Fineshade: a caravanner's view
The Caravan Club Site at Top Lodge, Fineshade is open from March to November and many members come back year after year, becoming familiar faces in the wood. Some of these are also Friends of Fineshade as they are enjoying and helping to protect the woods.
In July this year Caroline visited the site for the first time and recently wrote this blog describing her experiences at the site and providing what we believe to be a typical caravanner’s view of Fineshade,
We have been members of the Caravan Club for ten years and we have a motorhome. Caravan Club sites are lovely places to stay, well-run and other members are always friendly and helpful. Last July I arranged for us to stay for three days at Stamford CC, Fineshade Wood, as it was an ideal base for us to visit Fotheringhay and Burghley House, en-route to our main destination.
This was our first stay at Fineshade; previous times we were in the area we stayed at Ferry Meadows CC, Peterborough, from where we visited Flag Fen and Yarwell and from where we visited Fotheringhay for the first time.
When choosing a site, we look for a countryside location, good dog walks, good cycling and if possible, as we are members, near to National Trust properties or other types of heritage, and Fineshade ticked all the boxes. The woodland walks had dog approval, lots of tracks to investigate and squirrels to chase, he wanted to stay forever. The campsite provided plenty of shade and felt very safe, so when he was having his afternoon nap we went for a cycle ride.
One feels much more in-tune with the landscape on a cycle and I was overwhelmed with the simple beauty of the wood which can be so easily overlooked. We cycled from Top Lodge on woodland tracks to King’s Cliffe, along ancient roads lined with wild blue geraniums blowing in the soft warm breeze to Apethorpe, and then along quiet lanes to Fotheringhay - a name tainted with the sadness of long ago but probably one of the most beautiful and tranquil places in all of England. The first time we went there we absolutely loved the place and vowed to return. We did and it was as beautiful as ever. The photo left shows the distinctive tower of Fotheringhay church as we approached the village. We cycled on to Oundle and back via Southwick and Woodnewton. Another day the cycles took us from Fineshade to Blatherwick and brought us back to Top Lodge to the sound of playful Red Kites overhead.
Having read on this website about Forest Holidays and their proposed development of 70+ cabins and its continued threat, I share your concern. On accessing their website one can see they already boast nine ‘idyllic’ locations in the UK, some accommodation having ‘up to five bedrooms, sleeping eight to ten people’. With all the staff, deliveries and holidaymakers this could mean over 500 extra people using the forest every day through the year!
We have stayed on so many sites and visited so many beautiful places in the UK, and as every place is unique, it would be difficult to have a favourite, but I would put Fineshade in my top five. I also think the Friends of Fineshade are lucky to have such a wealth of beautiful countryside, ancient woodland and history on their doorstep. I sincerely hope you all manage to put a stop to FH’s plans and ultimately ensure no-one desecrates such a special place.
Visitor to Stamford CC, Fineshade Wood, July 2016