– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –
Continuing the theme of ‘Hills with a View’, this one is slightly different. With this hill, you are much more likely to see pictures taken of it rather than from it. It is a hill that is small in stature and yet has charisma in spade loads. This is Colmer’s Hill.
Colmer’s Hill is in West Dorset near Bridport and it is diminutive in size, rising to not much more than 400 feet. And yet it is a hill that has a special affection amongst local residents and those farther afield. This hill has inspired artists and photographers for generations and it is an iconic landmark. It is hard to define why it is so popular. It could be its near perfect conical shape wherever it is viewed from. It could be its rounded top with that distinctive clump of Caledonian Pine trees. Whatever the reason, this is a hill that appears in many photographs, often with its head pushing up out of a mist filled valley.
Its name was originally Sigismund’s Berg, after a Viking chieftain who rather liked it, Berg being Norwegian for hill. In fact the village in the valley below the hill was also named after the same chieftain although over the years, Sigismund’s Berg mutated to become Symondsbury. Sigismund landed with a raiding party near Bridport and it is said that the beacon at the top of the hill was burning at the time.
The name the hill now bears is after the Colmer family who lived in the area in the 17th and 18th century – Rev John Colmer was Rector in the early 1800’s. It does have other names, being known sometimes by children as Pudding Basin Hill, for obvious reasons. It is also known affectionately by The Dorset Rambler as Clump Hill – for some reason I just have a blank spot when it comes to remembering the name Colmer’s 🙂 !
The Caledonian Pines that top the hill were planted during WW1 by the Colfox family who then owned the land. There is no official footpath to the top of the hill, although there is a permissive path which you can see in the picture above.
Although it might be difficult to come up with specific reasons, it is easy to understand the affection people have for this delightful little hill. It is so distinctive, and can be seen for miles around. There is an accessible friendliness about it. Whenever I walk or drive in West Dorset and I see Colmer’s Hill, it is just like meeting an old friend.
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Your friend The Dorset Rambler
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