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This section is not actually about the campsite itself, but tells of a camper who stays on a regular basis because he and his son Daniel bought a 10 acre field and Dave needed local accommodation.

Dan and Dave had been talking about creating an orchard for about 5 years.  When the field came up for sale on Bluntshay Lane, just down the road from Bluntshay,  it seemed the ideal place to put their ideas into action.  They thought that 10 acres was the largest size field that two people could handle without big machinery.  The field, on purchase, was an old ley with lots of rushes.  (1) 

First the field was ploughed (2) leaving a margin around both oak trees to avoid damaging their root systems.  Next a subsoiler (tillage tool) (3) pulled through the ground at around 20 inches deep to break up the compacted soil.  This would improve the ability of the soil to drain, which is very important on the heavy Marshwood Vale clay.

Photo 4 shows both the subsoiler and a roller getting the soil ready to drill in the new ley of rye grass and clover which resulted in a good green sward. (5)  It was decided not to make silage or hay during the first season, so during the summer machines were used to cut fine short grass which was left on the ground to improve the levels of organic matter in the soil, and to improve fertility and drainage.  The machines used for this job were a flail mower and a topper. (6)  Dave and Dan also limed, added organic phosphate and gypsum to further improve the soil.  This is the first chapter.  I hope to write about the development of this project in future issues of the newsletter…


We finally got around to moving the manure from the covered yard a few weeks ago.  (7)  With the Matbro tractor (8) it didn’t take too long to scoop it all up and put into the trailer. (9) and transport it to our furthest field.  The covered yard then had to be ‘strawed down’ ready for the cows to come in for the winter.  (10)

Recently the cows and young stock were brought from Herons Mead (our furthest field), down the road and into the covered yard.  Here we had the ‘taxing’ job of trying to separate the two sets of animals. (11)  The young stock were then taken back to Herons Mead.  Here they are (12) recovering from their adventure.  They were given a bale of silage (13) to make sure they had enough to eat – although the grass is still growing, as we haven’t had a frost yet.

In the meantime an electric fence was put up around the campsite hardstanding by the garden, and the double gates rehung. (14)  It rained the whole morning. The pregnant cows stayed in the field adjacent to the campsite (15) for about a week before moving to the covered yard.  They are on the usual diet of silage with the addition of dry cow rolls (‘cake’) to help with the preparation of their calving within the next month.  I am getting quite nervous after the traumatic time we had at this time last year with calving.


I enjoy this time of year although it is no good for my waistline.  I like to keep in touch with people in the various hamlets and villages in the area. I find one of the best ways to do this is to attend harvest suppers.  The first one I attended was Salway Ash’s supper (16), the second one, held in the same hall the following weekend, was for Dottery (17).  Blackdown had their feast on 19th October (18) and the final one was at Broadoak. (19)  Even though I attended 4 harvest suppers I only managed to go to one Harvest Festival which was at Broadoak.  The church was attractively decorated (20) and the local choir sang beautifully. (21)  At the end of the service the Rev Chris Grasske gave each member of the congregation a piece of bread. (22)  as a symbol of sharing the harvest.   Immediately following this everyone enjoyed a lovely brunch at Broadoak Hall.  (23)


An exciting new project (24)  has just been launched at John Bright Fencing & Country Store at Paverlands Farm, Salway Ash. (25)  After making the decision to incorporate Holy Cow into their business it took Brights about 2 months to set up.  A Swiss type chalet was erected,  (26) electricity installed and the vending machines ordered from Italy.

Prior to the launch of the Holy Cow it was advertised locally both in newspapers and through Radio Solent.  About 40 people attended the official opening.  The ribbon was cut by (27) Bethan Senior, Hayley Ford (a Holy Cow Customer) and Beth Cook, partner within the firm of John Brights.  This was followed by a group photo, (28)  and then everyone tucked into a delicious buffet lunch. (29, 30)

“The state of the art” vending machines were very impressive.  (31) The blue machine on the right dispensed milk which had to be operated by a debit or credit card. During this process the machine spoke to you with a North American accent!  A milk bottle was then filled up automatically. (32)

The silver vending machine which contained milk bottles, butter, yoghurt, bacon, cheddar, blue cheese, Camembert, sausages and eggs was also operated by card.  Within the chalet there were lots of other items for sale (33)

The Holy Cow business  at Salway Ash is thriving.  About 40 litres of milk are sold each day.  The milk is changed every other day and is never more than 48 hours old.  If the milk is getting low  in the machine it will send a text to “Head Office” in North Perrott to deliver some more ‘post haste’.  The chalet is open for business from 7 am to 7 pm every day.

The milk is produced at Eastfield Organic Farm in Somerset from 300, mainly Jersey, cows owned by Matthew and Coral Senior.


In September dignitaries from Virginia, USA, Lyme Regis and Colyton, Devon came to our beautiful church at Whitchurch.  (34) They were visiting several places in England connected with the discovery and settlement of early Virginia which subsequently became English America.  The one-day visit to Lyme Regis and Whitchurch was primarily to see the birthplace, home and resting place of Admiral Sir George Somers.  Hilary, an ex-church warden and expert on the church’s history, gave them a grand tour of both the inside and outside of this very old building.  (35)


The most ancient part of the church relates to bricks to be found at the back of the church.  These are believed to be from a Roman villa which was on the site prior to a church being built.  (36, 37)

It is thought that a small stone church was built on the site in the late 800s.  In the 11th century William the Conqueror gave ownership to the monks of St Wandrille’s monastery in Normany, France.  A major reconstruction and expansion of the building started in the 12th century. 

 High up on the tower there is carving of an adze, (presumed to be from the earlier church),  (38) which is understood to represent the marauding Danes who regularly destroyed villages near the coast.

The porch is one of the oldest parts of the ‘new’ church. (39)  Just inside the porch on the left is a rut which was caused by archers sharpening their arrows in Medieval times. (40)  Presumably they then walked up the hill to Ryall and practised their craft in the area which is called Butt.  (Butt means an archery shooting field with mounds of earth used for targets)

Near the porch one can see two-thirds of a sundial.  (41) The other third was covered up when the Victorians rebuilt that end of the church.  Obviously sundials were the only way of telling the time during the days before the invention of clocks. 

The most recent addition to the outside wall is a statue of St Wite, the church’s patron saint.  This was carved by a local man, who lived in Morcombelake, and was installed in the mid 1990s.  The stone was bright yellow for years and looked rather out of place.  Fortunately it has now aged gracefully.  (42)

There are several large tombs in the church yard which hold the relics of important landed gentry from the area, dating from the 1600s and before. (43)


Two Saxon roses can be found just to the right of the porch entrance and were part of the old church. (44)

The two pillars just inside the porch date from the same time as the porch. (45)  St Wite’s shrine dates from the 1300s,  (46)  and used to have openings on the outside wall as well  as inside, so lepers could insert their ailing bodies to be healed without coming into contact with the worshippers inside.  Adjacent to the shrine is a Medieval altar.  (47)

Several tombs can be found at floor level.  This one has had all its brass taken away at sometime in the past.  (48)

In the choir stalls can be found linenfold wooden panels.  This one (49) appears to be older than the others and possibly dates from before Elizabeth I.

Just to the left of the altar is a monument to Sir John Jefferies, a local lord, who died in 1611.  (50)  Directly above there is an iron helmet which belonged to him.  (51)  This was stolen along with a lot of other items from numerous churches.  Fortunately they were all found stashed in someone’s home.  The perpetrator was arrested and the items returned to their respective churches.

The visitors were very impressed by this history lesson spanning over 1000 years.


Dave and Daniel Botting, Hilary Joyce, Beth Cook, John Dover and Elaine Marsh.

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