Exploring your own backyard in a campervan

explore your own backyard

Whats on your doorstep? exploring your own Backyard in a campervan

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s to expect the unexpected. That’s why exploring your own backyard is a great way to avoid cancelled plans and heartbreak.

With local and national lockdowns changing at what sometimes felt like an hourly rate it has been almost impossible to plan any long campervan road trips.

So while we’ve been dreaming of the long, open road and far flung destinations we’ve survived by doing many last minute day trips and overnighters. We’ve squeezed these in when and where we can, according to the restrictions imposed on us and the rules governing where we were going.

And this got us thinking. 

We can’t travel far and wide for just a day or two, it’s just not feasible. So what is available right on our doorstep? What about places we would normally whizz past without a second thought?

So we cracked open the maps and began to examine our local area.

planning a road trip

Planning your backyard exploring

When planning a campervan trip we typically use a mixture of Google Maps, ST&Gs marvellous maps series, BritStops and campervan/motorhome blogs to find out what we want to do. 

We always leave ourselves open to change. If we meet someone in a pub or on a walk and they make a suggestion, then invariably it’s a good one. This means we often end up changing our plans last minute. Failing that we make a return visit down the line to finish up what we missed out – easy if you’ve not gone far and are exploring your own backyard. 

Anyway, take a look below at the Google Maps screenshot of Bristol and the surrounding area. 

Just from a quick, 30 second look, we identified eight areas that we hadn’t really explored properly before as we were too preoccupied with getting as far as possible, as quickly as possible.

If you haven’t done this before then go and open a google maps tab and zoom in on your area. We think you’ll realise that no matter where you are, you’ll have some real gems that you’ve spent years overlooking.

backyard exploring
Exploring close to home for us means anything within a 1 to 2 hour drive of Bristol

We identified eight areas we have largely ignored over the last couple of years. We purposely excluded Wales for now as differing COVID rules made it a little too complex for this year.

  • The North Wessex Downs
  • The West Midlands (Stratford upon Avon sort of area)
  • The Quantock Hills
  • The Mendips
  • The Cotswolds
  • Cranbourne Chase
  • The Malvern Hills
  • The Somerset Levels

Once we had identified these areas using Google, then we hone in each of them. In this way we discover as much as we can to find out what we want to do, where we want to stay and what to eat. 

For this we use BritStops, ST&Gs Adventure Map and Food & Drink Map

britstops
ST&G maps

Benefits of exploring your own backyard in a campervan

Over the course of 2020, navigating between different tier restrictions, work, self isolation periods, national lockdown – we have visited 6 of these 8 areas. We even visited the North Wessex Downs twice. 

Typically in the past we would have spent far more time on the road, getting further from home. 

But the beauty of backyard exploration is that you get to spend more time actually doing stuff, and less time on the road. Particularly useful for short travel periods such as a single overnighter or a weekend. 

So as much as we enjoy long drives and time spent on the road it has been a nice change of pace to be able to explore more and drive less.    

Another great bonus is that once the nightmare that is COVID-19 is safely behind us – we’ll have a ton of close-to-home spots that we can easily revisit at the drop of a hat. No need to worry about planning and researching. 

So if we’re bored on a Tuesday evening – we now know we have time to pop over to the Wheatsheaf for a pint and a pizza. Then return home Wednesday morning in time for work! 

backyard sunset

Summary

Our biggest campervan lesson from 2020 has definitely been not to overlook our own doorstep.

We’ve had a great time exploring close to home and will certainly continue to do so even when it becomes easier to get further a field again. 

So if like us you’ve largely ignored your own backyard then we’d fully recommend grabbing a map and looking into what you have immediately available to you.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve discovered any hidden gems in your local area.

Go Explore! (locally)

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