A Tale of Two Visits or A Homage to Cows
This is Oly. He’s a golden retreiver and I found him on borrowmydoggie.com. We have been seeing each other on and off for over a year. With Es away in London, and the stunning weather we have had recently, it seemed such a shame not to be out. Hence an early evening walk to Fontmell and Melbury Downs.
I collected Oly from his mum and set off in earnest after an early 5pm dart from work. We arrived at approximately 6pm and the car park was empty. The car park is set just off the road, its no more than a pull in really, blink and you’ll miss it, however its free of charge and theres plenty of space for about 10-13 cars.
The site was bought in memory of English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy, to protect the landscape in which his novels of the Blackmore Vale are set. The Downs belong to the National Trust and is the largest chalk downland site they own.
We set off on a very warm evening, just as the sun was making its way Westward, ideally I would have arrived a little later to make best use of the golden hour, but as I had a busy day planned at work the next day, I wanted an early-ish night. This time of year the sun doesn’t really fully set until about 10-10.30pm and I couldn’t afford that extra time, I wanted to be tucked up in bed by then for an early start. Such are the vagaries of a busy building surveyor!
There are a number of walks in this area which easily covers a couple of square miles. Unfortunately, as I learned on my first visit, they are not all circular, and having trekked downhill in the heat, I had to trek back up again once I realised I was just heading further and further away from the car, much to Ollies disgust. We stopped at an animal trough so I could scoop some water out for him to quench his thirst. Poor me, I had to wait until I reached the pub on the way back before I could do the same!
There are no poo bins along any of the walks, just the one at the car park. Whilst I understand the logistics of placing bins throughout such a wild environment, it is a pain having to carry a little plastic bag full of poo for an hour, but I guess thats all part and parcel of doggie walking.
The area has a lot of grazing cattle. I didn’t know that Oly was scared of cows until we met them half way across our walk. I turned around and he was taking the largest detour I have ever seen in order to avoid coming face to face with any of them. I love cows. They’re always so curious, and some of those lovely ladies posed quite admirably for photos. What I don’t enjoy about cows is the random poops throughout the field. Whilst watching the scenery, walking down hill, I slipped/skidded, wobbled, maintained my balance, but chipped my dignity slightly, as when looking downwards to see why I had slipped, realised I’d stood in the most humongous cow pat and managed to get it all over my nice white tennis shoes! thank goodness they only eat grass.
As the title eludes, this is a tale of two visits. My second visit was with husband in tow rather than doggie. We decided on a decidely mixed weather day to go back and take a different walk. This time across the tops where the views are virtually 360 degrees and positively spectacular. There is an interesting marker at the top which points out all the local towns and other places of interest, we were surprised to find out that we were actually closer to Bournemouth than Sherborne at that point, I did wonder if that was as the crow flies though.
The skies were lowering and we made it back to the car just as the first spots of rain started to fall. Our walk had been brusque, breezy and very hilly, but worth it. The photos were very different, much moodier than the soft sunny ones of the previous walk.
How do you make a blog post about a walk interesting? you don’t really. I realised my photos have resulted in a homage to cows, but I hope you appreciate them anyway. The area does appear to be a very popular picnic location and a perfect spot for watching the sun set. So, on the next beautiful day, I plan to pack a basket full of glorious food, a blanket and a husband, and just sit and admire the scenery, listen to the skylarks and watch the sun slowly set.
Things to take
- children (on leads only)
- water bottle (thirsty climbs ahead)
- picnic basket
- poo bags
Things to wear
- not white pumps (cow poo disasters)
Things to be aware of
- steep slopes
- cows (and poo)
- fantastic views
- Bull in the field (he seemed quite chilled)