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A small new area has been created to the right of the campsite. The two electrical hookups were put in last year, but I have added some grass at the other end for tents. It has been all fenced in (1) and mown ready (2) for the first tent to use the spot (3). In readiness for the second long weekend in May we did some repair work on the drive (4) using the road planings which had set like cement (5). Someone between the showers enjoyed marshmallows on a “football” fire (6). As we have not had sheep out in the orchards yet to eat off the tall grass we had a path strimmed all the way out to the bridge over the River Char for walkers (7). One of our caravanners had a “near miss” on a main road near Ringwood when a foreign lorry over took them and broke off the metal work at one end and broke a window. (8) If the lorry had been any closer it would have tipped over the caravan and car, and there would have been a very nasty accident. A very energetic cyclist arrived for a one night stay after travelling 40 miles from Wimborne. It was her aim to cycle from Dover to Portsmouth, averaging 50 miles a day, in order to raise money for an African charity trying to save the Rhino.(9)


When the goslings reached a few weeks old they were put out to grass. We carried them or put them in boxes to the grass as they lacked the confidence to walk as it was some distance from their goose house. (10, 11). They were put in a circular run and part of it was covered with a tarpaulin to shade them from the blazing sun (to avoid sunstroke) and also to avoid them getting wet (to avoid getting chilled). They have grown at a rate of knots during the last month and try to chew everything in sight (12). They are very good at untying knots, and love to have a splash around before going to bed for the night (13)

The cows have been out to grass for a few weeks now and should all hopefully have calves within the next 6 weeks. We don’t know why these lambs decided to have a race across a field (14)


Unfortunately there is another farm up for sale in the village. (15) The sale will be by private treaty which means that it will not go to auction. The estate agents have given buyers the choice of purchasing it in one lot (with the hope that it will continue as a working farm) or having it split up into several lots with the farm house attached to one lot. If the latter happens then it will cease being a farm for ever. It is expected that local farmers or perhaps city people will snap up the smaller lots and either add it to their own farms or with city people have a few acres in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is hoped that the buyer of the farm house and a few acres will purchase it to live in rather than have it as a holiday let or second home thus not contributing to the life of the community.


I have just been awarded a plaque for having a Wildlife Friendly Garden. It was necessary to submit to the Dorset Wildlife Trust photos from the following criteria – Habitats, Planting and Management. My photos included a nectar rich flower border and bushes (16), wildflower meadow (17), long grass area, (18) a mature native tree, (19) bird bath, (20) and a log pile and/or substantial decaying tree stump (21). I will now have an excuse to have long grass and weeds in my garden! I bought several new dahlias this year to add to the other ones, and the new ones have been the first to flower (22). All the pumpkin, marrow and sunflower plants are now in the garden (23, 24). I did try selling some marrow plants, but no one seemed to want them. We kept pulling up this large shrub with strong ties to stop it taking over half the garden, but eventually decided the only way forward was to cut off half of it to give some light to the dahlias and chrysants. (25)


Dorset Art Weeks was on from 24 May to 8 June. During this time it was a great opportunity to see artists of all kinds in their own studios. There were just over a thousand artists involved and each one had to pay about £200 to take part in this mammoth event. A very comprehensive book was produced outlining the 13 geographical areas, the venues and maps. The book and visiting each artist were free to the public. I had time to visit New House Farm Pottery, in the village of Broadoak which adjoins Whitchurch (26, 27, 28), Geoff and Jane Townson who displayed paintings and textiles at Charmouth (29, 30), Caroline Barnes of Whitchurch who exhibited her framed porcelain tiles (31) and Sue Warren who showed her paintings and print works

I attended a Rogation Service at St Pauls, Broadoak in May. The Rogation Days were first instituted in the 5th century by a French bishop. The word “rogation” comes from the Latin rogare which means “to ask”, and originally the Rogation Days were four days set apart to bless the fields and ask for God’s mercy on all of creation. During our open air service we started at the church and walked around the small hamlet to bless a cornfield, a village green, a water supply, a pasture, a farmyard and a garden, ending the event with coffee, tea and cakes. (32, 33)

The fete season starts in May and the Wootton Fitzpaine one is always worth visiting. Besides the usual stalls there were the Monkton Wyld Morris Dancers (34) Guess the names of the two lambs [Freddie and Elsie!!] (from Crabbs Bluntshay [organized by the Young Farmers’ Club]) (35), vintage cars (36) stationery engines (37) and vintage tractors (38). The vintage cars included an Austin Healy Sprite, Triumph Spitfire and another Austin. The stationery engines included several Listers and the vintage tractors included an International 414 (1960s), a Nuffield (1960s) a Field Marshall (1940s) a Fordson (1960s) and possibly a Wheelhorse (mini tractor)


Bridport is fortunate to have the only foundry in the whole of Dorset. (39) There has been a foundry on this site for over 300 years. It changed hands in the 1990s when a Sussex couple bought it. Their two sons took it over in 1998 who have made very significant investments in furnace equipment over the last 16 years. The Foundry bought Plastow Traction Engines from Stuart Models ten years ago, and then bought Stuart Models (40) two years ago and had everything shipped over from Guernsey. The 3 inch Burrell Traction Engine is an example of one of their models. (41) Vital equipment at the foundry is the inductor inverter for the furnace and the furnace body (42, 43). The bicycle firm Mud, Sweat and Gears rents part of the building.


The castle was built in the early 1200s by William de Mandeville, who was created Baron of Marshwood in 1205. Near the castle stood a Norman church. The last marriage to take place there was in the early 1600s. The castle, church and two acres of land were enclosed within a moat. All that can be seen of the moat today is a duck pond (44) The whole area was enclosed within an extensive deer park. The Vale of Marshwood at one time held a unique position in the county of Dorset. It went by the name of “The Honour of Marshwood”, the only “honour” in the county of Dorset and it was the head of a barony. The lords of the manor had a renowned lineage adding to the importance of the castle. A further reason for the area having country influence was the fact that the Vale had a substantial number of men of county standing including the Colmers of Colmer, the Brokes of Blundel’s-hay (Blunt shay) and the Lutterals of Marshwood Park. So why did Marshwood Castle and the area lose their importance? It seems that all was well in 1640 but by 1660 the area was entirely changed. The Lord of the Manor, Lord Pullet, and other local gentry had simply been loyal to their king. Those who had not given their lives had given their money to King Charles I and Charles II, and Parliament had sequestered what was left of their estates. In the general anarchy of the Civil War, the deer had been killed, the parks disappeared, the church had fallen down and there was no gentry left to repair it. If it was not for the survival of such names as Higher Park Farm, Lower Park Farm, Purcombe (Park-ham), Buck House, Tap House (45) (where it is thought the sluice gates for the moat were situated), Lodge House, Mandeville Stoke Farm and Hinkhams (Valley of the Hine [deer]) no one in the twenty first century would ever dream that the Norman Barony and its important place in the county had ever existed. These ruins are all that is left of the castle today. (46, 47, 48)

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