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The Howard, Rosedale Abbey (Pickering)

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The Howard, Rosedale Abbey / Caravan Club Site / Rosedale Abbey / Pickering / YO18 8SA / England / Tel: 01751 417842 /

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      03.07.2007 12:10
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      if you have a caravan, and have not visited, you have missed a real jewel

      ~~~Where is it and what sort of Place?~~~

      Upon leaving Haven’s site in Great Yarmouth, we drove for several hours (okay, six!) to Yorkshire, where we spent 5 lovely days. We spent a very idyllic family holiday time in the village of Rosedale Abbey, at the Caravan Club site The Howard. This s one of their smaller sites, and is for members only. It is a rectangular grassed site with a limited number of well spaced pitches. All the pitches feature electric, and while there is a reception area that sells UHT milk and ice cream as well as gas, there are no facilities per se on this site. This means that you need to have your own toilet and shower aboard your caravan, which is pretty standard fittings, though most people rarely use them, preferring the more spacious shower blocks. A milkman stops by several times a week to sell bread, milk, yogurts, butter, eggs, and other sundries and the days and times of his trips are well posted. Additionally, the friendly local milkman drives up the path along the pitches, and tootles his horn helpfully so we know he is there (thankfully not early in the morning!). Those with children are to be warned there is a river running behind the site, a river walk is present, so it’s wise to keep a close eye on children playing outside. We found this to be wonderful entertainment and pitched riverside. This meant we could watch the ducks and we even saw squirrels and water voles scampering about. The opposing bank edged a field, and a herd of cows complete with suckling calves also provided quiet amusement as they stared at us. Quiet is the watchword here. There was a distinct lack of noise and bustle, making it an ideal base to relax in, especially after returning from a day out.

      The village itself has two rather well stocked local shop and tea rooms. Locally made ice cream is also to be had from the two shops, as well as fresh meats and pies and what not. There is also a well maintained and exceptionally clean set of public toilets a short walk from the site in the village, so if needs must, it is there. The village itself is quite pleasant, and we enjoyed walks and drives in the area, particularly up by Chimney rock where we had a stunning view of the Moors from a great height. We saw many cars come to park in the village and disgorge walking groups, so it is a popular area for walkers, and footpaths are plenty, cleared, and well marked. Just be aware that many of the paths are step and buildings can be far between, so if out for a good ramble, be certain to pack proper provisions and bring a torch just in case! Across from the site is a pub with ample parking and it serves meals, welcoming families. There is a second similar sort of pub in the village itself as well, so you can eat out locally with a bit of variety!


      ~~~Is there actually anything to do?~~~~

      This is not to say we sent the entire time cow and sheep gazing and going hiking. Indeed not! The village is quite close to the town of Pickering, which is a historic market town full of charm. While it was pleasant to gaze upon and has plenty of shops, the real draw here is the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. After picking up a brochure from the campsite office, we knew when the trains began running, and got up to catch on of the earlier trains on an all day ride ticket. This is a heritage steam railway that not only restores and runs the trains, but you can actually ride all the way to Whitby and back for a spectacular day out. Local special fares are also available to locals, as this is the ONLY train service they have had since the 60’s when British rail cancelled their services, and local enthusiasts bought the trains and the track.

      Whitby is also close enough to the site for a short drive, and provides a great day out browsing the shops (there are some rather unique shops there), having some great fish and chips, and watching the boats. There are also museums and in fine weather, you can visit the sandy beach for seaside fun. Of course, the biggest attraction in Whitby is not the beach, however nice it is, but the Abbey. Now owned by English heritage, this magnificent ruin inspired Bram stoker and became his Carfax Abbey in his famous Dracula novel. Whitby revels in the notoriety, and you will find Goths wandering about year round here an there, with a gothic shopping experience never far away and even a Dracula attraction. Twice a year Whitby also host Gothic Weekends, when it becomes the Mecca for all things Gothic, and accommodation in the greater area tends to get booked solid by visitors from around the world, so be aware of when the throngs will descend before planning that trip.

      More walks can be had if you head out towards the Moors, as this is in the heart of the National Park area. In addition to Heartbeat nostalgia and lovely sweeping views, there is also an ancient Roman road to explore that you can actually follow for quite some distance. The children were fascinated and quite enjoyed following the road and looking at how the stones used to fit together, and trying to guess which antique walls and cottages we passed nearby had stones from it.

      Scarborough is also a short drive away, and boasts a decent shopping centre, the usual seaside type attractions, and has outlets for nearly every UK bank and building society, so if you need to visit a branch, this is the place to go. Most notably for us, a good car servicing place similar to Kwikfit is also there, and is quite efficient as well
      a s reasonable, who had an exhaust system actually on hand for our elderly (taxed and MOT’d) Volvo after the Mister’s erroneous conclusion that the exhaust would last longer ended in said original exhaust falling off three miles before our arrival at the Howard. This is especially embarrassing considering how pristine our car otherwise is, but I will not digress lest my teeth begin to grind in annoyance again.

      ~~~Ok, sounds like a nice area, but how were the staff and how much is it to stay?~~~


      This brings me back to the campsite and the staff. They were a fantastic couple. We arrived with our elderly caravan and clanging and booming away due to the extremely recent demise of our exhaust. They told us where to go to get a new one, and even loaned my husband a hacksaw to trim the pipe down so it would fit, allowing us to fix the car ourselves rather than spend out a fortune having the garage do it. Admittedly, it was a short and not overly messy job, but many places frown on this sort of thing. The couple also are undergoing cancer treatment, and the woman and her sister hand make the loveliest cards they sell in the Reception for a mere £1 (birthday, anniversary, holiday cards, and all occasion ones) to raise funds for the local cancer unit. They also have a used bookshelf in the office, where you can swap a book you own for anew one for 50p, or simply buy any one off the shelf for £1. Again, it is to raise funds for the cancer unit, and makes use of an honesty box.

      Cost for a pitch varies by season, starting at a mere £3.70 for a pitch, plus £2.70 per adult, and £1.10 for children 4 and up. To give a rough idea, we paid £52 for a full 5 days and nights in June. All pitches are electric, grassed, and allowed to have awnings. As this is a Caravan Club members only site, you do have to have your membership card with you and show it at check in. No tents are permitted. Dogs are permitted, but must be kept on a lead and cleaned up after. |There are three water and recycling/rubbish points, and a chemical toilet waste facility for tending to your portaloo is provided in a convenient central location. Given the relative size of the site, it is not that far to get too at all. Fire points are clearly marked as well. TV reception is poor without a good booster, and you will NOT get a wifi or even a mobile phone signal there. Quite why anyone would want to in such surroundings, I don’t know, but if you need one, a signal for mobiles appears in Pickering. As for the TV, don’t even get me started on camping with a TV!

      ~~~Would I go back?~~~

      My overall verdict is that this is a great place to camp, both for families and couples. Children will enjoy the local animals to be seen from the pitches, and Pooh Sticks to be played with adult supervision along the river walk. Stunning views, and good days out very short drives away, make it an ideal base for exploring the National Park and nearby towns. We have already decided to book here again, well in advance, to go to one of the Gothic Weekend spectacles and another all day ride on the trains. The area makes for fun and relaxation in the grandest sense of the word, with something for everyone…museums, walks, sandy beaches, seaside arcades and so on. This time, it will be with an intact car. Honestly!

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    • Product Details

      The Howard, Rosedale Abbey is a very attractive riverside site in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, on the edge of the village of Rosedale Abbey, north of Pickering. This is very much Heartbeat country. In the adjacent Farndale Valley the famous wild daffodils can be seen around Easter time, and in mid-August the Rosedale Show is a very popular event (check with the Warden for the exact date). The coast is within easy driving distance, and shopping is available in Pickering, together with the terminus of the North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway. For the active, there are extensive opportunities for walking and cycling in the nearby forests. The village of Rosedale boasts one pub and two hotels within yards of the site, a village store and tea rooms.