Organised by Terry, this was a circular walk starting and finishing at Pymore. Rendezvous was at Pymore Mills, but those of us concerned about sustenance at the end of the walk chose to leave our transport at the Pymore Inn. Just as well, since we discovered that the gate to Pymore Mills is locked at 7.00pm! We paused at the bridge over the Brit to admire the work of Richard Gillingham and his neighbours in clearing the silt and giant Himalayan Balsam from the entrance to the fish ladder. We then proceeded north, noticing as we glanced back how well the Pymore development is maturing. Soon we found ourselves walking down the main runway of Bridport "airport". Set on a gentle rise above Pymore this was a place few us knew existed. Apparently it is home to regular displays of both full-sized and model aircraft. From here there are splendid views across the hills of West Dorset, and even the stark silver roofs of the industrial sheds at Gore Cross are softened by the surrounding trees.
Heading the wrong way!
Deep in conversation we strode forward trusting in Terry's reconnaissance, only to find that we had missed the path due to vegetation concealing the gateway.
The crucial gap to...: ... the right track:
We retraced our steps and some discussion and head scratching ensued before we set off again.
In the next field we encountered a herd of overly inquisitive cows, with only the single strand of an electrified fence to separate us. No pictures since John, our official photographer, rushed up from his position at the rear to offer his cow herding skills, should they have been required. Fortunately they were not!
Looking east: Heading north:
We continued northwards, some of us wondering when we would make the turn that Terry assured us would lead us back to join the river for the home stretch to Pymore. Finally, after passing through a couple of farms and hamlets, we reached the apple orchards split by the muddy footpath which signalled that we were on the right track.
The orchard: Muddy obstacle:
And so, down a sloping hillside, there was the river...
Next to a river (Brit)at last:
...as well as another herd of inquisitive cows; John assured us that despite appearances they were harmless - as long as we kept moving while he shooed them away!
Billy the bullock:
Some of us sped up and the group became stretched out over some distance. Those of us towards the rear were lucky to catch a glimpse of a family group of roe deer some way across the fields.
Roe deer at dusk:
The last lap now, and as the stragglers caught up...
On the home straight:
...we were able to share the experience of witnessing a spectacular sunset:
The final stretch took us though an avenue of Himalayan Balsam...
Himalayan balsam: Pub almost in sight:
...until we reached Pymore Lane and a well-deserved and convivial supper at the Pymore Inn.
This was a really excellent walk organised by Terri & Pat. We set off from the Marquis of Lorne a little later than planned after having chatted to Charles Dutton, who met us on his way home from North Devon. The rather grey evening did not promise much but hopefully any rain would hold off. Out onto the old railway track heading NE towards Maiden Newton.
Along the railway track:
Soon, we were at the meadow, near Wytherston, where the pyramid orchids are found. By this time, the sky had brightened considerably, with the sun almost casting shadows. This really highlighted a spectacular display of orchids and other wild flowers, filling a meadow that had been left fallow to protect the carpet of grasses.
Orchid spotters: Orchids: More orchids:
Reluctantly leaving the marvellous display, we headed towards Wytherston, doubling back at the last moment, over the tributary and into the lush grazing meadow beyond. By now the direction was SW, into the setting sun, with glorious Dorset rolling hills ahead of us, and the river trickling along on our left.
Rolling hills: Mangerton tributary:
Soon we were upon the offending stile, that, two years previously had been closed off by barbed wire. But now there was even a robust little wooden bridge over the swampy section to assist walkers!
That stile again!: Up and over:
Terri the leader: The stile:
Up over the hill we saw a rare white, (nameless) flower in abundance (answers on a post-card, please) and then there was a pleasant ramble through pastureland down to Powerstock.
Rare flower: Flower detail:
Savouring the view:
Then we crossed the Mangerton proper and climbed back up the grassy hill to the Marquis which supplied an excellent meal to end the day.
One last hill:
Previous walks - 2008 and earlier