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.
Gerald & Rosie Duke
Mileaters - Out and About
They say the sun shines on the righteous, but it definitely shone on the Mileaters on Thursday 18th October. After a very dismal wet week, the clouds lifted, and we were able to enjoy a beautiful walk.
We started from the Stone Circle at Hardy’s Monument, where we parked half of the cars. As it was a linear walk to Punknole, half of us left earlier and parked our cars at the Crown Pub - our final destination where we had lunch. One car returned to Hardy’s with all of the drivers.
Thirteen walkers and three dogs set off downhill from the monument, through delightful woods. The majority of the walk followed the South Dorset Ridgeway, with amazing views of the coast, looking down over Chesil beach with the sun glistening on the sea. Although the walk was 6.7 miles it was a fairly easy walk, with very little ascent. The hardest part was encountering the ten stiles, differing in height and construction. For two of them we had to climb under a steel bar – difficult with a back pack!
Nothing untoward or extraordinary happened on this journey, so I cannot relate any amusing tales. However, we all enjoyed the day.
Mileaters: A very Plush walk.
On a gorgeous late October morning, 12 Mileaters (plus Olly, to keep us from straying) set off from near the former Fox Inn at Folly, north of Plush; one has to wonder why there was ever an inn here, being a hamlet of a few solitary dwellings.
Leaving the thought of ancient pints behind us, and with future ones awaiting us later, we headed off eastwards up the Wessex Ridgeway, diverting down past Nettlecombe Tout hill fort to visit the atmospheric Dorsetshire Gap - a meeting place of old drove roads in the middle of the woods.
Retracing our steps back up the hill our leader David then promptly marched us down the other side into Lyscombe Bottom for a reviving drinks break at the restored 12th Century Lyscombe Chapel, and ruined priest's house (what led to the priest's ruination?) A divine location!
Our pace up the climb out of the valley was obviously too slow for Olly and he decided to round up a few tardy sheep instead. No damage done to sheep or humans , we eventually arrived for a breather at the top of Hog Hill with great views all around of ancient landscapes - strip lynchets, tumuli and cross-dykes in the foreground, the expanse of Blackmore Vale to the north and even a view of the distant Needles to the east. A view certainly worth lingering over.
It was then all downhill to complete our 5 mile circuit and back to "The Brace of Pheasants" for a well-earned reward. Many thanks to David for a great walk.
Mileaters On Tour 2018 - Wye Valley and Forest of Dean
It’s just such an amazing and joyous thing that 28 people (and a few dogs) from the same village go on holiday together and have such a wonderful time. I wonder how many other villages can say that. We’re so lucky.
Anyway, the Mileaters were on tour again in September, staying in a lovely hotel just outside Ross-on-Wye and enjoying stimulating walks in the beautiful Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean. We arrived on Tuesday lunchtime and once unpacked, we embarked on our first walk, setting out from our hotel, which was situated within National Trust parkland. The setting was beautiful and our 5 mile walk took us through undulating countryside down to the banks of the Wye. We walked along the riverbank for a mile or so taking in the views and watching the abundant birdlife.
The next day took us down to Tintern Abbey, which is actually in Wales. The abbey is a majestic ruin, positioned on the banks of the Wye, set in a valley and surrounded by densely wooded and steep-sided forests. Our 6 mile walk took us into the forest, initially following the line of an old railway track. It is interesting to reflect that pre-Beeching, the railway system reached into such remote spots. We eventually reached a fantastic viewing point, “The Devil’s Pulpit”, which afforded spectacular views over the abbey and Tintern village.
Our third day started ominously with very heavy rain in the morning, which made our planned walk seem highly unlikely. A number of us took off to nearby Hereford, particularly to look at the beautiful Cathedral with it’s prized exhibit, the medieval “Mappa Mundi”. Others found their way to local shops. Amazingly the rain cleared in the afternoon to allow us to tackle our planned walk from the spectacular Symonds Yat. We started at the top of Symonds Yat Rock, which despite the gloom afforded magnificent views down over the Wye Valley. Our 5 1/2 mile walk took us once again into a thickly wooded hillside and descending to the river where we walked along the riverbank back to Symonds Yat. Before that we made a short diversion to a wobbly pedestrian suspension bridge where the more intrepid amongst us ventured across. We ended up at the local pub where we partook of welcome refreshment, before some of us made the very steep 1/2 mile ascent back to the car park. These brave few then drove cars back down the road to the pub to pick up the “lucky” others.
All of the above was punctuated with great meals at the hotel, where there was plenty of mirth and loud conversation. Some of us even made it into the outdoor pool and the Sauna and Jacuzzi. Great fun! The final evening after dinner we were entertained by our excellent Ukulele duet of Celia and Frances. This soon degenerated into a raucous sing-song. A great end to our lovely holiday.
We had such a wonderful time although we felt a little sorry for the very small number of other residents to have to put up with the noisy Martinstown lot!
We’re looking forward to our next holiday in April 2019 in the glorious South Downs.
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.