This week was forecasted to be a really hot week on the south coast but Monday was more ‘normal’ so I decided that that was the day to get out on my bike 🙂 ! I set off with no real plan to be honest, just to enjoy being out in the countryside and go where the mood took me. As with anywhere in England I suspect, bike rides usually include some wonderful country lanes and trails, but also some main roads, although I try to keep off the latter as much as possible. This ride was no exception.
I headed first for Wareham, following some nice lanes through Organford and passing The Old Post Office – this place always intrigues me because there is not a lot at Organford that would seem to have ever required a post office. It is in fact a private house now…..and is on the market if anyone is interested 🙂 ! It wasn’t long before I had to ride on the main road into the old Dorset town of Wareham – there is just no alternative to this few miles of traffic. Once I reached Wareham, I could get off the beaten track again, and I followed the narrow lanes through this old Saxon walled town to come out the other side and cross the River Frome. The main road goes directly through the town but it is much more interesting to follow the side streets and old earthen walls.
From here on, the ride improved dramatically as I took a beautiful quiet lane that leads out onto the Arne peninsula and then turned south to follow one of my favourite roads to cycle – the road in the picture above. This very quiet road crosses a number of heaths, winding and dipping through what would have been typical Dorset scenery of old. I love this road and what is even better is that it has been recently resurfaced so is beautifully smooth. With heather and ferns on either side, the road wound through open heathland and I could see the Purbeck Hills in the distance with their heads in the low cloud and mist. My route would take me over those hills later.
My ‘beautiful road’ took me to Corfe Castle, which whilst equally beautiful, is very popular so I did not dwell there but continued out on another lane through Church Knowle and the delightful hamlet of Steeple, with its old manor house, church, and cluster of cottages.
I knew that I was going to have to climb up over the range of hills at some point because there is no way of avoiding it and in the end, I chose to most difficult route up! There might have been a time when I would have raced up the steep and long slope without hardly increasing my breathing rate, but not any more! Nevertheless, I still manage to climb these hills without having to get off so I am grateful for that 🙂 !
I did stop at the top to look back down but with the thick sea mist, there wasn’t much to see.
Once I reached the ridge, my way onwards was along the top for a time, and a welcome bit of flat road. Normally there are amazing views down both sides from this ridge, one side across the Purbeck valley to the coast and the other all across Poole Harbour, but not today. Today there was just white mist!
One of the benefits of climbing a steep hill is that you get to go down the other side…….which in this case is even steeper! The trouble is, it is not only steeper but also a little lumpy and bumpy so you need to have your wits about you. I reached just over 43 mph but that was enough! It took me back to the days of my youth when we used to race down this hill whilst out on club rides, sprinting for every 30 mph sign.
In those days, a bunch of 60 or more of us would charge around the country lanes, usually completing several laps of a circuit in a bid to reach the finish line first. I loved it and did quite well at it until the driver of a parked car opened his door with out looking just as we were passing. The rider in front of me hit the door, I hit him and the door, and my head hit the road, and the next thing I knew, I was sat in an ambulance on the way to hospital! By the time I, and my wrecked bike, had recovered, my enthusiasm for cycle racing had waned!
When I reached the bottom of Creech Hill and passed another of the Purbeck manor houses, Creech Grange, I had a very pleasant surprise……a new cafe had opened at an artisan furniture and artists gallery. I have known of the furniture maker for many years but the cafe is a new venture this year. I stopped for a very civilised pot of tea 🙂 ! This is something I don’t often do because I don’t like leaving my bike unattended but in this case, I could keep an eye on it all the time I was there. Sitting there in the sunshine was a pure delight!
Revitalised by my welcome cuppa, I made my way along the quiet country lane back into Wareham, where I took a different route through the town, and then retraced my steps back through Organford to my starting point.
What an awesome and enjoyable day this was. I only wished I could have carried my camera but when I am on the bike, I only have my phone to take pictures with. Mind you, the phone does a pretty good job these days.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings, and I hope you enjoy exploring with me.
Until next time,
The Dorset Rambler
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I wrote a comment that hasn’t appeared, so… take two.
I really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Recently I learnt that my great-grandfather and his family for hundreds of years were born in the Compton Abbas, Iwerne Minster, Ashmore etc areas. And I’ve just finished reading ‘The Woodlanders’ by Thomas Hardy, set in Dorset. So your images have helped me imagine the lives of all these people. So beautiful. But life must have been hard in the 1800s since my g-grandfather migrated to Queensland to work on building the railway. Consequently I’m Australian! Thanks for showing us this beautiful part of England. And thanks for your great writing. Very enjoyable to read. Trish
Hi Trish. Thank you so much for your very kind comment, I appreciate your feedback and am glad you enjoy my blog. The Compton Abbas/Ashmore area is a beautiful part of Dorset, and an area that I walk often. The views from the hilltops are magnificent and the villages themselves are delightful to wander around. I have already put up quite a few posts from that area but I’m sure I will be posting more. Thanks again, and my best wishes to you and yours. Terry