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Maintenance work and tidying up continues this month with new sign boards erected and a new cover to the chemical disposal unit. (1 & 2) Trellis has been placed along the path to protect the snowdrops and daffodils from being trodden on.. (3) Alisha has been helping me with tidying up and cleaning. (4, 5 & 6) The brave souls who came just after Christmas returned recently with their family in tow and woke up to snow one morning. (7) During the February Half Term holiday I had several people book in. The whole area was shrouded in mist when I went to check in this unit.(8)

MAYDOWN FARM, BURTON BRADSTOCK

I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours this morning talking to Pete and Gill Mayo who run Kennon and North Hill Farms, trading under the name of Maydown Farm. The Mayo family moved here in 1976. From the farmhouse they have wonderful views of the Jurassic Coast and the Bride Valley. (9) They now farm over 120 acres in the area and have a variety of animals on their grassland. There are between 40-50 pigs which include Large Blacks, Saddle Backs, Hampshire and Oxford Sandy and Blacks. (10) Their boar is a Landrace. With sheep they farm a small flock of Pure Herwicks which produce a very tasty lean meat, and a larger flock of Mules, Dorset and Suffolk Crosses. The total number being 300 ewes. These sheep lamb twice a year. (11) The 10 rams include pure Herwicks and Dorset Horns. The 20 cattle on the farm consist of a beef suckler herd of Herefords, Friesians, and British Blues. (12) The soil is mainly clay. It was really brought back memories seeing bantams and guinea fowls wandering around the garden. (13)

Pete and Gill run the Post Office (14, 15) in the village of Burton Bradstock and have their farm shop at the back of the premises. (16, 17) They try to stock as much local produce as possible from producers in the west Dorset area. All the preparation for selling the meat for the shop is done in their own processing room at the farm. On this occasion Gill was making sausages (18) and Laura (their daughter) was bagging up meat and putting it into the vacuum packing machine (19 & 20) They sometime rent out the space for other local farmers to cut up their meat. (21) After having a break in, in both their farm yard and the Post Office the Mayos have updated their security equipment. (22)

The Mayo family attend Farmers’ Markets (23) and Food Fayres with their products and Pete is involved in the running of the Dorset Farmers’ Markets.

MY EXHIBITION ABOUT THE WHITCHURCH WAR MEMORIAL

Readers may remember that I started this at the beginning of 2014, being the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1. After doing much research through appropriate websites, and with the help of some other avid family historians I managed to find out the following about each of the 16 fallen men on the memorial and the one on the plaque inside the church: rank, service, service number, date and age at death, which cemetery he was buried in and who his parents were. After 6 months I had to shelve the project but since January this year I have set a date for the exhibition being 21st and 22nd October this year and have started work on it again. This phase covers research on finding out whether there is anyone living in the local area who has connections with the names of the memorial. There are still great nieces and nephews around who have furnished me with information and photos.

I have joined the Bridport Library to use their computers for census, birth and marriage records. I have also dug out family trees I did from 1999 onwards and contacted distant cousins and friends overseas – and it is amazing the links I have found. To date I have done family tree outlines for servicemen called Peach, Smith, Bugler, Barnes and Lumbard. There is still work to be done on Moore, Jefford, Galpin, Hansford, Legg, Harris, Powell, Taylor, Elliott and Cookson. People have been very kind in sending me photos to show links with the Smith, Bugler and Wood families including (24, 25, 26, 27, 28 & 29) I will have to try do most of the ground work before Easter as I may not have the energy to do much during a hopefully busy camping season. After my request for information in 2014 I acquired photos of two more servicemen (30 & 31). I have been a family historian since 1999 and I already have a lot of information on the Wood and Barnes families. Two service men from both these families fell in WW1.

ANNUAL SKITTLES EVENING

This was held by the Ramblers Group at the Pilot Boat, Lyme Regis in January. Skittles date back to at least the 14th century when mention was made in manuscripts of a game called Kayles (from the French “quilles” or skittles). Over the centuries the game has usually been played at public houses. In general players take turns to throw wooden balls down a lane (the alley) at the end of which are 9 wooden skittles, in an attempt to knock them all over. (32). The alley is around 24 ft long and each turn starts with all the skittles [including the king pin (the tall one in the middle)] standing and consists of three throws down the alley. If all the pins are knocked down in one go, they are reset. The maximum score in one turn is 27.

On this social evening Ron was in charge of keeping the scores, when people had 3 turns each during the first part of the evening. (33) My score was pretty low as I play so infrequently. A powerful measured throw (34) usually gains a good score. In our spare time when we weren’t throwing skittle balls we had a quiz to complete. The answers to the 20 questions spelt out “mad dogs and English men”. With a little trading with other groups for answers my group got 3rd prize with 17 points! (35). A delicious meal was served at half time including vegetarian, non chilli, non garlic and “normal” dishes (36)

The second half consisted of a “killer” game when we were each given 3 “lives”. The first player to throw had 9 skittles to aim at, the second one had what the first one didn’t knock down, and so on. When it got down to only three skittles left it took many turns even to knock one skittle down. After three “misses” you lost all your lives! It didn’t take long for this to happen to me!

FAREWELL TO OUR PARISH CLERK AT THE CHAR VALLEY PARISH COUNCIL

John West had been our clerk for two years when he resigned due to other commitments. The new clerk, Annette, was invited along to learn the ropes before he left. We gave John “a send off” at his last official meeting at the James Hargreaves Hall, Morcombelake, presenting him with a present, and then we tucked into nibblies and wine or soft drinks. (37)

A SHORT BREAK IN SUSSEX

The only time I can get away from Crabbs Bluntshay Campsite is during January or February. This year I took a short break to stay with an old college friend near Pulborough in West Sussex in January. We had no planned itinerary for my stay but we managed to visit the late 16th century Petworth House (38) to see paintings by Turner. On entering the building we had to go through the old kitchens decked out in” old fashioned” kitchen utensils, (similar to many that I have at home) (39 & 40) and walked past a kitchen range, which was a bigger version of what my grandparents cooked on in my farmhouse kitchen in the distant past. (41) We also went to see the Arundel Wetland Centre, surrounded by the beauty of the South Downs, and embarked on a Wetlands Discovery Boat Safari (42, 43 & 44). There were lots of interesting boards to read (45, 46 & 47) and we saw some Bewick’s Swans. (48) We also espied a beautiful kingfisher nearby, but it was impossible to get a decent photo of it. We visited several hides to watch wildlife, and it was interesting to note that visitors are encouraged to write down their findings. (49)

On another day we walked around the RSPB Pulborough Brooks nature reserve. One interesting feature we passed en route was a minibeast mansion (50). Again the visual aids dotted about were brilliant (51 & 52) and also the “bird boxes” which housed “worksheets” for visitors to complete. (53) By the time we had finished our visit the light was disappearing and I just managed to photograph the sunset. (54)

GEOLOGY TRIP TO EGGARDON HILL

On this particular geology trip the whole of West Dorset was shrouded in fog. The first part of the day was spent at Eypes Mouth and West Bay where the rocks that we were studying could hardly been seen! We then drove over to Eggardon where we seemed to be above the clouds! (55) This hill is located on chalk uplands about 4 miles from Bridport. It stands 827 ft above sea level and provides panoramic views to the south, north and west. The southern half of the hill is owned by the National Trust (56) with the northern part in private ownership. Eggardon derives its name from an Old English place name, meaning “the hill belonging to Eohhere”. Deer seemed unperturbed by people walking in the area as were the shire horses on the hill. (57 & 58)

From about 300 BC it was used as a hill fort – an Iron Age defended settlement (59). There are two Bronze Age barrows within the Iron Age fort. It was interesting to see that the fort suffered a substantial landslide of the ramparts here during its Iron Age life (probably during its construction).

Looking down into the valley you could see where the chalk ended and the clay began as the tree line started at the spring line. (60) Terrecettes were in evidence too. (61) This is a type of landform, a ridge on a hillside formed when saturated soil particles expand, then contract as they dry. This causes the soil to move slowly downhill.

Some of the history of the area is very interesting. The notorious smuggler Isaac Gulliver (1745-1822) (who owned Eggardon Hill Farm) is reputed to have planted a stand of pine trees on Eggardon Hill to provide an aid to navigation for his ships as they approached the Dorset coast.

There is said to be a phantom white deer that lives on the hill and which brings bad luck to all who see her. In the days when horses provided the power for carts and carriages, the hill was notorious for the fact that horses would unaccountably refuse to pass over it. Of course, the driver could see nothing, but the horses would not budge. Dogs were also liable to turn tail and flee when asked to walk up the hill. Nowadays the spookiness continues in that motorists have reported that their engines will cut out, only to start again without difficulty a few minutes later. A relative who used to ride her motorbike to college over Eggardon said that she always felt uneasy travelling on this route as it was supposed to be haunted.

Whether this is a coincidence or not it seems that Eggardon Hill is the place in Dorset where UFOs and flying saucers are seen more often than anywhere else.

ACKOWLEDGMENTS

Thank you to the people who have helped me with the research for this newsletter: Bill Taylor. Joan Symonds, Yvonne Burton, Chris Bailey, Debbie Denton, Philip Hardwill, Audrey Smith, the Mayo Family and Eleanor Studley.

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