It must be the time of year when Mileaters venture forth in large numbers. 24 humans with 7 dogs and you can guess the most well behaved of the two categories. A large number of young walkers brought the average age down to a youthful 40ish, probably a first.
The current stormy weather makes planning for a walk very difficult; even the forecast does not always help!
Luckily, having cancelled once due to bad weather, eleven walkers, set off from Kingston Mauward on a lovely sunny morning. Our walk took in Thorncombe Woods passing by Hardy’s birthplace and Rushy Pond before heading into, Puddletown Forest and walking a short section of the Roman road Then onto open farmland returning via Lower Bockhampton and the water meadows.covering just over 5 miles.
Everyone including the two dogs behaved very well and Baby Grace, aged just 6 months slept most of the time It was lovely to have her along with her mum Clare.
We finished up at The Wiseman in West Stafford for beer very promptly and food, eventually
Mileaters engage in a spot of "smuggling"
No doubt the founder Mileaters will view our efforts with disdain for it has taken us 2 years to only reach Weymouth in our attempt at The Dorset Coast Path. Well, we have now reached Osmington Mills - that is to say 7 of us (and Molly & Floppy) now have !
Parking up at "The Smugglers" the day began well when we found the ticket machine to be broken (Mileaters 2, Ticket machine nil). Over the hill to Osmington village, the bus duly arrived and deposited us at The Kings Statue, Molly enjoying her first bus ride.
With no one tempted to brave the waters of Weymouth Bay, we marched the length of The Esplanade and soon reached Bowleaze Cove; a pleasure to reach the countryside at last. So followed a fine undulating walk with the sound of the waves below, passing Redcliff Point, the PGL Camp (Lesley could not break in to sample the zipwire) and onwards over Black Head (did anyone spot that ?). From here it was all downhill with the attractions of "The Smugglers" awaiting us.
Despite recent forecasts, the sun shone on us, even if it was rather sticky underfoot at times. Next stop Lulworth Cove?
A walk around Godmanstone and the Cerne Valley
On Januray 30th fifteen hearty Mileaters and three dogs braved anticipated zero temperatures to walk a five and a half mile circuit from Godmanstone Church. We hadn’t needed to worry; snowdrops and a light snowfall together with crystal clear blue skies made for a morning that was , at times, utterly beautiful.
Having followed the Cerne to Nether Cerne and visited the 13th century church there, with its lovely golden original stained glass window, we crossed the A352 and made the long ascent to the top of the ridge, and The Turning Point. Here a carved block of Portland stone, hidden in a coppice, marked the turning point by a local landowner and farmer to purely organic practices, back in the 1980’s.
We then descended to the hidden valley below, along a grass track with yellow gorse in flower. At Bushes Farm Katy tolled the bell, a sculpture to commemorate the families who once farmed this remote place.
Then began the long climb back up to the ridge and down across fields to re-cross the A352 and the river at Forston farm, where an enthusiastic dog failed to keep us away. At this point there is no longer a right of way along the river, so to cries of dismay we had another short but steep climb up towards Cowden Hill and then back down to the river valley and the church.
Lunch was at the very welcoming Sun Inn.
Mileaters - Stroll along the Fleet
25 walkers and 7 dogs left the new church car park in Chickerell and joined the coastal path towards Abbotsbury. The weather was calm and the views could be called stunning.
Several points of interest were pointed out along route. The 2 concrete bunkers used during WW2 and the Fleet being Englandâ€™s longest Lagoon coming in at 8 miles. This Lagoon was used to test the famous bouncing bomb.
Continuing along the coastal path we came to Moonfleet Manor and walked past Donkey Island (Herbury Island), it got this name when the seaside donkeys at Weymouth came here to holiday over the winter.
Carrying on when we came to Rodden Hive we took the uphill path in land and stopped for a coffee break halfway up and enjoyed the lovely view. Moving on we walked through the quaint village of Langton Herring passing the 13th century gothic church and a splendid patch of snowdrops and daffodils.
Heading back down to the coastal path we climbed the last hill up to West Fleet camp site and joined the road that would take us back to the church. A well earned lunch at the Luggers Inn pub was washed down with some hearty ale. Thank you to all those who walked â€“ lovely to see so many and a big welcome to our new members.
St Catherine's Chapel
Sixteen Mileaters and two dogs set off on a bright, frosty morning for their first walk of the New Year.
We started in Portesham and walked along the route of the old railway track that used to run from Upwey to Abbotsbury. Gerald recounted a story about the Thomas Hardye school train that used to run every day in term time from Weymouth to Dorchester and was once diverted to Abbotsbury because some knowledgeable pupils managed to change the points at Upwey!
The climb up to St Catherine’s Chapel at Abbotsbury was rewarded at the top with a stop for coffee and wonderful views out to sea and along the coast. We were also able to pick out the lines of the old strip lynchett field systems on the hills behind Abbotsbury. We zig-zagged down the other side of the hill towards the Swannery and joined the coastal footpath, which didn’t disappoint those who stood admiring the views whilst catching their breath. Finally along the road to East Elworth and across the fields towards Portesham where at least 7 Cattle Egrets were spotted - and no they weren’t gulls.
We arrived back in Portesham and to the Kings Arms where some stayed for refreshments and a well deserved lunch.
In all a distance of about 5.5 miles and not too much mud.
The village walking group began some 25 years ago with the aim of walking the Dorset Coast Path, in sections, from the Devon border to Sandbanks. Subsequently the reverse route from Sandbanks to Devon has been undertaken.
We are a friendly group of local residents, ex-residents, and colleagues from the area, who meet on a fortnightly basis to enjoy the diversity of the wonderful Dorset countryside. We take it in turns to lead a walk with most members being allotted a fortnight's slot twice a year. The choice of distance, location, and day within that fortnight is at the discretion of the fortnightly leader, but walks (anywhere in Dorset) are usually between 4 and 8 miles.
Walk details are distributed by email. A picnic lunch is often carried in the Summer, but a pub lunch in the Winter is the norm - rehydration is de rigueur! Generally we meet on the Village Green at 10.00 a.m.