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CAMPSITE

The August Bank Holiday weekend completed a very good summer season on the campsite. The weather during the later part of August did not seem to put people off. The main campsite was full up and there were units all around the big field. (1) One ingenious camper did his cooking in his car boot during a rainy day (2) The paddling pool was still being used by children into September, (3) although the water must have been freezing! A family who came for the long weekend also came back the following weekend to pack up their tent. The children had the thrill (?) of sitting in our 1967 Massey Ferguson 135 tractor (4). Mia, who has been coming every August for several years, has always been keen to help me out whenever she can (5) The orchard by the farmyard was tidied up and mown. One person wanted to be tucked away in this isolated spot (6). Dogs are always welcome at Bluntshay and these two made a habit of having a bath in the cattle trough (7). There is now a video tour around the farm on YouTube and on my Facebook Page which Mr Ben Ashton kindly organised for me in the summer.

A camper who stayed on the site was keen to capture images around the farm and found inspiration in the cider cellar (8), the greenhouse (9), the garden wall (10) and took a wide angled view of the campsite at sunset (11)

 

FARM

Daisy, the calf, continued to be the star attraction on the farm during the rest of the summer holiday and beyond. During the feeding process the water had to be at the right temperature, with exactly the right amount of milk powder mixed with it. The children loved weighing the powder (12), whisking it in a bucket (13) and then pouring it through a sieve (14). They helped to introduce calf pellets to Daisy (15) and bedding down with straw had to be done on a regular basis (16). These cute mini farmers braved the awful weather to have a photo taken with Daisy (17). It is a little known fact that when there is a twin consisting of a male and female (Daisy) there is a 93% change that the female calf will have absorbed many of the male hormones from her brother in the womb and will never be able to breed. Such a calf is called a freemartin.


Dylon, the old gander is still with us. (18) He must be at least 20 years old and still gets the occasional urge to attack me when I have to be quick to grab its neck to avoid getting a massive bruise on my arm! His estranged wife, Dillie, passed away in August and was about the same age as Dylon. I often had willing helpers during the holidays to help me to give water to the young geese (19).

The rams are with the sheep at the moment and have to wear raddle (similar to a large orange wax crayon) attached to a harness. (20) This is so that the farmer can see which sheep have been served by a ram. (21) In previous years each ram has worn a different colour so that some sheep ended up with multicoloured backs!

Fencing is always ongoing. The fence that is taken down by the garden – to allow campers to drive into the big field and camp (for 28 days during August) – has to be re-erected in September ready for the cattle to come in and eat the grass.(22) The contractor has to pull the wire up very tight with a belt attached to his van, (23) otherwise it will sag. As we had more silage bales than can be fitted into our yard they will have to stay out in the field and be fenced around until they are needed in the winter. (24) A stock guard fence had to be put around the hedges to prevent our small calves getting through holes in the hedge into a neighbour’s field. Wire had to be stretched over the stile (that leads to the Monarch’s Way) using a clamp (25).

GARDEN

It has been a very good year for tomatoes, although I am still waiting for a lot of them to go red. (26). The pears have been enormous. I wait for them to fall off the tree and then process them straight away. This year has seen the best crop of apples that we have ever had. Today I gathered as many as I could manage in a wheelbarrow for making chutney. (27) The marigolds have been doing strange things this year in that they were all seeds from the same packet but one planter has flowers that are nearly over and three other ones have only just got buds (28) I allow this plant to spread (29) as it makes a good cut flower with its yellow flowers, and then red and black berries. I am told that it is first cousin to St Johns Wort which has healing properties. I am growing more pompom dahlias this year as they are very attractive and sell well (30). This is a very invasive plant with white flowers, but has a lovely scent and was the favourite plant of my late grandmother Creed. (31). Does anyone know what it is called? As I had difficulty in getting rid of my first batch of rhubarb I decided that friends and campers could come and cut their own (32) with the second batch. An area that I had designated as part of my Wildlife Friendly Garden last year got totally out of control and was badly affecting the little apple trees my grandfather Creed planted in the 1950s (33) Drastic action with a strimmer (34) and hedge cutter made the area neat and tidy again.

LOCAL TALENT

Shiraz, a song writing duo launched their first CD, ‘Down the Line’ (35) in July at Highlands End, Eype, near Bridport. (36, 37) Shirley and Sharon had performed together in various groups over the years and combined their talents in 2011.They take their inspiration from diverse musical genres such as country, folk and rock to name a few. Their voices interweave with original harmonies as their contemporary songs draw in the audience. Shiraz perform at festivals, events and private gigs across the South West.

THE JURASSIC COAST TRUST

This has been in operation for a year now and held its first AGM at Burton Bradstock on 15th September. As one of their Business Partners I have been involved with several events during the last year and hope to do some more in the coming year such as a fossil and conservation walk around Bluntshay. Several Ambassadors spoke of their experiences of volunteering with the Trust and how they’ve been able to pass on knowledge about the coast to others in their local community and beyond. One Ambassador unveiled his ‘Acme Ammonite Racers’ type which it is hoped will be a feature at some fetes and festivals in 2016 (38) Officials from the Trust spoke of the achievements during the last 12 months. Plans are afoot for advanced Ambassador training and bringing the Jurassic Coast to some of the harder-to-reach groups in the area like young parents and elderly people. A fossil hunting expedition was held on Burton Beach after the AGM but I didn’t have the energy to participate! (39)

 

BIDLAKE FARM RIDING STABLES

This is situated nearby in the hamlet of Broadoak, near Bridport. It has been established since 2006. (40) when the Forseys moved from nearby Salway Ash to expand their business on a bigger farm. Bidlake is 200 acres and the farm consists of beef, sheep, pigs and corn as well as the riding enterprise. As you drive down the country lane there are always horses grazing in the fields (41) and approaching the farm many buildings can be seen, which is a legacy from when Bidlake was a dairy farm. (42) (as were all farms in the Marshwood Vale). It was Alisha’s first riding lesson on her thirteenth birthday (43) during which she learnt to control the horse with the reins and managed a trot. (44, 45). Jo Forsey said she had been amazed at the support that the local people had given them in expanding their riding business since their move to Bidlake.

CHAR VALLEY HORSE SHOW

Whitchurch used to be very well known for its horse show. This event started in a small way in 1926 as an added attraction to the village football fete. It grew year by year and by 1930 had become a big show for the whole area. Examples from the catalogue for the show in 1937 listed classes such as,

  • Clean-legged mare or gelding suitable for van work
  • Working cob mare or gelding not exceeding 15 h.h
  • Cart foal, sired by “Bank Farm King”
  • Best turned-out Agricultural Horse – to be shown in breeching harness only, which must not be brand new. In judging, an equal number of points for: the horse, the grooming of horse, condition of harness and general smartness of turn-out.
  • Hunter mare or gelding to carry over 13 stone 7 lbs
  • Pony, most suitable for a child, not exceeding 13 h.h. to be ridden by a boy or girl under 11 years of age.

The show had 53 sponsors in 1937 which included private individuals, local farmers, the local doctor, the parish vicar and the Axminster Shire Horse Society. The average amount given as prizes were 1st – three guineas, 2nd – two guineas and 3rd – one guinea. At the end of the show there was a parade of the day’s prize winners. This was a sight to behold, especially Class Eleven for the best turned-out agricultural horses. (46, 47)

The event was suspended during WW2 for obvious reasons. It was restarted after the war but its original dynamism didn’t return. Shire horses were disappearing in the wake of tractors and the younger men were now becoming more mechanically minded and didn’t want to be bothered with horses so it was a case of the older generation having to keep the event going. In 1947 there were only seven classes in the agricultural horse section but fourteen classes covering the hunters, riding cobs, jumping and children’s ponies and five typical gymkhana events. There were still the same number of classes but the emphasis had changed. Col Weston had been a leading light from the very beginning and was the main force behind the show. Latterly it was said that he used to make up any deficit out of his own pocket to keep things going. There were less sponsors to give prizes so prices had to go up. Col Weston died in 1948 and with him went the lifeblood of the show. Eventually the show ceased altogehter in the very early 1950s ending an era which had been doomed by the tractor. Mr Wilf Barnes of Wakeleys Farm, Whitchurch, a keen horseman, and whose father had been involved with the Horse Show, inaugurated the Whitchurch Gymkhana more recently. This was always well supported. (48) After his death in 2004 the show was relocated to Broadoak and still continues today.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thank you to the following for photos and information in this newsletter: Jo Forsey, Edward Fox Joyce, Sarah James, Caroline Lambert, Shirley Ewart and Guy Kerr.

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