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The firepit was as popular as ever (1) with the family in this case enjoying cooked chocolate bananas. (2) Another family was having a snack before their main meal was cooked on another firepit. (3) Duke of Edinburgh students walked through rain to get to Bluntshay. It didn’t seem to stop raining during their stay so they never had a chance to dry out, so left the next morning in rather a soggy state, (4, 5) although it didn’t seem to dampen their enthusiasm for the trek. A gentleman arrived on foot with his 12 year old dog Billy. (6) After catching the occasional train and bus most of his week’s holiday was being spent on foot. The next stage of his journey was to walk to Chard in Somerset.

Cyclists from the Netherlands arrived, one of them being on a recumbent bike. (7) They were spending 10 days in England travelling on the South Coast and the Isle of Wight. The recumbent bike had 27 gears with an average uphill speed of 14 kph. The maximum speed down hill was 62 kph. They planned to take 4 days to cycle to Plymouth, a distance of 1250 k, before catching a train to Dover and returning home.

I bought a new paddling pool this year as the old one sprang a leak. (8). I even invested in a cover. (9) I need to remove rubbish from my small recycling compound every day (10) as inevitably mountains of rubbish are produced over the summer holidays. (11)


As usual the apple tree on the lawn produced hundreds of apples. We used to make cider with them in August as they would not keep until the autumn cider making season. In recent years our cows have had the benefit of the fruit, and we have spent hours picking them up from the garden (12) and filling lots of containers (13) before carting them off up into the field. The cows can smell the apples and rush towards the tractor box (14). We have to tip them out quickly (15) and then they are consumed within minutes. (16) Our manure heap (in my furthest field) has been building up over the years. It needed to be pushed up together to regain some of the land. (17) I always have more than I need and may sell it in bags to anyone who wants it.

Helping me with the geese has proved as popular as ever with the children on the campsite. Bedding down the goose house with fine sawdust (18, 19) always had volunteers and checking goose fencing was an on going job as the birds were always escaping! (20) The geese were even bemused when children blew bubbles at them. (21) Getting a “mirror image” photo for a competition was a much easier job than expected, but I only got a highly commended prize! (22)

I did a few guided walks around part of the farm during the summer. The field we are walking across in this photo (23) has a ridge and furrow landscape dating back to before the Middle Ages. It was created through clockwise-motion ploughing. The ploughing was done by oxen in those days. By ploughing from the middle of the land and finishing at the outside, flanking furrows were created. An anti-clockwise ploughing motion, adopted during the fallow period, then ensured that soil was brought back onto the ridge. The maintenance of the furrows in this fashion had two specific functions. Firstly the furrows acted as open drains. Secondly, and more significantly, they served as demarcations of individual plots, or units of production. I consider myself very lucky to have 3 instances of ridge and furrow at Bluntshay, because in Dorset this type of landscape is considered very rare. Most ridge and furrow fields in England has been ploughed out to extinction.

Blackberries are early this year, presumably because of the strange weather we have been having. Another group of people on the walk took advantage of this and picked some for a blackberry and apple pie. (24)

The grass in the field I open for 28 days in August (for campers) needed to be mowed at the very last minute (because of the very inclement weather) (25). It then had to be baled and wrapped within 2 days before the first campers were due to arrive. It was not the best silage we have ever made! We did not pick up all the bales to take them to the barn as the ground was too wet so the children on site took advantage of this and used them as a playground. (26) The disadvantage with this is that it causes holes in the plastic and patches have to be put on to stop rain getting into the silage. (27)


The garden is totally out of control with all the rain and lack of time. Fortunately the sunflowers and dahlias and perennials are doing well and I am now selling flowers to a local farm shop. (28) Children helped me to encourage birds to my bird table by filling up containers with fat balls and peanuts. (29)


We were lucky to have a lovely day for this event in July. We congregated in the garden in readiness for the strenuous walk ahead. (30) It was a case of up hill and down dale until we reached Thorncombe Beacon. (31) Fifty people did the walk ranging in ages from 8 to 80. En route we saw some spectacular scenery to the west – Seatown (with its prize winning pub) (32) and to the south – up the coast with West Bay in the middle distance and Portland in the mist. (33) Welsh Badger Faced sheep were roaming in the area – I had never seen this breed before. (34) On the way home we trekked through a wood (35) working up an appetite for the lovely cream tea which awaited us. (36) All the food had been baked by the Beaminster Young Farmers’ Club.

The event raised £600. £300 of that went to the YFC and £300 to the Mother and Baby Clinic in Cape McClear which is located on the shores of Lake Malawi. With additional donations and the sale of some Kiss Cook Books a further £300 was sent to Malawi. Pauline and John Bale (the owners of Highway Farm) visited Malawi whilst their daughter and son in law were living in the country. They met the Dutch doctor Jeannette, in charge, and other members of staff during their stay. (37) Jeannette has been based in Malawi for many years and works tirelessly with limited resources to improve the heath care and to support the local mums and their babies. (38, 39).


After two years of hard work, a transformed telephone box at Broadoak is open to the public. The GPO had taken out the phone so the box was unused, unwanted and unloved. Rather than lose this iconic landmark, the Broadoak Hall Committee decided to make use of it as a community asset. The event was planned for 9th August, (40) and the box was duly sealed with a ribbon for the great opening, (41) with an appropriate sign on the outside (42). Music was played (43) and a delicious barbeque was laid on. (44)

John and Audrey Creed, on whose land the phone box stands, acquired it in 2015 from BT and offered to transfer the use of it to the village hall. (45) After Audrey cut the ribbon a special phone box cake was cut. (46) As well as food, several games for children were laid on which included identification of leaves and “splat the rat” (47) I was intrigued to see that the cups that we were drinking from were not plastic. (48).

It is hoped that the Broadoak Box will be of use to cyclists and passers-bys, (49) including those who take part in the annual Ride and Stride event in aid of the Historic Churches Trust.

It is almost certain that this village was called after the old oak tree, standing at the junction of the Broadoak and Symondsbsury roads, and said to date back to the late 1500s. (50) Before this time the village was called Millstones. This photo was taken in about 1900 and shows the old smithy where local farmers used to come to have their horses’ hooves shod. The tree was well over 300 years old then. In 1919 the blacksmith’s shop and house were sold and were described as premises and house in demise (derelict). It was bought by Mr Arthur Loving who restored the house and enlarged the workshop to make a building for his work as village carpenter, wheelwright, undertaker and builder of wagons and carts. Mr Loving spent his working life in the village and retired in the late 1950s. He built a wagon house for my grandfather at Bluntshay in the 1930s. The house was called the Gables.

During WW2 the only telephone in Broadoak, and possibly the Marshwood Vale, was at Denhay Corner House at the home of Colonel and Mrs Vivian, their number being Bridport 25. After the war there was a programme to install public telephone kiosks in all rural villages. The Broadoak kiosk was installed in the late 1940s.

On Tuesday 5th January 1971 Broadoak tree, one of West Dorset’s famous landmarks, was felled. (51) The operation, carried out by a firm of tree specialists, was watched by a group of very sad villagers. Comments given at the time included:

“We were sorry to see the tree go, but only one branch was alive and the tree was constituted a danger.”

“It should not have been cut down, and I do not think it was a danger. We were not even told that it was to be felled. Strangers always used the tree as a guide to my printing works.”

The tree had been peppered with iron nails hammered in by boys long ago when the smithy stood close by.

After the tree was felled pieces were taken to Mr Bert Rawles’ (parish councillor) home at Moorbath Farm and they were distributed among the villagers. With all this talk of conservation, the parish council decided to remove the whole tree and replace it with a younger one so that the tradition is continued, said Mr Rawles. So a new tree was planted (52) and the plaque immediately in front of it says “Queen Elizabeth II, Silver Jubilee 1952-1977” (53). The tree was presented to Broadoak from the estate of Sir John Colfox, a local landowner. The stone on which the plaque is mounted was presented by Mr Cheeseman and taken from his home, Herbage Farm, Broadoak.

John and Audrey Creed moved from New House Farm to the Gables in 1966 and continued here with their printing business, using Mr Loving’s building for storage etc.


Thank you to the people who have helped me with the research for this newsletter: Helen Fraser, George Streatfeild, Helen Doble, Bridport News Archives, John Creed and Pauline Bale.

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