A Dorset overnight stay.


Lord Milton the owner of Milton Abbey (now a school) was unhappy with the view from his property the village of Middleton was disturbing his view. In 1780 he commissioned Sir William Chambers architect and Landscape gardener Capability Brown who had worked on the Abbey and its grounds to create a new village Milton Abbas in a wooded valley southeast of his Abbey. Many of the existing villagers of Middleton were relocated to the new village, Middleton was demolished and its site was landscaped.


36 almost identical cottages were intended to house two families each. The form the main street of the village which apart from the car outside look almost as they did when they were 1st built.


Close to Milton Abbas is another village, Cerne Abbas. Above the village carved on the chalk, hillside stands a 180-foot male figure it is the outline of a standing nude man with an erection and holding a club, his outline is dug into the turf and backfilled with chalk rubble. Today he is a scheduled monument and the site is owned by the National Trust. The giants origin and age is unclear. Although often thought of as an ancient construction, though the earliest mention of him dates to the late 17th century.




The reason for our Dorset trip was to badger watch and we found  http://www.badgerwatchdorset.co.uk/ on line a booked a slot they were really helpful and allowed us to stay in their car park overnight in our campervan. We waited for about 4 hours in a hide before seeing 2 Badgers. (worth the wait) We also saw a herd of deer crossing the field and a Tawny owl. In the fading light, I managed to capture some acceptable Badger pictures. The sad thing was on Wednesday night we saw 2 living Badgers but we saw another 3 dead on the road on Thursday driving home.



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Next, to where we parked at the farm, a bee swarm landed which made an irresistible photo call.








War Relic.

In Portland Harbour Dorset are 2 floating caissons which remain from WW2 part of the Mulberry Harbour parts which were not used in France. They were Grade 11 listed in 1993. When we visited I thought there were workmen on the top of the caisson but when looking up online I found out the workmen were actually statues representing 2 British Sailors, 2 American GIs and 2 Dockworkers installed in 1997.





Small boat fishing.



In most areas around our coast especially in small harbour towns, there are signs of fishing. Much of this industry is from small open boats. It never fails to surprise me how dangerous the sea can look from sea level in a small boat. One of the reasons that one of the charities I support is RNLI who provides lifeboats around our shores.


Statues at Weymouth.


From 1789 King George III took holidays in Weymouth (on 14 separate occasions). The King’s patronage changed the fortune of the town. Many of the buildings along the seafront are Georgian architecture dating from the king’s reign. The King who suffered from bouts of serious physical and mental health illness came to the sea to help his health. In 1809 to mark the 50th anniversary of the king’s ascension to the throne the town erected a statue.



Weymouth in recent years become famous for sand sculptures and has a sand sculpture festival – a far cry from my sand castles made with a bucket and spade. When we visited there were a number of sand sculpture on the seafront.






George Burt a Swanage businessman and quarry owner established the Durlston Estate at Durlston on the crest of the hill just above Swanage Dorset and built his folly, Durlston Castle. This was built by W.M. Hardy in 1886-87 entirely of local Purbeck Limestone. The ‘castle’ intended as a restaurant for visitors to his estate. Around the estate are many engraved tablets of stone Including a Stone Globe with a 10ft diameter which weighs 40 ton engraved with a 1880s world map. The footpaths around the Castle and Globe are lined with cast iron London bollards which ended up in Swanage after being used as ballast by the ships transporting stone. Below the Castle one of the cliff quarries and cave tunnels was part of the Victorian attraction.




Paths take you along the cliffs to the cave complex “Tilly Whim Caves” I visited them in the 1970s you travelled down through the caves coming out on a ledge above the sea, but unfortunately due to rock falls they were closed to the public 1976, and are no longer open but are now a roost for a Bat colony.


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You can walk further along the coast to Anvil point which has a low lighthouse. The lighthouse is built of local stone and was completed in 1881. The light is positioned to give a waypoint for vessels passing along the English Channel.

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