Timberland Owners club

Location, Location, Location, 

For those who watch property relocation programmes you will probably be familiar with the phrase ‘wild card’. This is where the presenters offer the eager house hunters an option, that on the face of it, they are unlikely to go for as it doesn’t tick enough of their boxes.

Peterborough, the location for the Timberland Owners Club 2010 Spring Rally, was just such a wild card with the depth of my local knowledge stretching to ‘the place to go for passport renewals’.

On the TV programmes the wild card invariably puts a different perspective on people’s preconceived views, and it was exactly this that gave the name Peterborough a totally different and infinitely more appealing meaning to me. The Rally organisers Peter and Sandra Holland chose their location well. Extremely well.

The 5 star Ferry Meadows Caravan Club site is situated in an extensive area of open countryside to the west of the City. Over 30% of the pitches are hard standing with well manicured crescents dividing up the 254 pitches, all of which offer hook up and full services. The shower blocks were immaculate offering not only shower cubicles but washbasin cubicles as well, for those who are not used to sharing their morning rituals.

The Site is close enough to cycle into Peterborough City Centre with an extensive network of cycle paths, making this the preferred mode of transport for many.

Of the 18 vans who made the journey (from as far afield as Cornwall and Yorkshire) most arrived on the first day – Thursday, and due to the dates coinciding with the National Motorhome Show at the East of England Show Ground just 3 miles away, members had to park in small groups dictated by vacant pitches on the fully booked Site. For those like me who like their creature comforts hard standing was the order of the day. However, the Rally field was available (at half price) and 10 hardy members had this large grassed area to themselves until Saturday brought all members together for the planned BBQ.

Setting out with the dog on the second gloriously sunny day of our stay, we were informed that walks were available a mere 100 metres away. With hedges abounding the Site, we were blissfully unaware of exactly what members had on their doorstep, and what a pleasant surprise we had!

The Caravan site snugs up to Ferry Meadows Country Park, 500 acres at the heart of the magnificent Nene Park itself offering  2,535 acres of lakes, meadows, woodlands and riverbanks, where the River Nene offers the semicircular boundary within which this oasis of recreation and leisure is sited.

The Park boasts three lakes; one housing a water sports centre offering kayaking, windsurfing and sailing. There are play areas, a miniature railway and two 18 hole golf courses. For those Timberlanders keen to explore by foot, bike or even horseback there were miles of marked routes. The extensive network of routes within Ferry Meadows links with routes in the larger Nene Park (much of it well signposted and paved) providing access to the City and surrounding countryside.

Our choice this Friday was the beautiful Nene Way, following the River Nene’s meandering course around the Park. Encountering an abundance of wildlife, mainly of the feathered kind, our walk culminated amongst the blooming carpets of Bluebell Wood before crossing Bluebell Bridge and Ham Bridge back into Ferry Park.

On their return to base, members were found donning ‘best bib and tucker’ for the traditional night out, on this occasion hosted by the Grannary Public House but 10 minutes leisurely and level walk from base, a definite advantage for the return leg!

Saturday dawned another beautiful and sunny day affording members not only the sound but smell of instant nostalgia; and yet another surprise.

Running along the southern boundary of the camp site is the Nene Valley Railway, which is one of the best known standard gauge steam preservation railways in the UK and home to that very special engine, Thomas. The railway runs between Wansford and Peterborough through the length of Nene Park, with two stations in the Park at Ferry Meadows and Orton Mere, the latter no more than a few minutes’ walk from the Caravan Park.

After the excitement of yet another gloriously sunny day, where members chose from the myriad of options on offer, Rally organisers Peter and Sandra Holland added icing to the cake by hosting a veritable feast of a BBQ in the Rally field, for all 38 members to swop notes and sip cold beer or chilled wine alongside the fruits of Peter and Sandra’s not inconsiderable culinary efforts. As the sunset brought on the chill, members retired to their vans with a warm glow and fully replete courtesy of mine hosts.

Sunday dawned wet and windy as the weather changed and members started departing for home or even further destinations, with fond memories of the Spring Rally and I’m sure looking forward to the autumn meet.

On reading through the Wikipedia  entry for Nene Park it explains that the Park management was transferred to the Nene Park Trust in 1988. The Peterborough Development Corporation tasked the trust ‘to provide for the recreation of the public by the provision of a park for the benefit of the inhabitants of Peterborough and visitors with the object of improving conditions of life for such persons’. Nene Park certainly did that for the Timberland Owners Club members in abundance, along with the considerable help of Rally organisers Sandra and Peter. To both we offer our grateful thanks.


Timberland Owners Club


Nene Park


Nene Valley Railway


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