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Fishink in Dorset. Cerne Abbas Giant, Thomas Hardy country and more !

February 26, 2012

Hello one and all and welcome back, or rather should I welcome myself back from a small escape down to Dorset.  My fab partner surprised me and booked a week away in a cottage, right in the heart of Thomas Hardy country, based in the tiny village of Marnhull. This was the cottage.

and inside there were many delights to discover and appreciate too including a wood burning stove for those wintery evenings.  Although (as you can see below) there were some rather odd neighbours !

The Marnhull Messenger tells us that the village is featured in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbevilles but called Marlot, and the tv adaptation of Tess was also filmed there too.  Many local towns have references to Hardy, like this lovely cottage.

There were great walks from the doorstep down along the banks of the river Stour.  Which reminded me of a childhood love for the programme ‘Out of Town’ which I used to watch as a teenager every sunday lunchtime with my dad. It was presented by Jack Hargreaves who often fished in the Stour and chatted to the camera audience about a varied array of rural pastimes and professions that were sadly slipping away.  I could hear his soothing and informative talking in my head as I wandered down the lanes and footpaths.

Not too far away was the beautiful Cerne Abbas, home to one of the white chalk figures well known to the area.

The monastry is well worth a visit too.

The most famous of these Chalk figures, however is the Cerne Abbas Giant, cut into the hillside above the village. The figure is over 180 feet high but it’s origin and age is unknown.  You can’t get too near the giant either as he’s safely fenced off and the best view is actually from the opposite side of the valley. It was an amazing area to walk in and I also thought of Eric Ravilious (another amazing artist who I’m a huge fan of) who did some wonderful paintings of the chalk figures and this area too back in the late 1930’s and 40’s.

How is this for a view ?

I also managed to gather a small collection of interesting weathervanes and thatched roof ornament on my Dorset travels. I guessed that the roof top animals were the thatch makers trade mark, but old country beliefs state that the stack and rick ornaments were created to keep away both birds and witches. The designs were originally of a religious nature, thus intended to scare away witches, but a countryman always hedges his bet, and would say the ornaments also gave a witch something to play with, thus diverting her attention from making mischief elsewhere.  One of the birds below is actually real, in case there are any blog reading witches out there !

More about Dorset later in the week.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2012 9:06 am

    Lovely post Craig, Dorset is such a beautiful place. We had a great holiday there last year. And I too LOVED ‘Out of Town’ which I remember from my childhood! I’ve never met anybody before who remembers it.

    • February 27, 2012 9:17 am

      Thanks Sue, I knew you would like Dorset too, it has that beautiful other worldy step back in time feel to it. I bought the whole series of ‘Out of Town’ on dvd a few years ago and watched it and loved it all over again lol

  2. February 27, 2012 10:59 am

    Welcome back, You’ve been missed!

    • February 27, 2012 11:05 am

      Ahh thanks Jane, how lovely to have been missed and even better to be told as much. Thanks for making me smile today x

  3. Juliet permalink
    March 13, 2012 2:53 pm

    I think I would like to go there right now please. Hopefully we’ll be heading down in the summer for a spot of camping so if you know any good camping spots…. can’t stretch to a beautiful cottage I’m afraid

    • March 13, 2012 2:58 pm

      Hey there Juliet, nice to see you visiting 🙂 We didn’t see any campsites i’m afraid so I couldn’t recommend any in particular. It is beautiful around there but the lanes are rather small and busy in parts. I’ve heard there’s sailing nr Weymouth for the Olympics, so it maybe a good idea to avoid it then ? Just a thought.

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