No, not the Hamlet of ‘Alas poor Yorick’ fame, nor the cigar, but Hamlet as in a small settlement! There are hundreds of these scattered throughout the county of Dorset, and indeed throughout the UK, hidden away and often unknown and unspoilt. The reason they are unknown and unspoilt is because they are not the sort of places you would normally go to – unless you are out walking! And my walks regularly take me through at least one. Last week I had a fantastic walk which took me through no less than 5 hamlets in quick succession and it led me to wonder where they came from. They each took a similar form – a manor house, a farm, a small cluster of cottages (of flint and brick construction last week), and most had a church which was sometimes in the grounds of the manor (well the lord and lady wouldn’t have wanted to walk too far to get to church!).
The thing that links them all is work! Where there is work there are people, where there are people there are properties, and in days gone by when transport was non-existent to most people, cottages were needed near to the places of work. So if there was a large estate or a farm, a cluster of cottages would spring up around it. In the case of my walk last week, I followed the route of a river and along the banks of this river there were many water mills, so a group of cottages was built around each mill and so the hamlets were formed. Some of these hamlets may well have been larger villages at one time but with the demise of the milling industry, probably in conjunction with the coming of better transport links to some places but not others, the villages became depopulated resulting in the tiny picturesque hamlets we know today. All with things in common, but also all very different and unique.
The pictures above weren’t actually taken on my walk last week (the weather wasn’t good enough really), they were taken on an earlier walk which took me through the East Dorset hamlet of Pentridge. It has all the same ingredients though – the church, a farm, a cluster of cottages and a manor. Very unspoilt and an interesting and rewarding place to walk through. As with most hamlets, the church was a particularly peaceful place to visit.
I love walking, it is such a great past-time. It not only helps you keep fit but it lets you see and enjoy parts of this lovely county that are hidden away and that would normally not even be noticed!
Thanks for dropping by, and thanks for reading the ramblings of The Dorset Rambler!
The Dorset Rambler