Thank you all for your suggestions--I guess I will save my Stonehenge for things that do well with it, like CP.
I have a few sheets of velour and also suede..the velour is expensive and I bought it to have a go with dry pastels, which I'm not very familiar with, either, but I was curious.
The only paper I've tried so far is Mi Tientes Mi-Tex--I just thought the sandy texture would be what's called for.
I'm unfamilar with gessoing, but I guess I can learn. I have a stack of different sorts of papers at home...a lot of NOT 300gsm Watercolour paper, and also Strathmore 500 smooth plate,which is good for graphite, but perhaps too slick for OP? And the same thing in Vellum, which is more toothy, I also have Mi Tientes (regular, one side honeycomb, the other side smoother) , and Fabriano Artistico, which is good for CP and a bit like Stonehenge, and Fabriano Watecolour. Yes, I'm a regular paper warehouse!
Some of the papers and boards mentioned I'm not really familar with.
I am also in Australia, so equivalent brands may differ, though I have bought a lot of my paper from DB and Jerry's.
I will post what I've done so far