Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Friday, 1 August 2014

South Lytchett Manor Caravan And Campsite

We have reached the last day of our stay at this great site, and just as forecast the weather has started to break. We woke to light rain, which has now developed into light cloud cover with sunny spells. We plan to travel home tomorrow, so with the forecast in mind we packed the awning and bikes up last night, and decided to spend a quiet day in the immediate vicinity today. I decided to take the opportunity of describing some of the facilities and history of this site.

The grand entrance gives away that this once used to be the site of a grand house and country estate. The original manor house was built in 1821, and was originally called Sans Souci, (without a care), and it was used to offer sanctuary to the French aristocrats fleeing the guillotine.
In 1890 the house was bought by a wealthy country land owner from Oldham in Lancashire, Elliot Lees. The family had made their fortune from the Lancashire cotton industry. Lees transformed the house, adding to it and extending it. In 1905 he built the lodge at the current site entrance, and in 1907 moved a road so it would be away from the house.
During the 1914-1918 war the house was used as a military hospital, and Lady Madeline Lees was a nurse here. During the 1939-1945 war the estate was commandeered for military use as an American tank base. Just before D Day the site was bombed, and shrapnel holes can still be seen in the walls of the lodge. The current concrete drive through the caravan site was laid to support the weight of the tanks.
After the death of Sir John Lees in 1957 the whole 13 acre site was sold to Dorset Council for £10,500. The manor house was converted into a comprehensive school, and is still used for that today. The lodge and land are used for caravans and camping, and the stables and courtyard are used as a craft centre and Dylan's cafe. Caravan site customers are offered a free tea or coffee here and a free bottle of wine with a meal at the local pub, St. Peter's Finger, on the edge of the estate.

The whole site is maintained in a pristine condition. The above telephone kiosk has been converted for use as a lending library and book swap.

The main camping field for tents is just to the left of the entrance.

Chickens kept on site opposite the lodge provide a supply of fresh eggs for the site shop. Fresh baked bread is also delivered daily. Other provisions and a small range of caravan accessories are also sold in the site shop. Daily newspapers are also available.

This is our pitch. We have now taken down the awning and packed up the bikes ready for our departure tomorrow morning. This site, off Dorchester Road, Lytchett Minster, Dorset, is highly recommended. It is an AA 5 pennant site and allows very easy access by whatever your choice of transport to the wider area.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Swanage And Corfe Castle.

Today was yet another fine day, so it was off to the site entrance to catch the number 40 bus in the opposite direction for a day out in Swanage. Again, due to the weather, it was quite busy, but no problem for us as we arrived by bus and didn't have to find a parking spot,

There is a Punch and Judy show on the beach. This very same show was here back in 1985, the last time we were here with our (then) young family.

Above is for comparison purposes only, for the 1976 photo I posted yesterday in the same area. This is what 38 years doing an uphill paper round does to you. The only thing that is the same is the watch. If you look at the 1976 image on yesterday's post you will see it is the same one - bought by my parents for my 21st birthday in 1975.

Also not to be missed while visiting here is the Purbeck steam railway, which terminates at Swanage Station.

With stunning countryside and Corfe Castle on the journey to and from our destination today.