Base Camp Journal: Love2Stay, Shrewsbury
A site called ' Love2Stay ' is just outside the town of Shrewsbury. Robby had mentioned a number of times its reputation for having the most comprehensive range of facilities of all the caravan sites in Britain, and 90% of the reviews were very positive when we were deciding whether to book a place there.
The journey took around three hours from the depot from Cardiff. We took the wrong exit somewhere near Ross-on-wye and were consequently directed by the satnav onto the motorway through Birmingham. All we needed to do was follow the A49 all the way from South Wales.
Love2Stay is quite expensive - about £65 per night - but it's certainly worth the money if you make use of everything there. The pitches are full-service, each separated by small bushes, and the grounds - really quite vast - are immaculate. Even with all the pitches being taken the day after we arrived, and with screaming kids running around between them, Love2Stay was never unbearably busy.
Our pitch was at the top of a hill, overlooking countryside as far as the eye can see. Apparently it was still only 60 metres above sea level. We had a perfect view of the sunset, and our evening wander around the site made for a romantic experience. Still, Carnon Downs remains my favourite site to date.
Near the site entrance, there is a caravan dealership place - Swift caravans, primarily - and a store providing a huge range of accessories and components. A couple of the Swift models are very nice, but the only one I might prefer to the Base Camp is the slightly larger Sprite. I didn't much like the Celeste, as the interior decor was rather dark, and it looked too much like an apartment. We had a look inside the latest Base Camp model. It was almost identical to ours, aside from the storage compartments up front. And there is a cafe in the same building, where the food and the service are excellent.
Love2Stay has character, but something is missing... It needs more colour in addition to all the light wood and wild plants. And it could do with a bar with evening entertainment also.
Shrewsbury is quite a scenic town, and definitely worth the trip for those who need time away from the larger stores closer to the caravan site. There are Tudor buildings everywhere, most of them sagging from centuries of subsidence. The River Severn runs through the town, and it's possible to have a 45 minute boat ride along it. Before leaving, we enjoyed a nice meal in The House of the Rising Sun.
Robby wanted to go looking for a large Tudor building he often saw while passing through on a train to Manchester. He thought it would be in Church Stretton or Craven Arms, but we never found it. It was worth the try, as the route there made for a very relaxing drive.
In Church Stretton, I was drawn to a large antiques store. A small folding knife there caught my eye - it has a genuine pearl handle with a silver blade. The blade is slightly bent, and there is a very fine crack in the pearl.
I soon found out, looking up the hallmarks, that the knife was made near Sheffield, in 1907. It also transpires there are many other knives of similar age and design changing hands for around £50 - they were a very common accessory in the 18th and 19th centuries.