Having had such a good time exploring Dorset from Weymouth with my granddaughter last summer, I felt there was more to see and so decided to spend a few days in Dorchester which would enable me more easily to visit places I had missed before.
So on Sunday 21st May I set off to catch the 1103 train from Southampton.
Having allowed plenty of extra time to catch the bus, which allowed plenty of time to catch the train, I ended up just managing to catch the earlier (by one hour) train which was a few minutes late! No photographs at this stage as with a heavy rucksack and suitcase, I was feeling rather tired. The suitcase was heavy because with the weather the way it was I had taken enough jumpers and T-shirts to cover my stay.
It is always pleasant taking the train through the New Forest and I was also enchanted to find myself, from Bournemouth onwards, passing through all the stations whose names had always sounded like a sort of litany when announced in a monotone over the station tannoy system.
Bournemouth, Branksome, Parkstone, Poole, Hamworthy, Holton Heath, Wareham, Wool – I love the alliteration.
When I arrived in Dorchester having plenty of time before I could collect the key to my room in The Bay Tree guest House, I set about exploring the Brewery Square area of Dorchester: a new, mainly restaurant filled, section which reminded me of the new extended area of West Quay in Southampton. I sat and admired the fountain, had a cup of Coffee in Costa Coffee, then set off for the guest house.
After settling into my room, I went back to Brewery Square to get some lunch, then set off for Maiden Castle which is a large Iron Age hill fort about a mile and a half outside Dorchester. I set off up the path towards it from the Car Park but it is really not an easy thing to photograph being so large (the upper area being the size of 50 football pitches) and covered in grass. As my younger daughter put it: “It’s where the people lived before the Romans moved them to Dorchester.”
It is managed by English Heritage and you can read more about it HERE
They have the benefit of aerial photography!
As I said it was hard to photograph but here is some idea of the banks and ditches that protected the entrance.And something of a wider view. The banks were made of chalk and would have been white and shinning when first erected. In some places you could see the chalk where people’s feet had worn through the grass. Near the other end is the remains of a Romano-British temple. These are the remains of the walls of an associated building thought to be the priest’s house.
And here is the outline of the temple:An inner room surrounded by a covered passage. Now mainly frequented by sheep.
Lots of people seemed to get as far as here and then retrace their steps but of course that was not good enough for me and I had to walk all the way round the edge.
Here are a couple of photographs I took as I walked back along the other side to give you an idea of how Maiden Castle sat in the land. and nearer where I started. After this I retraced my steps back to Dorchester and my room in the guest house and collapsed for a while before going out to find a snack.
I had taken some colouring and crochet to do in the evenings but I have to admit that during my time in Dorset, after being out on my feet for six or seven hours a day, in the evening I didn’t have the energy to do much other than read a book or watch TV.
Perhaps it is worth mentioning here that with Chronic Fatigue always in the background, I was very anxious not to allow myself to overdo it one day and end up totally prostrated the next and unable to do what I had planned.
So in all my outings, I took things at a gentle pace, walking at a speed that my body told me was okay, rather than that of which the government would approve! and whenever I started to feel more than a little tired, I would stop for a few minutes rest. This meant that I was able to visit all the places I had planned and had a wonderful time!