Theme for the Week – Dorset Hills with a View Part 3

5 Apr

– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –

So, this week, we are considering iconic Dorset hills, hills that have amazing views and which just seem to typify Dorset. And today’s fits the bill well, and has a strange name to boot! This is Nine Barrow Down.

Nine Barrow Down

On Nine Barrow Down

Nine Barrow Down with Swanage in the Distance

Nine Barrow Down rises to 199 meters (653 feet) and is part of the Purbeck chalk ridge that stretches some 15 miles from Old Harry Rocks in the east to Lulworth Cove in the west. This ridge itself is part of a much larger system of chalk downlands that stretches across Southern England. Nine Barrow Down sits part way along the ridge with flatter land on either side giving spectacular views all along its length.

Walking the Purbeck Ridge

The View Across Poole Harbour

These views stretch all across Poole Harbour to the north, and across the Purbeck valley to the Dorset coast in the south. In the picture below, you can see the Purbeck Ridge stretching away into the distance.

Down a Purbeck Valley

The View to the South

So, why the unusual name of Nine Barrow Down? Well it has been given that name simply because there are said to be nine barrows, or burial mounds, along the ridge. These are mainly Bronze Age round barrows together with one Neolithic long barrow. The number is something that I have never been able to prove because whilst some barrows are obvious, others, due to erosion, are not. In fact I have read that there were probably double that number although it is possible that there were just the nine on the ridge top with the others being elsewhere on the downs.

The Barrows

Nine Barrow Down

One of the problems with this ancient barrow cemetery is that riders, both bike and horse, and walkers will often follow a route over the top of the barrows, causing even more erosion. In an effort to prevent this, some wattle fencing was erected for a time. This was intended to keep people to the footpath but I am not sure it worked terribly well.

The gold of evening

Evening on the Downs

In addition to the barrows, this ridge is also a great place to spot wildlife. There are butterflies aplenty, with species such as Adonis Blue and Common Blue inhabiting this area, and of course the ever present skylarks which for me just typify summer.

Common Blue

Common Blue

Nine Barrow Down, and in fact the whole Purbeck Ridge, has a very special place in my heart as I have walked it all my life since I was a young child. It is just a beautiful place with miles of great walking, many grassy ‘bare foot’ paths, and fantastic views. Because the paths are generally smooth, it is a place where you can walk and take in the views at the same time without fear of losing your footing, and that is always welcome.

So where does Nine Barrow Down fit in with the hill classifications that we have talked about in previous posts? Well it is actually a Marilyn, which is defined as a mountain or hill having a prominence of at least 150 meters (492 feet) regardless of its overall height. The reason for the name Marilyn is simply a pun on the famous Munro’s of Scotland. The latter all have an overall height of 914 meters (3,000 feet) so lots of Munro’s will also be Marilyns, making them Marilyn Munro’s!!

Thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.

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5 Responses to “Theme for the Week – Dorset Hills with a View Part 3”

  1. philipstrange April 5, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    There’s also a folk band called Ninebarrow!

    • thedorsetrambler April 5, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

      Yes there is Philip and an up and coming duo they are too. Went to see them last year in Kingston Church and they were great.

  2. jcombe April 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

    Smashing photos.

  3. daveyone1 April 5, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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