Dorchester

A Wander Around West Dorset

Jane Greening, Countryside and Coastal owner at New House Farm (with the beautiful Mangerton Fishing Lake) would like to share some ideas that she regularly gives visitors when they come to stay.

Firstly, DORCHESTER. The County Town of Dorset, and birth place of Thomas Hardy – and we are celebrating his birthday this month. There is a lot to see and do here. It is a Roman town, and there are delightful Walks – which follow the old Roman walls. These are traffic free and tree lined. Also, behind County Hall there are the remains of a Roman town house, showing underfloor hot-air ducts, mosaics and a bathroom – they were so sophisticated! To the south of the town there is Maumbury Rings, a Neolithic henge monument, which was used by the Romans as an amphitheatre. Sometimes plays are hosted there today. Dorchester also witnessed the “Bloody Assize”, following the Duke of Monmouth’s Rebellion and the Battle of Sedgemoor. 340 prisoners were tried for treasonable sedition, 74 were hanged, drawn and quartered. 175 had their death sentences commuted to transportation and the rest were imprisoned or released. Enough of history – today the high street is flanked by grey buildings – Portland Stone. There are shops in South Street and the new Poundbury Village – Prince Charles’ dream. All in all – worth a visit.

WeymouthSecondly, WEYMOUTH. The beach is very attractive – and very safe, including lovely sand sculptures. Weymouth is a typical seaside town, with Georgian-fronted houses and hotels along the Esplanade. The old harbour is full of fishing boats, yachts and sometimes a tall ship. There are 2 locations for bird watchers – Lodmoor and Radipole Lake. There is also the Sealife Centre – perfect for a wet day!

Sherborne AbbeyFinally, SHERBORNE Not only a lovely abbey – but 2 castles! Sherborne’s castles comprise one built in the 12th century and then Sir Walter Raliegh’s edition in the late 1500s. The abbey is very beautiful with the fan vaulting of the nave and choir. There are 2 reredos, the one in the Lady Chapel was designed by Laurence Whistler and fashioned in glass.

Colmers Hill

Iconic Colmer’s Hill Walk

Colmers Hill
Colmers Hill… Bridport’s iconic hill, much loved by locals and all who travel the A35.
Walk to the top of Colmers to enjoy the majesty of the Marshwood Vale. A colourful patchwork of working farms have shaped the West Dorset landscape to the delight of all.

Follow Julia Bradbury’s ITV Best Walks with a view. It’s a beautiful walk that starts inland at the lovely pub, the Ilchester Arms in the village of Symondsbury and ends on the spectacular Golden Cap.

I enjoyed the programme very much and from Highway Farm we have a fabulous view of Colmers – it’s our stomping ground! Guests have come armed with Julia’s map keen and ready to walk! We knew all the locals that Julia stopped to talk to on the way – you never know who you’re going to meet up with when walking in Dorset! The walk ends at The Anchor Inn, award winning pub at Seatown, where Julia enjoyed delicious food and a local beer. Here’s an idea.. Use the Jurassic Bus X53 to return to Symondsbury (Chideock to Bridport).

Pauline Bale at Highway Farm.

Pop back in a few days to catch my next walk.

Miden Castle

Maiden Castle Walk near Dorchester

Here’s the second of my favourite Dorset Walks ….

I’ve only just discovered Maiden Castle! It’s the largest hillfort in Britain and the most complex. Again stunning views, and walking is not too difficult. My granddaughter managed the full walk round without complaining!

At the top the site is amazingly large and was home to several hundred people in the Iron Age 800BC – AD43, now home to the local sheep population and a odd few visitors. Access from the Weymouth road, and free parking. DT6 9EY.

The Walk in more Detail, courtesy of Dorset Life

Pauline Bale, Highway Farm

jurassic electric bike tours

Jurassic Electric Bike Tours in Dorset

jurassic electric bike toursOne of the best ways to explore the spectacular West Dorset countryside is by electric bike and Jurassic Electric Bike Tours have a selection of guided tours to help you discover this beautiful area. “Our amazing bikes enable everyone, regardless of level of cycling ability or fitness, to enjoy this beautiful, if slightly hilly, part of the country..”

For more information about their guided tours, see Jurassic Electric Bike Tours’ Website

furleigh estate vineyard

Dorset Furleigh Estate Vineyard

furleigh estate vineyardFurleigh Estate, situated just a stone’s throw from Parnham Farm, is a local vineyard producing award-winning still and sparking wines. Many local restaurants offer their wines, including Hix at Lyme, The Olive Tree in Bridport and The Anchor at Seatown.

The Countryside and Coastal group recently enjoyed a very interesting guided tour including wine tasting. Guided tours are available every weekend and also self-guided audio tours too. For more information visit their website: Furleigh Estate Vineyard