The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Facility Reviews by Rhiannon

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Jen's Cafe (Cafe, Frome, Somerset)

This transport cafe offers very nice views from its outdoor benches, or you can drink your builder's tea inside. Just the right sort of place to grab a very reasonably priced and well made fry-up before hitting the (er) megalithic trail. There are mini ponies and sheep for you to look at. And! it's open on Sundays. What more could you want.

Pull into the big layby on the A361 just east of Nunney Catch (between there and Frome) and the cafe is through the white gates. (I don't mean the Nunney Catch truck stop at the roundabout). It's marked 'Cheese Hill' on the OS map.

It's not hugely noticeable from the road but this place deserves to have a huge sign. Seriously, it's great.
10th September 2006ce

Cafe in a bus (Cafe, Wiltshire)

This cafe is actually an old red bus. You can sit inside if it's raining. They do a great egg or bacon roll with HP Sauce and a Nice Mug of Tea. And they're open on Sundays*. It's cheap. And there are picnic tables. And clean toilets. And lovely views of the river Wylye in its valley, with sheep in the fields. I advise you to stop here instead of the stupid little chef (now defunct HA!)down the road. I thought it was just the job and I thoroughly recommend it.

*sadly they were not there the last time I went on a Sunday. I hope they have not decamped entirely.
24th August 2006ce

The Farmer's Arms (Pub, St Davids)

Seemingly the only pub in St David's. It does nice cheap pub food all day and has a large beer garden. Children run round until 9.30 when they have to clear out and peace reigns. 6th August 2006ce

Rhosson Field Camping (Camping Site, St Davids)

This site isn't exactly well advertised, and long may that be the case (though I hope I'm forgiven for mentioning it here). It's not the sort of place you book. It's the sort of place you turn up to.* It's a couple of fields with some grass in and a beautiful view of Carn Llidi and the sea. It doesn't have a pool table or a bar or a shop or ANY CARAVANS AT ALL of any description. It does have some marvellously clean toilets. But no showers (being squeaky clean is overrated if you ask me). It is only £3pppn, which is laughably cheap for the benefits you get: it was peaceful in the extreme and utterly hassle free.

To find it, drive into the St Justinian car park (which is owned by the same people).

*despite it being the first week of August we shared the lower field with only 3 other tents. Meanwhile at the ludicrously crowded campsite across the road, people who had booked weeks ago were paying £10pppn ('for a minimum of 7 nights in school holidays') !! and being crammed in like sardines. The poor foolish suckers.
6th August 2006ce

Devizes Museum (Museum, Devizes)

The museum turned out to be free on Sundays - but I'd gladly have paid to see the prehistory galleries here. The museum has something of the local-museum-in-need-of-time-and-funds about it (the typed labels, the clearly aging stonehenge display) but this didn't affect my enjoyment at all. I just drank in the axeheads, the fantastic beads, the reconstructions - too much to take in really. There are contemporary paintings, a humourous desk shaped like a trilithon, not to mention John Nash's fantastic stained glass window featuring a 'best of prehistoric icons'. Unmissable in my opinion. Unfortunately the museum is stuck in an old building, though the woman on the desk assured me they are hoping to move. So most of the museum is currently pretty inaccessible to those with mobility problems - there is no lift and the stairs were pretty rickety in themselves. Considering Stonehenge and Avebury are major attractions it is a shame that Wiltshire's treasury of artifacts can't be supported much more. 16th July 2003ce

Frog and Spoon (Cafe, Wiltshire)

Definitely the place for a cup of tea, a hot dog, a piece of cake or an icecream before or after you exert yourself walking round Barbury Castle. Or perhaps a good place to stop while walking the Ridgeway! 3rd September 2002ce

Manor Farm Camping and B and B (Camping Site, Newton Abbot, Devon)

Found this place by the tried and tested method of scouring the OS map - and what a find. Only minutes from the holiday madness of Torquay, but nestling in a valley filled with cows and horses. Fantastically quiet, few camping on the Jubilee weekend we were there, beautifully clean toilet block and free showers. You can see the tors of Dartmoor on the horizon, and at night we were lulled by the sound of a flower-bedecked stream running past the tent. Simple but perfect.

http://www.westcountry-holidays.co.uk/guest/devon/manorfarm.htm
the website says £8 pppn but we were charged £5
7th June 2002ce

Scott Arms Hotel (Pub, Dorset)

This pub has THE perfect view of Corfe Castle on its hill slap bang between the two long ridges of hills across the Isle of Purbeck. JC says some people interpret the scene as a woman lying with her legs apart, but that sounds very rude to me, and don't let it distract you from your beer in this beer garden.
There's quite a menu (though practically nothing vege surprisingly) and they do nice puddings. Real ales also.
8th May 2002ce

The Barge Inn (Pub, Pewsey Wilts)

Apparently the place for crop-circle fanatics in the summer, but this weekend in March the clientele was a broad selection of chilled out people, babies and dogs. Beautifully quiet and serene, right on the canal, with a top view of the white horse at Alton Barnes and the mad parascenders. Local beers, and the menu looked nice too. Dunno what it'll be like in the summer though?

- have since had some food here and it was lovely, proper hearty english food - bangers and mash / roast meat stylee - but I had something vegetarian which was in a similar line and delicious, no scrimping on the portions either. We forced down a pudding which was also lovely but a course too far I fear.

They appear to do camping too but I can't comment on that. Visited recently on a summer weekend and couldn't even park the car it was so busy - had to leave.
25th March 2002ce

The Mill Inn (Pub, Gloucestershire)

Weary with cold after a lovely visit to Belas Knap this weekend I used my tried and trusted method of 'pick a pub off the OS map near a river'. The Mill Inn in Withington is not far - and I can guarantee you'll enjoy the drive down there, along the ridiculously dead straight roman road. The Inn is about 400 years old, lots of little nooks to sit in inside, but in the summer it must be teeming outside judging by the amount of benches in the garden. I thought the food was excellent, various nice vegie things to eat (not a sign of mushroom stroganoff), and they have some real ales and a nice looking Bavarian lager on tap, if you're into that sort of thing. Healthy sized portions (average price about £6), the staff were very friendly, and there are PUDDINGS. What more could you want.
If you are extremely flush you can even stay, and they have rooms with four-poster beds, v romantic.
4th March 2002ce
This hill, it has a meaning that is very important for me, but it's not rational. It's beautiful, but when you look, there's nothing there. But I'd be a fool if I didn't listen to it.

-- Alan Garner.


...I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn...

-- William Wordsworth.


I'm currently mad on visiting Anglo-Saxon and Norman carvings and enjoy the process of drawing them:
http://wiltshirewandering.blogspot.co.uk/

and I've been helping digitise the Schools' Collection of the National Folklore Collection of Ireland... you can also at
http://www.duchas.ie/en

Some interesting websites with landscape and fairy folklore:
http://earthworks-m.blogspot.co.uk
http://faeryfolklorist.blogspot.co.uk

My TMA Content: