This was a great walk made all the better by having a companion as my son Paul joined me. Because I usually walk during the week, I mostly walk alone which I am fine with because I am happy with my own company and I don’t think you are ever really alone in the countryside anyway – I certainly don’t feel alone amongst this wonderful creation. But I love to walk with Paul as he is the perfect companion and friend and we are totally kindred spirits. So this was a great together walk!
The conditions were not great. Having had lots of rain recently, there is a lot of mud around but the early part of the walk took in an old railway track which closed many years ago and which has been turned into a trailway. They always provide a good surface to walk on! I do think it is a shame that when our railway network was cut so drastically in the 1960’s under Beeching’s axe, no-one had the forethought to preserve the old track beds for recreation. Had they done so, there would be a whole network of long distance footpaths weaving throughout England instead of just the occasional stretch such as this.
Interestingly there were a couple of old huts along the trailway and one had been ‘restored’ although I am not sure for what purpose unless just for people to shelter in. Anyway, a photographic opportunity presented itself and I asked Paul to stand in the doorway for me – the resulting picture is below. I don’t normally put this type of picture on here but I thought I would today – I called it ‘Home from the War’ because that’s just what it looked like!
Home from the War!
I have said before in my blog that I like rivers because if the footpath follows the course of a river it makes route finding so much easier. This walk went even further than that because the footpath for a time was the river! Well, I guess more of a stream that a river but we had to walk along the stream bed. It was a really interesting part of the walk and certainly added variety to the walk.
Follow the river!
If there is no river to follow, then you just follow the arrows – yellow for footpaths, blue for bridleways (we don’t like blue because the way has usually been chewed up by the horses hooves making it more difficult to walk 😉 )! Well, if there are any arrows! Often they seem to be absent and you have to rely on the map which sometimes poses problems. In the picture below, the way is clearly marked but if it wasn’t, you might doubt yourself because as you can see the path goes virtually through the cottage garden! This was actually a really lovely place – a farm with a lovely cluster of cottages and converted outbuildings, all set in the most beautiful valley. We got chatting to the owner of it all who told us that the cottages were all tenanted – in that position, I should think they are!
Follow the arrows!
So when is a church not a church? Well, we passed the one in the picture below but all is not as it seems! The church is actually not there, just the tower and the end wall of the nave although from this angle you wouldn’t know it. The owner of the nearby cottage (who also owns and maintains this ‘church’) told us that the church itself was taken down long ago so that the stone could be re-used in the building of the local school. The owner was very friendly, as were her 4 dogs and what a great view she had from her cottage with the church in the garden!
When is a church not a church?
This walk took in another hill fort which always makes for an interesting detour. When we walked out across the top with amazing views all round, the sun was shining but as you can see in the picture below, it wouldn’t be for much longer! We stood watching the massive storm heading our way – it was an awesome sight, quite spectacular….and we felt very exposed! We managed to grab some pictures before hastily packing everything away and togging up in preparation…….and boy, did we get rained (and hailed) on!! The weather is rarely dull in Dorset!
Oh dear, look what’s coming!
There were a number of delightful churches on this route and two of them are below. Both churches are part of two separate tiny hamlets, and so picturesque. I would like to have explored inside but we were so muddy that it didn’t seem appropriate. Each church had just a farm and a few small cottages for company. Oh the stories they could tell!
In the hamlet
And another hamlet
My title said ‘Some interesting weather’, well it was certainly that! Sunshine one minute and pouring rain the next – real April downpours. We walked across this beautiful valley with a lovely stream running through it and suddenly the sun disappeared again. Mind you, that sort of weather does make for good photography!
Oh dear, more of that wet stuff coming!
Oh yes, and what about that ‘new friend’? No, I don’t mean Paul, he’s an old friend (well comparatively 😉 ), I mean a really new friend. We were crossing a field of sheep with their lambs and suddenly this almost newborn lamb came bouncing up to us like he’d known us for years. He wouldn’t leave us alone but kept getting under our feet as we walked across the field. It was bizarre as they usually run a mile. The only thing we could think of is that maybe he was being hand reared and was therefore used to people. He was really friendly and I would love to have put him into my rucksack and brought him home :)! Paul took the picture below.
The Dorset Rambler finds a new friend!
In fact it was a funny day for animals – on the drive down, we had to go through Dorchester and as we drove up the busy High Street, we had to give way to………a duck!!
So to finish with, what of the mass trespass? Well this momentous event happened 80 years ago yesterday. On 24th April 1932 over 400 ramblers and walkers descended on, or rather ascended on, Kinder Scout in Derbyshire as a mass protest against landowners. Previously, most moorlands and mountains had been common land open to all, but Kinder Scout and other places like it had become private property open only to the ‘shooting classes’. Whenever anyone tried to walk those areas, they were turned back by the landowners and their gamekeepers but with the numbers out in 1932, there was no possibility of turning all of them back, and they succeeded in reaching the top. Ultimately this mass trespass led to the opening up again of large areas of countryside with the formation of the National Parks and the passing of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act. It is partly thanks to those 400 people that The Dorset Rambler, and you, can ramble!
Thanks for visiting and for reading the ramblings of The Dorset Rambler!
The Dorset Rambler