Yesterday I had a long and really lovely walk on a day of beautiful spring weather – it was so warm walking that it could in all honesty have been mistaken for summer. My walk was 22.8 miles through the heart of Dorset with its varied mix of great countryside, farmland and quaint villages with their lovely thatched cottages like the one below at Amen Corner – no, nothing to do with Andy Fairweather Low (apart from the fair weather I guess ;0), it is the name of the area presumably because the cottage is last one in the village.
I actually chatted to the owner of this cottage who, as you can see, has had to have the ridge re-thatched, and I asked him if it was cold inside because of the small windows, but he said that it is cool in the summer and warm in the winter so it works out well. The thing that would concern me I think is the cost of having the roof completely re-thatched because it has limited life. But I’m glad these thatched cottages still exist and that some new ones are even being built in some areas. They are so much part of Dorset!
I love walking through these Dorset villages, you see so much more than you do when you drive through them. I love the fact that the old villages churches are still there and in use – they have been at the heart of community life for centuries and in my view, if the churches disappeared, something vital would be lost. A walk is always improved by visiting a church or two on the way round – there is so much of interest in them, as well as the huge heritage they bring. When I was young, a friend and I were into church architecture in a big way and used to spend our Sundays visiting different churches in Dorset with their varied architectural styles – Norman, Early English, Decorated, Perpendicular and much more. These days, I don’t go into that detail, but there is always something special about visiting an old church – its about the peace and the people. And if I visit one late in the day, I cannot help but think of one of my favourite poems, Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard – ‘The curfew tolls the knell of parting day…….. The church below is at Gussage All Saints.
Out in the fields, the farm land is coming alive with those bright yellow table cloths being laid out as the rape begins to come into flower. In the woods the blue of the bluebells is just becoming evident (a bit earlier this year) as the first blooms open. In a few weeks, there will be carpets of them in the Dorset woods. And on the wing already there are lots of Orange Tip butterfies.
One thing I did regret on my walk yesterday, I didn’t carry and small change ! As I often do on my walks, I came across one of those little cottage garden stalls with jams and chutneys for sale, and it had an amazing variety of different and interesting chutneys. The one I particularly fancied was apple and mint……..but I had no change so couldn’t buy it. Then I had a brainwave, I had some car park money in the car ! So I drove home via the stall……..but it was empty ! Ah well, next time I’ll take money! I love those little cottage garden stalls though – they are probably common throughout the world but to my mind there is something quintessentially English about them!
As I neared the end of the walk, the sun was setting and it was as lovely as the day had been, not a blazing ‘in your face’ red sky, but a gentle evening glow and as I walked back into the village where I had parked, the church bells were serenading me in the fading light. Thomas Gray came into my mind again!
Thanks for stopping by and reading the rambligs of The Dorset Rambler!
The Dorset Rambler