A few more things to sort out today but not before a visit to the cemetery which bore no fruit at all. Lucky then that early afternoon the Secret Lemonade Drinker turned up an announced a 'Magical Mystery Tour', which boiled down to an impromptu drive through some spectacular and interesting Dorset countryside. I would say from the off, that the light was poor, during the whole trip, and coupled with an even poorer photographer the images are not of the best - excuses, excuses!
Having cleared Weymouth, we headed north on the new, and totally successful, relief road then onto the Dorchester bye-pass and to our first stop close to the tiny hamlet of Stinsford.
Close by stands KINGSTON MAURWARD HOUSE a Georgian Manor built between 1717 and 1720 standing in about 3 square Kms of parkland.
Much of this is now taken up by the nationally recognised KM Agricultural Collage where we watched 'would-be' shepherds rounding up their flocks.
Also in the area are a number of quaint cottages, but to be honest we were more interested in what was held
However, that was put on hold as this GREY WAGTAIL landed close by giving us opportunity for a close look.
then what I feel sure were TAMWORTHs. My knowledge of such things is extremely limited
and finally, some kind of Old Spot? Now, I may not have got many of these right, but I'd bet anyone 50 quid that all will be correctly identified within 30 minutes (or even seconds) of going to press. Over to Mr John Gifford for a qualified report!
Here you are afforded great views of MAIDEN_CASTLE, the largest Earth Works in Europe, with a 'link' for those who would like further reading.
SHEEP abound here, as do Golden Plover during the winter months but we only 'heard' one today. As an aside, there were 200 reported there during the day so perhaps the binoculars need a polish? Other birds we looked for were Corn Bunting, Yellow Hammer, Grey and Red-legged Partridge, Redwing plus Fieldfare but saw not one! Consolation? We did hear a Fieldfare - ever onward!
Continuing west we arrived at LITTLE BREDY a tiny village sited at the head of the (River) Bride valley and nestling among the wooded slopes of the Dorset Downs.
and rolling downlands so loved by my daughters when they were children.
Next came the Manor House which stands by an ornamental lake complete with waterfall but inaccessible today.
The CRICKET PAVILION
crowned with a fitting Weather Vane, but the pitch looked as though it had been 'grubbed up' by hogs, but maybe this is just part of the maintenance program?
Just outside of the village we stopped to check what sounded every bit like more than one RAVEN, only to count 11 with suspicion of there being even more around a nearby farm yard. Don't know what was attracting them to this area, maybe dead livestock, but that's as many of these birds either of us have seen together in Dorset. There was another short stop as I caught the sound of a
YELLOWHAMMER, much to the delight of 'Secret' for whom it was a 'Lifer', a first sighting!
Reaching the cross-roads it was unanimous that we turned left to just take a short peek at a village we have both enjoyed so much over the years. There was however another reason, that being the e-mail I had received just a couple of days ago from our friend in Tokyo, Chris Cook.
Chris hails from PUNCKNOWLE and feel sure he will love to see these shots of the CROWN PUBLIC HOUSE,
what I believe to have been his previous home THORNLEIGH COTTAGE
LOCAL CHURCH St Mark's.To quote from The Dorset Walk - Puncknowle and West Bexington by Matt Wilkinson and Mark Bauer:- Its two best-known features are, perhaps, the pronunciation of its name (to rhyme with ‘funnel’) and the fact that members of the 1950s Portland spy ring (Harry Houghton and Ethel Gee) would rendezvous in the village pub.