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DorsetLife The Dorset Magazine

The best of Dorset in words and pictures

Sturminster Newton Anything but a new town

Poole A 1960s Sandbanks milkman

Shaftesbury In the footsteps of Treves

Walks Purbeck and Owermoigne

No.401 August 2012 ÂŁ2.60

Bridport The Melplash show

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August 2012


on the cover

County comment & Letters


All the fun of the care


Dorset's habitats


St John Ambulance/Great Dorset Steam Fair

Colin Varndell on Dorset's wild heathlands

Dorset miscellany


Living in Dorset

Anything but a new town



Focus on Weymouth

The long history of Sturminster Newton


Booton foot trails

100 years of Thornlow Prep

Focus on Christchurch

The Dorset walk

The Highcliffe fellowship at fifty

Tanks! You're welcome

The story of one woman's fight for a house

This month in Dorset

What makes this agricultural show special

Out and about

Punch and Judy Professor Mark Paulton

64 69 75

Sir Frederick in North Dorset

Things to see and do this summer


Eat, Drink, Stay…

What Sir Frederick thought of the town


Restaurant review, food and drink listings

Sandbanks: Milk and showbiz 35 Memoirs of a teenaged Sandbanks milkman

Busy bodies, active minds

Colin Varndell's wildlife year

How to stay well in body, mind and spirit


A wasp spider in its web

Giving Dorset: Coastwatch

Treves in Shaftesbury


Upcoming events in Dorset


Treves in Shaftesbury


Bridport's special show

Behind the scenes at the Tank Museum


Dorset Lives

The Melplash show

Studland, Ballard Down and Old Harry


Bridport's Melplash show


Peter Booton explores Owermoigne


Focus on Stalbridge




The Dorset Directory


A Dorset life for me


35 Sandbanks memoirs 'I was a teenage milkman'

Roger Guttridge bamboozles a barmaid

Keeping watch over Dorset's coast


A map showing Dorset places mentioned in this issue

Buckhorn Weston SHAFTESBURY Sandford Orcas

Stour Provost

Sixpenny Stalbridge Ashmore Handley Bagber STURMINSTER Hinton St Mary Tarrant Bradford Abbas NEWTON Stock Gaylard Hinton Ryme Intrinseca Shillingstone VERWOOD Stourpaine Melbury Osmond BLANDFORD Moors Valley Buckland Newton Tarrant Keyneston West Moors BEAMINSTER Badbury Rings Milton Shapwick Abbey Kingston Lacy Mapperton Maiden FERNDOWN Colehill Sturminster Marshall Newton Melplash Longham WIMBORNE Hampreston Highcliffe Upton Heath Uploders BOURNEMOUTH BRIDPORT Kingston Broadstone Kinson Burton CHRISTCHURCH Maurward POOLE Holton Lee West Bay Bradstock DORCHESTER Brownsea Bovington Island Sandbanks WAREHAM Stoborough Owermoigne Winfrith Heath Studland Old Harry Rocks Newburgh Abbotsbury Corfe Castle Holworth Ballard Down CHICKERELL Langton SWANAGE West Lulworth Matravers Peveril Point WEYMOUTH Durlston Country Park PORTLAND SHERBORNE

Anything but a new town

58 Booton foot trails

In and around Owermoigne


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Charmouth LYME REGIS

53 Sturminster Newton

This month’s cover Spirit of Portland and Olympic sailing venue beyond. Gary Goodwin, International PhotoBank.

This month’s centre-spread (pages 50-51) A colourful Lyme Regis harbour captured by Christopher Nicholson

62 The Dorset walk

Studland and Old Harry


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county comment Welcome to Dorset One who

has had the fortune to have an attractive spouse should not feel surprised if that spouse receives the occasional admiring glance. One should not feel resentful, as one presumably knew one's spouse was attractive when one got married; it is not beyond the realms of possibility that this attractiveness was a causal factor in that union. In much the same way, it is a constant surprise that some people are surprised when an increased volume of people from outside the county coming to Dorset – to take in the views of the splendid countryside, coastline, its events, attractions and (we hope) weather in August – causes a degree of congestion on our roads. For the Dorset native, there is scant excuse for not being welcoming to those whose presence helps to fill the seasonal coffers of our county's businesses and thus our own. Even if there is no direct benefit to an individual, the county as a whole is clearly better off thanks to tourism. For the Dorset newcomer, there is even less excuse, for if the county provided sufficient attraction to entice someone from afar to live here, surely there can be no reason for that magic not to work on a temporary basis. One reason that many love Dorset is its pace of life. Let us not fall into the temptation of becoming impatient about traffic, but rather let us remember that, in September, when others' dalliances with Dorset end, we will be able to appreciate our county's offerings all the more, patiently and reverently, rather like an old and happily married couple. DORSET LIFE - THE DORSET MAGAZINE is published monthly from 7 The Leanne, Sandford Lane, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4DY by The Dorset Magazine Ltd. Directors: J.F.A. Newth (Chairman); L.F. Richards (Managing); D.M. Slocock; P.M.G. Stopford-Adams DL; J.D. Kennard; D.E. Silk; M.G. Newth Telephone (01929) 551264 Fax (01929) 552099 website www.dorsetlife.co.uk

letters to the editor Ramble or scramble? We look forward to reading Dorset Life's walks and, after a few months of walking mostly on pavements following an operation, last weekend we decided we would do your walk of Bradford Abbas and Ryme Intrinseca. We chose it as it was 'Not at all challenging.' I met my first challenge at the edge of a field. The grass was high, very thick and lush; there was no sign of a path and it was extremely hard work. Most of the field edges were similar, and the woodland paths were very overgrown. There were six stiles on the walk; the first three were in excellent condition, the fourth older and a bit wobbly. The next was a plank with barbed wire and the last had completely collapsed and was impassable; we had to squeeze between it and the gate post. I am not sure whether farmers are expected to keep paths and stiles up to a certain standard. Perhaps you could explain? C BAKER A nice open path in March can be clogged by high summer; a firm woodland path in June may be an impassable quagmire in February. We try to take account of such things, but it is impossible to get it right every time. A farmer is obliged not to block rights of way wilfully. He is entitled to erect a fence across a right of way, but he must provide and maintain a means of crossing the fence – sometimes pretty rudimentary, as was the case with the one over barbed wire. Stiles should be maintained by the farmer, but in practice are usually dealt with by the Rights of Way Department at Dorset County Council. The RoW Dept is very helpful and invites feedback from the public about blocked paths, broken stiles etc. If you do speak to them, it's as well to have the relevant map and map reference ready. ISSN 0959-1079 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited without permission. Editorial Associates David Burnett, Lady Digby DBE, DL, David Eccles, Mrs Barbara Fulford-Dobson DL, Peter Harvey DL, John Langham CBE, Mrs Pamela Seaton MBE, JP, DL, Mrs Terry Slocock, Mrs Amanda Streatfeild, Giles Sturdy MBE, JP, DL, Hon. Charlotte Townshend DL Publisher Lisa Richards e-mail office@dorsetlife.co.uk Editor Joël Lacey e-mail editor@dorsetlife.co.uk Editorial Consultant John Newth

A clear field edge, at the time of the writing of a walk, can have grown over with clogging grass by midsummer

I was following a path near Lydlinch and came to a field that would have been fine in winter, but was an impenetrable forest of maize. I phoned RoW, who hacked through the crop with a machete. They almost had to use the machete to defend themselves against the farmer, who was incandescent with rage, but he was entirely in the wrong. MATT WILKINSON

Newbery's sign of the times Excellent and interesting article on Fra Newbery in May's edition, but sadly I must point out that the 'miniature building like a well head surmounted by a weather-vane' that used to house his unusual four-sided pub sign no longer graces the front of the Shah of Persia - it was ripped down, alas, during the Marstons refit/refurbishment, to be replaced by a charmless, mass-produced, modern, and very ordinary two-sided affair. I wonder what happened to Newbery's structure? M WANDLE via email

HAVE YOUR SAY! If you would like to comment on anything about which you feel strongly – and which is of specifically Dorset interest, please write to us or send us an email, addressing your correspondence to: THE EDITOR, DORSET LIFE - THE DORSET MAGAZINE 7 The Leanne, Sandford Lane, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4DY or email editor@dorsetlife.co.uk

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Dorset’s habitats

The view from Stoborough Heath towards Hartland Moor

Wild heathlands Colin Varndell looks at a habitat in which Dorset is rich, but in which the country and indeed the world is poor In times gone by, Dorset’s wild heathlands were

A beautiful male sand lizard in breeding condition


considered little more than bare wastelands. Sadly, it was not until these places of raw, untamed natural beauty had been seriously fragmented that their environmental importance was realised. The geology of the Poole basin largely comprises nutrient-deficient coarse sands, gravels and clays. All of Dorset’s heathlands were once covered in high temperate forest. The deforestation of this area began in earnest during the Bronze Age and continued right up until the middle of the last century. As the tree cover was removed, so the nutrients in the surface soils were readily washed or leached down through the free draining gravels, leaving a highly acidic surface allowing plants like gorse, heather, bog myrtle and Scots pine to take over and dominate the landscape. The change from high forest to lowland heath has been documented by an increase in heather and grass pollen preserved in peat bogs at the expense of tree pollen. Just about all the wildlife which thrives here is at least uncommon if not internationally rare. In fact, the heathlands of the

Wild heathlands

The sundews are insectivorous plants, obtaining nutrients from the insects they catch

The bee-killer wasp has recently colonised the heathlands. Males dig nursery tunnels while females are off hunting honey-bees.

Poole basin are among the rarest habitat types in the world. The plantlife is predominantly heather, with smatterings of bog asphodel and cotton grass occurring in the wetter areas. During summer such rarities as marsh gentian and bog orchid can be found, and around the edges of the bogs insectivorous sundew plants grow. These fascinating little plants exist in the poorest of conditions, and have evolved to gain their nutrients from insects. The upper surface of the plant’s leaves are covered with red tentacles which secrete a sticky mucilage. Insects, attracted to the bright red colour of the plant, become stuck on the tentacles. The plant uses enzymes to dissolve insects and to extract nitrates and other nutrients from their bodies. In high summer, two specific butterflies are found on Dorset’s heathlands. The grayling, master of disguise, displays a motley, camouflage pattern on the underwing. When the insect comes to rest it tucks its forewing behind the hindwing and tilts its wings to prevent a telltale shadow, thus making it almost impossible to detect. The silver-studded blue, although rare elsewhere, can be hugely abundant on the heaths, often with several insects flying up from every clump of heather as you pass by. These attractive butterflies frequently settle on the heather late in the day, spreading their wings to soak up the weakening rays of the evening sun. The emperor moth is Britain’s only silk moth and can be found on the Dorset heaths. Males fly by day but are difficult to spot as they are very fast insects, and you may only notice an orange blur as one passes. Female emperor moths remain still during daytime, patiently waiting on heather or gorse for the males to find them. Dragonflies are the top predators of the heathland insect world, feeding on small airborne insects. They hold their bristly legs in front of them to form a basket shape into which prey is captured. Notable species specific to the Dorset heaths include the downy emerald, which is a medium sized dragonfly of

metallic appearance, and the hairy dragonfly. Both of these insects are early summer species occurring in May and June. Later in the summer, emperor, four spotted chaser and migrant hawker are on the wing. It can be fascinating to watch them darting in and out of the sunbeams attacking the columns of gnats on a summer afternoon. Wild mammals are not abundant on the heaths, but rabbit, fox and roe deer are occasionally seen. The animal you are most likely to encounter is the sika deer. It is widely believed that the original Dorset Sika were escapees from a herd which had been introduced to Brownsea Island in the 1870s. Some of these animals left the island by wading across to the mainland at low tide, establishing a colony on the

A cock Dartford warbler on gorse, photographed on Winfrith Heath


Dorset’s habitats

The strange catkins of bog myrtle, which can be observed in early spring

saltmarsh and eventually spreading to the heaths and woods of east Dorset. Dartford warblers, synonymous with heathland, are present all year, flitting incessantly between the gorse bushes in their tireless search for insects. Stonechats and meadow pipits are also permanent residents. Summer visitors include two heathland specialists, the nightjar and hobby. Hobbies may be seen hunting dragonflies or other large insects, nightjars are moth catchers and hunt around dusk. The smooth snake is Britain’s rarest native reptile and has its stronghold on the heathlands of east Dorset and the New Forest. The smooth snake gets its name from the unkeeled scales of its body, which are completely flat. This reptile is one of the most difficult wild animals to observe as it rarely basks out in the open like an adder or grass snake does, but rather entwines itself through dense vegetation. The sand lizard is rare elsewhere in the country, but here, on these Dorset heaths, it is common. The male

In the wetter parts of most heaths in Dorset the unusual flower formation of bog asphodel may be seen


Emperor moth caterpillars are spectacularly large and bright lime green

Wild heathlands

sand lizard is stunningly attractive, especially during the breeding season in early summer when its green markings intensify. Look for these robust lizards on sunny banks at the end of the day where they will be soaking up the dying embers of the sun’s warmth. It is the sheer wildness of lowland heath that makes one feel totally immersed in the natural world. On cold winter mornings ghostly mists drift over the bogs and pools. In spring the heath erupts in a mosaic of white blackthorn and yellow gorse. When the heather is in bloom in summer, the landscape is transformed with shades of pink and mauve, and in autumn as the silver birch trees and bracken change to golden yellow the heath is arguably at its most spectacular. The county of Dorset is unique because of its fantastic range of wild habitats to explore. But none (neither here in Dorset, nor indeed anywhere else in Britain) reveals such a wealth of rarities as the lowland heaths of the Poole basin.

Top Winfrith Heath is a nature reserve owned and managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust, and together with the neighbouring reserve of Tadnoll the areas make up one of the largest tracts of lowland heath remaining in Britain today Above Graylings seldom shows off their eyespot when at rest Left The smooth snake is Britain’s rarest native reptile and can be found on most Dorset heathlands


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Living in Dorset Along the boardwalk If you want a bridge built, then there’s no-one better to do it than the British Army’s Royal Engineers. Thanks to 26 Engineer Regiment, visitors to Dorset Wildlife Trust’s (DWT) new Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre can conveniently stroll across the Fleet lagoon to Chesil Beach even at high water. ‘They’ve done a great job building the boardwalk,’ says Emily Brown, Discover Chesil Project Officer at DWT, who believes that the new centre and its surroundings will provide local people and visitors with an ideal location ‘to engage with and be inspired’ by the wildlife and geology. ‘Chesil is one of the geomorphological wonders of the world,’ she says. The new centre also boasts a café run in partnership with Dorset chef Mat Follas, 2009 Masterchef winner. DWT is inviting people to sponsor a plank from the boardwalk for £50, in return for an inscribed plaque.

As well as Gruffalo-related questions, the trail broaden children's knowledge of nature

If you go down to the woods today Visitors to Moors Valley Country Park can follow in the footsteps of the characters from the popular children’s story The Gruffalo, if they dare. The tale, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, tells the story of a mouse in search of a nut who encounters three predators along the way: a fox, owl and snake. All of the characters including, of course, the Gruffalo (which the mouse invents to scare his foes) are recreated on the trail. ‘We are thrilled to be given permission to bring the classic children’s tale to our own deep, dark wood,’ says Moors Valley education ranger, Tracy Standish, who adds. ‘We are keen to promote the value of a walk in the woods and some of our wonderful British wildlife.’ The self-guided trail, which is open until 2 September, includes questions that test both knowledge of the story and nature.

The boardwalk allows visitors to stroll across the Fleet Lagoon even at high water

Piano is Helen's forte Broadstone-born musician, Helen Nicholas, has been accepted as Ballet Pianist to the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Helen will be working full-time over the next two years with the Royal Ballet under the Jette Parker Young Artist programme, which supports the artistic development of young professional musicians and singers. Formerly of Parkstone Grammar School, Helen is currently studying for a Masters at the Royal Academy of Music. Helen is, she says, 'very excited about my appointment to the Jette Parker scheme which begins in September of this year and I look forward to working with all the very talented artists at the Royal Opera House; it’s a tremendous opportunity for me.' Despite spending much of her time playing and studying in London, Helen still finds time to play in the Broadstone Music Series. Helen Nicholas starts work at the Royal Ballet next month

Lytchett Heath Polo aims to offer affordable polo in Dorset

Anyone for polo? Lytchett Heath Polo Club is in its first season as a registered Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) club. Affiliation to the HPA is a major accolade says Robert Brockett who runs the club with his wife Jemima, as it gives the club freedom to play against other affiliated clubs in the country and to welcome new members. The club was launched in 2011 and Rob is keen to help the sport shed its elitist image. ‘Polo is never going to be a cheap sport because anything with horses costs, but you can get around this by hiring ponies,’ he says. The club is currently working with a number of schools in the area to promote the sport. ‘Children’s polo is really big,’ says Jemima who explains that as well as hiring ponies to professional players, including for the annual Sandpolo event at Sandbanks, the club also offers training to complete beginners. 11

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Living in Dorset

Much Ado about Stourpaine

The mill's leat after its restoration

Double restoration at White Mill A £25,000 scheme to boost wildlife and fish stock has been completed in the river beside one of Dorset’s oldest watermills, White Mill, which lies between Shapwick and Sturminster Marshall. The Environment Agency has worked closely with the National Trust, which owns the mill, to restore the weir, leat and tailrace and to create a fish refuge area and habitats for species such as the water vole and kingfisher. Young minnow, roach, dace, pike and stickleback are already using the refuge area. Meanwhile, in a completely separate project by Dorset County Council, work is taking place to repair and repoint White Mill Bridge using traditional lime mortar. The work has been approved by English Heritage and damaged blocks in the bridge will be replaced with stone from quarries in Corfe Mullen and Langton Matravers. This will take place during the summer months spread over two years.

Performing Shakespeare outdoors may not be a new thing in Dorset, but doing it outside a pub in North Dorset must be a first. The Shooting Stars Theatre Company is staging two outdoor performances of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing at the rear of The White Horse pub in Stourpaine at 7.00 in the evening on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August. The staging is the idea of landlord Chris Sergeant's son, Joe, who is a player in the company, which itself has recently received rave reviews for its recent production of Wind in the Willows. Each show is geared to the environment surrounding it and Shooting Stars is described as 'an absolute gem of a company…, well worth following.' Tickets, priced at £10 (£8 concs) can be booked on 01258 453535.

Thrilled to win with Bitz

New authors on the horizon The award ceremony for Dorset Libraries' 2012 New Horizons Book Award and Writing Competition proved that the county’s children have both an appetite and talent for writing. Nine to thirteen-yearolds across the county voted author Kathryn James debut novel Mist the runaway winner in the Book Award and the author was among those who entertained the audience at the ceremony held at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton. Winners of the writing competition for young people were Luke Brown from St John’s Primary School in Weymouth (nine to 11 years) for Mystery Solved and Natasha FisherPearson of Shaftesbury School (11-13 years) for Blue Moon. Stories were short-listed by staff from the school library service and the winners chosen by Josh Lacey author of the Grk children’s books. ‘I was really impressed by the humour and energy of the stories,’ says Josh, whose most recent book is The Dragonsitter. ‘They were clever, funny and very entertaining. I'm looking forward to reading more work by the winners and runners-up in the future.’

The winning and shortlisted scribes who came from schools across Dorset

Jo Tristram and Bitz, who brought a world championship agility title back to Dorset

A shy bearded collie/border collie cross and its owner, Jo Tristram from Tarrant Hinton, have won a first prize at the World Agility Open Championships, held in Belgium. Around 300 dogs from twenty countries compete in the championships, where Jo and five yearold Bitz were placed first in the open pentathlon event, the second biggest category. ‘Agility has helped bring Bitz out of herself,’ says Jo, who runs a dog agility business and trains a variety of breeds from collies and terriers to labradoodles. ‘Agility training can really help a dog’s behaviour at home, giving them a positive focus. Ellie [one of Jo's previous canine protégés] chewed several expensive items before she started!’ Ellie went on to win a number of awards, including being crowned the 2008 Agility Champion at Crufts. ‘All that a dog wants is a job and they like to work for something,’ she says.’ Jo and Bitz are already looking forward to defending their title at next year's event. 13


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Living in Dorset

The Corfe Castle signal box (in the style of the 1885 original, which was demolished in 1956)

'Drive, passion and determination'

The reconnection of Swanage to the mainline rail network is another step closer. Dorset County Council has handed over the first instalment of funding and finalised the agreement with Network Rail, which will install signals costing £2.7 million at Worgret Junction. This could mean regular trains operating between Wareham and Swanage within two years. Work will begin in October and is due to be completed in May 2013. Purbeck District Council also gave its support to the funding as part of the Purbeck Transportation Strategy, which aims to ease congestion on the A351 by using alternative forms of transport. Earlier this year, Swanage Railway opened its Victorian-style signal box at Corfe Castle, another key piece in jigsaw as it will link to Network Rail’s signalling centre at Basingstoke.

Bournemouth Collegiate School has appointed Bernie Shrosbree as its Director of Performance. Stephen Duckitt, BCS's head teacher, says: 'We are incredibly excited at having him on board and working with our Sports Academy pupils. He is not just a world-class athlete but also a highly respected international coach and team building expert. He has an engaging personality and infectious drive, passion and determination.' Bernie is performance coach to the Red Bull F1 Racing team (and to Mark Webber), was an international triathlete for six years and is a former British cross-country ski champion. Bernie Shrosbree added 'It’s a real pleasure to work with grassroots kids in sport, helping to them achieve their full potential in their given disciplines. Creating the right training environment, nurturing committed and passionate individuals can only create champions. I am looking forward to working with the specialist BCS sports coaches and the PE department to identify those individuals and team players that want to be coached in achieving their full potential.'

Nigel Brooks

Mainline rail link-up beckons for heritage railway

One of Dorset's dragonflies: The broad-bodied chaser

Enter the dragonfly website A newly formed group, Dorset Dragonflies, is hoping that keeneyed nature lovers across the county will use its website to report sightings and then send in photographs of this beautiful and ancient species. Andrew Brown, co-ordinator of Dorset Dragonflies which is also working with Dorset Wildlife Trust on raising awareness of the prehistoric insects through courses, stresses that the website is not just for specialists and wants as many people as possible to get involved. The UK has 25 species of dragonfly and 17 species of damselfly as well as seasonal migrants. Dorset is especially good for spotting the black darter and small red damselfly, which love the county’s heathland habitats. More details available at www.dorsetdragonflies.org.uk.

Bernie Shrosbree, the new Director of Performance at Bournemouth Collegiate School


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Focus on Weymouth

Wey-haul-away to life's horizons! Thornlow Prep School celebrates 100 years in Weymouth next month. Stephen Baker looks at a school that has a sea-shanty choir and teaches sailing as part of the curriculum. Rupert Fowke has been the head of Thornlow since as this allows people to speak with confidence. The other way confidence is inculcated is on the 1997 and was housemaster there from 1992. He was, water. Sailing, reveals Weymouth-born Rupert, 'is a he says, 'a boarder at a large Preparatory and Public school and having been dreadfully unhappy during my curricular, not an extra-curricular, subject. At the age of seven, when put in charge of a boat, a child asks ten years at those schools, my passion was to ensure that [our] children never have that kind of experience. "what do I do now?" and I reply: "You're in charge now". The confidence that comes from even a single My driving philosophy is to ensure that our children session on the water is unfathomable.' are happy; if they are not happy, they will not learn. Thornlow does subject-specialised teaching, from I impress upon all of my staff that they are there for nursery up. 'Children are inspired by specialist the children and that the school runs for the children teachers,' Rupert explains, 'as they are passionate; and not for the convenience of the staff.' that rubs off on the children. It is the passion of 'We are educating tomorrow's leaders,' Rupert explains, 'whether they lead in education, accountancy, the teacher, not the subject, that inspires the child. the military or in medicine, they've got to be prepared Rupert also believes that a physically fit child is an academically enabled one. 'We do games three times for that. We ensure that, from a very early age, the a week, and every child swims once a week.' children learn to take responsibility before taking Add in the Lobster Pot Rebels – possibly the decisions. We also ensure that they are able to present themselves and to speak confidently in public. country's only school sea-shanty choir, whence 'wey-haul-away' – and the fact that children are From nursery age, they do one-minute talks. At the upper end of the school they do presentations to their taught French from age three, and it is clear that class or to the school. We have an emphasis on drama, Thornlow's first hundred years have been busy ones.

Thornlow's children start sailing from the age of seven

The school's latest dramatic production was their version of William Golding's seminal novel Lord of the Flies

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Focus on Christchurch

Golden fellowship It's the 50th anniversary of the Highcliffe Art Fellowship. Sue Weekes finds out what has kept them vital and active The Highcliffe Art Fellowship prides itself on being a highly inclusive club when it comes to its popular annual exhibitions. ‘If a picture is entered for the exhibition, it is hung,’ says Gaye Slade, press officer for the fellowship. ‘If people are discouraged then they aren’t going to paint and we want everyone to paint.’ This is perhaps one of the reasons for the club’s success and longevity. This year sees its 50th anniversary and Gaye says it always has a waiting list for membership, which has to be limited to 150. An average of 80-90 people attend the monthly meetings, where a recognised artist in a particular field comes to do a demonstration. The fellowship’s roots can be traced back to the late 1950s and local Highcliffe art shop owner Fred Norbury. He observed that many of the pictures brought to him for framing by local artists were of a good standard and, encouraged by local Councillor Irene Stevenson, he persuaded the painters to stage an exhibition. The club was formed in 1962. To celebrate the anniversary, an exhibition is being staged at Highcliffe Castle, running from 6 September to 21 October. This will be in addition to its annual show at the Methodist Hall in Lymington Road, which runs from 25 July to 13 August.

Such is the body of work produced by Above The range of images on display Below Engine shed by Roger King the artists that they will comprise totally different pictures, says Gaye. ‘We’re determined that the second exhibition looks extremely fresh. With the merest exception, no picture hung in the castle will have been seen in Highcliffe before.’ Last year’s exhibition broke all records in terms of visitors and pictures sold. ‘We were replacing pictures every day,’ says Gaye, adding that there will be an opportunity to buy at both this year’s events. ‘Including some unframed pictures that are a real bargain.’ Also on show but not on sale will be Godfrey Shellard’s iconic watercolour of Highcliffe Castle. ‘Our exhibitions tend to be extremely varied from abstract through to traditional oils, acrylic and watercolours including a lot of landscapes which isn’t surprising,’ says Gaye. ‘With the cliff-top overlooking the Needles, and the village backing on to the New Forest, we have a spectacular location for landscapes.’

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Focus on Stalbridge

From sow's cure to Silk Hay Sue Weekes explores the chronicle of one woman's fight to preserve her home ‘If a builder calls a female client Madam with every other breath, then, sister, you’ve got trouble,’ writes Hilary Townsend in her latest book, Silk Hay, which describes the 30-year restoration of her family house in Stalbridge which her mother bought in 1962. After her mother died in 1972, Hilary – who was living in Dorchester at the time, but had always looked forward to one day returning to the village, bought her sister out. ‘I’d always wanted to come back, but almost as soon as my name was on the deeds the roof threatened to collapse,’ she says. The event proved to be portentous given what was to follow. As well as a fascinating story of the restoration of what turned out to be a medieval merchant’s house with a Tudor extension, Silk Hay also serves as an inspiration for anyone embarking on renovation work but especially women. ‘I was a woman on my own. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong but the more thwarted I was the more determined I became,’ says Hilary. ‘I kept a diary the whole time the builders were here and have two filing cabinets of papers. I always intended writing the book because if I’d just told people the story they might not have believed me. I also wanted to do it to help other people, especially women, who might face similar problems.’ Little wonder then that the book is subtitled: ‘One woman’s fight for architectural heritage’. As well as being of historical importance, Silk Hay also boasts cultural reference. As a young man, the author Douglas Adams came to the village to stay with his mother and stepfather and while there saw the demolition of the Dorset Glove Factory, the building behind Silk Hay, which Hilary describes in the book as the ‘little factory’ they came to appreciate as a ‘neighbour’. Adams was to enlarge and transform what he saw into the vision of Arthur Dent's house being bulldozed without notice (as was then planet Earth, in order to make way for Silk Hay in all its current glory an interplanetary by-pass) for the opening section of the cult science-fiction radio series, book and television series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. While the story of Silk Hay begins hundreds of years before, perhaps the turning point in its more recent history was the day County Hall sent architect Pamela Cunnington to look at the listed building in 1976. Pamela was an expert in medieval vernacular architecture and explored the property and investigated the roof. She then arranged for an expert in medieval vernacular buildings from Exeter University to carry out a thorough survey. This revealed that the medieval part of the house dated back to around 1400 and the Tudor extension was probably added in around 1550. Meanwhile a cottage added on the back was thought to be the service wing of a Norman house left on the site although this couldn’t be proved.

Hilary Townsend on her (then new) replacement staircase

The book describes the many highs and lows, frustrations and breakthroughs (one of the chapters is called 'Arguing with Everybody') of the restoration and also conveys the sheer hard work and the hardship that goes with a project such as this. Although Hilary acknowledged she was extremely lucky with grants, including one from the Thomas Hardy Memorial Fund, Silk Hay was a serious drain on her own finances and twice she thought she’d have to give up. As well as holding down a demanding full-time job as a lecturer in management studies at Frome College of Further Education she managed to launch a writing career which helped keep herself and the project afloat. Silk Hay proved to be inspiration for this. ‘I started writing about medieval houses and was sending work to an American magazine and Canadian radio,’ she says. After various stages of restoration work, Silk Hay was let while Hilary continued life in Frome and Dorchester. It was 1987 that proved to be another landmark year; in the same week, Hilary was made redundant and her then tenants decided not to renew their agreement. While Hilary would miss her job the two events finally meant she could return to her dream home. Once the tenants had removed their furniture, however, a black mould became visible which ended up being the result of a leaky highway drain (the same ‘whiskery and sooty black’ mould was spotted under nearby shop windows). Cue another major saga in the Silk Hay story. Hilary did manage to move in that year though (‘with my two geriatric cats,’ she recalls) and has lived there ever since through the different stages of restoration. Highlights of this period included the discovery of some re-used stone behind the plaster, which featured a crude sketch of a crusader. Chatting to Hilary brings the book to life as she delights with tales of the curing cupboard next to the fireplace that was revealed and that would, she says, have produced ‘some rather nice bacon’. As the final chapter of her book spells out, all the hard work proved worth it and today Hilary enjoys sharing Silk Hay’s story with others. ‘I first wanted to discover what was there and then make it available to others,’ she says. She also holds open houses in aid of Cancer Research. As many Dorset Life readers will know, the writing career she began during Silk Hay’s restoration flourished and a fourth book about her travels to far-flung locations such as Antarctica, Easter Island and Pitcairn Island is on the cards (she also wrote Discover Dorset – The Blackmore Vale and Blackmore Vale Childhood). In Silk Hay, of course, she has the perfect writer’s retreat in her small yard, draped with honeysuckle, ‘Yes, I can sit there and scribble all day,’ she says. sSilk Hay by Hilary Townsend is published by Matador at £9.99.


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A 'specially special' show Joël Lacey talks to the new President and the new Chairman of the Melplash Show to find out what makes this agricultural show near Bridport unique Each year, on the last Thursday before the August Bank Holiday, in a tract of land between the River Brit and West Bay road just south of Bridport, the town and the country come together to celebrate the best of West Dorset at the annual Melplash Show. It is almost 165 years since the inaugural Melplash Agricultural Society ploughing match was held. That competition, in October 1847, came a year after two farmers had staked £5 (about £3000 in today's wages) to see who was the better ploughman; their bet coincided with the celebrations of the inauguration of the newly created parish church. At the subsequent feast, which was held in the Melplash Inn (now the Half Moon), the assembled farmers and landowners agreed to form the Melplash Agricultural Society in October 1846. Competition is just as keen these days at the show with the huge variety of produce, stock and equine competition classes, although thankfully the stakes for entering are much more affordable. Dan Newman of Chantmarle Farm is the new Chairman of the Agricultural Society and is keen to keep the strong sense of tradition and pride in the farming community which the Melplash Show highlights each year. 'I'm incredibly honoured to be Chairman. I just want to make sure that the Melplash show is here for another 165 years. There are a phenomenal number of people who give up their time, their money and their expertise to ensure that the show succeeds. There is a board of directors and as its Chairman I'm just part of a bigger team. We're so lucky that there is such a wealth of experience on the board – farmers, solicitors, surveyors, businesspeople – that there's always someone who knows the answer to

Equestrianism is another very popular element of the show

any question. I feel that I just gently steer the tiller while others do the work.' One area where Dan is keen to use his chairmanship to drive things forward is by ensuring that the show is relevant and accessible to youngsters. To help local youngsters pursue a career in agricultural and related studies the society awards annual bursaries. George Rendell, a director of the Agricultural Society and former Chairman, was instrumental in introducing the scheme. He sees encouraging youngsters into agriculture as a major responsibility: 'The bursaries are offered as an incentive and to add a little impetus to students who might otherwise not elect to follow a path into this very competitive and financially challenging world. We hope to help them go on to lead fulfilling careers and ultimately contribute to the local economy.' The idea of encouraging other youngsters who

Connecting children and farming is, at the same time, one of the strengths and one of the aims of the Melplash show


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may not be wholly familiar with farming and country pursuits is one of the motivating factors behind the show's admissions policy which allows children in free if accompanied by a paying adult (under-fives also enter free). Dan Newman explains that, while 'part of what we do is to balance the books, we are always very conscious that we need to try to keep the ticket prices as low as we can. Farming is in a good place at the moment and we want as many people to come as possible to see the fun in agriculture' Dan is also keen to capitalise on this positive public perception of agriculture by promoting the high standards of welfare in British farming compared to other nations. 'I'm a beef and sheep farmer running about 1500 acres and I want people to know how well we in Dorset look after our animals and how good our meat is. The Melplash Show is a great place to see happy animals and fine meat.' This is a sentiment strongly echoed by this year's President, Lady Sandwich. Having run a mixed estate at Mapperton with her husband for the last thirty years, Caroline Sandwich defines her job as helping to 'flag up the importance and vitality of the agricultural community in the area. The Melplash Show is one of the great traditional agricultural shows; it is a highlight for Bridport and West Dorset, and for many people it is the best day out of the year.' In terms of her own role, she states that 'the President has all the fun, but none of the responsibility. On the day of the show I will arrive at about 8.30, visit all the stalls and exhibitors and enjoy looking at everything they have to offer. 'What is such fun is the wonderful variety of stock and animals; there are sheep, heavy horses, cattle, pigs and goats. There is wonderful food in the food hall: sausages, cider, cheese, chops, pies,â&#x20AC;Ś people have a really, really good timeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

'All the president has to worry about,' says Caroline Sandwich, 'is the weather, but if you live in West Dorset you just have to forget about it. If it is wet then all the marquees get more attention and people eat more of the delicious food.' She also enjoys the one-day nature of the show: 'There's something wonderful about a one-day show. People talk about things being special, but the Melplash Show is specially special. It truly represents life in West Dorset, is a great boost to those living in the area and a very important day for the local farming community; it gives them a chance to show off their animals, which are always so beautifully turned out. At the end of the day everyone retires home exhausted, yet happy.' As part of her tenure, Caroline Sandwich is very keen to create a new award to recognise the best food in the food hall. The award will, rather

Meat and butchery displays and competitions allow children to link the welfare of animals with the excellence of meat

The food hall is a key attraction of the show. This year the 'Sandwich Plate' will be awarded for the best item within the food hall.


The 'specially special' show

The produce tent is always a popular stop, especially for the giant vegetables on show

deliciously, be known as the ‘Sandwich Plate’ and will be judged by George Streatfeild, last year's President and the man responsible for the food hall. As well as the hundreds of trade stands which have, by design, a rather sharper agricultural and country focus than is the case at some of the more commercial country shows, there are entertainments for young and old: show-jumping, floral and handicraft marquees, a motorcycle-stunt show, Professor Crump and Sheridan the sheepdog, beekeeping demonstrations, a cookery theatre, farm machinery, enormous vegetables and a display of agricultural and heavy horses in action. Although this is a one-day show, there is a yearlong effort which goes into it and there are four competitions associated with the show. There is a

farm of the year competition wherein judges assess the management and cultivation of the farm, as well as management of the livestock. All farms are also judged for their conservation and environmental practice and management. For cultivation of a different kind, the Melplash Agricultural Society also awards a prize for the best garden in the area (it is open to all residents within a twelve-mile radius of Melplash Village Church). Gardens and allotments of any size can be entered and there are prizes for the best large, medium and small, as well as an overall winner. The third competition is the flocks’ competition, which rewards local farmers for their shepherding skills and flock management including handling, flock conformity, the quality and condition of the sheep, how they are performing and the number of lambs produced per head. Finally, and in a nod to the origins of the Melplash Agricultural Society, there is the annual hedge-laying and ploughing match, which is held in September. This tradition and community base of the show are exemplified by the fact that Dan Newman is the third member of his family to have been Chairman of the Society. His father and his uncle have been chairman in, respectively, the 1980s and 1990s. Whilst undoubtedly proud of his family's connection, he states his role is to serve the society, the wider farming community and the land itself. As he puts it: 'the land was here before me and it will be here after me; I'm just here to look after it and the animals on it. It is the wonderful charm and tradition of the Melplash Show that makes it so special and I am determined that this never changes.'

As well as for competitions judged on the day, prizes are awarded for agricultural and gardening competitions held by the society

Dan Newman, Chairman of the board of the Melplash Show's organisers


The Melplash Show is on Thursday 23 August and tickets bought in advance are £10 per adult which admits one child for free, £4 per additional child; tickets on the day are £12 per adult which admits one child for free, £5 per additional child. For details visit the show's website at www. melplashshow.co.uk or contact the show office at 23, South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NT, tel: 01308 423337. There is free parking at the showground and the organisers will also be operating a free bus service covering Lyme Regis, Charmouth and Bridport areas.

Dorset Lives

'That's the way to do it!' Marc Hill meets the man behind Mr Punch, Professor Mark Paulton The workshop is full to overflowing; it is chaos to anyone but the owner and it is difficult to tell what goes on here. There are tools, boxes, tiny pots of paint; hand-painted signs and material are piled high like the backstage area of a theatre. Small partly carved faces grin at you out of the gloom and then by the window you see them… three brightly coloured puppets that appear to be standing, watching your every move, grinning madly. These are the creation of Professor Mark Poulton, one of Britain’s few remaining full-time Punchand-Judy performers and a well-known figure on Weymouth’s beach. Sure, there are plenty of magicdabbling, balloon-twisting children’s entertainers who dip into the world of Mr Punch, but probably only a dozen or so specialists like Mark left in existence. Mark has spent many winter days, with only his elderly cat and an iPod for company, restoring his puppets and sign-writing banners and getting everything ready for the important forthcoming season. It is one that will mark Mr Punch’s 350th birthday, and includes a two-day puppet festival, starting on 4 August, with workshops where visitors can make their own puppets. It all started for Mark when, as a three-year-old lad, he went on a seaside holiday to Weston-superMare and became captivated by the voice of Mr Punch.

Punch and Mark and Judy


A couple of years later he was back at the seaside, this time at Weymouth, and came across Punch once again. ‘I heard that same squeaky voice and I was instantly drawn to the Punch and Judy,’ says Mark. ‘I must have watched every single show for the whole week.’ Meanwhile, back at the bed and breakfast where his family was staying, he proceeded to pull all the stuffing out of his teddy bears to make them into glove puppets, and then crouching behind the bed, he performed his first show. Leaving school at the earliest opportunity, and ignoring careers advice about getting a ‘proper job’, he threw himself into the showman’s world and did his first season at Aberystwyth when he was just fifteen. Since then he’s worked every summer season along the West Country’s south coast, and will be in Weymouth again this year. He looks back fondly to the heady days in his late teens when working the summer at Goodrington. He and his friends would work hard and play equally hard. ‘We got the work done, but I never had any money left come September – it was great,’ says Mark. ‘Of course all that’s changed now: I’m married, I've got a house… that avenue of enjoyment’s been cut off,’ he says with a laugh. During the season he averages about three shows a day and, although the spectators aren’t obliged to pay, about ninety percent of them are happy to

contribute. When his guide price is only a pound, it represents good value for up to 45 minutes of live entertainment. Out of season he performs at private functions and undertakes commissions making puppets for other Punch and Judy enthusiasts. He has taken his show to places such as the Millennium Dome and an after-show party at the Brit Awards to the BBC’s One Show and Countryfile programmes and was presented to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh when they visited Weymouth in 2009. More recently, part of his show has been included in the singer PJ Harvey’s video. Back in his workshop, Mark is putting the finishing touches to his restored puppets. After three months of work, he’s still not happy with some of the details, but you’d be hard pushed to find a fault with them. All the puppets’ heads are carved from solid blocks of lime wood and then painstakingly decorated with enamel paints. That’s a couple of weeks’ work for each head before he’s even started on the costumes. Mr Punch hasn’t changed much since he was first spotted in London during the 17th century. According to Samuel Pepys’ diary, on the ninth of May 1662, he came across the Punchinello show when in Covent Garden. The colourful marionettes that he watched had come from Italy and performed in a marquee. Over the years, Punch and Judy have evolved into glove puppets enabling the puppeteers to go out into the streets and perform with a small booth rather than having to set up large marquees. Mark doesn’t believe that the show has lost any of its popularity in this modern digital age. ‘It’s always stayed popular for the single reason that it’s live.

When people go on holiday to the beach, you haven’t got computers there, it’s almost the novelty of a week away from reality’ says Mark. Nor has political correctness dampened the show. As an experienced performer, he knows where to draw the line and has adapted his show to appeal to a modern mixed audience whilst retaining the essential pantomime slapstick comedy. The term slapstick, by the way, originates with Mr Punch and it refers to the stick he wields, which is composed of two wooden slats that slap together when hit - hence slapstick. So what does the future hold? Mark’s seven-yearold daughter is helping out and working parts of the show, but he’s not sure if she’ll carry on the tradition. ‘If she wants to, I’ll encourage her, but I want her to see so many different walks of life and make her own mind up. I wouldn’t discourage her, but it’s a very haphazard lifestyle, which I love. It’s the alternative streak in me with a bit of anarchy thrown in as well.’ A little like Mr Punch then!

An ever-popular beach attraction, Mark's Punch and Judy show before a rapt audience in Weymouth

The rather menacing looking puppets in Mark's workshop



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In the Footsteps of Treves

Shaftesbury Steve White and Clive Hannay follow Sir Frederick to 'Shaston' In 1906, Sir Frederick Treves began his book; Highways and Byways in Dorset, with Shaftesbury. Even a casual reader would quickly establish that the author was very fond of this town: ‘The Shaftesbury of to-day,’ says Treves, ‘is a bright, pleasant, and healthy town, perched on the bluff end of a ridge. Viewed from afar off it is not imposing. From the North there is little to be seen of the place except the belfry of Trinity Church and the chimney of the gas works…The best sight of Shaftesbury is from Melbury Hill on the South. From this height it appears as a steep green ridge capped on the sky line by red-roofed houses and church towers and by comfortable clumps of trees’. The view from Melbury Hill is spectacular, maybe a few more roofs can be seen, but distance reduces the impact of modernity. The gas works chimney has long gone, ‘Shaftesbury Gas and Coke Works’ was set up in 1837 at 19 Bimport and provided gas for the town streetlamps. The belfry of Trinity Church, now redundant and used as a community centre, still stands sentinel over this part of the town. Treves now focuses on the houses of Shaftesbury: ‘Most of the houses, of stone and red brick, cling to that austere simplicity of design which marks the habitation a child draws on a slate—a thing of four symmetrical windows, a central door, and two chimneys giving forth a curling smoke. There are, moreover, modern villas which would not disgrace the suburbs of Stratford-by-Bow.' One imagines that, thanks to the efforts of the Luftwaffe, the GLC and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, there are probably more Edwardian villas still extant in Shaftesbury than in Stratford-by-Bow. Treves, meanwhile, continues: 'There will be found, on the other hand, dignified old houses with stonemullioned windows, moss-covered walls crowned by apple blossom, lanes with brown-thatched cottages where a path of cobble stones leads through a garden to a porch of honeysuckle. Here and there are houses so low that any who will can look in at the bedroom windows, and houses which are so askew with age and so twisted and deformed that they might have been shaken by an earthquake.' Shaftesbury has an interesting mix of houses nowadays and examples of all types mentioned by Treves are still to be found. St James’s Street, at the bottom of Gold Hill is predominately older buildings for its entire length; aside from the metalled road it must be much as it was a hundred years ago with three notable exceptions: two houses and a bungalow

unsympathetically built during the unenlightened late 1950s and early 1960s, which really upset the balance. This occurs throughout Shaftesbury: very modern sits cheek by jowl with very old; unfortunately this mix does not always work, but at least there are still old buildings to admire. Treves, who was particularly vociferous about the ‘red-brick cancer’ that was beginning to take over parts of Dorset in his day, would be distressed if he could see the new housing estate being built on the Salisbury Road: completely red brick houses that fit his stereotype of a house which a child would draw. ‘The names of the streets recall the history of the old city,' Treves continues. 'There are "Commons" and "Parson’s Pool, Angel Lane," where was a tavern of that name for pilgrims, and Bell Street, which owned a like inn, "The Bell"; Magdalen’s Almshouse or Dolhouse, of unknown antiquity; and Bymport, which was the Bind Port of the time of Edward IV.’ The Commons, Parson’s Pool, Angel Lane, Bell Lane and Bimport still exist. Some have seen radical change – it would be interesting to read what Treves would have written had he seen the supermarket and associated car park, which sits just off Bell Lane between the Commons and Parson’s Pool. Treves now visits Gold Hill. ‘It is a cobbled way, slow to climb, at the summit of which are the not unpicturesque Town Hall, the crumbling Church of St. Peter’s, and the "Sun and Moon" Inn. On the right of the lane are thatched and tiled cottages, placed on the steps so as to obtain a sure foothold. On the left is a very ancient wall of grey-green stone. It is an embankment wall that centuries ago kept level the Abbey garden. It is supported by enormous straining buttresses. The foot of each is planted aslant on the paved slope; the shoulders of each lean back with fearful effort towards the line of houses on the ridge’. Gold Hill, darling of countless Dorset calendars and justifiably famous for both its beauty and its wonderful views can hardly have changed at all. Most roads around Dorset were tracks when 31


Treves cycled this way, Gold Hill was and still is cobbled. The Sun and Moon Inn closed many years ago, its wrought iron bracket that would have held the inn’s sign is still in situ. It is now a shop selling beads, while the building itself is called Sun and Moon Cottage. Unusually it is built directly onto the church suggesting that it, or its predecessor, was originally built for ecclesiastical use, probably as a priest's house. There is a blocked door in the cottage which once gave access to the church and upstairs is a small window which would have given a direct view into the church. Part of the cottage once served as a ‘doss house’; in fact the 1911 census shows that there were several doss houses in Gold Hill. Treves’ mention of the inn by name is unusual; normally he doesn’t name them. This could be because he stopped for refreshment here, or he may have stayed at the inn – he makes reference to how Shaftesbury looked both at night and in the early morning, so he certainly stayed somewhere. 32

Always interested in churches, Treves now looks, somewhat scathingly, at St Peter’s. ‘The ancient church of St Peter’s is the most conspicuous object in the High Street. Faded and pitiably senile, its stone is corroded by centuries of keen wind and biting rain, while its tottering doorway and porch stand by the church as emblems of venerable poverty…. Yet it has a noble tower, carrying six bells, on one of which still run the lines placed there in 1672:– "When you hear me tole, Then pray to God to save the soul." It has a rich embattled parapet, glorious with carvings in stone of the portcullises, pomegranates, and roses of the time of Henry VIII. The roses are woefully faded, but on the mouldy sill of one of the tower windows is a sympathetic wall-flower in generous bloom.’ What Treves saw back then was a near-derelict church; it is satisfying to be able to tell of an improvement, rather than things changing for the worse. There is an interesting story here as, in 1955, the church – part of which had been used as


a grain store during World War 2, was deemed in need of help and work appears to have been carried out. Nevertheless, by 1971, the church was declared redundant. A group called the Friends of St Peter’s, with help from the Redundant Churches Trust, restored the building and – most unusually – the church was rededicated in 1977. St Peter’s, according to the church's walk-round guide, is the first church in the country to have been returned to being a full-time parish church after havng become redundant; for this to appen, the authority of the Crown was required. The church, restored and improved again between 2000 and 2007, is certainly appealing and worth a visit. It retains its full set of six bells; re-hung in 1926 – the bell Treves mentions being the oldest. Further proof that Treves was enchanted by Shaftesbury comes in his next paragraph; ‘On the southern edge of the ridge is a delightful wooded walk, called Park Walk, from which extends a view unsurpassed by few in England. This meditative

avenue is on the very edge of the height, and is said to have been a walk in the Abbey Park…The view from the Abbey terrace is across a vast, verdant, undulating valley of the richest pasture land – a plain without a level stretch in it. It ever rolls away into shallow valley and low hill, with now and then a wooded height or the glittering track of a stream.’ The view from Park Walk, just a stone’s throw from Gold Hill, is breathtaking. Standing here it is apparent why Treves was so fond of this place. The entrance to the Abbey gardens and ruins can be found here too, but this must come after a pause to take in the sublime view. Like many Dorset towns and villages, Shaftesbury has seen many changes in the last hundred years, but Treves would probably admit that the most impressive parts of the town still remain. s4HANKSTO2UTHAT@"EADSTERANDTHEOTHERPEOPLEOF Shaftesbury who helped with researching this article. 33











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What the Sandbanks milkman saw Tony O’Hara helped his milkman step-father deliver around Sandbanks from the age of eleven in 1968. Nick Churchill

courtesy of Alwyn Ladell/flickr.com

tells his story

A 1904 view across the two bays showing Banks Road to the left. The house in the centre background is now part of Sandbanks Hotel.

Long before the proliferation of expensive homes

life as an 11-year-old in 1968, helping his milkman stepfather on the distinctive green and beige vans of the Malmesbury & Parsons Dairy Co. The Sandbanks he knew was a curious place inhabited by celebrities and eccentrics, the rich and the reclusive, as well as local business people and their employees. As readily as he recalls encountering the likes of Mike and Bernie Winters, Lionel Blair, Ronnie Barker and Dick Emery, he also remembers the Sandbanks shopkeepers, boat owners and beach workers. ‘Mike and Bernie Winters were sharing a house with their families at 41 Panorama Road while they were playing Bournemouth in the summer of 1971. We used to see this boxer dog taking itself for a walk along Panorama Road every morning. It turned out courtesy of Alwyn Ladell/flickr.com

and exorbitant land prices, Dorset’s 'Platinum Peninsula' was little more than a windswept sand spit, largely uninhabited save for a few fishermen. Towards the end of the 19th century Sandbanks was part of Lord Wimborne’s Canford estate and was home to two hotels, a coastguard station and a few private residences. Worried about the potential cost of sea defences, in 1894 Wimborne signed it over to Poole Corporation, which divided the peninsula into parcels of land for auction. It’s said the entire area could have been bought for £200. The Edwardian era brought holidaymakers and a shanty town of sheds, shacks and even old railway carriages sprang up before being cleared to make way for a building programme of mainly white, pebbledashed brick bungalows. Before long, Sandbanks had a small working population and a coterie of wellheeled resident families such as Lyle (Tate & Lyle), Wills (tobacco), Clark (shoes) and Grant (whisky), as well as bandleader Bill Cotton. While the social events at the Royal Motor Yacht Club, established in 1936, and the annual influx of summer season show stars to Bournemouth’s theatres created a demand for rented holiday homes, arguably sowing the seeds of the modern Millionaires’ Row. This stellar connection was firmly established by the time Tony O’Hara got his first taste of working

Postmarked 1934, this postcard takes a view across Sandbanks towards the entrance to Poole Harbour


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What the Sandbanks milkman saw

Postcard showing Sandbanks promenade and chalets, probably from the 1960s

to belong to Bernie and had been given to him by Roy Hudd whose dog had a litter of eight pups. We never actually saw the brothers, one of the wives always came to pay the bill, but the two families were also sharing with Lionel Blair whose son was born that summer. ‘Although we were very respectful of people’s privacy we’d pick up little snippets of information and make time for a chat if people wanted. Ronnie Barker stopped me one day on the round – he wanted directions to an address. He seemed a very ordinary man in a very ordinary car, nothing flashy about him at all. ‘Dick Emery was on my Poole Park round in the summer of 1973 while he was appearing in Bournemouth. He rented a house at the end of Orchard Avenue near Poole Park and I saw him one day when he came down and stopped to say hello to me, he was very suntanned. Usually though he would send a woman down to pay the bill – a different one each week. I think he was a bit of a ladies’ man!’ By the time he was 13 the dairy had been taken over by the ubiquitous Unigate and Tony was working regular rounds at weekends and during school holidays. ‘Sandbanks was known as the worst round,’ says Tony. ‘You had 300 customers in winter then in summer it went up to 900, plus you had all the hotels as well. You had to get round before all the people appeared and the queues started for the ferry. I worked with a chap called Bill Brown and we’d start at Evening Hill at six in the morning and it was always a race to finish at Banks Road by eight or nine. But it felt like a real community in those days, very much a village atmosphere. The Sandbanks Store was next to the Royal Motor Yacht Club on Panorama Road where the watersports shop is now. I remember having a New Year’s drink out the back with the family there one year; then there was Davis’ Boats run by the brothers Jim and Tom Davis who retired soon after I left in the mid-1970s.’ Although Tony’s round wasn’t short on characters, few could match the redoubtable Mrs Dingwall. The

former Miss Louie Foott had arrived in Sandbanks in the 1920s and established Miss Foott’s Motor Services from a garage on Panorama Road, now the Panorama Bay Motor Company, running a converted Model T Ford as a taxi and later adding bus services from Sandbanks to Newtown. ‘She was an incredible old lady. She lived in a bungalow with a stable yard next door opposite the Royal Motor Yacht Club. When she lost her husband she started keeping racehorses and used to ride them out along the beach every morning – these days you couldn’t take a dog down there!’ Barely a kilometre square, Sandbanks today is defined by the price tags on its properties – famously only parts of London, Tokyo and Hong Kong are more expensive – yet just a century ago developers were reluctant to build on its sandy foundations. Even when such fears were conquered in the 1920s and 1930s they would only commit to modest bungalows, although by the 1970s more ambitious properties were beginning to take shape. Tony remembers: ‘There was a big stir when they built what became known as The Glass House, next to Sandbanks Hotel. People came from miles around to look at it, but it looks very tame compared to what has been built there in recent times. Even then though the locals were complaining all the old cottages were being pulled down and replaced by

Tony O'Hara then and now: left, as a schoolboy in 1973 when he was working the Sandbanks and Poole Park milk rounds, and right as he is today


David Stark from Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth

What the Sandbanks milkman saw

'Harbour’s Edge' (arrowed) , the house at 126 Panorama Road bought for £25,000 in 1965 by John Lennon for his Aunt Mimi

Mimi Smith outside her Sandbanks home in 1981 with the Purbecks in the background

Photo by Harry Taylor © Dave Robinson

Variety stars Mike (on the right) and Bernie Winters (second left) photographed in Bournemouth in the mid-1960s

blocks of flats – when they built Dune Crest on Banks Road you could buy a flat for £20,000 and have the beach at the bottom of the garden. ‘Even so, Sandbanks is a very different place now to how it was in the early 1970s. In winter it was very bleak down there and the wind used to whip across the peninsula. You’d be lucky if you saw a single person on bad days, most people stayed in their houses to keep out of the weather. Of course, these days they make a virtue of the wind with all the offshore watersports.’ Tony left the milk round in 1976 to join the Royal Hampshire Regiment. ‘I realised I didn’t want to be a milkman for the rest of my life and knew I had to get away.’ He met and married his wife while serving in Germany, but in classic Hardyean fashion returned to Dorset in 1994, first to Colehill then Sixpenny Handley. And there’s a part of him that still longs to be delivering the early morning milk to some of Britain’s most sought-after homes. ‘We worked hard, but it was a gentle time and even now when I’m daydreaming in a world of my own I


can hear the weird noises made by the wetland birds on calm mornings. I used to cycle to work and those early morning bike rides from our home in Broadstone down to Sandbanks were quite special. I look back at those times and they seem idyllic.’ Most fondly remembered of all Tony’s customers, Mary Smith was better known to the wider world as John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi who had brought him up from the age of five. In 1965, at the height of Beatlemania, Lennon spent £25,000 on Harbour’s Edge, a fairly modern bungalow at 126 Panorama Road, so that Mimi could escape the attentions of Beatles fans in Liverpool and live by the sea where she stayed until her death in 1991. ‘I first got to know Mrs Smith at the age of 13 in 1971,’ says Tony, ‘around the time John went off to New York. She was a very dignified and friendly lady, not at all snobby but there was nothing low about her either. She was very talkative and always took an interest, very polite and charming. She used to leave the door open and you’d have to go in unless she had been keeping an ear out and heard your footsteps. I could see the gold discs on the wall through the window but didn’t know whose they were until I looked one day. That’s when they told me she was John Lennon’s auntie, but I didn’t think too much about it – after all, everyone had an auntie – I didn’t realise anything about the close connection. ‘She was a wonderful lady and I was a typical spotty teenager with shoulder length hair and she would sometimes make a wise crack – when I was 17 I wore glasses similar to her nephew, all coincidentally of course, and she asked me if I was growing my hair long now. When I replied I was she said: ‘You’ll soon look like John Lennon!’ and walked back indoors, laughing.’

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Colin Varndell’s Wildlife Year – August

Argiope bruennichi is commonly known as the ‘wasp spider’. The yellow and black striped female of this species can be found in its web on any of the Dorset heathlands this month.


Giving Dorset

Eyes along the coast Alan Illingworth has been finding out about the work of the National Coastwatch Institution in Dorset

The Peveril Point lookout

In 1994, a North Sea pilot called Captain Tony Starling Lark was boarding a ship in an easterly gale at Brixham in Devon. ‘If I fall over the side, at least the coastguard lookout on Berry Head will see me,’ he joked. ‘Oh no they won’t,’ he was told. ‘That was closed a couple of years ago.’ Captain Starling Lark, who had helped found the Sea Safety Group (SSG) to make mariners in different types of vessels aware of each others’ problems and requirements, was horrified, and he was spurred into action when shortly afterwards, a fishing boat went down with the loss of two lives within sight of the abandoned lookout at Bass Point, on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula. In October 1994, a public meeting organised by SSG found enough local support to re-open the Bass Point lookout with volunteer watchkeepers, and so the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) was born. The government decision to close coastguard lookouts was based on a risk assessment which found that the cost of physically watching the coast was no longer justified, given the improvement in electronic aids such as radar, VHF radio and the Automatic Identification System (AIS). Most NCI stations use this equipment, but there is no substitute for the ‘human eyeball, mark 1’ and the volunteers of NCI play an essential role in the network that keeps Britain’s coast and inshore waters safe for commercial and recreational users. Put briefly, their job is to watch


for any problems or potential dangers and to report them to the Coastguard, to respond to any request for assistance from the Coastguard, and to log vessels that pass within a certain distance of the shore so that in the event of an incident, the background can be properly investigated. NCI members come from all walks of life and many of them have had no previous maritime connection. Because of the need to be available on weekdays, a high proportion are retired, but many younger people fit NCI involvement round their work commitments. About fifteen per cent of watchkeepers are women. Although it is a voluntary organisation, high standards of professionalism are expected and detailed training is given, typically over six months, but trainees can proceed at the pace with which they feel comfortable. ‘Doing something useful’ is the main reason for joining, but most watchkeepers would also quote the sociability of NCI: not just organised events, but the chance to chat to interesting colleagues during quiet moments of a watch. Nationally, over 2000 volunteers put in almost 200,000 hours of watchkeeping a year. Last year they were involved in 304 major incidents, including 53 initiated by them that involved the launch of a lifeboat. Today there are 46 NCI stations, four of them in Dorset: at Peveril Point, Swanage; at St Alban’s Head, the southernmost point of the Isle of Purbeck; at Portland Bill; and the Lyme Bay station currently based at Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock. The lookout at Peveril Point is perched just above the ledges, which can create a ferocious race. Kayakers like the white water over the ledges, while solo scuba divers setting off from the beach also need careful watching. Traffic in and out of the bay has to be logged, and recent incidents where the station has been able to help have included a broken-down speedboat drifting on to the ledges and a woman sitting on a bench above the beach who started to choke on her lunch. In the spring, the station opened a visitor centre in which some fifteen information boards explain not only the work of NCI but the history and natural history of the Point, the substantial costs being met by grants from a range of organisations. St Alban’s Head is perhaps the most dramatically positioned station, 340 feet up on its lonely, windswept headland at the end of 1½ miles of rough track. The view (on a good day) from St Catherine’s Point on the Isle of Wight, all the way round the

Gordon Macpherson

The NCI station at St Alban’s Head is dramatically poised on the windswept clifftop, with St Aldhelm’s Chapel and the former coastguard cottages behind

coast to Portland Bill, is stupendous. Here the main or so that it costs each year. There is also a central traffic is sailing yachts on passage, plus commercial organisation to which all stations contribute, and fishing boats and recreational sea fishing and diving. each must of course meet the exacting standards Windsurfers and kayakers in Kimmeridge Bay are also which ensure that it will never let down the other within the station’s view. Watchkeepers here recently organisations in the search and rescue network; all advised the coastguard of a tug pulling a 300-metre the Dorset stations are proud holders of ‘Declared length of rigid pipe, with no apparent warning signs Facility Status’, which means that they measure up to or lights, that would have done serious damage to these standards. But each station has a fair degree of any small vessel running into it. autonomy and therefore its own individual character Portland Bill was one of the earliest NCI stations, – just one of the attractions of this invaluable opened in 1996. It is the largest and best-equipped organisation, whose contribution has recently been of the Dorset lookouts and is open the longest: 7 am recognised by the Queen’s Award for Voluntary to 7 pm in the summer, as its roster of some sixty Service to the four Dorset stations. This is a rare watchkeepers allows three watches a day. Fishing and highly regarded honour in which Dorset and its boats, leisure craft and commercial shipping all pass coastwatchers can take great pride. here. The station is positioned next to the old Higher Lighthouse, once owned by Marie Stopes. Because it is set back from the sea, watchkeepers cannot see the inshore passage round the Bill, but a CCTV camera has recently been installed on the iconic red and white lighthouse which beams them pictures both of this hidden area and of the rocks of the Bill. The station is currently building a new training and meeting room. Lyme Bay provides an interesting contrast as it is a young station, started only in 2010. At the moment it occupies a hut in the grounds of what used to be the Burton Cliff Hotel. Its next-door neighbour is singer Billy Bragg, who generously allows the station to plug into his electrical supply free of charge. The station is keen to move to more satisfactory premises but several ideas have run foul of planning issues; If you are interested in attending one of the the latest proposal is for a purpose-built lookout on stations for a ‘familiarisation watch’ with a view the western esplanade at West Bay, but the planning to becoming a volunteer, or if you would like to application has not been submitted yet. With just 28 support the work of NCI financially, contact: watchkeepers, the station is open only from Friday to Peveril Point - 01929 422596 or 01929 425268. Monday, but there are 25 trainees and this is clearly a St Alban’s Head - 01929 439220 or 07811 141503. station with great potential. NCI receives absolutely no financial help from Portland Bill - 01305 860178 or 01305 837216. government or other official sources. Every station Lyme Bay - 01308 482178 or 01308 482605. must find from donations and fund-raising the £5000

When HRH Princess Anne visited Portland Bill NCI, the watchkeepers were dealing with a genuine emergency incident


All the fun of the care Katie Carpenter looks at a lesser-known element of the Great Dorset Steam Fair: the medical support provided each year by St John Ambulance For five days each year at the end of August, Tarrant

Working in partnership with the South West Ambulance trust, St John Ambulance volunteers can reach and stabilise patients who are in trouble


Hinton becomes the third largest 'town' by population in Dorset (excluding the unitary authorities of Poole and Bournemouth). With 25,000 people camping on site at any one time, and an aggregate of over 200,000 people visiting the Great Dorset Steam Fair (GDSF), the organisation of such an event is, to say the least, a major logistical achievement. However, whilst the 600 acres of vintage vehicles, heritage machinery, sawing displays, funfairs, traction engines, steam-powered organs, craft stalls, food stalls and beer tents are why people visit the show, ordinary life does not stop just because the visitors are intent on having fun. People are still unwell, have accidents, eat too little or drink too much, become disoriented or get lost, get too hot, get too cold or suffer serious illness.

This is where St John Ambulance comes in, for each year the Dorset branch of the medical charity has to deal with all manner of drop-ins to their on-site medical centre, respond to emergencies around the site and also deal with travelling show people, for whom the medical centre at the Great Dorset Steam Fair may be their only meeting with a medical professional all year. Some of the cases St John Ambulance treat (on average there are 500 'incidents' per show) may cause discomfort even in the reading. One gentleman was treated after a wrongly positioned safety harness on a bungee drop caused his testicles to be squashed; liberal quantities of ice were required to ease both the prodigious swelling and the agonising pain â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it was several hours before he could walk. From the sublimely painful, to the occasionally ridiculous, St John Ambulance volunteers also had to deal with two young women were had been locked into a Portaloo, which was upended by some irresponsible young men. The fire brigade had to hose the women down before volunteers could assist them. Sometimes it is a supportive role rather than a strictly medical one which the volunteers perform. One year, a young woman who was 26 weeks pregnant, was convinced that she was going into labour. One of the volunteers stayed with her awaiting the ambulance in an unlit caravan, which was tiny and, with the bed inside, left little room for manoeuvre. The woman was stabilised at hospital and her pregnancy went to its full term; she brought the baby back to the show the next year to meet the volunteer. On another occasion, an old lady was brought into the centre after her weak cries were heard from the car park at 1.00 in the morning; she had trapped her fingers in the boot of her car and had been stuck

there for three hours and was suffering from both shock and mild hypothermia. According to Rob Harvey – who in addition to having worked at the Great Dorset Steam Fair for fifteen years is also National Pharmaceutical Advisor to St John Ambulance, it is not always once the show has opened to the public that the most serious problems present themselves. 'During the show itself we get the usual, run-of-the-mill stings and bites,' say Rob, who is far from a run-of-the-mill pharmacist; as a dispensing pharmacist at Poole Hospital, he can also help those visitors who have forgotten life-saving medication on their way to the show. 'When the show is setting up,' Rob says, 'we get injuries from those assembling stalls and fairground rides. Last year we had a man who had got his hand crushed between two railway sleepers. If he hadn't had safety gloves on, he'd have lost his hand.' 'The medical centre,' reveals Mary Buck, who is County Nursing Officer and Clinical Governance Lead for SJA, 'is officially opened at noon on the first Saturday until noon the following Monday. The centre is open to all from 9.00 in the morning to 10.00 at night. We close the doors to deter waifs and strays coming in late at night, often from the direction of the beer tents. Most situations can wait until morning, but those familiar with the service will pop around the back doors, or we can call an ambulance. People are used to the way we run the centre and it works well.' 'The medical centre, situated next to the Show office, consists of three large temporary buildings,' Mary says. 'We never know what condition they will be in; they’re on loan, often from building sites, and they have to be thoroughly cleaned before we can start to unpack equipment and medical supplies. Even so, we get people dropping in requiring various medical treatments.' The centre deals with at least 500 patients each year: common conditions include lots of childhood diseases and conditions – usually from the showground families – including scabies, impetigo and chickenpox. 'We also treat a great deal of burns and scalds', says Mary, 'generally for catering staff rather than exhibitors. Other common problems are smuts in eyes and quite a few falls. We frequently change dressings from new and post-operative wounds or chronic conditions such as leg ulcers. We can even

provide dialysis for kidney patients.' We have had to deal with several cardiac arrests over the years – hardly surprising with a population of that size. This is a far cry from the early years when first-aid provision was the responsibility of the Blandford unit, working out of a small tent on-site. One of the county surgeons was also an exhibitor, so if there was an emergency, he would leave his engine and make his way to the first aid tent. The fair was a much smaller event and as it has grown so has the presence of St John Ambulance. Mary Buck, for example, started working at the Steam Fair twenty years ago. 'I’ve been a volunteer with SJA since 1964, when I joined, aged ten years, as a third-generation family member. I shall be retiring from nursing end May 2012 but will do bank work and continue with SJA as a volunteer.' George Dubois, who is Deputy County Nursing Officer for Dorset SJA started working at the Steam Fair fifteen years ago and is married to Charlotte (Charlie), an Advanced Ambulance Technician with Dorchester Ambulance Station. Both are volunteers with SJA and are key to the running of the medical centre at the Steam Fair. 'It’s our annual holiday,' George says. 'I’m there for the duration – including preparation of the medical centre the week before. This includes a High Dependency Unit, which treats acutely unwell visitors – those with, for example,

Above and over the page: the sheer scale of the Great Dorset Steam Fair site is hard to take in

The St John Ambulance team ahead of another busy year at the GDSF


All the fun of the care


cardiac problems. We are able to offer advanced care before evacuation to hospital. We are faced with any situations that a large population would present. I coordinate the cover for the Steam Fair with the South West Ambulance Foundation Trust (SWAST). We have a great team on both sides, responsible for different areas.' SWAST provides an Emergency Care Practitioner throughout the event. Between them is a seamless service and with different responsibilities but several SJA members also work for SWAST and many SWAST personnel are current or former SJA volunteers. On show days, there is a team of around thirty members and around eight Cadets. The adults are resident on-site in caravans. They give up a week of their annual holiday to be there, often year after year. They are supplemented by volunteers who help out for a day or two during the event. There is a great deal of medical expertise within the SJA membership. The Cadets are able to work whole shifts and gain so much experience because of the range of conditions that they are presented with. Always closely supervised, they love the Fair and appreciate being given the opportunity to be useful and not just observing. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what attracts them to SJA and they learn a great deal. As well as the purely medical side of things, SJA volunteers perform other non-medical tasks, as the organisation's case history file reveals: one evening, an elderly man on a mobility scooter went missing. The alarm was raised when he failed to return to his caravan. SJA believes he found that

The SJA team at a recent Steam Fair planning meeting


his mobility scooter had been stolen whilst he was using a Portaloo. It was pouring with rain and he was eventually found, several hours later, walking towards Salisbury. Volunteers from the SJA were up all night, combing the 600 acre site and surrounding area armed with torches and not much else. All got drenched. The gentleman was fine after he was taken back to the medical centre.

The high dependency unit at the show's on-site medical centre

Welfare is as big a part of what SJA provides at GDSF. Another example from the case history file: An elderly couple set off from their car on a sunny morning, spent the day at the Fair and spent several hours trying to find their car. By 10.00 in the evening, they were exhausted and cold, near collapse. SJA looked after them whilst the site security staff located their vehicle. Despite the best efforts of all concerned, it isn't always a happy ending. In 2007, a man fell into an artificial lake located on the outskirts of the site. Lined with plastic, it was impossible for him to climb out. An SJA volunteer swam underwater several times until he located the 26-year-old victim in the hope that he could be saved. Sadly, this was not the case; both the volunteer and a police officer, received bravery awards. And, as yet, there has also not been a happy beginning in the form of a birth at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, but Rob Harvey says that the volunteers are still prepared: 'Most of the team have just done childbirth training,' he reveals. s6ISITWWWSJAORGUKSJACOUNTIESDORSETASPXORCALL 01305 751169 to volunteer with, or to donate to, SJA.

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Dorset Miscellany

The Dorset question Q Despite unsuccessful attempts at getting an accurate count while driving through it, on each of my last three visits to Dorset, I have now decided to give up and cheat. So, please, can you tell me just how many trees are there in Beech Avenue at Badbury Rings near Wimborne? A WILLIAMS St Albans A The brief, and possibly impolite, answer is no! For one thing, the total is a little bit of a moving target; as a result of high winds, and also owing to safety concerns about weakened trees' ability to withstand high winds, some 24 trees have had

to be felled in the last four years alone. For another, there is the added complication of the hundreds of trees in 'Hornbeam Avenue' which have been planted outside Beech Avenue, ultimately to replace it. Finally, printing the correct answer would forever end the discussions in the car as to how many trees there are, and the three minutes of in-car entertainment that this question and the resultant guesses provide. As a sop to the spirit of your question, though, according to the National Trust, Sir William Bankes (who in 1835 created the avenue as a gift to his mother) had 366 trees planted on one side of the avenue and 365 trees on the other so that there would always be one for every day of the year.

Looking south-east and north-west along Beech Avenue.

Sylvia Townsend Warner… on meeting Dorset author T F Powys 'In the first moment of meeting Theodore Powys I forgot all my preconceived notions about him. In speaking of Theo it is natural to use the words of the Bible, and the phrase that comes to mind is "in the fullness of his presence". Most people have personalities that sit with them in the corner of the room or else, like balloons on a string, float from one member of the company to another, and are twitched back at the end of a conversation. But to enter a room where Theo sits is to enter into his presence, and when I go for a walk with him at night he

fills the darkness like a soft wind, and the strength of the hills seems to be his also.… the first thing that struck me about him was that his beauty was of a pagan and a classical kind, and that instead of a hermit or a prophet I was looking at a rather weather-beaten Zeus.' Taken from With The Hunted: Selected Writings by Sylvia Townsend Warner, edited by Peter Tolhurst, Published by Black Dog Books at £16.99, ISBN 978-0-9565672-3-9

Dorset place name Bagber (in Sturminster Newton) This name probably originated in the late Saxon period, although it is first on record at the beginning of the 13th century. It is first recorded as Bakeberge in 1201, and other early medieval spellings include Bakebere in 1204 and 1208, Baggeber in 1244, and Bakkebere in 1342. The original meaning is probably ‘wood or grove belonging to a man called Bacca’, from Old English bearu and an Old English personal name, although the very earliest spelling shows confusion of the second element with Old English beorg ‘barrow, hill’. The word bearu ‘wood, grove’ is quite common in Dorset place-names, occurring up to a dozen times in names like Adber in Trent (‘Eata’s wood’), Colber in this parish (‘Cola’s wood’) and Plumber in Lydlinch (‘plum-tree wood’). A D Mills 48

William Barnes, the Dorset dialect poet and philologist, was born in Bagber in 1801


years ago

From the Dorset County Chronicle, 8 August 1912

Portland: Gallant rescue from drowning About nine o'clock on Thursday night two lads named Thompson (brothers) living in Queen's road, were standing on the Castletown pier watching some other children shrimping and also the incoming of a schooner. By some means or other, as yet

unexplained, both boys fell into the water which was from 11ft to 16ft deep at the spot, and there was a nasty slop on the sea. Neither boy could swim and they appeared to be in imminent peril of drowning when a newspaper lad named Nicholas Way plunged in after them. He succeeded in getting hold of both lads and held them up until PC Tobias and a customs officer named Colspin ran up and threw two lifebelts. By that time the other boys on the pier had raised an outcry and at least half a dozen boats put out from Castletown beach and rowed round as quickly as possible. Too much praise cannot be given to Way for his gallant rescue. He is a lad of 17 or 18 years of age, and the elder Thompson is quite as big, so how Way managed to hold both boys up in the water is quite a miracle.

Dorset recipe Piddletrenthide Railway Pudding and Portland Heavy Cake A small group of recipes for cakes made with lard or dripping survives in Dorset. One from Piddletrenthide, called Railway Pudding, dates from the 1850s and is similar to another which Thomas Hardy's cook made as Yeovil Tea Cake: '1lb flour, 6oz dripping, 4oz sugar, 1 egg, a little lemon peel, milk. Mix with a little milk and bake on a dinner plate. Eat hot'. Portland Heavy cake has more lard and more sugar: 1lb flour, 8oz lard, 7oz sugar, 1lb currants, fat rubbed into the flour and mixed with water. For a modern version, use the following ratios, wholemeal or half-wholemeal flour and add dried fruit. Perhaps surprisingly, the dripping does not taste strongly in the finished cake. 3oz (85g) lard or dripping 2oz (56g) caster sugar 1 egg peel, or currants, sultanas etc

8oz (227g) flour teaspoon baking powder Âź pint (142ml) milk

Mix the dripping and sugar together (easier if the dripping is at room temperature), add the egg; mix. Mix in the flour, baking powder and milk, peel and dried fruit. The result will be a very stiff mixture. Put in an eight-inch cake tin, and bake for 30-50 minutes at gas mark 4 (180°C, 350°F). By Jo Draper, from Dorset Food ISBN 978-0-7509-4458-8, published by Sutton Publishing at £12.99

Dorset nature note By August many of Dorsetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wildflowers are looking distinctly â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;past itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; but, fortunately, there are still several colourful species to put on a late-summer show for us. Along the cliff tops, the yellow daisylike blooms of golden samphire are particularly noticeable, growing in large clumps which appear to grow directly out of the bare rocks. Confusingly, there are actually 3 types of samphire found in Dorset - all totally unrelated, the other two are; marsh samphire (or glasswort), a low-growing succulent found in salt marshes, and rock samphire which is related to cow parsley and, as its name suggests, grows in rocky areas by the sea, often close to golden samphire. All three are halophytes - plants which are highly adapted to growing on the coast where the dry, salty conditions require thick fleshy leaves and long water-seeking tap roots for survival. Just to add further confusion, all three species are edible and may be pickled or used as a salad vegetable. Collecting samphire can BEAHAZARDOUSOCCUPATION EVEN3HAKESPEAREHIGHLIGHTEDTHISg(ALF WAYDOWN(ANGSONETHAT gathers samphire; dreadful trade!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; King Lear Act IV, Scene VI. Samphireâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s association with the sea is reflected in its name which was originally â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;sampiereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; a corruption of Saint Pierre (St Peter) the patron saint of fishermen. Hamish Murray Overleaf: Lyme Regis harbour by Christopher Nicholson





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Anything but a new town As part of their survey of Dorset's historic towns, Dorset CC, North Dorset DC and English Heritage brought together a wealth of historical material on Sturminster Newton. Stephen Baker races through a couple of millennia of the history it reveals. Rather like Paris's Pont Neuf and the New Forest,

the minster site, is suggestive of a late prehistoric Sturminster Newton (and indeed Newton which lies regional centre, the site of which was re-used in the opposite it over the Stour flood plain) is not, as its Saxon and medieval periods as the royal and monastic name might imply, in any way new. In 968 'Nywetone manorial centre of Sturminster Newton.' The town at Stoure' was granted to Glastonbury Abbey by King could therefore have been settled for between 800 Edgar. There is a suggestion that it had been an and 1700 years before the Saxon times. important settlement in the centuries preceding this, One of the frustrations clearly felt by the report's though. According to the Historic Towns Survey report, authors and editors is that there is a paucity of 'Minster churches functioned as an ecclesiastical archaeological evidence to clarify the extent and centre for an extended parish from the 8th century age of previous settlements or ancient sites within or earlier.' the town. The only find of significance lies outside Over the thirteen or so centuries that have passed the town at the aforementioned Hinton St Mary villa since that early settlement, Sturminster has certainly – a mosaic floor thought to be one of the earliest grown, but with the exception of some realignment representations of Christ in Britain, which is now at of roads, its shape is surprisingly consistent. the British Museum. Although the current St Mary's church, has yielded As well as being beside a river, Sturminster Newton no indications of an earlier structure on its site is also '…located close to the junction of two than those dating from the 14th century, the report declares, 'its location on a prominent bluff above the River Stour would be an excellent location for an earlier minster church'. It continues, 'the church appears to be located within a small enclosure of curving boundaries. Such enclosures, associated with minsters or early British monasteries have often been recorded in the west of England and are sometimes taken as evidence for a pre-Saxon Christian foundation. There is evidence for early Christian activity in the region from the Late Roman villa or ‘church’ at Hinton St Mary. The Iron Age [800BC-AD42] hill fort on the south side of the River Stour, facing

The medieval bridge more conveniently linked the population centres of Sturminster and Newton than had the pre-existing ford

Once the railway was the gateway to the world for Sturminster's cattle market and its creamery. Now only the S&D's gates remain


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Anything but a new town

Nearly 800 years ago, Sturminster's market, once the largest cattle market in Europe, was founded; fifteen years ago it closed for good. This testament to the past sits in front of the Exchange, Sturminster's legacy to the future.

important early long distance routes. The first, in an approximately North-South direction, probably closely followed the line of the present B3092 through the town. It would originally have crossed the Stour slightly to the east of the late medieval town bridge via a ford and then continued south towards Whitmore Drove and the Dorset Gap. The second major route ran in a northwest-southeast direction from Stalbridge, crossing the Stour near Colber and then continuing through Sturminster to Fiddleford. This road represents one of a number of parallel routes closely following the course of the Stour valley in the Sturminster area.' Whilst the two routes cross at the market place, this probably represents a later medieval plan component as the original settlement of Sturminster is now 'only represented by a series of curved or lobed enclosures fossilised in modern plot boundaries.' These enclosures resemble infields enclosed from open land which were potentially farmed as part of the ecclesiastical demesne. Although this most ancient part of the town is only hinted at, the report postulates: 'In the area of the market place, the boundaries and building frontages are much closer set. In fact there is evidence within the… boundaries here for a planned settlement of simple double row form developed on the west side of the earlier minster site. This is likely to represent the second major phase of development at Sturminster, possibly in the late Saxon period [AD900-1065]. The situation has been greatly confused by the insertion of the market place. Nevertheless, clues survive in the line of Church Lane, Church Street, the eastern side of the Market Place and the rear boundary of properties fronting on to the west side of the market place. When taken together, these elements make a rectangular unit…, which may have been divided lengthways into two halves separated by a central street.'

Moving forward to the conquest and medieval Sturminster Newton, the report again manages expectations with its opening line: 'Remarkably little is known about medieval Sturminster Newton. It never became a borough, remaining a manor of Glastonbury Abbey throughout the [medieval] period.' There is still a framework of ecclesiastical and property-related background information, though. 'In 1296 the abbey appropriated the living of the parish for itself at a time of financial difficulties. The tithes remained with the vicarage however. Glastonbury Abbey rebuilt the manor house on the site of the late Saxon manor, which was itself within the Iron Age hill fort of Sturminster Castle. The Abbot of Glastonbury was granted a market in 1322-3 and a fair for three days over the feast of St Barnabas on 11 June. The number of fairs held by the Abbot in Sturminster had increased to two by the late 15th century. Only 13 taxpayers are recorded in the lay subsidy of 1327 and 20 in the lay subsidy of 1332. This does not necessarily reflect the true size of the town, as much of the property belonged to the Abbey and did not appear in the subsidy returns. Those names that do appear suggest an economy based on the cloth, leather and other local craft industries. Cloth-making was probably the most important industry in the town. The later medieval period [1350-2539] seems to have been one of economic prosperity for Sturminster. A number of important works and improvements can be dated to that time.' The market was established by the 14th century and the church entirely rebuilt in 1486 (the current façade dates from a 19th-century rebuilding). This is atypical, the report observes, as 'the late 14th and 15th centuries are often seen as periods of decline or stagnation in English medieval towns and yet Sturminster’s market Cross was

Although there is annoyingly no confirmatory archaeological evidence, St Mary's Church is built, the report states, 'on a prominent bluff above the Stour,' and would have been an 'excellent location for a Minster church,' whence the town's name


Anything but a new town

Although an irritation to through traffic, Sturminster Newton's idiosyncratic street plan is evidence of a switch in emphasis of the importance of different parts of the town through the centuries


built during the 15th century and the Town Bridge [replacing an earlier ford] and the Old Market Cross House were both built about 1500. A later subsidy of 1525 recorded 64 taxpayers suggesting a modest town. Leland visited Sturminster in about 1540 describing the town as "…no greate thing, and the building of it is mene. There is a very good market…There is a very fair bridge of 6 archis at the towne end made of later times…".' The establishment of the market and building of the bridge brought changes: 'These two factors led to a realignment of the …town. Instead of a simple double row linear town, roads now radiated from the central market place which had become the commercial focus for the town. Bridge Street in particular cut across earlier plot boundaries to create a thoroughfare from the Town Bridge to the market. New plot boundaries were established fronting on to the new street. Furthermore, the market square expanded to the north with a triangular extension upon which new road alignments from the north and new plot boundaries were also established.' This information will provide an explanation to anyone who has tried to drive through Sturminster Newton and who has wondered why 21st-century traffic bottlenecks at that point. The passage of time from medieval to the Georgian period appears to have affected the owners of the town more than its residents in some ways: 'Glastonbury Abbey was dissolved in 1539 and its estates reverted to the crown. In 1544, Henry VIII granted Newton Manor to Katherine Parr, who renovated the 14th century manor house at Sturminster Castle. The Pitt family became the major landowner in 1714. Sturminster Newton was relatively quiet during the civil war. In 1644 the royalist town

was taken over by parliament without a fight. The main disturbance in the area came as a result of Dorset Clubmen attacking the Roundhead garrison at Sturminster in 1645.' It wasn't all plain sailing, though. There was a major fire in 1681 and, in 1729, another devastating fire destroyed a significant portion of the town.' In terms of the local economy, cloth-making continued to be the main industry during the postmedieval period. Sturminster was known for the production of swanskin, a coarse white cloth used for soldier’s clothing and for the Newfoundland fishermen. In 1793, there were 1200 people in Sturminster engaged in this industry. Leather working, button and glove making and clock making were other minor local industries. By the 19th century, the cloth industry was declining and Sturminster Newton's cattle market and the coming of the railway stimulated the growth of the town in a period when many Dorset towns were in decline. Sturminster came into its own as a cattle market…, with the cattle being driven into town along droves from all directions.' The station eventually enabled a direct link between Sturminster market and Poole. The Sturminster Newton Gas & Coke Company was formed in 1864, [after the arrival of the railway enabled the cheap transport of coal to the town. Mains water arrived in the town in 1906 and first electricity supply in Sturminster dates to about 1924 with the town being connected to the mains grid in 1932. The full Dorset Historic Towns Survey of Sturminster Newton is a fascinating amalgam of historical record and educated inference. Part of its appeal is the many avenues of further research it opens up. This historic town has yet to yield many of its secrets and perhaps therein lies one of its charms.


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Booton Foot Trails

Owermoigne Peter Booton visits a parish with two museums, a host of market gardens, a smuggling heritage and Dorset's oldest inhabited house

St Michael’s Church

The ancient parish of Owermoigne spans the A352, midway between Dorchester and Wool. Within the parish boundary are the village of Owermoigne and the hamlets of Galton, Southdown and Holworth, which is on the cliffs above Ringstead Bay. Owermoigne is a conjunction of two words: ‘oweres’, which evolved from Saxon ‘ogre’, meaning ‘wind-gap’, and referring to a gap in the chalk hills through which winds off the sea are channelled, and ‘moigne’ (Old French moine – ‘monk’) relating to the Le Moigne family from Normandy who held the manor for 300 years from the early 13th century. The manor house, Moignes Court, dates from around 1270 and is the oldest inhabited house in Dorset. When the Le Moigne heiress, Elizabeth, married Sir William Stourton in 1398, the manor passed to the Stourton family. In 1557 the then owner of the Owermoigne estate, Charles, 7th Lord Stourton, was hanged in Salisbury market square for the murder in Wiltshire of two men with whom he had been involved in a long-standing quarrel. Before his execution Lord Charles had pleaded with the reigning monarch, Queen Mary, for ‘some indulgence’ because he was a nobleman and a catholic. Honouring his request, the queen gave orders for him to be hanged with a ‘halter of silk in respect of his quality’. During the early part of the 18th century the manor was owned by French-born Sir Theodore Janssen, an extremely wealthy man who lost most of the fortune he had gained from being a director of the South Sea Company when the ‘Bubble’ burst in 1720. 58

The present owner of the Moignes Court estate is Mr Martin Cree, whose grandfather, Cecil Cree, gave the land on which Owermoigne Village Hall and Cricket Club were built. The Estate has been owned by the Cree family since 1826 when it was purchased by John Cree with the proceeds from the sale of the Thornhill House Estate, near Stalbridge, which he had inherited in 1815 from his uncle who was an East India merchant. One of John Cree’s sons, John Robert Cree, was both rector of St Michael’s church (1836-1881) and squire of Owermoigne, bearing the title ‘Squarson’. Rev. John Cree built the village school in 1873 and bequeathed funds for an extensive restoration of the church in 1883. Rev. John Cree’s brother, Rev. James Cree, lived in the 16th-century rectory at Owermoigne while he was rector of St Nicholas church, Chaldon Herring. The former rectory in Church Lane contains wooden beams salvaged from a Spanish galleon that ended up in Ringstead Bay after the Armada and was plundered by local people. Owermoigne is renowned for its involvement with the local 18th-century smuggling trade. When barrels of brandy were brought ashore at Ringstead Bay, three miles south of the village, they were carried inland and stored in the tower of St Michael’s church. Thomas Hardy penned an amusing short story, The Distracted Preacher, about a young minister at Nether Moynton, Mr Stockland, who unwittingly becomes involved with the contraband spirits trade when he is attracted to local smuggler Lizzie Newberry. Hardy’s Nether Moynton is Owermoigne and the kegs of spirits are said to have ‘accidentally floated over in the dark from France’. A number of Hardy’s relatives lived in Owermoigne between 1664 and 1793, as the record of baptisms in the Church Registers shows. Sir Frederick Treves visited ‘Ower Moigne’ during his travels and described the village as, ‘a shy oldfashioned hamlet, “highly suspicioned” of smuggling in the days when Free Traders hid their “stuff” in church towers, of which fact the vicar was rendered only obscurely conscious by the appearance of a mystic keg of excellent brandy in the vicarage porch’. For a village once so embroiled in the contraband spirits trade, it is perhaps surprising (or perhaps not) that Owermoigne has never possessed a public house. There is, however, a Cider Museum (www.millhousecider.com) displaying restored 18th- and 19th-century cider-making equipment at Mill House, little more than a mile north of the village centre, where there is also a spring nursery (open January to July) and the fascinating ‘A Dorset

Old village pump in Pollards Lane

Collection of Clocks’ which is open throughout the year. Mill House, which Hardy mentions in The Distracted Preacher, is owned today by Derek and Mary Whatmoor who started the Cider Museum in the mid-1980s. They also exhibit their large collection of clocks, because, Mary says, 'We had just too many clocks in the house.' Distance: 6.5 miles (including 600 yard diversion for Mill House) Terrain: Easy going. Mostly grass fields, farm tracks and gravelled paths. Start: St Michael’s Church, Church Lane. How to get there: Turn north off the A352 midway between Dorchester and Wool onto B3390 signed Owermoigne. OS grid reference SY769 853. Postcode DT2 8HS. Map: OS Explorer OL15 Purbeck and South Dorset. OS Landranger 194 Dorchester, Weymouth & surrounding area. Refreshments: None in Owermoigne village but cold drinks and ice creams are available at Mill House nursery in Moreton Road. Opening hours vary. Public transport: Damory Coaches operate service 102, Dorchester to Lulworth Cove, calling at Owermoigne (main road) Mon-Sat. Moreton railway station at Crossways is 2½ miles north of Owermoigne village centre.

The walk: 1 Park near St Michael’s church and, from Pollards Lane opposite, follow the public footpath signed ‘Village Hall’ to Charity Cottage (on left) where go right, up the steps, onto an unsigned path leading to a field. Go straight ahead to the far side and through the gap in the hedge. Keep to the right side of the next two fields and just before the end of the second field take the path on the right and cross the wooden bridge over the stream onto a woodland path.

Moigne Combe

road, lane or drive




path or bridleway

reference to route description

5 Stone Building



Misery Farm

Galton Heath





2 1

Moignes Court is only open by appointment. Contact: Mr M Cree, Moignes Court, Owermoigne, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8HY. Tel: 01305 853300.

Looking back along drive to Misery Farm

s4HEAUTHORWOULDLIKETOTHANK-ARTIN#REEAND Ida Thomas for kindly supplying additional historical information. Keen horticulturalists please note: Owermoigne abounds in nurseries and small market gardens.

10 1 mile




Lake at Galton Heath

2 Continue to the end where cross stile into a field. Keep to the left side and at the end go through a metal farm gate into the field. Head towards the projecting woodland on the left side and after this go through the metal farm gate and then immediately through a second gate on the right into the sheep pasture. Head in the direction of a way-mark and cross the stile at the far side, towards a kissing gate alongside a private drive where go left to reach the B3390. 3 Go right and walk warily along the road (no footpath) to Holy Trinity Church, Warmwell. The churchyard contains the graves of 24 airmen from former RAF Warmwell who were killed during World War 2. After visiting Holy Trinity return to the road and carefully follow the narrow footpath to the lefthand bend in the road where the path ends. Again, walk warily along the road for 100 yards to a drive on the right, signed public footpath, and follow it uphill,

Restored Cider press at Mill House Cider Museum


through a metal farm gate, and then to the second gate on the left where enter the parkland. 4 Keep to the right side and at the end of the woodland with a bank of rhododendrons, go through a metal gate on the right and keep to the right side of the field to reach two metal farm gates at the end. Enter the next field, and keeping to the righthand side, continue past a private lake and the neat grounds of Misery Farm, noting the old red telephone box and various agricultural implements from bygone days displayed on the side of the large outbuilding. Go through the metal farm gate and left onto a metalled private drive (public footpath) to the B3390 after 1200 yards. 5 Turn right and walk carefully beside the road to the ‘Crossways’ sign where just after go right onto the Jubilee Trail. The former RAF Warmwell aerodrome was just behind the trees due west of this point. Follow the path through woodland to a farm gate, cross the stile and go left onto a gravelled track. At the fork, go right following the signed Jubilee Trail to eventually reach a woodland path ending at Moreton Road. 6 To visit Mill House nursery, the Cider Museum (fee) or 'A Dorset Collection of Clocks' (fee), turn right onto the road for 300 yards. After visiting Mill House retrace your steps. Alternatively, to continue the walk from point 5, go left onto Moreton Road and after 50 yards rejoin Jubilee Trail on your right. Where the track forks, go right and follow the path through two metal gates. Continue ahead across a field, pass through a single metal gate and then a wooden farm gate into the next field. Keep to the right-hand side and at the end go through two single metal gates into a field where proceed on the well-trodden path to the end near the left side. 7 On reaching a wooden gate on left, don’t go through it, but head SSW towards an (open) farm gate on the far side of the field. Enter the next field and follow a gravelled farm track past the small lake to reach a wooden bridge over the stream. Just after, go through a metal farm gate and head diagonally right (SW) towards a flat-roofed stone building. 8 Keeping just left of this, proceed to cross the wooden bridge and stile into the next field where head SSW towards the farm buildings just visible behind trees. Pass between the raised mounds to reach a bridge and cross the stile over the stream. Head south and cross the stile at the far side of the field, heading for the farm buildings where go through a gate on the right and follow the farm drive to the end at the A352. This is the hamlet of Galton. 9 Turn right onto a grass verge alongside the main road. 150 yards after Galton Garden Centre go right onto a signed, but easily missed, footpath leading to Church Lane. 10. The former rectory is on your left before St Michael’s church.

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The Dorset walk

Studland, Ballard Down and Old Harry Matt Wilkinson and Dan Bold take one of Purbeck’s finest walks

Looking out to Old Harry

If you wonder why Purbeck holds a special place in so many hearts, walk along Ballard Down and you will wonder no more. It is one of Dorset’s most attractive hills, either to look at from afar or to walk on. From its ridge on a fine day, the panorama sweeps round from the hills of mid and north Dorset, through Poole Harbour, Studland Bay, Bournemouth Bay and the Isle of Wight straight ahead, to the town of Swanage with the sun sparkling off its bay. In anything but the depths of winter, the songs of skylarks shower down on you. It’s a magical place. More prosaically, Ballard Down is the setting for an obelisk, converted from a London lamp standard and erected in 1892 by George Burt, to mark the arrival of Swanage’s first municipal water supply nine years earlier. The obelisk was taken down during the war for fear that it might be a useful landmark for Luftwaffe navigators but was re-erected in 1973 by a TA squadron of the Royal Engineers. The stacks at Handfast Point, known as Old Harry Rocks, are part of the line of chalk, formed 65 million years ago, which also outcrops at the Needles off the west coast of the Isle of Wight. It is only a few thousand years since the sea broke through and separated the two. The gap between the mainland and the first stack is known as St Lucas’s Leap, supposedly


after a greyhound that went over the cliff while chasing a rabbit. St Lucas seems an unlikely name for a dog, and he was by no means the only dog to have fallen here. On the other hand, why should an evangelist (Lucas being a form of Luke) be leaping around the Dorset coast and giving his name to part of it? Studland is in itself not an especially attractive village, but as well as a glorious seaside setting, it has perhaps the best small Norman church in Dorset. St Nicholas’s is particularly notable for its corbels at the junction of wall and roof. They include a man pulling at his mouth to make a rude face, kissing couples and other mildly erotic subjects. In the churchyard is the grave of Waterloo veteran William Lawrence and his French wife, with inscriptions in English on one side and in French on the other. 1 Leave the car park through a small gap in the top right-hand corner (if your back is to the road) and turn left on the path. Enter the churchyard through a kissing gate and walk straight past the church onto a narrow path that goes over a rise and down to a road opposite the Old School House. Turn right and go straight across the crossroads into Heath Green Road. About 50 yards after Heatherside, turn right onto a

track, signed to ‘Playing field’. Immediately after the playing field turn left and, in front of a wooden gate, bear left to a gap in the fence. 2 Beyond the gap, follow the distinct path until it meets a track on a bend. Walk straight ahead, past a row of houses, to a kissing gate at the end of the houses that leads onto the heath. Stay on the path to the left, alongside a ditch, and ignore a wider path that curves away to the right. After a stile, continue in the same direction on a wider, rutted track. The track narrows to a path and, after a pair of double gates, continues through high gorse bushes before emerging alongside the 6th green of the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club. In a few yards it reaches a T-junction with a grassy track, with the 4th green ahead. 3 Turn left and walk up to a gate onto a road. Turn left, then in 50 yards right over a stile. Walk straight ahead towards a bench by the 8th tee, then continue in the same direction to enter woodland. Descend quite steeply, bearing left, to a stile. A few yards beyond the stile, bear left to walk along the field, closing with its right-hand edge. Reach that edge at the first gate on the right and turn left onto the broad verge of a road. In about 70 yards, cross the road to climb a track which leads steeply up the side of Ballard Down and reaches the ridge just before the obelisk. 4 Continue all the way along the ridge almost to its end at Ballard Point, shortly before which the path bends to the left and descends to a gate. Walk along the cliff-top, down to Handfast Point. Having admired Old Harry Rocks, turn left, again following the clifftop. The path goes through woodland and along a large open field and eventually reaches the outskirts of Studland. Here descend to a road, turn right and walk back up to the car park.

The view down over Swanage

N path track lane


reference to route description

½ mile


Godlingston Heath



Handfast Point Old Harry Rocks


Golf course

x obelisk

Distance: About 5½ miles. Terrain: Walking on the springy turf of Ballard Down is a delight. The lower sections of the route can be muddy. The climb up to Ballard Down is steep but short. Start: In the car park next to the Bankes Arms in Studland (fee; free to National Trust members). How to get there: In Corfe Castle turn east off the A351 onto the B3351. Follow it into Studland and turn right at the sign for South Beach. Turn immediately right, and right again in front of the wall of the Manor House Hotel. The car park is a few hundred yards on the right. If crossing the Sandbanks ferry, follow Ferry Road into Studland and turn left at the sign to South Beach. OS reference SZ038825, postcode BH19 3AU. Maps: OS Explorer OL15 (Purbeck & South Dorset). OS Landranger 195 (Bournemouth & Purbeck). Refreshments: The Bankes Arms, the Manor House Hotel.


Ballard Down

Ballard Point

Old Harry and his wife


Tanks! You’re welcome. Charles Sure explores behind the scenes at Dorset’s worldThe main front entrance of Bovington Tank Museum.

famous Tank Museum Of the 170,000 or so people who visit The Tank

Brian Frost, a member of the Workshop team, fixing a transmission leak on a ‘Visitor Experience’ rides vehicle.


Museum at Bovington annually, only those who join its special ‘Access All Areas’ guided tours will be aware of the extent of the unique historic collections which remain largely unseen. The Tank Museum is much more than a very popular Dorset attraction. It is the home of the tank, a richly stocked repository of everything relating to the history of armoured fighting vehicles and their crews worldwide since the First World War. The museum’s archive and reference library, an approved place of deposit for the National Archives, contains many thousands of important documents, photographs and reels of film. It is a veritable treasure trove of information for historians, authors and film-makers as well as for members of the public who may wish to know more about a relative’s service history in the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC), details of which can be gleaned from the personal diaries and recorded accounts of front-line action from the two world wars and more recently.

Based within the RAC garrison village where tank crews live and train, the museum holds a truly international collection of fighting armour currently consisting of 300 vehicles from 26 countries. Over a half of these are on public display and include ‘Little Willie’, the world’s first tank – a British invention – and Challenger 2, the British Army’s technically sophisticated, present day main battle tank. More than 100 vehicles in varying states of completeness and mechanisation are not on general view and the majority of these are crowded into large unheated and damp sheds. The less fortunate few, also pending possible restoration in years to come, languish amidst a sea of weeds in an unroofed enclosure. The museum has long sought to rectify its lack of appropriate storage space, and now plans are afoot to create a vehicle conservation centre, where up to 120 vehicles can be displayed for the public in a controlled environment. The Heritage Lottery Fund has recently awarded £149,000 for stage one and the remainder of the £5.4m total cost is expected to come from fund raising and £2.7m HLF match funding. A tour of the vehicle storage sheds reveals a wealth of seriously heavy metal, and a few surprises. My knowledgeable guide is Mike Hayton, the museum’s workshop manager, who points out an exportprototype Chinese tank fitted with a British gun, the experimental ‘Tupperware tank’ with its plastic armour, and a Bedford van which was used as a mobile laboratory at a secret government establishment. Another shed houses the ‘running fleet’ of tanks and tracked vehicles that regularly take part in outdoor public events such as the tank action displays and annual Tankfest. Working vehicles need regular maintenance and this is carried out alongside the restoration projects in the museum’s workshop where Mike Hayton and his team of permanent staff and volunteers are currently restoring a very rare German field gun. Mike explains that the gun on which they have been working for 2½ years was captured at the end of World War 2 and

Tanks! You’re welcome. is a well engineered piece of heavy artillery suited to anti-tank duties. Tiger 131 is one of the museum’s most prized possessions and Mike and his team have spent many hours returning this legendary World-War-2 tank to full running order with financial assistance from the Heritage Lottery fund. Modern ancillary items such as fire-fighting equipment have been removed and Tiger 131 is now back to its original specification. So much has been learnt about Tiger tanks, only six of which are still in existence, that Mike Hayton, the museum’s Curator David Willey and Historian David Fletcher have jointly written the Haynes Tiger Tank Owners' Workshop Manual. Volunteers, often with specialist skills, undertake as much as 90% of the work on some projects and Mike Hayton estimates that around 80% of the workshop’s time is spent on maintaining the running fleet, which is after all the museum’s ‘bread and butter’. The remaining time is given over to restoration projects, one recent example of which is the return to running order of the world’s heaviest tank, the aptly named 78-ton Tortoise. A prime example of the varied tasks with which the workshop gets involved is the new (for 2011) Battlegroup Afghanistan exhibition in one of the public halls. On display are two vehicles which are typical of those currently on service with the British Army in Afghanistan. To the untrained eye the Scimitar CVRT (Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance Tracked) and Viking armoured personnel carrier appear to be the real thing, but because the genuine items

are more valuably deployed in Afghanistan, the museum’s workshop has made some clever cosmetic modifications to the Viking, a converted prototype, and the Scimitar, which began life as a Sabre. Additions to the Historic Vehicles Collection have come from all manner of sources. Interesting items of fighting armour captured in battle overseas have, since WW2, been conveyed to the UK where they are examined by the MoD before being passed on to the Tank Museum for storage or display. On some occasions vehicles are donated, such as the obsolete Centurion tank which was given by Sweden to a British Army general who in turn gifted it to the museum. Donations form an important part of the museum’s Supporting Collection which comprises everything tank related from old uniforms, unwanted items of battledress and medals to engineering models of tanks and variously sized deactivated shells of tank ammunition. The smallest shell here is only 3cm in diameter, but what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for with an awesome ability to penetrate modern armour plate as confirmed in trials on the Lulworth Ranges nearby. Row upon row of uniforms on hangers, temporarily protected by cloth covers sewn by volunteers, await cleaning and freezing to destroy any moths that might remain. The supporting collection also contains works of art, mostly paintings and sculptures, in addition to wartime artefacts and souvenirs such as the large, painted metal road sign, proclaiming, ‘Tobruk 26 miles’. David opens the drawers of a plan chest

Awaiting restoration!


Deactivated shells in the supporting collection.

Librarian Janice Tait studying a tank recognition chart in the archive and reference library.

to reveal escape maps painstakingly drawn on silk and highly prized captured flags, one of which is emblazoned with a swastika and bears the signatures of its captors. Another ‘Nazi’ flag on a standard nearby was a prop in one of the Indiana Jones films before being given to the museum. To date, 8000 books have been donated to and purchased by the archive and reference library, but these represent only a small part of the museum’s present collection of books, documents, photographs, reels of film and audio recordings which make this the world’s number one research centre for armoured warfare. The collection is housed in a former workshop and teaching block which now benefits from temperature and humidity control. Records span nearly a century from the tank’s inception during World War 1 to the present day. The sound archive covers the same period and includes recorded interviews with soldiers on active service in Afghanistan as well as with veterans of the first conflict involving armoured vehicles. The museum’s Librarian, Janice Tait, is in charge of the archive and reference library. Janice and her team, a number of whom are volunteers, are currently in the process of putting documents into acid-free wallets and archival storage boxes as well as the massive task of back cataloguing every item and digitising all of the photographs and videos. One of the volunteers has spent seven years, so far, checking and digitising the huge collection of videos and reels of film. And there are more than ¼ million photographs to sort through and caption too! Notable amongst the many thousands of documents stored here are the blueprints of one of the earliest British tanks, Royal Armoured Corps diaries from both world wars, WW1 trench maps, regimental histories and beautifully embroidered greetings cards which soldiers fighting in France purchased and sent home to their loved ones. T E Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia – lived less than a mile from Bovington Camp, where he was stationed while serving in the Tank Corps between 1923 and 1925. His enlistment papers, bearing the pseudonym Private T E Shaw, and record of transfer to the RAF on 18th August 1925 (it is said he disliked army discipline) are filed in the archive along with personal letters to friends and glass slides of his time in the Imperial Camel Corps during the Arab uprising. When the new vehicle conservation centre has been completed, visitors will have the opportunity to see many more of the Museum’s historic armoured fighting vehicles. But at an estimated annual cost of £40,000 to store each tank in environmentally controlled conditions, increasing visitor numbers will continue to be the most efficient and profitable form of fundraising to ensure the future success of the Tank Museum. • For details of the behind-the-scenes tour, visit www.tankmuseum.org/Access_All_Areas





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The Village Inn and Restaurant


West Borough Wimborne Box Office 01202 885566

od & A Warm Welcome Superb Home-Cooked Fo Morning Coffee Delicious lunches & evening meals Sunday carvery Groups, Parties & Special Occasions The perfect beginning or end for wonderful walks Find us 1 mile from Swanage on the Studland road (next to Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park) or via the Sandbanks ferry.

Ulwell Swanage 01929 427644 www.villageinn-swanage.co.uk


16-18 August 7.30pm Matinee Sat 18 Aug 2.30pm Dramatic Productions presents: Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular Tickets £12 (matinee £10 concs) 24 August 7.30pm A Night of Queen with The Bohemians Tickets £15 6 September 8.00pm Talon - The Acoustic Collection Contemporary acoustic classics Tickets £14

Artisan Craft Gallery and Workshop An eclectic selection of handmade crafts, representing the skill and talent of Wessex craftspeople.

7 September 7.30pm One of the UK’s finest proponents of rocking blues Aynsley Lister On Tour + support Harpin' On Tickets £12.50 8 September 7.30pm Les KcKeown's Legendary Bay City Rollers Tickets £18

A diverse range of courses and workshops available:

Glass fusing • Dorset buttons • Silver clay • Viking knitting • Pottery




Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 August 10:00am - 5pm each day admission: £6 concessions £5 children age 5-16: £3 Family: £15 (2 adults + 2 children)

discounts at oakleighfairs.co.uk/upton

Upton Country Park Poole Dorset BH17 7BJ



20 September 8.00pm Eric Knowles - Antique Antics Witty and funny, Eric unwraps the mysterious world of antiques Tickets £16 (1 in 10 free) 27 September 7.30pm Jimmy Tarbuck Tickets £20 (over 60s £18) 15 September 8.00pm The Elvis Years 1954-1977 Starring Mario Kombou, "The Best Elvis Performer in the World" and talented West End cast. Tickets £17.50

Support YOUR local Theatre www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk


A wonderful event for all the family including the Swords of Chivalry fighting knights and medieval re-enactment village, Horkesley Park Suffolk Punch Heavy Horse Display Team, Birds of prey and falconry displays, Ferret Racing, Willow Sculpture, Wheelwright, Besom broom-making as well as many other traditional and rural demonstrations. iButho Zulu Wars Living History Group. Cookery Demos and Wine Tastings in the Events Show Kitchen. Marquees with arts, crafts, lifestyle and food stands. Traditional Punch & Judy Show, bouncy castles, fairground (charges apply) and Small Animal Displays with TOTALLYAlive! to keep your little ones engaged while you sit back enjoying the jigs of Celtic Confusion and a well earned cuppa or perhaps something a little more bracing and ponder how well Towser, Fido and Pongo might do on Monday in The Companion Dog Show proceeds from which all go to Marie Curie Cancer Care and which is open to all dogs and their companions too ...of course!

there’s masses to see and do supported by our chums at the

MAY 2013

15 September 8.00pm Three of the world's most accomplished accoustic Guitar Masters UK Andy McKee, Preston Reed and Jon Gomm Tickets £17.50 (NUS card £15)

Programme subject to change – please confirm dates with the Box Office

4 Lower Blakemere Road, Poundbury, Dorchester DT1 3RZ www.artisandt1.co.uk 01305 751804


13 September 7.30pm Bobby Davro Face Hopper Tour Tickets £15

27Jul -12Aug

lots more info: 0800 141 2823

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This month in Dorset The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Grimm Fairy Tales

Re-imagined by Shanty Theatre Company, Coleridge’s poem relates the many adventures of a salty sailor as told to a wedding guest who wakes the next morning ‘a sadder and wiser man’. The ferocious storms, holy hermits and ghostly galleon may all be recognisable from Coleridge’s poem, the albatross with a thing about five-a-side football may not be quite so obvious as Shanty describe their version of the story ‘a family musical with wit, half-wits and a massive seagull’. Until 5 August, 12-25 August, 7.30 (Sat, Sun 6.00; Wed mat 4.00) Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, 01297 442138, www.marinetheatre.com

Renowned physical theatre company The Pantaloons turns its attention to the Grimm Fairy Tales, accentuating the funny side of the stories as well as their darker elements. ‘We try to include something for everyone,’ says producer Mark Hayward. ‘Children will love these tales as much as they ever have – particularly the more horrible elements – and adults will enjoy the clever ways in which the tales are staged along with the incredibly funny gags we’ve worked into the show.’ In these tales the frog prince is thrown against a wall, the ugly sisters’ eyes are pecked out by a vengeful wishing-bird and witches come to very grisly ends. Each tale will be told in a different style combining puppetry, poetry, parody, music, magic, masks and even a tale in German – with translators. 19 August, 3.00 Highcliffe Castle, 01425 278807, www.highcliffecastle.co.uk

Burton Bradstock Festival of Music & Art

Great Dorset Steam Fair

© Crown Copyright

A cornerstone of the county calendar for more than 40 years, the Great Dorset Steam Fair is expected to attract up to 200,000 visitors to the 600-acre site. With its blend of nostalgic steam machinery and family-friendly attractions it gathers one of the world’s largest collections of steam and vintage equipment with more than 200 working steam engines and a further 2000 working exhibits, including a fun fair with 50 showmen’s engines. The music festival brings together the cream of the nation’s tribute bands including T-Rextasy, Kings of Lyon, From the Jam and Kaiser Thiefs, as well as ska-revival survivors Bad Manners. 29 August-2 September, daily Showground, Tarrant Hinton, 01258 860361, www.gdsf.co.uk

Celebrating the best of English music to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and with internationally-flavoured programmes in celebration of the Olympic sailing competitions in Weymouth, the Burton Bradstock Festival of Music & Art again brings some rare talents to the Jurassic Coast. Highlights include Gerald Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto performed by the Festival Players (pictured) with Anna Hashimoto, one of the most exciting young clarinettists on the world stage, and Festival musical director David Juritz brings the curtain down on the event with The Lark Ascending. Flowing their debut last year, Balkan folk group Paprika return along with the 6pac Jazz Sextet who play St Mary’s Church. An exhibition of paintings, ceramics, crafts and cards by over 50 artists runs in the village hall all week. 19-24 August, various, 01308 897203, www.burtonbradstockfestival.com

Bournemouth Air Festival The Red Arrows are set to make a poignant return to Bournemouth Air Festival this month, a year after pilot Flt Lt Jon Egging was killed when his aircraft came down in fields near Throop. As well as the Red Ball to raise funds for the Jon Egging Trust, organisers have submitted plans for a memorial to be placed on the clifftop at East Overcliff Drive in time for this year’s festival (see July's Dorset Life). A million spectators are expected to attend the festival as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, two Tornado GR4 jets, the RAF Hawk training aircraft and the Black Cats helicopter display team are confirmed to join the Red Arrows. 30 August-2 September, daily Bournemouth Seafront, 0845 051 1700, www.bournemouthair.co.uk 69

This month in Dorset Festival of Culture

Stock Gaylard Oak Fair

Pierre Sauvageot – Lieux Publics & Cie

Bringing together a talented and eclectic mix of woodland workers, from woodcarvers to stickmakers, wood-turners to furniture makers, the Stock Gaylard Oak Fair sets out to celebrate the countryside, conservation, timber and local produce. Held on the mature oak parkland estate at Stock Gaylard, more than 160 exhibits are expected including wood-eating machines, mobile sawmills, chainsaw carvers the Tree Pirates and the Heavy Horse Loggers. There’s also a children’s area where scarecrows can be built and mazes designed. 25 August, 10.00 Stock Gaylard Estate, 01963 23511, www.stockgaylard.com

Bridport’s first Festival of Culture sets out to focus attention on the entire town rather than any particular range of activities. Conceived by the Spirit of Bridport group as a collaboration between artists, traders, musicians, community groups and townspeople, the Festival of Culture combines visual arts, music, film, food, theatre, heritage, sport and art with a variety of workshops and demonstrations, as well as a fringe festival. ‘What makes our Festival truly unique is that the whole town is involved,’ says Festival Director, Tamsin Chandler. ‘Festivalgoers will wake up each day to a town that’s buzzing, with a diverse range of fantastic things to do, see, learn, hear and eat. It’s a wonderful place

to live and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.’ Participating venues and partners include Bridport Arts Centre, Electric Palace, Lyric Theatre, Bull Hotel, Eype Church for the Arts, Sladers Yard, Pierrepoint Gallery, Salt House West Bay, MarshBarn, Chapel in the Garden and St Michael’s Studios. 11-27 August, various times various venues, www.festivalofculture.com

Inside Out Arts Festival


Boasting ‘extraordinary events in extraordinary places’, Inside Out returns with a new set of audacious arts events that incorporate the landscape. A sensory journey on the Portland coast, Pierre Sauvegeot’s Harmonic Fields is an ensemble for 500 instruments played by the wind to create a series of unique symphonic soundscapes which can be seen daily from noon at Bowers Quarry. Physical theatre company Transe Express present Mobile Homme in Poole on 1 September. It starts with an anarchic procession down the High Street and builds to an acrobatic performance 40 metres above the Quay. Dutch company Tuig stage Schraapzucht (Avarice) at Walford Mill Crafts on 4 and 5 September; and Ashmore plays host to Up in the Air, a weekend of circus skills, music and performance on 8 and 9 September. 31 August-9 September, various times and venues, 01305 260954, www.insideoutdorset.co.uk

With Danny Bayne, who won ITV’s Grease Is the Word contest in 2007, back in the lead role of Danny, rock ’n’ roll musical Grease lines up for a six-night summer season in Bournemouth. Starring opposite as Sandy is Carina Gillespie, the dance numbers have been choreographed by Arlene Phillips and the show is directed by David Gilmore. The original high school musical, Grease opened on Broadway in 1972 and was filmed in 1978 with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in the lead roles, producing hit songs such as You’re the One That I Want, Summer Nights and Greased Lightnin’. 13-18 August, 7.30 (Fri 5.30, 8.30; Sat 5.00, 8.30) Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth, 0844 576 4500, www.bic.co.uk

NGS Open Gardens Daily: Kingston Maurward Gardens Daily: Mapperton Gardens, nr Beaminster Daily: Minterne, Minterne Magna Daily: Sherborne Castle Daily: Upton Country Park Tues-Sat (also Bank Holiday Monday): Knoll Gardens, Hampreston By appt only: Knowle Farm, Uploders By appt only: Lawsbrook, Shillingstone By appt only: Weston House, Buckhorn Weston 4, 5: 55 Lonnen Road, Colehill 70

5: Holworth Farmhouse, Holworth 5: Manor Farm, Hampreston 5, 12, 19: Hilltop, Woodville, Stour Provost 5, 19: 25 Field Barn Drive, Southill 5, 26: 52 Huntly Road, Talbot Woods 6: Deans Court, Wimborne 12: 357 Ringwood Road, Ferndown

12, 19: Cottesmore Farm, West Moors 12, 26: Mews Cottage, Portland 19: Domineys, Buckland Newton 19: Broomhill, Rampisham 19: 2 Pyes Plot, Netherbury 25, 26: Snape Cottage Plantsman’s Garden, Chaffeymoor 25-27: Secret Garden and Serles House, Wimborne 26: Annalal’s Gallery, Christchurch 26: Coombe Cottage, Shillingstone 27, 28: Mount Pleasant, Newtown, Beaminster

This month in Dorset Purbeck Folk Festival

Colourfest A celebration of life through yoga, art, music and dance, Colourfest has three marquees hosting performances, workshops and demonstrations. The yoga schedule encompasses a wide range of classes and sessions for novices and experienced students alike. The dance classes offer include classical and traditional sessions as well as guided journeys into biodanza, trance dance and African dance. Various artists will be expressing their responses through painting, illustration, words and performance with the Wulf and Treehouse theatre companies and the Sting in the Tale storytellers. The musical bill includes sound therapist Bhanu, kirtans singer Jo Clarkson, Tabla Tom, yoga of sound specialist Russell Stone and kora maestro Ravi. 24-27 August, daily Holton Lee, Holton Heath, 07511 152066, www.colourfest.co.uk

Vanessa Gardiner: Classical Elements In 2009 the British School in Athens awarded Vanessa Gardiner the Prince of Wales Bursary for the Arts, which has allowed her to visit Greece many times over the past three years and produce this show of new paintings of Greece and the Aegean Coast. Throughout her career she has been intrigued by the architecture in natural cliffs of Cornwall and Ireland, now she is painting ancient ruins within the crisply lit Greek landscape in paintings that are worked up and scoured back over a period of many months. 18 August-7 October 10.00 (not Sun, Mon) Sladers Yard, West Bay, 01308 459511, www.sladersyard.co.uk

Milton Abbey Music Festival In its 35th year, Milton Abbey Music Festival promises a rich, varied diet of music served up in one of Dorset’s most striking locations. The two main classical concerts are A Night at the Opera on Friday, with choruses and solos from operas by Purcell, Handel, Mozart, Humperdinck, Mascagni, Puccini, Wagner and Delibes; and an all-Mozart programme in An Evening in Paradise on Sunday with the Festival Singers and Excelsior

ensemble joined by Wessex Chamber Orchestra. Six choral concerts are planned in the Abbey, St Catherine’s Chapel and Milton Abbas Church; there will also be some lighter music from British jazz-soul vocalist Zena James (pictured) and the Funky Jazz Quartet on Saturday. 24-27 August, daily Milton Abbey, 01258 454331, www. miltonabbeyfestival.com

Deep Time Landscape photographer Ben Osborne wraps up his Jurassic Journey project as Artsreach artistin-residence with a final chance to see the Deep Time exhibition, including this time lapse image of St Catherine’s Chapel at Abbotsbury. Ben’s photographs have already been seen alongside poetry by Matt Harvey, Lal Hitchcock’s marine litter sculptures and music by Sammy Hurden at Lyme Regis in May and are at Durlston until the bank holiday. On 10 August there’s also a special show in West Lulworth. With support from The Heritage Lottery the exhibition brings together Ben’s photographic exploration of the geology underpinning the coastal landscape with the responses of his fellow artists in an effort to present new perspectives of the World Heritage coastline. 10 August, 7.30 West Lulworth Village Hall, 01929 400294, www.lulworthvillagehall.org.uk Until 27 August, 10.30 Fine Foundation Gallery, Durlston Country Park, www.durlston.co.uk

Stones and Bones Set in a land of myth and legend, giants and druids, fiery volcanoes and strange prehistoric creatures, Stones and Bones finds Squashbox Theatre company mixing up history and mystery to introduce their young audience to their ancient ancestors and learn about archaeology and fossils. Master puppeteer Craig Johnson (pictured) generates plenty of thrills and spills with his clever creations, tall tales, crazy characters and funny songs in a special new show aimed at the over-fours. 17 August, 3.00 Maiden Newton Village Hall 01300 321022, www.artsreach.co.uk 18 August, 10.30 Anne Biddlecombe Hall, Tarrant Keynston 01258 480778, www.artsreach.co.uk 18 August, 3.30 Ashmore Village Hall 01747 811364, www.artsreach.co.uk 19 August, 2.30 Durlston Country Park 01929 424443, www.durlston.co.uk Yad Jaura Instamatic

KT Tunstall, the Ivor Novello and Brit-awardwinner, headlines this year’s Purbeck Folk Festival, closing the Saturday night bill. Best known for her 2004 debut album Eye to the Telescope and the Grammy-nominated single Black Horse & the Cherry Tree, Tunstall’s latest album Tiger Suit finds her blending traditional music with dance-friendly textures. Also scheduled to appear at the Festival are Celtic-fusion band Shooglenifty, American duo Larkin Poe, acclaimed folk rock band Trembling Bells and Canadian singer songwriter Old Man Luedecke. 24-26 August, Wilkswood Farm, Langton Matravers, www.purbeckfolk.co.uk


This month in Dorset Wilde in the country Oscar Wilde’s ‘trivial comedy for serious people’, The Importance of Being Earnest is liberally laced with his hallmark sharp wit and preposterous plotting. Such ‘beautiful nonsense’ demands the kind of surreal treatment one would expect of Miracle Theatre and this outdoor production bodes well as Wilde’s tale about the strange contents of a handbag found at Victoria station has been adapted to wring every drip of humour and contemporary relevance. The story has been set in the year 1912, with the Titanic sinking, mass production just beginning on the Morris Oxford and the Turkey Trot causing outrage across the dancefloors of polite society. The audience is advised to bring chairs/rugs to sit on and bar/barbecue is available at all venues. 3 August, 7.30 Melbury Osmond Village Hall 01935 83410, www.artsreach.co.uk 4 August, 7.30 Higher Orchard, Sandford Orcas 01963 220208, www.artsreach.co.uk 5 August, 7.30 Kimmeridge Bay 01305 269512, www.artsreach.co.uk

Sting in the Tale With stories drawn from local and international traditions, Sting in the Tale returns to some of East Dorset most atmospheric settings including an Iron-Age earth house, Neolithic rings and a ruined medieval church. Among the storytellers are Graham Rogers whose tale The Shovelwise Stoker and the Baby from Heaven commemorates the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. The Crick Crack Club – performance storyteller Jo Blake Cave and gypsy folk duo GlowGlobes – visits the Ancient Technology Centre at Cranborne to present The Boy Who Became a Girl, a post-apocalyptic tale of talking horses, captive princes and girls who slay monsters. 17-27 August, various times various venues, 01202 886201, www.stinginthetale.org.uk 72

Further events for your diary August Museum of Design in Plastics Daily, 9.00 (Mon-Fri) Library, Arts University College Bournemouth, 01202 363255, www.modip.ac.uk Andrew Cannon Band, tea dance 1 August, 2.00 Royal British Legion, Swanage, 01929 422722, www.rblswanage.co.uk 20 August, 2.30 Allendale Centre, Wimborne, 01202 887247, www.theallendale.org Fossil Hunting Walk, 1-10, 14-25, 28-31 August, 9.30 Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, 01297 560772, www.charmouth.org

Illustrated talk: Nature’s Calendar 15 August, 2.00 East Dorset Heritage Trust, Allendale House, Wimborne, 01202 888992, www.edht.org.uk Dramatic Productions: Absurd Person Singular, 16-18 August, 7.30 (Sat mat 2.30) Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, 01202 885566, www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk Festival Players: Twelfth Night 18 August, 7.00 Subtropical Gardens, Abbotsbury, 01305 871130, www.abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk Back To Broadway 18 August, 7.30 The Exchange, Sturminster Newton, 01258 475137, www.stur-exchange.co.uk

The Comedy Café 3 August, 7.30 The Hub, Verwood, 01202 828740, www.thehubverwood.co.uk

Victorian Fayre, 18, 19 August, 10.30 Nothe Fort, Weymouth, 01305 766626, www.nothefort.org.uk

The Proclaimers 4 August, 7.30 Electric Palace, Bridport, 01308 424901, www.electricpalace.org.uk

The Feeling, The Zombies et al 25-27 August, daily Upbeat Festival, Upton Country Park, 0844 576 3000, www.upbeatfestival.com

Poole Town & Country Show 4, 5 August, 10.00 Upton Country Park, 01202 261306, www.oakleighfairs.co.uk/upton

Thomas Hardy Players: Tess of the d’Urbervilles, 26 August, 7.00 (Gates 5.30) Athelhampton House, 01305 848363, www.athelhampton.co.uk

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men: Macbeth 9 August, 7.30 Open Air Theatre, Kingston Lacy House, 0844 249 1895, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy

Blandford Art Society Open Exhibition 27 August-1 September, 10.00 Corn Exchange, Blandford, 01258 455712, www.blandfordartsociety.co.uk

ExperiEssencE 2012 9-12 August, daily Gaunts House, Wimborne, 01202 841522, gauntshousesummergathering.com

Wildlife Bingo, 31 August, 10.00 Knoll Gardens, Wimborne, 01202 873931, www.knollgardens.co.uk

Exhibition: Bridport’s Rope, Net & Sporting Heritage, 10-27 August, 9.30 (not Sun) Town Hall, Bridport, 01308 456722, www.bridporttownhall.org

Another Evening with Bob Newhart & Tom Lehrer, 31 August, 7.30 Regent Centre, Christchurch, 01202 499199, www.regentcentre.co.uk


Enid Blyton’s Birthday Party, 11 August, 10.00 Corfe Castle, 01929 481294, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle

Wednesday Heathland Ramble 5 September, 10.00 Arne nature reserve, 01929 553360, www.rspb.org.uk

Pure Funk Dance Co: The Wiz 11 August, 7.30 Lighthouse, Poole, 0844 406 8666, www.lighthousepoole.co.uk

Grand Steam Gala & Classic Transport Rally, 7-9 September, daily Swanage Railway, 01929 425800, www.swanagerailway.co.uk

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Summer 2012


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1 August


4&5 August

Wildlife Fun Day 10am-4pm Poole Town & Country Show 10am-5pm


25 Sun 26 Mon 27 August

Upbeat Music Festival




7 October

Upton House Wedding Fair 11am-4pm

For more info:

uptoncountrypark.com 01202 262753 74







Dorset Arts & Crafts Association

98th ANNUAL ARTS & CRAFTS EXHIBITION Friday 3 - Tuesday 7 August 2012 Bovington Middle School (Nr Wool) Friday-Monday 10.00am to 5.00pm Tues 10.00am to 4.00pm Art, Photography, 30+ Crafts, Craft Fair/Sales Demonstrations, Traditional Crafts, Children’s Activities

Guest Exhibition: ‘Images of Dorset’ by Dorchester Camera Club Adults £4.00 • Seniors £3.50 • Family Ticket £9.00 Free Parking

Disabled Access


The best craft show in Dorset & a great day out for all the family!

Garden Centre open 9am – 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am – 5pm Sundays and Bank Holidays. Cranborne Manor Garden open Wednesday 9am-5pm last entry at 4pm.

Tel: 01725 517248 | www.cranborne.co.uk


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The world’s largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles

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National Motor Museum Palace House & Gardens Beaulieu Abbey Beaulieu, New Forest, Hampshire SO42 7ZN Exit 2 M27 Tel 01590 612345 www.beaulieu.co.uk Open daily 10am 76

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At Dorchester Showground, Dorchester, DT2 7SD Over 500 Trade stands sChristian Moullec The World Famous Goose Mans Titan the Robot s World Famous Falconry s Cookery Demonstrations sShaun Ellis the wolf man s Local Food and Drink s Country Sports sKangaroos Gymnastic Display Team s Over 6,000 animals including Cattle s Sheep s Rabbits s Horses s Goats s Pigs s Bees s Vintage Cars sZero Gravity Mountain Bike Display Team s Tractors s Showjumping s Traditional and Rural Craft Demonstrations s Hound Parade s Poultry s Horticulture s Dog Agility s Scott Mayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Monster Trucks and Stunt Team sParelli Horsemanship Demonstration s Sheep Shearing

Tickets are £10 in advance, £13 on the Gate, Under 16 years Free

Ticket Hotline 01749 814088Â&#x2021;www.dorsetcountyshow.co.uk



Upton Country Park





BRIDPORT STREET MARKET â&#x20AC;¢ Wednesdays and Saturdays â&#x20AC;¢ Over 100 Stalls â&#x20AC;¢ Free Coach Parking in Coach Park on Market Days

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● Excellent views of the harbour and Lyme Bay ● Freshly prepared home cooked food ● Special Sunday lunch roasts ● Fine wines and well stocked bar ● Open 7 days a week

Marine Parade Lyme Regis Dorset DT7 3JF 01297 442299


LUNCHEON SPECIALS 2 courses – £22.00 • 3 courses – £25.00 Available Monday to Saturday

Traditional Sunday Roast lunch – £30.00 TRADITIONAL AFTERNOON TEA Cream Tea – £12.00 • Full Afternoon Tea – £21.50 Served daily from Midday – 5:30pm (Sunday from 4:00pm)

FINE DINING 3 course set menu – £40.00 • A la Carte and Tasting menus throughout the year • Monthly Wine Dinners For more information and menus please visit www.summerlodgehotel.com/dining For reservations please call 01935 48 2000 or email summerlodge@rchmail.com ‘Dorset Restaurant of the Year’ TASTE OF DORSET AWARDS 2011 Please quote Dorset Life when booking. Evershot, Dorset DT2 0JR | www.summerlodgehotel.com


Eat, Drink, Stay

Coeliacs and gluten-free dining

It can be impossible to be all things to all people, but the True Lovers Knot is about as close as one can get to that state. It is, at once, a dog-friendly, child-friendly, coeliac-friendly pub, restaurant, B&B and even camp site. Its new management team (who also run the Sandford in Wareham) have given this well-known local pub a thorough face lift. One important bit of which is the eating side of the pub. The first visible sign is quite literally that: ‘Large gluten-free menu’ proclaims a blackboard outside. This is indeed true of the fare on offer within (see box, right). From the astonishing array of meals on offer, we chose to start with a warm tomato and goats’ cheese salad and a pan-fried pigeon breast with beetroot, black pudding and baby mushrooms from the specials board; other options from which included an oxtail consommé and a home-made ham terrine. The salad tested the produce of the True Lovers Knot kitchen, the latter its skills in mixing and matching flavours and textures. Pigeon can be dry, so teaming it with the black pudding’s unctuous nature was well considered; the beetroot ensured a change of texture and cut through the black pudding so the whole wasn’t too rich. I wasn’t convinced by the idea of the mushrooms, but pleasantly surprised by how the flavour combination worked on the plate. The salad which came with pine nuts and pesto was another well-judged flavour combination; the pesto’s subtle basil tones (rather than the overwhelming flavour-blocking basil taste one occasionally gets) worked well with the smooth yet chalky and creamy cheese with its just-sharp-enough tomatoes. All in all an excellent start. For the mains, we chose from the specials board and the ‘something slightly different’ section of the menu – essentially a full-time specials board. From the latter came a trio of pork (pork pie, black pudding and pork loin) with Calvados sauce served with thyme-and-Parmesan crushed potatoes. From the specials board came the beef and venison faggots. Other options included cornfed chicken, fillet of barramundi, Tarrant Valley calf’s liver, grilled plaice, fillet steak au poivre and roasted butternut squash. The pork pie was a treat, the nicely cooked pork loin came with an inch of fat attached; this certainly aided flavour, but left the feeling it might be quite a calorific meal; the black pudding was also a little redundant because of this. The faggots were a good deal less fatty than one might expect, but full of earthy game flavours; there could perhaps have been a little more sauce. For pudding we chose an elderflower and raspberry brûlée and

The True Lovers Knot has an enormously varied gluten-free menu (the food is prepared in a quarantined area to prevent cross-contamination with foods containing gluten), but it comes in two forms: foods which are in and of themselves gluten-free, and menu items where there is a gluten-free alternative. It is always worth specifying (both here and indeed elsewhere) that you want the gluten-free version. A menu item may not be gluten-free in its ‘normal’ menu state – for example battered fish, which may not ordinarily be made with glutenfree flour… unless you ask for it to be so made.

a sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and banoffee ice cream. The brûlée (though very nice) was the biggest I have ever seen: about six inches in diameter! The toffee pudding and sauce were delicious, but I’m not sure it needed the extra flavour of the banoffee. All things considered, the meal was a very good all-round performance at reasonable prices and, for these reasons, the True Lovers Knot will no doubt become a coeliac (and non-coeliac) destination pub. Julian Powell


Eat, Drink, Stay ANSTY The Fox Inn. 01258 880328. www.anstyfoxinn.co.uk. Serving good food, seven days a week, including our famous Sunday carvery. You are warmly invited to experience the Fox welcome. BEAMINSTER BridgeHouse Hotel & Beaminster Brasserie. 01308 862200. AA 3-star, country town hotel with stylish al fresco brasserie and elegant 2 Rosette hotel restaurant. 'Ancient and modern' cuisine. BLANDFORD Crown Hotel. 8 West Street. 01258 456626. Elegant hotel nestling in the heart of Dorset offering luxury accommodation, function rooms, award winning beers and freshly prepared food. BOURNEMOUTH Hotel Miramar, East Overcliff Drive. 01202 556581. www.miramarbournemouth.com. Our restaurant has stunning views across the bay. Open for lunches Monday-Friday. Traditional Sunday luncheon. Dinners every evening. Westcotes House, 9 Southbourne Overcliff Drive. 01202 428512. www.westcoteshouse.co.uk. We're a small guesthouse situated on the sea front of Southbourne, with fantastic views across Bournemouth bay. BURLEY (HANTS) The Moorhill House Hotel. 01425 403285. www.newforesthotels.co.uk. One AA Rosette. Fine local food, fantastically served in a beautiful restaurant overlooking the gardens. Open for Sunday lunch, cream teas and during evenings. CHILD OKEFORD The Saxon Inn, Gold Hill. 01258 860310. www.saxoninn.co.uk. Hidden in the village of Child Okeford, we are well worth finding. Nestling under Hambledon Hill, ideally situated for walkers in need of sustenance. CHRISTCHURCH The Ship in Distress. 66 Stanpit, Mudeford. 01202 485123. www.ship-indistress.co.uk. Traditional 300-year-old smugglers’ pub, award-winning restaurant and two bars offering a full à la carte menu with vegetarian options, snacks and traditional pub grub. CORFE CASTLE The Bankes Arms Hotel. 01929 480206. Email: bankescorfe@aol.com www.corfecastlehotel.co.uk. A fantastic variety of fresh, local food, including Sunday roast, served in three restaurant areas. Perfect wedding location with function room, garden and patio. CRANBORNE Mary's Tea Room, Cranborne Manor Garden Centre. 01725 517546. www.cranborne.co.uk. From morning coffee to afternoon tea with a light bite in between. Ideal for walkers and gardeners, or just somewhere to rest.

EAST BURTON, WOOL (NR WAREHAM) The Seven Stars. 01929 462292. www.sevenstars.co.uk. A wide range of homemade meals and steaks, fresh fish, vegetarian and daily specials. Fine wines, real ales, lagers and ciders, Large beer garden, children's play area and plenty of free parking HORTON (NR WIMBORNE) Drusilla's Inn. 01258 840297. www.drusillasinn.co.uk.Traditional Wessex freehouse with stunning view of the Horton Folly Tower. Fresh, local food, real ales and fine wines at affordable prices. Open daily 10 am - 11pm. LYME REGIS By The Bay Restaurant and Wine Bar, Marine Parade. 01297 442668. www.bythebay.co.uk. Delicious fresh food at affordable prices. Fantastic seafront location. Stunning views of Lyme Bay and the Cobb. Open daily. The Bay, Marine Parade. 01297 442059 www.lymebayhotel.co.uk Fresh locally sourced fish and produce reasonably priced. Perfect unrivalled views across Lyme Bay and Cobb. Open Daily and Accommodation available Harbour Inn, Marine Parade. 01297 442299. A fantastic location with beautiful views, right by the sea. All home-cooked food, with lots of seafood. Real coffee, local ales, extensive wine list. LYNDHURST (HANTS) The Glasshouse Restaurant, Pikes HIll. 02380 286129. www. theglasshousedining.co.uk. 2 AA Rosettes - Fine English food, fresh local ingredients, & exceptional service in a contemporary setting. Open evenings and Sunday lunch, lunchtimes by prior arrangement. MARNHULL The Crown, Crown Road. 01258 820224. Luxury guest rooms and high quality home cooked food in a historical inn featured in Hardy’s ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’. MARTINSTOWN (NR DORCHESTER) The Brewers Arms. 01305 889361. www.thebrewersarms.com. Friendly village pub where visitors can enjoy a snack or home-cooked country fare in bar, restaurant or garden. Dogs welcome. MORDEN (NR WAREHAM) The Cock & Bottle. 01929 459238. www.cockandbottlemorden.co.uk. Our head chef is renowned for his cuisine. We offer light lunches, bar meals, Sunday roasts and a full à la carte menu. PLUSH The Brace of Pheasants. 01300 348357. www.braceofpheasants.co.uk. The Good Pub Guide's 'Dorset Dining Pub of the Year 2011' in delightful village setting. Luxury 4 star en-suite accommodation. POOLE Corkers Restaurant, Café Bar & Guest Rooms, The Quay. 01202 681393. www.corkers.co.uk. Fine Dining upstairs restaurant with superb harbour views. Open seven days. Excellent web site with menus.

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Eat, Drink, Stay Hotel du Vin, The Mansion House, Thames Street. 01202 785570. www. hotelduvin.com. Classic French bistro serving simple classic dishes from locally sourced ingredients. Bar snacks, afternoon teas, BBQ available. 2 private dining rooms, wine tasting room.

Springfield Country Hotel. Grange Road. 01929 552177. www.thespringfield.co.uk. Set in 6 acres at the foot of the Purbeck Hills. Bar lunches, afternoon teas & full a la carte dinner. Private function rooms available.

'Upstairs @ the Custom House' Restaurant, The Quay. 01202 676767/677737. www.customhouse.co.uk. Relaxed sophistication in our fabulous Ă la carte restaurant. Modern English/French cuisine. Outstanding views over Poole Harbour.

WEST BAY (NR BRIDPORT) The Bridport Arms. 01308 422994. www.bridportarms.co.uk. Stunning thatched hotel right on the beach. Local fresh fish specials with friendly, efficient service, real local ales, fine wines and roaring log fires for those chilly nights! Quality en-suite accommodation.

RINGWOOD (HANTS) The Fish Inn, The Bridges. 01425 473185. Home cooked and prepared food in comfortable and relaxed surroundings with a variety to suit any appetite or taste. SWANAGE Seventhwave, Durlston. 01929 421111. www.durlston.co.uk. Exciting and contemporary British cuisine, located in a stunning cliffside setting above the waves. TARRANT KEYNESTON (NR BLANDFORD) True Lovers Knot. 01258 452209. www.trueloversknot.co.uk. Romantic, traditional country pub. Fresh seasonal produce. Luxury en-suite accommodation. Campsite. Ample parking. Large garden & play area. Private functions and weddings.

WIMBORNE Angels Coffee Shop, Quarterjack Mews. 01202 849922. The place to visit whether you want a hearty breakfast, morning coffee, a great value lunch with wine or a cream tea by the river. Mon-Sat 8.00am to 4.00pm The Millstream CafĂŠ at Walford Mill Crafts. Stone Lane, Wimborne, BH21 1NL 01202 842258 or 079123 48584. Delicious, fresh, wholesome homemade food. Available for all your special occasions. Opening hours: Mon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Sat 10am â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 4pm, Sunday 11am -4pm The Olive Branch, 6 East Borough. 01202 884686. A stunning and elegant pub-restaurant a minutes walk from Wimborne centre, secluded riverside garden, award winning beers, ďŹ ne wines and freshly prepared food.

TARRANT MONKTON (NR BLANDFORD) The Langton Arms. 01258 830225. www.thelangtonarms.co.uk. Pub/ restaurant. Guest rooms, civil ceremony licence, open seven days a week, food served all day on Saturday and Sunday.

Topogigio, Mill Court, Mill Lane. 01202 841884. Excellent Italian restaurant offering a wide selection of fresh food, from pizza and pasta to steaks, ďŹ sh and veal dishes.

WAREHAM The Old Granary. The Quay. 01929 552010. Beautiful pub-restaurant, on the river Frome, views of the Purbeck Hills, fine wines, award-winning beers and freshly prepared food.

WINTERBORNE ZELSTON The Botany Bay Inne. 01929 459227. Picturesque countryside inne, serving Ă la carte meals and bar snacks, real Dorset ales. Well-behaved children and dogs welcome.

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Stay active, be happy There is a compelling argument for staying active, both mentally and physically, not just in terms of health, but also in terms of happiness, reports Anya de Iongh There is an old saying that goes: 'If you want to get something done, ask a busy person'. The logic behind it is that those who do a lot are capable of doing a little bit more. The converse theory is also true: if you ask someone who has relatively little to do in the course of their normal day, it may well take a disproportionate amount of time for them to do something, or indeed they may well not do it at all. But why should this be? As is often the case with truisms, there is more than a nugget of scientific backing for these statements, and the idea behind them can have a profound and positive impact on all our lives. It is also a concept that has been given a topicality and fresh momentum in the form of the Phoenix Legacy – an organisation which aims to promote health in body, mind and spirit in the over-fifties using the Olympics as a springboard to encourage all of us in Dorset to be more active. It is also a repository of information on finding organisations with whom to find new, or indeed old, activities to help one keep active (see panel at the end of this piece for for more information on the Phoenix Legacy). Whether one is living at home or in a home, the fact remains that activity is inextricably linked to health and happiness. There are many other aspects to happiness, however, and one of these is one's state of mind – which is good news for optimists, but

then again any news would be good news for them – positive thinking is good for you. A key study in 2002 by Maruta et al. showed that pessimists had a lower quality of life and belowaverage physical and mental health. The study concluded by saying that 'wellness of being is not just physical but attitudinal. How you perceive what goes on around you, and how you interpret it, may have an impact on your longevity, and it could

Being busy and mentally alert, makes physical exercise easier, which in turn promotes better circulation, cardio-vascular health, which in turn aid brain function

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he Old Vicarage Care Home has aimed for excellence for nearly thirty years and is still striving to achieve the best care in Dorset. This week some of the staff travelled to Worcester to receive an award for Gold Standard End of Life Care. The home was awarded Beacon status, which is the highest level of award. The home would like to thank all the relatives, friends and medical staff who helped us achieve this award. Recently some staff travelled to Belgium, with Partners in Care, to visit a care setting where they acted out being a resident cared for by Belgian health-care workers. The experience has improved their understanding of the importance of recognising the dignity, choice and anxiety involved in people moving into a care setting. Our new website will be available in the next couple of weeks: www.theoldvicarage-leigh.co.uk. Do take a look to find out more about The Old Vicarage Care Home.


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affect the quality of your later years.' In short, if you are a pessimist, you may well not live as longâ&#x20AC;Ś it will just feel longer. However, if you are not a positive person, and feeling worried about the potential damage you are doing to yourself, do not be alarmed; there are techniques to help restore mental wellbeing through positivity. The beneďŹ ts of a good attitude extend further than just feeling a bit happier â&#x20AC;&#x201C; your whole mind, emotionally and cognitively as well as your physical body will be feeling better for it too. The phenomena of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;use it or lose itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; with regard to cognitive function is well known, but what is less clear is how it actually happens. Using British data collected in the 'Cognitive Function and Aging Study', a team at Sydney's Brain and Mind Research Institute analysed thousands of peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lifestyles and numerous brains. Whilst there was no correlation between a cognitive lifestyle score (CLS) and markers for Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disease (such as the neurological tangles and plaques), differences were seen with other markers. For example, in men with a better CLS the microscopic blood vessels in the brain were in better condition than those with a lower CLS. The condition of the cerebrovasculature is important when considering strokes and vascular dementia, so in a purely physical way as well as a ďŹ gurative way, the brain is like a muscle. It is possible to get a better and stronger blood supply with increased training and use. The idea of a brain gym is an appropriate analogy as, in women, a higher CLS was also linked to an increased brain weight â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which is clear evidence in support of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;use it or lose itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; idea. In both sexes, the frontal lobe cortex was thicker and had a greater neuronal density; this means that the processing power of this important area of the brain is much increased. However, there is no single neurological change responsible for the various

Activities like a game of chess increases brain usage, but also, and just as crucially, encourages social interaction with others

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â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;use it or lose itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; phenomena; determining exactly how keeping mentally active reduces the risk of dementia and poor memory will keep researchers mentally active for many years to come. Just how important keeping mentally active is to an individual probably cannot be understated. What is less understood perhaps is how important it is to the country. Mental health problems cost taxpayers ÂŁ77 billion a year, which includes the impact of sub-clinical mental-health problems (for example, when someoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mental health is not optimal, but they are not being seen by a doctor). Mental health inďŹ&#x201A;uences physical health and a number of social factors including employability, relationships and crime. The Department of Health recently said that up to 50% of mental health issues could be preventable (Flourishing People, Connected Communities, 2009). Getting people to take responsibility for their mental health in the same way we do for our teeth, physical ďŹ tness and general health could help reduce the number and impact of these preventable cases and, not only positively affect the lives of the people concerned, but also the ďŹ nancial pressure on the NHS and social care budgets. Just as mental health inďŹ&#x201A;uences physical health, so the reverse is also true. Physical activity improves circulation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and the brain is by far the biggest consumer of the body's resources by mass. The brain only makes up two percent of our body weight, but uses a ďŹ fth of all the blood pumped by the heart. Another good reason for trying to undertake sufďŹ cient physical activity is that regular exercise improves sleeping patterns â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and there are very good reasons that sleep deprivation is used as a form of interrogative torture â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and it also permits someone to get up more, get out more and thus to do more. If this conjures unattainable visions of jogging and other sporting activities, there are plenty of alternatives. The theme

of Mental Health Awareness week this year, for example, was 'Doing Good Does You Good'. Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, the week promoted better mental wellbeing through helping others. The idea was simple: performing acts of kindness, volunteering, even paying a compliment, are effective ways of improving one's wellbeing. Another truism to gain scientiďŹ c credence is 'it is better to give than to receive' is true. Against a backdrop of austerity and time-pressures, people often donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ďŹ nd the time to volunteer yet spend much of their time suffering from less than optimal mental health. The message from this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s awareness week is that even doing small things, and which take little time, can make a positive difference to your mental wellbeing. In a Mental

Gardening, especially when performed as either a voluntary task for others, or in a social context, has positive mental and physical effects


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Health Foundation survey, 80% of people said that being kind had a positive inďŹ&#x201A;uence on their health. How do you feel when you have given your time or done a kind deed for someone else? It really doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take much to ignite that feeling of wellbeing, and could add such value to society as a whole if everyone was to adopt this approach to maintaining his or her wellbeing. Volunteering is now being commissioned by the public sector, but the beneďŹ ts are greater than just the economic ones. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson: 'No man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself'. As well as activities designed to make you feel good, there is an element of 'you are what you eat' to wellbeing. Even to those who remember being force-fed spoonfuls of cod-liver oil when young, there is no getting away from the fact that ďŹ sh oil (with its omega fatty acids), has long been dubbed as essential brain-power food. Although in trials that have been conducted for only a limited time â&#x20AC;&#x201C; so no signiďŹ cant beneďŹ ts have yet been identiďŹ ed when ďŹ sh-oil tablets have been taken for three-anda-half years â&#x20AC;&#x201C; experts have said that longer-term studies are needed to understand the speciďŹ c possible cognitive beneďŹ ts of diet. Just as calcium levels in infant diets can lead to striking differences in mental and physical development in later life, so we might expect the beneďŹ cial aspects of 'brain food' to take a while to feed through. The workings of the brain are so complex that often any impact is seen after only decades of lifestyle adjustments. The human brain has about 100 billion neurons â&#x20AC;&#x201C; roughly the number of stars that there are in the Milky Way; it is probably no surprise that the functions of the brain are not yet completely understood. A healthy lifestyle is something that has to be maintained over long periods of time, and needs to include lots of little

A good night's sleep can make an incredible difference to how much one can achieve mentally the next day. Physical exercise helps with improving sleep.

things, which all add up to improve cognitive function. Having said that, though, a healthy diet generally will improve physical health, which permits more activity, better sleep and so on. Whilst there is no quick ďŹ x or single food that will keep us all in rude health, that is not a reason to avoid trying the little things. The wider beneďŹ ts of oily ďŹ sh as an important part of a healthy diet are still very clear, and dietary experts recommend two portions per week; luckily Dorset is well served by ďŹ shermen. Ageism is common in many parts of society â&#x20AC;&#x201C; particularly in the workplace. There appears to be a wealth of scientiďŹ c evidence to back a perceived decline of mental function : neural processing, synapses, cell death, memory, multi-tasking, reaction times, distraction and so on. But in a new book, Major Issues in Cognitive Aging, Timothy Salthouse challenges these preconceptions. Some scientiďŹ c research suggests that

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We can give the peace of mind you and your family need. Friary House is a small family-run residential home with experienced staff. All our rooms are large and bright with en-suite facilities. We have a large garden with a vegetable patch, fruit trees and a large decking area to sit out and enjoy. We are now able to visit you in your own home to complete a new client pre-assessment, required by the Care Quality Commission. This can give peace of mind by allowing rapid admission to our dedicated short-term care room for anyone in the community who may need it in the future to enable them to return home, in event of an operation, a fall, a carer needing a break or an emergency situation. Prices start at ÂŁ75.00 for a 24-hour stay.

Tel: 01305 787811 or check our website www.friaryhouseweymouth.co.uk 90

A purpose-built nursing home run by Christchurch Housing Society, a charitable organisation. Delightfully set in landscaped gardens. Individualised care provided by well trained and motivated staďŹ&#x20AC;. Well equipped to provide for all nursing needs. Short stay and respite care by arrangement. Very attractive fee rates. En-suite rooms available.

Tel. ď&#x2122;&#x192;ď&#x2122;&#x201E;ď&#x2122;&#x2021;ď&#x2122;&#x2026;ď&#x2122;&#x2C6; ď&#x2122;&#x2026;ď&#x2122;&#x160;ď&#x2122;&#x2026;ď&#x2122;&#x152;ď&#x2122;&#x201E;ď&#x2122;&#x152; Please contact Jude Powell, Matron/ Manager, Silverways Nursing Home, Silver Way, Highcliffe. Bhď&#x2122;&#x2026;ď&#x2122;&#x2020; ď&#x2122;&#x2021;LJ

â&#x20AC;&#x153;...where quality of care counts...â&#x20AC;? ~ Situated in the Heart of Poole. ~ Easily accessible. ~ Tastefully decorated. ~ Three independent specialist units.

~ Tailored and individual care plans with a person-centred care approach. ~ Lounges with beautiful views of Poole Harbour. ~ Comprehensive choice of varied menus oÄ&#x203A;ered by the on-site chef. ~ Dedicated Activities Coordinators promoting quality of life and stimulation.

ncludes an E ÇťElderly entally nÄ&#x2122;rmÇź unitÇ° specially equipped and staÄ&#x203A;ed to care for individuals with AlÂŁheimerČ&#x201A;sÇ° Dementia and other memory aÄ&#x203A;ecting conditions


Using Y ou r Direct Payments... We can help you to get the best out of life sure how to use my “DirectI wasn’t Payments but Carewatch gave me the support and guidance I needed. Now I feel confident and happy, doing the things that I want to do, when I want to do them.

For further information contact Heathcote on 01929 423778 or e-mail on heathcoterch@fsmail.net

For more information please call: Carewatch Wessex T: 01747 826505 The Farmhouse | Kingsmead Business Park Gillingham | Dorset | SP8 5FB Carewatch Christchurch T: 01202 474300 Unit E | Mulberry Court | 2 Station Road Christchurch | Dorset | BH23 1PS Carewatch West Dorset T: 01202 687687 26 Parkstone Road | Poole | Dorset | BH15 2PG Carewatch Dorchester T: 01305 263480 10 Pomeroy Buildings | Grove Trading Estate Dorchester | Dorset | DT1 1ST

Photo: Graffity

Heathcote is a small specialist care home for those who suffer with memory problems brought on by Alzheimers and also the less well-known forms of Dementia. Our aim at Heathcote Care Home is to improve significantly the lives of people with various forms of dementia through the development and provision of specialist care and support. The person-centred care and support we give aims to open up the life choices of our residents again and give them back a quality of life they may have lost. Our staff are experienced and trained in caring for this very specific client group.

Carewatch is one of the UK’s leading providers of home care. For almost two decades, we have helped many thousands of people get the best out of life and maintain their independence within the comfort of their own homes and community. Direct Payments are a Government initiative that allows individuals to purchase their own care and support, providing more choice and control over the care they receive. We offer advice and guidance for those who receive Direct Payments and can provide you with the care and support you need, when you want it. Your local branch, can support you, or a loved one with: s Personal care and support s Domestic duties and shopping s Escorting to hospital and doctors’ appointments s Respite care s Providing companionship and reassurance s Help and advice with direct payments and personal budgets.


Judge for yourself...

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why wheelchair passengers choose a  converted car

The Phoenix Legacy and Mind Your Head Challenge

Although the long-term benefits of oily fish on Alzheimer's have yet to be shown, healthy eating does have a positive effect on the general health of the brain

it is, well, the power of suggestion that makes us believe these preconceptions. Salthouse argues that they skew our perception and expectations of aging, because of the widespread public belief in cognitive decline. Going even further, Salthouse presents evidence that, by some measures, the brain actually improves with age. The skills and associated neurocircuitry of empathy etc are learned with age. Dr Gary Small, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of UCLA Centre on Aging, says anticipation of problems also improves with age, along with much-sought after wisdom. A degree of patience can't hurt either. So what is it that causes the cognitive decline in many older people? A key factor may well be the combined absence of stimulation and challenge. sPhoenix Legacy volunteer Anya de Iongh blogs on wellbeing at www.mindyourheadchallenge.org.uk

The purpose of the Mind Your Head Challenge, at Kingston Maurward on 12 August from 1.00-5.00, is to enable greater mental stimulation in the over-fifties through the promotion of ‘Brain Cells*’ – organisations and events which provide mind stimulating activities of all kinds; to improve awareness through promotion and better communication links of what is required to keep the ageing brain healthy; to train business leaders to take a more pro-active approach to maintaining the mental well-being of their employees and to bring worldclass information to Dorset with an annual Mind Your Head conference and exhibition. At the challenge – there is a £3 entry fee as this is a fundraising event for future activities – eight-time World Memory Champion, Dominic O’Brien will demonstrate techniques on how to unleash your memory, there will be an opportunity to meet Valerie Singleton, former BBC presenter and now businesswoman and a chance to witness Raymond Keene OBE, the chess Grand Master, author and writer for The Times, challenging twenty Dorset chess players at the same time. * A 'Brain Cell' can be any organisation or group providing stimulating activity for the mind and social interaction; such as chess, card and board games, computer training, quiz challenges, crosswords, adult learning, memory challenges, and so on. 'Brain Cells' will be encouraged to connect with each other, so people are challenged to try something new, to make new friends and to share knowledge. To find out more about the event or how to get involved in activities in Dorset, call the Phoenix Legacy on 01305 261540, email info@ phoenixlegacy.org.uk or visit www.phoenixlegacy.org.uk

The Malthouse Residential Care Home The Malthouse is ideally situated in the rural, peaceful outskirts of the Dorset town of Gillingham in Bay Road.

Supporting you when you need us most

The historic building has a long and colourful history dating back to the 16th century and has a very beautiful, secluded rear garden which offers a tranquil area of harmony with nature including water features. Areas with ample seating and level walkways are provided to give both visitors and residents the opportunity to enjoy this area of seclusion. A courtesy car is provided for local journeys and trips to the shops, day trips, afternoons out for a cream tea and trips to local places of interest. We also offer, on a regular basis, gentle exercise and mental stimulation such as armchair keep fit sessions, quizzes, and musical afternoons. The independent living units are either apartments within the house or purpose-built lodges in the grounds. They all offer one- or two-bedroom accommodation, finished to a very high standard and all are fitted with the nurse call system should help be required. Why not pop in for a chat and an informal tour? The Malthouse Residential Care & Respite Home Bay Road, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 4EW Tel: 01747 822667 Fax: 01747 821270 www.themalthouse-gillingham.co.uk

Many people prefer the familiar surrounding of their own home when they are recovering from illness or injury, but certain daily tasks are hard or even impossible to do when you need to rest and recuperate. This is where Abicare can help. We provide an extra pair of hands to help with your personal or domestic care needs when you need us most. For further information please call 01202 880697 or email dorset@abicare.co.uk




Dorset Directory



(excluding VAT - Months to be consecutive)

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By Roger Guttridge. The illustration is by Becky Unwin To ignore, or not to ignore, that is the question: whether ’tis nobler to mention the slings and arrows of the home Olympics that are about to unfold or to pretend they’re not happening, as some non-sporting types would possibly prefer. I took my wife to the pub to mull it over. Not just any pub but Gulliver’s Tavern at Kinson, to whose unexpected link to Olympic history I will return shortly. What happened next was like an excerpt from the Two Ronnies’ famous Fork ‘andles sketch. ‘A Coke and a bitter lemon, please,’ I said to the barmaid. She poured the Coke and placed a pot of sliced lemon next to it. ‘Is that all?’ she said, implying that as there were two of us we might at least have ordered two drinks. ‘And a bitter lemon, please,’ I repeated. Puzzled if not mildly irritated, the female Ronnie impersonator pointed to the pot of sliced lemon on the bar. ‘No, not a “bit o’ lemon” but a “bitter lemon”. It’s a drink,’ I said, adding a thin slice of sarcasm. ‘We don’t have that,’ she replied. As I ordered an alternative option, a fellow muttered ‘They only get hardened drinkers in ’ere.’ Those drinkers probably once included the man who gave the former Dolphin its current name – the smuggler Isaac Gulliver. Unless he was the landlord, of course. There are some who think he may have been, and he certainly owned property aplenty in Kinson and Longham around 230 years ago. If smuggling had been an Olympic sport, Isaac would have won gold medals, but it wasn’t the Gulliver connection from which I was seeking inspiration. My quarry on this occasion was a proper Olympian – Britain’s very first Olympic track and field champion, in fact. Charles Bennett, born at Shapwick, near Wimborne, in 1870, returned from the 1900 Paris Olympics with two world records and three medals after coming first in the 1500 metres and 5000 metres relay and second in the 4000 metres steeplechase. His son, Reg, told me some years ago that Charles was carried shoulderhigh through the streets of Wimborne after one of his triumphs. Yet the hero of 1900 was largely forgotten until a member of Wimborne Athletics Club did some digging about twenty years ago. Then, in 2000, as the Sydney Olympics got underway, the 100th anniversary of Bennett’s Paris triumph was commemorated by the Charles Bennett Mile, a star-studded road race in his native Shapwick. We also know that Bennett worked as an engine driver at Bournemouth Central Station and that from 1903 to 1918 he was landlord of the Dolphin at Kinson – hence my visit to the renamed pub. Scouring the walls of Gulliver’s Tavern, I saw old pictures of cricketers, huntsmen, fish, ducks, sailing ships and even, to my slight amusement, a framed page from my 1984-published book Dorset Smugglers (page 41, for those interested in detail). But not a mention of the former landlord who once made sporting history for Great Britain. Which is a shame. Still, at least they know how to slice a bit o’ lemon.


*** Animal obituaries are usually reserved for champion racehorses, canine heroes and zoo celebrities. Not this one. I am sad to report that Woodland Robin, the subject of this column in the April 2012 issue, has gone to that great robin nest in the sky. This cleverest of little birds was at his busiest, visiting many times a day to collect bundles of three, four or five mealworms for his hungry brood in the wood opposite my house. As he has done for the last two-and-a-half years, he would sit on the telephone wire outside my first floor office window to request food, perch outside the living room window if I was not in the office or fly straight at us to attract attention as we opened the front door. The sparrowhawk flew low and fast through the gardens, striking with surprise like a fighter plane coming out of the sun. Woodland Robin didn’t stand a chance. He probably didn’t see what hit him, but sadly my wife did. It was all over in a moment and the splash of robin red she saw in the predator’s talons offered a literal illustration of that most familiar of wildlife clichés: ‘Nature – red in tooth and claw.’ ‘That’s just nature’s way,’ people told us. ‘He has probably fed a nestling sparrowhawk.’ We know that, of course, but it was still distressing to lose a feathered friend who had become as precious as any pet – a creature who was endearingly cheeky, endlessly resourceful and displayed almost total trust in us from the outset. The sight of his more timid mate looking for him was hard to watch but she soon became more purposeful and increasingly willing to accept our mealworm offerings, ferrying them by the beak-load to her one-parent family. Perhaps she could have fledged her brood unaided but we certainly made it easier for her.

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Profile for Dorset Life – The Dorset Magazine Ltd

Dorset Life August 2012 (Issue 401)  

In this issue Dorset's habitats: the wild heathlands Behind the scenes at the Melplash Show Punch and Judy Professor Mark Paulton In the foo...

Dorset Life August 2012 (Issue 401)  

In this issue Dorset's habitats: the wild heathlands Behind the scenes at the Melplash Show Punch and Judy Professor Mark Paulton In the foo...