First Trip – Staying Local. Formby
For our first few trips we decided to stay local and visit places within, say, an hour and a half away. I must say, this has been a real eye opener. Not only have we found some great campsites, we’ve found wonderful places that we would never have dreamed of visiting before our motor home days! It’s also a good way to get used to driving your motor home without it becoming too taxing. Though the Rimor is so easy to drive I’m looking forward to a longer excursion too.
Formby Point Caravan Park
Formby Point Caravan Park This is about 20 miles away and we chose it for our first weekend in the MH who will be referred to as Marco from now on (don’t ask).
Formby Point is a wonderful place to visit whether you are camping or not. (We’ve been there twice now). Spectacular beaches, simply amazing sand dunes and a whole forest with Red Squirrels. What more could you ask!
The site is mostly an old established Static Caravan site but tucked away from the statics in its own little enclosure is a touring site with about 20 hard standing pitches and its own facilities. It is quite an old fashioned site but it’s well-kept and organised. It’s really friendly too and everyone talks to you or waves hello as you walk around. The touring area is right by the sand dunes. Just one minute from your pitch and you are straight onto the dunes and over the top to the beach. I don’t know if you’ve ever walked over sand dunes but I can tell you it’s not that easy! I’ve definitely dropped my plans to run away and join the foreign legion. My calves were burning by the time I got to the top but going down felt like I was walking on air! All of a sudden you are out of the dunes and faced with the biggest expanse of beach, sea and sky you have ever seen. Simply mind blowing.
There is an easier route to the beach should the sand dunes prove too much for you. A short walk through the site takes you to a magic gate that opens into the woods and gives you access to the road where a five minute walk across the National Trust car park takes you to a board-walked path onto the beach.
The Sand Dunes and the Beach
All the pitches have electric hook up and plenty of room with generous lawned areas. You will need a hose pipe though as there are only one or two water points. Luckily I have my lay flat hose now and that did the trick.
The touring area has its own facilities with toilets and showers and a chemical toilet disposal point – also known as an Elsan point. (Elsan first introduced the chemical toilet to the world in the 1920s)
Although the facilities may look a little old on the outside they are kept lovely and clean and are perfectly adequate on the inside. Nicely tiled with modern sinks and toilets. One odd thing is that you need a key to get in. Not just to get into the toilet block but to get into each cubicle too! When you check in you are given a key and charged a £2.00 deposit – refundable when you hand the key back. Sometimes the door is open but always have your key with you. Imagine sitting there and hearing that clicking noise as someone else locks the door!
Oh, you also need 20p for the shower too! You put 20p in the slot and water starts to come out. It’s warm enough and it lasts more than long enough but a bit odd all the same!
If the weathers not too good or you have simply had enough of the beach then the metropolis that is Formby Village is only five minutes’ drive away. Being in a 24ft motor home we walked so that works out at about 30 minutes away. A pleasant walk though past the woods and a lovely church and the Lifeboat Cafe where you can get a fantastic pot of tea and a cake for about £1.50! (plus a worthy donation to the lifeboat fund). Once you’ve passed that church and some beautiful houses it all gets a bit ordinary but you soon reach the village which is a really bustling little place. Plenty of shops, including a Waitrose and an M&S with plenty of independents too and a fair number of Bistros. No matter what you do, whether you are just arriving or just leaving, planning a barbeque or have just eaten you must buy some Cumberland sausages from . Broughs the Butchers These are amazingly good. Massive too. Lesley asked for six but quickly decided on four once she’d seen them! I think it was about £4.00 for four sausages but definitely worth it. On the way back we stopped at that Lifeboat Café and enjoyed a pot of tea and a piece of carrot cake.
This is the sites entrance (or exit) straight onto the sand dunes. We got lost. We went out of the magic gate onto the roadway to get to the beach and were coming back the same way when clever clogs me said “this path looks nice and shady Lesley and it goes the same way” It came out in the sand dunes and one looks much like another! We could see our campsite but believe me I was in a heap of trouble before we found the entrance!
It was a bit calmer next time I got lost, I was on my own! I went to the forest, just across the road, to take some pictures of Squirrels. There are proper paths all over the place but not much signposting. I thought I’ll just delve into the woods for a bit and I strayed off the path for a couple of hundred yards. When I looked around I might as well have been in Narnia. Trees and pine needle carpets were all I could see in any direction. I eventually found a path and there was a young family coming towards me with a couple of children and a buggy. I wasn’t telling them I was lost so followed the path to civilisation. Yayy a housing estate! I backtracked into the woods again. I found another path. hmmm left or right. Going off the position of the sun I knew the coast must be off to my right and the campsite was on the coast, right? Off I went. A few dog walkers and little families passed me and after a while I thought I better ask for directions. I asked the next couple “excuse me, do you know where the lifeboat cafe is by any chance?” “Yes mate” came the answer “back the way you came for about a mile” “ah thank you” bugger bugger bugger. They were headed that way too so I had to make good time whilst trying to look nonchalant. I managed to lose that couple and after walking for ages asked another couple if they knew where the lifeboat cafe was. “can you hear those church bells?” “Yes” “Well walk towards them and you are there” It was two hundred yards away round the corner. I knew where I was, what a great feeling. Funny places these forests. I got back to the Motorhome and Lesley said “see any Squirrels” “No love”
What did we learn?
Well we learned that filling the water tank can seem to take forever. On our first visit I had one of those garden sprinkler type fittings on the hose and it took ages to fill. I had serious arm ache (yes I’m a wimp). I since found out that it’s a lot quicker to just use an open-ended hose – but it’s still boring. I now have the Water Tank Cap with Hose Connector and it’s a god send. Simply connect the hose then get on with other stuff while the tank fills. One of my best buys.
We learned that we only have two 13 amp sockets (and one of those is in the toilet!) and we have no 12V sockets. We need a multi extension for now and a 13A to 12 V converter We will have some sockets professionally installed at a later date but you’d think they would put a few sockets in place from new!
We learned that there are many things you have to do and remember before leaving site. Waste tanks. We couldn’t drain them at this site so that had to be done back at base. Toilet cassette to empty. Foodstuff to put away. Rubbish to be emptied. Gas to be turned off. Electricity to un hook. All kinds to be made secure in the garage….……….. I can feel another list coming on!
PS <note to self> take breadcrumbs
Any questions, suggestions? Have you been to Formby? Have you visited this caravan site? what did you think? Have you ever been lost in the woods? Leave a comment.