Share Button


I met a very interesting lady staying on the campsite who was keen on geocaching. This is using a GPS or modern phone to find the location of a container. The container will have a log book that you can sign. There are currently about 3 million caches hidden around the world and they can be very clever both in their design and cunning. She showed me the locations of some very local ones to Bluntshay (1) There was one that she couldn’t find close to Pilsdon Pen (the second highest hill in Dorset) even though the GPS gave her details (2). She mentioned that there are learning caches called Earthcaches, and these help people to gain an insight into geological features. She said that geocaching was great fun and addictive and can take you to places and show you things that you wouldn’t have ever seen normally. The website is

The couple and child in this camper were very keen on yellow. (3 & 4) This one was beautifully decorated inside (5 & 6) Marshmallows were on the menu for this family (7) and a Dutch family set up a badminton game. (8) I continued to take campers down to see the calves and the animals were delighted to be fed long grass. (9)


The haymaking season has come upon us again and the glorious weather has meant that the grass has dried in no time. I have managed to find some old photos of haymaking from the 1930s in the Marshwood Vale. Of course it was all done by horse in those days. Originally the grass was cut by gangs of scythe cutters, which then progressed to horse drawn mowing machines. The grass would have to turned until it was dry. The machine to the right of the children is called a swath turner and did this job (10) Also in this photo is a hay loader (machine with long poles) which lifted the hay from the ground and carried it into the wagon. Loose hay had to be raked into lines for collecting by the hay loader with the use of this hay rake. (11). In the next photo (12) you can see that the hay wagon has been unloaded after the hay had been thrown up onto the hay rick. In this case it was a very large rick as can be seen from the next photo (13). After the job was finished it was customary to have some rest and drink cider. (14) It was very hard work but had to be done while the sun shone. Wet hay in a rick would later heat up and catch fire. The photo showing haymaking equipment used in the 1930s relates to the time when my father and grandfather helped their neighbour to do her haymaking. Her husband had recently been killed in a wagon accident leaving her three young children fatherless. She needed all the help she could get at this very sad time.

The baler was invented which compacted the hay into bales and tied them up. Various contraptions have been invented over the years to move bales from the baler. To save too much handling the bales usually fall onto a sledge from the baler. In this case when 8 bales are on the sledge they are off loaded by the Flat 8 machine in the front of the tractor, which will use spikes to pick them up (15) and transport them to the very long trailer. (16) It is strenuous work moving the bales around the trailer as they have to be placed in layers so that they interlock which makes the load safe. (17) Nowadays the refreshment is orange squash and not cider! (18)

What are mostly seen in the fields these days are big silage bales that have been wrapped in black plastic. (19a) These are transported by a grab attached to a tractor (a matbro in this case) (19b). They are carried to a long trailer and eventually put in the yard or on the side of field ready for winter feeding (20) After mowing tracks can often be seen across the field. This one is probably from a badger. (21) In some instances the bailer does not pick up all the silage to be baled. (22) In the old days every last wisp of grass would be raked up and put on the wagon. Strips of plastic are sometimes left from the wrapper and need to be disposed of as they take centuries to decompose. (23) Some of our fields are full of wild flowers, and in some cases rare grasses so the cutting of these is left until July when the seeds have fallen ready for regeneration for next year. (24)

The goslings have to be screened from the intense sunlight so I have improvised with bed sheets which they do have the sense to stay under to avoid getting sunstroke. (25)

We have had the vet to see Benji, the orphan calf, on three occasions. (26) Latterly the vet had to give him an injection for his leg. He is now doing well but still expects me to suckle feed him with my fingers.


We watched the activity on the bird table one afternoon and were amazed by the variety of birds visiting which included a greater spotted woodpecker (27), sparrows, a robin, blue tits, a blackcap, a coaltit, a jackdaw, linnet, white throat, jay, chaffinch and a tree creeper. I have all sorts of flowers around the cabin at the present time including ox eye daisies, (28) red campions (29) (both wild flowers) and black lace common elder, (30) lynchnis, catanache caerulea and an osteospermum. (31)


This has started up again but the venue is now in front of the Art Centre on South Street in Bridport. (32) This is more central than being at the old cattle market site off the Waitrose car park.


At the end of May we drove down treacherous lanes to reach the ruined church of Stanton St Gabriel. (33) The weather was glorious and we had the most pleasant service and holy communion in beautiful surroundings with a view of Lyme Bay from the church. (34 & 35) Musical accompaniment was given by a local lady playing a flugelhorn. (36) Nearby could be seen the only working farm in the small parish of Stanton, this being Upcott. (37) I know that this church was still used regularly in 1777 because one of my Huxter forebearers was married there at that time. In fact he is the earliest Huxter I can track down. We have never found his christening so we don’t know who his parents, or siblings were so we can go back no further with this line.


We were warned that this was going to happen with large signs at either end of the lane. Before the actual tarmacking the council came along with a verge cutting machine (to remove soil) to make sure that the whole width of the lane would be covered by tarmac. This spare soil was then put up on the bank or on the top of the hedge. Next a road cleaning machine arrived (38) to make sure that the road was clean removing any horse manure or mud from tractors. Manhole covers and drains were then taped over so that the tar and grit did not go into them. Then the tar lorry came and sprayed the liquid all over the road (39 & 40a). The gritter followed shortly after (40b). Cars could drive on the new surface at 20 mph almost immediately after the tarmacking was completed.


At a recent Love family reunion I met James Love who runs a campsite near Bournemouth at West Moors. (41 & 42). Some Love relatives from Canada and myself recently travelled down to this part of Dorset for a visit. (43) We were shown one of his glamping units (glamping = glamorous camping) being a converted shepherd’s hut with a separate kitchen. (44) It was amazing what could be placed inside this small unit. (45 & 46) The site also has a number of holiday static caravans which are privately owned. There are also 99 permanent residential retirement park homes. (47) The main camping area has spaces for touring caravans and tents. (48) The children’s play area was impressive. (49) James grandparents Love moved from the Bridport area to West Moors in the 1930s. It has developed over the decades to what St Leonards Farm is today which is now run by James and his mother Zena.

The farm house is dated over 100 years old. (50) and until 2015 the Loves also ran a dairy unit. The farm now concentrates on growing maize and hay and rearing some Lleyn sheep and South Devon cattle.

During the weekend before our visit James, with the help of his friends at Sanctuary Media Entertainment, had organised the first successful Loverocks Classic Rock and Blues festival, (51) on the campsite, which involved a very large marquee and stage (52) with full sound and lighting. Music was provided by a number of very talented original recording artists and topped off by the UK Foo Fighters and Just Floyd, with their full Pink Floyd sound and light show. (53, 54, 55 & 56) The event was a family friendly and relaxed festival and has been well received with a lot of feedback asking if there will be another.


Thank you to the people who have helped me with the research for this newsletter: Carol Lee, James Love, Eleanor Studley, Eleanor Lambert, Liz Carter, Elaine Smerdon and Malcolm Castle

Share Button