THE latest in a series of awards takes Oxon Touring Park, only a mile and a half from Shrewsbury, to the top echelon: It’s now the AA British Campsite of the Year. It’s also the Alan Rogers runner-up park for motorhomes for the whole of Europe.
Oxon Hall Touring Park
We had arrived at Oxon mid-way through a tour of Shropshire and with a long list of attractions to visit that day in the course of gathering info for Out&About readers. But even at a quick glance as we sited the Harringtons special edition Kingsmere six-berth, it was clear Oxon was an outstanding site.
It was two days before our schedule gave gap for a proper look around this site, a member of the prestige Best of British group. We sauntered around a lake populated by ducks and overlooked by some of the pitches. We found a second lake, complete with bird hide. We inspected the pitches, to realise that our spacious premier fine shale hardstanding pitch, with even satellite television hook-up, was typical; there are also a few grassed pitches.
We found an ‘adults-only’ area. In another area we found a children’s adventure playground; this site, thus, has a best-of -both- worlds approach.
It has a caravan/motorhome accessory shop to rival any caravan dealership for its comprehensive stock. And site manager Clive Jones told me he also has a garage full of additional stock: “We have a whole range of water pumps even for older caravans, for example, and we stock all types of regulator.” His wife, Virginia, running the reception office while we chatted, added: “It helps that we are caravanners – we know what people want.”
“One of the biggest draws is the tranquillity of the park,” says Clive. “And customers appreciate, too, the security barriers (numbercoded) – they feel very safe here.”
This park’s centrally-heated amenities building has privacy washbasin cubicles as well as showers. There is a dual-use shower room equipped with baby bath and baby changing mat and also shower equipped for disabled people; a key for this room is available from reception. The laundry and washing-up room are kept to the same standard of immaculate cleanliness as the showering department; up among the cleanest parks we’ve ever found (which is accolade indeed).
The grounds are manicured to perfection – and the rabbit and duck population enhance the appeal of the site. Clive Jones draws my attention to the frequent badger and fox visitors although unfortunately none materialise during our stay. He also points out something else we would not have noticed: that there are a number of pitches equipped for American RVs, complete with 32amp mains hook-up and all-amenity connections.
But not of all of Oxon’s appeal is on the site. This place is perhaps the ultimate in convenience location for motorhomers in particular, as it is less than a five-minute walk (down its own drive) from a park and ride to Shrewsbury town centre. It’s the same distance from a fish and chip shop, Chinese takeaway and small supermarket – vitally important if you don’t want to take your motorhome off its pitch. And pretty convenient for caravanners as well.
Our sampling of the fish and chips resulted in the recommendation that a small portion of chips is more that sufficient for two people unless you are a chipaholic or have not eaten for a week. And there’s a dessert temptation here: Häagen Dazs banoffee pie and a load of other ice cream choices in the freezer at the fish and chip shop – and all in large tubs.
Oxon’s park-and-ride, like the Harlescott park-and-ride, which is at a different point on Shrewsbury’s excellent ring road, has a height barrier that precludes motorhomes. However, signs exhibited inform you that if you wait and speak to the driver of the next bus along the barrier will be raised for you.
The Oxon Touring Park’s walking proximity to the park-and-ride surely makes it an important site for motorhomers wishing to visit the Tudor-timbered, architectural delight of a town that is Shrewsbury.
And Oxon site manager Clive Jones informs us that a taxi fare from Shrewsbury costs only around £3, so there is a viable alternative to the £1 per person park-and ride.
Walking is an attraction from Oxon, too. Clive and Virginia recommend the Carding Mill Valley walk from here, on which you can see the mountains of Wales on a clear day. “The Silberstones Walk, near the village of Minsterley seven miles from here, takes you up through an old mining village, now restored, at the top of the ridge from which you can often watch hot air balloons ride form Minsterley,” says Clive.
Oxon Touring Park is open all year. Thus it’s a contender for visiting the Medieval Christmas Fayre at Ludlow which, Clive informs us, involved shops turning to candlelight – pure magic! (Saturday and Sunday November 25 and 26, Ludlow Castle, a programme of jesters, minstrels and markets; www.ludlowcraftevents.co.uk; 01584 875053). Ludlow is just under an hour’s drive from this site.
Oxon Touring Park has a special, tranquil magic appeal for those for whom quality is paramount and tranquillity’s pretty high on the list, too.
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OXON HALL TOURING PARK
||Welshpool Road, Shrewsbury Shropshire SY3 5FB