This walk started and finished in one of those beautiful Dorset villages that you know so well because you drive through it so often, but you don’t actually know at all because you drive through it so often! It is only as you explore the little streets and lanes on foot that you really discover those special hidden beauties, those little corners of Dorsetness…..and this one had a major surprise. But more of that later :)!
Leaving the village, the path climbed steadily upwards out of the valley and up to the ridge top. I just couldn’t help turning round to take in the views that were already emerging, and these wonderful views were to stay with me all day. It seemed that there was to be wildlife with me all day too as first a hare raced across the field in front of me and then a fox crossed the track. The latter was definitely a well fed country fox – they always look so much healthier than the town foxes that scavenge on dustbins. Foxes and hares are not rare but seeing them always adds to the enjoyment of a walk.
Having reached the ridge, my route took me through a woodland area, a forestry plantation, not quite so interesting as mixed deciduous woods but nevertheless an area that plays an important part in this world. Not only does it provide much needed timber but it provides much needed oxygen to repair that damaged ozone layer, so I guess it can be forgiven any perceived lack of excitement ;)! Actually I think any woodland is a delight to walk through.
Overhead came the drone of a bi-plane and amazingly as I watched it looped the loop as part of an aerobatic display. It was interesting watching this plane – it seemed like it would stall as it tried to fly upwards to turn over but somehow, despite its age, it managed the loop and flew on. This genuinely was an old plane – it was like watching Biggles all over. Later in the walk, I was to get an even more impressive display of flying!
At this point, there was one of those slightly off-putting moments when I heard gunshots just across the field. It could have been someone shooting pigeons or it could have been a deer stalker but either way, I wondered if they knew I was around. I took comfort from the fact that I couldn’t see them so can’t have been in range but it did highlight that when you walk in the country, you trust that anyone out there with a gun knows what they are doing and observes the code. Fortunately the gun laws in the UK are stringent.
There were some beautiful meadows along this walk and not only that but they were meadows with a view too. It is interesting to just count the variety of grasses so elegantly waving their heads in the gentle breeze, seemingly trying to dodge the many butterflies…..or flying flowers as I call them :)! They seem to have no aerobatic skills at all, as they flit to and fro in a seemingly random pattern. Someone once said that butterflies are in fact expert fliers because they use warm air currents to get around and thus avoid wasting energy. I don’t know if this is true but what I do know is that with the combination of waving grasses, the myriad wild flowers, and the ‘flying flowers’ the meadow is a place where you just want to sit and soak it all in. And of course. with the skylarks singing over head you could almost think that heaven must be like this.
And on the subject of skylarks, how do they manage to produce such an ethereal song whilst flying? Surely that must be like me running up hill whilst singing at the top of my voice. Amazing creation!
This was definitely a walk to be savoured as the paths are so delightful and so inviting. I actually didn’t plan my route in advance this time, preferring to go where my mood took me and with paths like these, there was no shortage of beckoning sights.
Did I mention aerobatics? Well there was a treat in store that would knock spots off the biplane, butterflies or even the Red Arrows had they been around. This was the house martins out looking for food. Their agility is legendary as they swoop and climb at amazing speeds, doing hand brake turns, ducking and diving, and never flying into each other. What a sight, and it is free to all who want to stand and watch. Which I did :)!
Now we British are obsessed with the weather as you may know, but this was a hot day so I needed to move on and find a bit of coolness and a clump of trees provided the ideal spot to take in the view again, and to take in some fluid too.
Ah, but it was time to move on again so it was out into the sun to continue my way along the ridge surrounded by trees and distant views. Whenever I walk, I seem to run out of superlatives to describe the beauty of this wonderful county and this amazing countryside. Sometimes I just stand and watch in awe as the breeze ripples through the vibrant green foliage and the words of the poet come to mind, ‘I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree’.
The next part of the walk took me down one of those gorgeous Dorset avenues that invariably speak of manor houses, lords and ladies. This is because most of them were planted many years ago as the drive way to some stately home. This is one of the most beautiful, especially with the dappled light of evening, and my path went right down the middle.
It is another of those parts not to be rushed but eventually the avenue ends and I find myself on the hilltop again, crossing a field of crops……..and it is one of those ‘good farmer’ fields :)! The law says that if a farmer ploughs or plants a field with a footpath running through it, the footpath must be reinstated within 24 hours. Good farmers, as in this case, do that, but ‘bad’ farmers don’t which means you have no idea where the footpath goes which is a pet hate of mine.
Evening was upon me as I crossed the field and started to drop down off the ridge back to the village. It was a beautifully still evening when sounds seem to travel across the valley.
Have you ever stopped and specifically listened and tried to pick out all the different sounds that surround you? So often we miss things because we are just not aware of what is around so sometimes I stop and listen! Standing looking across the valley in the picture below, these are the sounds I heard in just a minute or two – the wind, rustling grass, trees creaking, crickets, sheep bleating, many birds but particularly the strong song of the wren, a distant tractor, children’s happy voices, gunshots, wood pigeons cooing, buzzards, the buzzing of bees and flies, cows mooing, the crowing of a cockerel, rooks with their rasping voices, a barking dog, church bells in the distant valley, and so much more. Try it when you are next out walking.
But there was something even more surprising awaiting me in the village as I reached the end of my walk. Walking through the narrow lanes between delightful cottages, a single female voice was drifting out into the open. I could hear it down the street and as I drew closer to the cottage the singing was coming from, I could not help but stop and listen. It was unexpected, beautiful and mesmerising, one of those special moments that will remain in my memory always. I wanted to knock on the door and say how lovely it was but I didn’t intrude but continued on my way. A beautiful end to a beautiful day!
Thanks for walking with me. I hope you have enjoyed the sights and sounds of our wonderful countryside.
Until next time,
The Dorset Rambler.
If you would like to contact me, my details are on my website which is http://www.yarrowphotography.com – comments and feedback are welcomed.
All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.