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.
Mileaters Walk from West Bexington
On a mid August Monday with fresher air and just a little rain threatened, thirteen Mileaters and three dogs did a circular walk from West Bexington through Puncknowle. After a sturdy climb from the coastal village and across the busy B3157 we took our first breather at The Knoll. Built around 1800 as a coastguards’ Look Out and signal station it offers the most magnificent views of the sweep of Lyme Bay from Portland to Start Point in one direction, and inland over the West Dorset hills in another.
The second break was at St Mary’s Church in the village of Puncknowle with its Norman chancel arch and 14th century wall paintings. Rosie also pointed out the double font and the damage to the rim where a locked cover which once protected the consecrated water within had been forced off during the Reformation.
Leaving Puncknowle we found our way through maize fields and then down through Swyre to cross the road again and descend across fields to the coast. The final section was a trudge along the beach to the carpark where the weary walkers were welcomed by the happy sight of Arend and a table set up with food and coolboxes of beer on the beach. Everyone contributed generously to the picnic and decided that it made a refreshing change from winding up at a pub. The rain stayed away.
Linda Scotts and Cathie Seigal
Mileaters - A disCERNEing walk.
The clock on the Village Church struck 9.30 but where was the missing walker, a former member of the Military? Late on Parade ! Anyone need any potatoes peeled ?
In the end the whole group of 17 assembled in Cerne Abbas and we set off on a very hot day to enjoy a walk in the fine countryside around Cerne. During the first part of the walk there was not a lot of shade or breeze and we made more than the usual number of stops for water top-ups, during one of which we disturbed a family of pheasants – about 15 or so young birds. Approximately half way around we made a steep ascent through Up Cerne Wood.
This took about 10 – 15 minutes , but most of us were pretty hot and bothered having completed the climb. We took a very welcome recovery break. Having made it to the top of the ridge we continued our journey and encountered a wonderful, cooling breeze. The route afforded some great vistas and we eventually found ourselves making good progress with most of the ascent behind us.
Turning for home we enjoyed a delightful descent with terrific views down the Cerne Valley. We covered nearly 6 miles and were pleased to get to The Giant Inn to enjoy some well earned refreshment and rehydration!
Mileaters Coasting it....
An early start was the order of the day for 12 doughty walkers & 2 canine friends, as we set off on the next section of the Dorset Coast Path from Chickerell to The Kings Statue on Weymouth sea front.
What looks on paper to be a gentle stroll is in fact a lot further than first thought, as the Path follows every inlet along The Fleet. At one such inlet, a stop for refreshments was called and Malcolm produced his "Snack" - the biggest pasty you ever did see. Fortunately there was no red flag flying at the Tidmoor Rifle Range so we risked the Coastal route and after 5 1/2 miles reached the "delights" of Ferrybridge. A slight breeze off the water did little to alleviate the heat but the shade of the gardens at Sandsfoot Castle provided a cooling spot for lunch, ice creams or cold drinks, and in some cases all three.
Moving on, we passed a number of OTT piles on what was now a fully urban section, before reaching The Nothe. Some were tempted to take the rowboat ferry across Weymouth Harbour but the alternative attraction of fish & chips, or a beer (or both) won out. All too soon our leader, hard taskmaster that he was, tapped his watch and we were off to meet the bus back to our starting point, some 8 3/4 miles under our belts.
A flattish walk but quite a challenging one on such a hot day. Well done all.
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.