, divide by 10 for £

https://www.oresundsbron.com/en/start (190 DKR for MC, cash).

https://www.scandlines.dk/ (198/185 DKR, Cash/Internet, june-august).

We always take the ferry as we got favourable prices due to membership of
"torpare.dk", (danes in Sweden), like 135 DKR each trip, besides we live in north of Copenhagen, so the ferry is by far the best solution in all ways.

My suggestion would always be to take the coast-road from Copenhagen to Helsingør, se the castle "Kronborg", then take the ferry to Helsinborg, then if time allows se "Kullen", that is located a little north of Helsingborg, before hitting further north or east, here is pics from ferry, and "Kullen"



goo.gl/photos/1uzu2HtodYmsA94F7...
8/5/2016 11:23:47 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
More fabulous pictures Henrik! I guess you have a fancy camera and an eye for the artistic. I have a cheap point and press camera, I have neither the skill or the patience to compose a proper image.

I very much doubt we'll get close to Denmark on this trip. Despite having larger machines now we're committed to the 125s. I guess it's part of the challenge. My ageing CBF125 does concern me but that will put the "Ad..." into the Adventure.

I see the weather was on your side too. Here in the UK we've enjoyed a splendidly warm and dry weekend and even though it is raining now it remains warm. I do hope the weather is with us on our trip. No matter, Sharon and I shall make the most of whatever will come our way I'm sure.
10/5/2016 3:21:55 PM UTC
Henrik said :-
My camera is not so overly fancy, this Stockholm trip is actually the first time I have used a DSLR on a trip, (an old Canon 500D with 50mm prime). My camera for the last 2 years have been a compact Panasonic FZ200, and before that a similar Nikon P100, in other words "all in one" bridge-camera's only.

First part, "Gamla Stan", (meaning "old city"), is done, today is rainy ;-)
goo.gl/photos/khNiYLuW5LbRCfGd7...
15/5/2016 1:51:20 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I guess it doesn't matter what camera you use as long as you have the eye for a good shot. Excellent collection of image Henrik.
16/5/2016 5:46:29 PM UTC

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