Leaving Cambridge we chugged our way along the A14 to Melton Mowbray known as the ‘Rural Capital of Food’ …. not quite sure where the capital of food is but that’ll be another trip and we may need to plan slightly longer to make the most of it 🙂
Being a good jewish girl (ahem) I hadn’t ever heard Melton Mowbray or its infamous Pork Pie reputation before, however Keith had, and when we decided to visit this part of the country, he ensured that we scheduled a stop here to try and check out some of its Pork Pies.
We had booked ourselves in at ‘The Grange Nursery and Farm shop’ (£15 per night without electricity) which is roughly 2 miles outside Melton Mowbray situated on top of a hill looking out onto the beautiful Leicestershire countryside.
On a quest to find something for dinner and with the farm shop closed on Mondays, our quick trip into town found us at a sausage shop situated alongside ‘Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe’ which provided ample produce for our bar b q 🙂 Returning to the motorhome we were surprised to see a brown paper bag hanging from the door …. inside were two huge fruit scones from the cafe – we are starting to understand why it is called the rural capital of food!
We have been pretty lucky over the last week with market day and again appear to have fallen on our feet as Tuesday was not only the normal market day, but also the animal auctions…. something you don’t get to see every day.
The two areas of market are separated and both were thriving. I was a little concerned about the proximity of the sausage and bacon butties, pork pies and stilton stalls to the pigs, cows, sheep, goats and chickens…. seemed a bit cruel to me, perhaps they just wanted to highlight the ‘freshness of the produce’. Needless to say it all looked and smelt fantastic – well worth a visit if you are in the area on a Tuesday.
Lacking in local knowledge (this really is making me sound a bit dim….), I also hadn’t appreciated that Stilton originates from here (although before you say it, something in the name of ‘Red Leicester’ gave it away) …. both of which provided interesting (and rather tasty) combinations on top of a pork pie.
With so much choice on the pork pie front, we gave in and decided to try two different types, one pure and simple packed with meat, and as we had bought quite a lot of stilton, we opted for the ‘Ploughmans’ which was with Red Leicester and Chutney on top …. a kilo between them…
Not something that I was brought up with, and having tried the odd ‘poor relative’ to the pork pie I was a little apprehensive, but I admit to having been very pleasantly surprised and would go back for seconds. Needless to say, the ‘purist’ pork pie definitely had the edge over the ‘Ploughmans’ ….. keep it simple and it will always end in happiness 🙂
Despite the rain falling most of the night we woke to beautiful sunshine, so after a rather hilly run, we set off on a walk through some of the Leicestershire countryside guided by the very large yellow topped signposts….. it really would have been quite difficult to get lost.
Melton Mowbrey’d out – although there would definitely have been space for some more scones – we meandered our way the 25 miles over to Thornton to our next CL which was at Thornton Nurseries (£15 per night). Thornton Nurseries pretty much sits on Thornton Reservoir, on the edge of Thornton which for its tiny population still manages to support three pubs and is a bit of a hub for walking and cycling.
This part of Leicestershire used to be full of coal mines dating back to 1274. Unfortunately, all bar one are now closed apparently, with the last three closing in the 1990’s, however they have invested in the area by creating the National Forest (planting a lot of trees), creating cycle routes, bridleways and walking routes to bring people to the area. We did a couple of circular walks near to Thornton which were really nice as they had very varied scenary, and then headed out on the bikes for a couple of hours doing a 25 mile round trip taking in a bit more of the ex-mining countryside.
With the sunshine on our side, the friends we stayed with near Lutterworth (James, Gail, Jack and Amy) came over and took us out to Bradgate Park on Saturday to see one of Leicestershires’ treasures.
We parked up near to the highest point (Old John Folly) and walked over to the village to get a late morning coffee and snack (the cakes were incredible). We then headed to the river to do some paddling (Jack and Amy at least) stopping to admire some of the beautiful deer which were taking in a few a rays,
before a walk to Lady Jane Greys’ (the nine day queen) birthplace and residence before heading back to the car, pub and home…. what a great place and a lovely day.
The last stop before home was just outside Buckingham (Rectory Farm £12 per night) The forecast was set for rain and it started as we arrived although ended up being more gentle on us than we had expected. The farm was set on a hill in a very peaceful location, however as we were planning on heading back to Lane End on Tuesday and it was forecasted to rain all day Monday, we decided to cut our losses and only stay one night instead of two. We did however manage to have a lovely pub dinner with Keith’s mum, Aunt Pat, Keith and cousin Christine who live close by before moving on 🙂