Friday 13 February 2009

Tour 2008 - Oxfordshire to Berkshire - Amerden Caravan Park

Next stop heading south was Amerden Caravan Park, which takes its name from the hamlet of Amerden, Berkshire. The site is tucked away in lovely Berkshire countryside, close to the M4, so some traffic noise is to be expected.

This is another most unusual campsite site. Today, so many campsites seem the same, and Amerden is a refreshing change. Originally a garden and orchard, converted into a campsite, it has a timeless traditional country feel to it. Reception is housed in a small log cabin packed with information, and the owner, Bev tells you where everything is.

There are 50 pitches for tents, motorhomes and caravans, many with hook-up, and because they are randomly dotted amongst the trees and hedges, it doesn’t seem that many. There are lots of fruit trees and mature shrubs, and several of the delightful pitches are private and fully screened (except from the front).

The toilet and shower block is fabulous – scrupulously clean, fresh, modern and heated. Picnic tables have been thoughtfully dotted around for campers' use and we spotted lots of fresh water points. There is also a kiddie’s playground. The washing up area is fabulous! The laundry and washing up area is even better than the Caravan Club’s facilities, with 3 sinks, with washing up liquid provided (how thoughtful is that?) one sink is just for washing clothes (basket provided), and drying options include a washing line and tumber drier. There is also a washing machine if hand washing is not an option.

Amerden is one of several sites listed on the Environment Agency’s “Go Camping on the River Thames” leaflet, and therefore is ideal for backpackers and cyclists wishing to follow the route of the Thames.

Right next to the site is a nice-looking B&B and campers can order breakfast in advance for a cost of £5.00 per person, For other meals, takeaways nearby include a Chinese, a Pizza place and an Indian, all of which deliver to the site (details can be found in the log cabin). Finally, if you get hungry in the middle of the night, there is a vending machine located near the washing-up area, selling crisps, drinks chocs and kids sweets – what a brilliant idea!

There are easy walks from the site along the River Thames towpath. One direction take you to Maidenhead, which takes about 40 mins whilst the other way, Eton and Windsor are about 4 miles away. We attempted to cycle to Eton on our second day. Three miles out, the male half of AvailablePitch sustained a rear puncture. Repair kit or spare inner tube? In the shed at home. We didn’t forget it, oh no, I was assured that we wouldn’t need it “never had a puncture yet”. Hah! Sod's Law in operation again.

Anyway, this is a lovely cycle ride, flat, narrow, through some pictureque wooded areas and past the fabulous expensive river-side properties, and for those that weren’t pushing their bike, was very enjoyable and highly recommended.

Image above: Pretty private pitch in the former orchard at Amerden Caravan Park. Copyright 2009

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