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Some people collect stamps, some shoes, others like to spot trains or planes. We all have our own slightly eccentric whims that are more embarrassing pleasures than guilty ones! For me it’s service stations…


So when I heard we were heading to Ledbury in Herefordshire to celebrate my Dad’s 70th Birthday my initial thoughts were not of the spectacular view of the Malvern hills; nor the renowned Slimbridge Wetland Centre nearby; not even the Ledbury-based Hand Made Scotch Egg Company (with over forty varieties!). No, my immediate excitement was at the thought of visiting the legendary M5 Gloucester services!


In truth there was a lot more than just Gloucester Services to get excited about, not least, the amazing abode we found ourselves in, Chandos Granary. With views over Ledbury and the Malverns, and acres of land to explore, grown-up, child and beast would have been perfectly happy to just maroon ourselves within these special grounds for the week.


As alluring as our immediate surroundings were, we Bunces are fidgety twitchers with an irrational compulsion to “do things”. As literal twitchers there were two must-do items on the itinerary… The Birds of Prey Centre and every birder’s must-do pilgrimage site Slimbridge Wetland Centre.

When you’re lucky enough to live in God’s own county (Yorkshire) it’s easy to get a bit snobby bout the scenery. It’s also easy to forget that there are many parts of this country that are also jaw dropping-ly gorgeous. The Malvern Hills certainly fall into this category.

In the end, the M5 service station was a minor (but still delightful) detour from a week full of adventure. From the best eggy-bread I’ve experienced in Ledbury to the beer at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, in true Buncey fashion we managed to cram a month’s worth of activities into one week and still find time for a cup of tea in the garden!