A Dorset Adventure – footnotes

I showed you the guest house where I was staying but on the last day I suddenly thought that I ought to take a couple of pictures of the inside. So I took a picture of the dining room where guests had breakfast. Then went back to my room and tidied up the bed to take a photograph there. You can see I didn’t do it very well. If it had been done properly the pillows would have been even.

I also thought that I would share a few of the quick flower photographs I took as I went about.

I am a real sucker for interesting flowers and these were on a front wall in a nearby road. Not sure what they are but they look a bit like a sort of sedum.

I found this up on the Giant’s Hill at Cerne Abbas. Then the day I went on the walk to Thorncombe woods I passed this in a garden in Dorchester. I chose this photograph because it also includes some blue flowers which look like the ones I have growing all down the drive at the front of my house.

Later not far from Hardy’s cottage I had to stop and take a photograph of these poppies that looked so gay in the bright sunshine. (And if anyone objects to my use of adjective. I don’t know another one that describes the scene more perfectly.)


A Dorset Adventure in Five parts – Day four

Stinsford church, Thorncombe Woods and Hardy’s Cottage.

Having had a bad migraine the evening before (maybe I was overdoing it after all!) I was pleased to find my head feeling much better as I set off.

I had a leaflet that I had printed off the internet leafletand I followed their walk to Hardy’s Cottage and back.

The walk started at Grey’s Bridge. Grey's bridgeThe instructions were then to take the second footpath on the right which was a bridal path. I did this, went under a busy road and eventually turned left as a little detour to see Stinsford church. Stinstead churchOn the wall outside the church near the door was this plaque containing a quotation form one of Thomas Hardy’s poems – The Darkling Thrush. Hardy quoteI especially like the font they had used!

There were a few features of note ins1de the church that I photographed.

The font. (Another meaning of the word!!)FontThis side chapel evoked a sense of peace and harmony.Side chapelThe stained glass windows were not exceptional except for this one that seemed more modern. (I am less keen on Victorian style stained windows.)Elijah windowIt was clear that this was Elijah and a closer look confirmed it. There was a dedication to Thomas Hardy underneath but the ivy which you can see in the above photograph rather obscured it.

There was a Madonna and Child: StatueThe niche may well be older than the statue.

I also liked the carving on the pillars.PillarsThis photograph will help tie it all together Broad viewas you can see the Elijah window, the statue, the pillars and the side chapel was to the left beyond the statue.

Of course I had to have a look for the graves of Thomas Hardy’s heart, Grave of Hardy's heartCecil Day Lewis Grave stoneand his wife. Grave stoneI enjoyed the poetry of C Day Lewis and Thomas Hardy but I have never read Hardy’s books as they seemed from reports to be rather depressing!

I then retraced my steps back to the original path and continued on my way. I came across this Farm equipmentwhen the path went through a farmyard. I thought it looked like something of an antique.

About 1130 I passed the Pine Lodge Tea Room which was noted on the map and instructions. It was an extremely hot and sunny day and I was feeling rather drained.

It appeared the they were shut but I went up to read what it said on the door. It appeared that they were open at midday for lunches but that seemed a long time to wait.

As I stood there the door was opened and a women asked me if she could get me a drink. I chose a sparkling elderflower which came with ice and she also filled up my water bottle. I suppose she saw the opportunity for a sale but it was still very kind of her.

Much refreshed I continued on my way until I reached Thorncombe Woods. Thornecombe Woods signHere I found Rushy Pond Rushy pondand these attractive and unusual seats. seatSo I sat for a while in the shade.

I then walked on, following the signs, until I could see Hardy’s Cottage. Hardy's cottage I wandered around and found this memorial put up by fans from the USA. Hardy memorialHere is a closer look at what it says. Text on Hardy memorialI also walked round to where I could see the back of the cottage that was surprisingly plain and almost windowless.Back of cottage

I was getting hungry by now and there was a sign to the Visitor’s Centre and Car Park so I followed it down what turned out to be a very long and sometimes quite steep path.

After a bowl of soup. I trudged back to the cottage to rejoin the route in the leaflet. I didn’t pay to go into the cottage as I tend to prefer grounds to interiors and I knew I would feel awkward in my walking boots.

The rest of the route was less picturesque and included electric fences and an Animal Care Centre. Luckily a couple of the girls there happened to know how to open the gate because I was struggling. It is surprising how many different sorts of gate you meet on a country walk.

I saw this house Kingston Maurward House which I now think is Kingston Maurward House and shortly afterward a rabbit! rabbit

On the whole the instructions were very clear and the sign-posting was excellent. However I was about to meet a problem on getting to section 13 (unlucky for some!). The signposting for The Old Manor was not at all clear and I ended up asking two different people if they knew of a nearby cattle grid: as the next significant point to find. Once there I had no more problems and when I saw these signposts signpostsI knew I had completed the circular part of my walk. part of map

Have you noticed this holiday is all about circles: walking all round Maiden Hill, walking the almost all way round bank of Maumbury Rings, Walking round the Giant’s Hill and now a circular walk that took in Hardy’s Cottage!

The way back was now straight forward and I went and collapsed gratefully back in my room at the guest house.

A Dorset Adventure in Five parts – Day three

Cerne Abbas

Tuesday was cloudy and not as hot as Monday but when you are going walking that is no bad thing.

I had been to Cerne Abbas Giant viewpoint on the way back from Weymouth last summer and shared a couple of pictures. The rather hard to see Giant. However this time I was aiming to visit the village and walk round the Giant’s Hill.

I left the Bay Tree shortly before nine to go to the bus stop. The bus was due at 0925 and since the English Senior bus passes are not valid before 0930, I hoped to pay for a short distance and then go for free but the bus driver was very kind and just let me use the pass.

When we got to Cerne Abbas I got my bearings then walked up Abbey Street to look at the church. The church was not outstandingly beautiful but it had a few features of interest, I especially liked this carved Madonna and Child and this amazing pulpit. There were also some interesting texts on the wall (This photograph is full size so if you are interested you can click on it and enlarge it till you can read the three texts between the arches.)and since this is a craft blog I had to photograph these kneelers made by local women. There were four kneelers but this composite picture allows you to see all the designs.

After this I moved on to look at the Abbey Guest House. Abbot’s porch and St Augustine’s well. Apparently it is iron rich (Chalybeate) water like at Glastonbury but unfortunately, unlike Glastonbury (at least many, many years ago when I was there), it is not drinkable. However it was a pleasant spot to sit for a few moments and contemplate.

Now it was time to walk up Giant’s Hill.

There is a fence round the Giant itself to preserve it. I wonder if once you could walk right up to it, like once you could clamber at will over Caerphilly castle, walk right up to the stones at Stonehenge, that stood in lonely splendour off the side of the road, or sit of an evening by Chalice Well in Glastonbury to drink the Chalybeate water, which is quite delicious! I have done all these things in my lifetime. The second time at Glastonbury, just two years after the previous time, the well was fenced in and you had to pay to go in during ‘opening hours’! I suppose it all makes sense and yet I find it sad.

Anyway back to Cerne Abbas.

This photograph shows what may be all that is visible of the giant from the path.

I had not started walking up the hill till about 11 o’clock but in spite of talking it gently I was making good time and I decided to follow a route to take me all around the hill. Not the full figure of eight walk shown on the Village Map but enough to still get me back to the village for lunch. It was so pleasant up there in the sunshine that I wondered if I should have bought something in the shop and had a picnic but it was too late to go back and start again.

Luckily, unlike the walk my granddaughter and I had done to Hardy’s Monument the way was well sign-posted and I even found myself walking along a bridal path through the middle of a field of rape. (You know: those fields of yellow flowers you see so often these days!). The path was well trodden earth but very narrow and the plants flopped over from both sides in many places.

At the other side of the field the path, though narrow and steep, went through a wooded area and allowed me a view over Cerne Abbas from the other side of the hill. Because it was so narrow, I wondered if the path was really used for riding but thought this could be evidence that it was. Further on I found even more proof. Luckily I didn’t miss the sign that directed me to turn left back towards the village. I walked back through the cemetery and took this picture before I went through the gate.

There was a village café so I went in to get some lunch. I had intended to have soup for lunch but as I wasn’t especially keen on the soup on offer I ended up being seduced by the thought of pie, though I suppose it was the fact that it included ‘veg’ that really sold it to me. Vegetables often seem in short supply in restaurant meals. Here a generous helping of carrots.

The buses were very infrequent and I had a choice of a bus at 1410 or waiting for another couple of hours. I decided that I was already quite tired so it might be wiser to take the earlier bus. I got to the bus stop in good time and was amused by wheeling swallows while I waited. No photographs I am afraid they were moving much too quickly.



A Dorset Adventure in Five parts – Day two

Last summer when I went to Weymouth with my granddaughter, Sandra of Wild Daffodil and I had arranged to meet, however circumstance intervened, but now I was coming back to Dorset we had another try and this time succeeded.

Sandra very kindly offered to pick me up in her car and take me to somewhere that would be harder to get to by bus (I do not have a car myself) and I suggested Ringstead Beach. Ringstead beachI realised afterwards that I should have taken more photographs, including one of us together but we were so busy getting to know each other and swopping stories of our creative journeys that there wasn’t much time for photographs.

I thought that it would be a good idea to bring a gift in return for her transporting me and I made two of my Celtic Coasters specially for her  Two gift coastersand also offered her a choice of two of my new design. Four new coasters in two sizesAs well as the photograph of the beach I also took a picture of this surprisingly large pipe that channels the water of a stream onto the beach. Pipeand on the way back Sandra stopped the car so I could get a good view of the figure of King George III cut into the chalk on the hillside. Figure cut into the chalk

She kindly took me back to Dorchester where I stopped off for some lunch before deciding what to do for the rest of the day. It was really great to meet a fellow blogger and it is a shame we don’t live nearer each other as we seemed to get on well.

I did a little reconnoitering and acquired a couple of bus timetables when I finally found the Tourist Information Centre which had moved and was now in the Library! I also discovered the best place to catch said buses.

I had noticed a sign for Maumbury Rings which were actually within Dorchester itself; so seeking them out seemed a good way to spend the end of the afternoon.

Maumbury Rings goes back to Neolithic times when farmers often build Henges, probably for ceremonial purposes. The Romans turned it into an amphitheatre and it was also used as a camp during the Civil War.

It is even in use for social events today.

Again, like Maiden Castle I wanted to walk all the way round. (Not as far this time!) Maumbury rings(The above photograph was taken when I was half-way round.)

I climbed up on these steps to start to walk around the top of the bank. Way up to top of bankThere is a very wide gap at the entrance and when I reached the other end of the bank I realised that I could see no easy way down, so I decided that the best thing to do was to retrace my steps and come down where I had gone up.

Here you can see that end seen from below. Bank at other endIt looks as if there may have been a second set of steps at one time and the sloping bit looks as if I might be okay to slide down! However it looked a lot steeper from above.

After this I found a seat in the shade and sat for a while. I couldn’t resist taking some photographs of a beautiful perfect daisy I could see beside the seat. Daisy


A Dorset Adventure in Five parts – Day one

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. Brewery SquareI sat and admired the fountain, Fountainshad a cup of Coffee in Costa Coffee, then set off for the guest house. The Bay Tree 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. View of part of Maiden CastleAs 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.Entrance to Maiden CastleAnd something of a wider view. Entrance to Maiden CastleThe 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. ChalkNear the other end is the remains of a Romano-British temple. Remains of Romano- British priests houseThese 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:Remains of Romano-British templeAn 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. Far side of Maiden Castleand nearer where I started. Far side of Maiden CastleAfter 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!