Today is officially our first proper day as full timers in Daisy, and Nik was so excited that he had us all up at the crack of dawn so we could get started on our holiday as soon as possible. Whilst he ran some last minute errands I took the dogs for a walk, then we set off with only one plan, to head towards Somerset along the A303 and stop when Nik had had enough of driving. When this happened we had the choice of two sites to spend the night on, one simply said it was among trees, so had the possibility of good walking. The other was next to Sutton Bingham Reservoir, so we thought definitely good walking and chose that one.
Mistake! Our field was fine, we were sharing it with a few sheep and orphan lambs, which luckily chose to stay at the opposite end of the field to us. However, we were indeed two minutes walk from a reservoir but, it was off limits to us (or at least the end that we were nearest to), and as we’d stopped because Nik didn’t want to drive any more we weren’t about to drive to the far end to see if we could walk that. Unfortunately for us, the part of the reservoir that we were set up by was closed off for a memorial forest that is still very young and fly fishing, so walkers and especially no dogs. So we ended up walking along country lanes. It was such a lovely day and such a shame to have wasted it in this way. When we got back to Daisy both dogs were pooped, more by the heat than the walk, and because we were sharing with sheep they had to be tied up if they wanted to be outside, so Oscar opted for a nice cool sleep on the sofa whilst Ella prefers to be outside playing with her tennis ball. So although Nik and I were quite disappointed with our walk both dogs were happily relaxed. Oh and in typical Ella style, on the first afternoon of our holiday she managed to find sheep’s poo to roll in when we weren’t looking so she now has a green head, luckily somehow she has managed not to end up smelling.
Thursday. Well today didn’t start as planned in any way, shape or form. We woke up at the crack of dawn, even though we’d planned a lay in. Unfortunately we were staying on a working farm and at 4am a very loud, very well lit farm vehicle arrived at the farm entrance close to where we were parked up, unaware of the chaos they were causing the campers in the field, farm workers then got out of the vehicle and had a nice loud conversation. This of course was too much for the dogs who just had to bark at them and woke both Nik and myself up. Once they were quietened down again I had no trouble getting back to sleep, Nik unfortunately struggled. Then at 6am the access to the farm became like a mini motorway with all sorts of coming and going, which again woke Nik, who’d had enough of failing to sleep and got up, which of course woke me up. All good fun!
As we were both tired we decided to have a leisurely breakfast before walking the dogs. We did manage to find a public footpath across fields this time which made for a much better walk.
That done we decided to pay Sherborne a visit. Sherborne is a lovely little market town in Dorset on the edge of the Blackmore Vale. The town’s historic buildings include Sherborne Abbey, two castles and it’s Manor House, many of these beautiful buildings are build with ochre-coloured ham stone. Just to add to the spectacle of the town we arrived on market day so Nik had plenty of opportunities for photographs. There was a bakery stall in the market filled with lush breads cakes which proved to be our undoing, as Nik just cannot resist cakes and I have trouble turning down nice fresh loaves. We did spend far more than we should have really but it will keep us going for few days. We spent a lovely few hours wandering the streets looking at the old buildings and taking lot of photos.
On our journey into Sherborne we noticed on the map that there was a lake quite close to the town, so once we’d decided to hunt it down and spend the afternoon there, with hopefully some good walking as well. After following the roads on the map several times and still no joy Nik realised that we weren’t that far from Chettle and as we are guaranteed good walking there we decided to give up on our search for the lake and go here. They weren’t answering the phone, but they’ve never been full before so we decided to go anyway and find someone to pay once we had arrived. We arrived to find that Chettle House is for sale and the campsite is no longer being used. Disappointed is quite an understatement for how we were feeling just then. It is such a shame to loose Chettle, the countryside around the village is just so perfect for relaxing. So with faces like slapped backsides we drove off to look for another site for the night. We somehow managed to end up on a CL Site just on the outskirts of Weymouth with the intention of going to Bridport in the morning. So much for following the A303, we can never stick to the script.
The owner of our site had two dogs that wanted to play with our two and as we were the only people there we let them have a good old run around together and thoroughly wear themselves out.
Our evening walk took us along a lane that was so quiet at that time of day we could have left the dogs off their leads if we’d really wanted too. We followed the lane all the way to it’s end which took us to a caravanning and camping site with a nice footpath, the only problem was that the first few minutes of the walk went between to fenced fields of cows. Oscar doesn’t like cows, we think it’s the noise they make when they all come running towards to you, but they were all occupied in a far corner so we decided it was ok to continue forward. Ah what a mistake. no sooner we got half way along the path cows from both set of fields came running towards us and then proceeded to follow until we reached the far end of the path. I took an awful lot of will power and a huge amount of calming noises just to get the poor boy to keep walking. He did calm down immediately the cows where out of site and we were able to let both dogs off the lead as we were now among crop fields with some beautiful views. We hoped that the path would take a circular route back to where we came from but it became quickly clear that if it did it would be quite a long walk, and the sun was getting low, so we couldn’t chance it. It’s a shame really as it looked as though it would be a really god walk. So we had to run the gauntlet of the cows again. This time we separated, with Nik and Ella going before us, the hope being that the cows would be too busy following them to bother with myself and Oscar. It mostly worked, there were a few stragglers that saw us, but not enough to of them to upset out little boy. Oh the trials of dog walking.
We woke up to quite an overcast and chilly morning so we gave the dogs there walk and set off for a wander around Bridport. It was a good use of an overcast morning, wandering through the town, doing a bit of window shopping and teaching the dogs how to behave on the lead in a busy town, as they don’t do much lead walking and could do with the practice. This was Ella’s first time walking through a busy town and we were very pleased with her, she did very well. We then moved on to Westbay as we knew that we had barely scratched the surface when we were here with the girls. We explored the little shopping area, wandered around the West side of the harbour so Nik could get some more photo’s of the cliffs and then walked the promenade only to discover the end was blocked off due to damage. Not a big deal as the tide was in anyway, so we wandered back towards the harbour and amused ourselves by spotting the house used by David Tennant’s character in Broadchurch. We were also fascinated to discover a tourist information board which points out all the areas in Westbay that were used in the filming.
We made the decision to stay at a previously visited CL Site in Chiddock for a few nights as we had yet to manage any really good walking and we knew that we could get some from here and we’d come back to Westbay in the morning and walk the South West Coast Path over West Cliff to Seatown.
Saturday. So we were so tired last night, all that fresh air, that we were in bed by 9.30pm reading. This did us the world of good as we were up with the sun and raring to go. We parked in the main car park at Westbay, as we’d seen others parked there the day before, when we got back late in the afternoon there was a warning ticket on the windscreen telling us we’d parked in the wrong place, still at least it wasn’t a fine. So anyway, it was a lovely sunny day but very windy and as we were planning a walk up cliffs we spent ages trying to decide what to wear, jackets or warm jumpers? Eventually we both decided our light jackets would be best which luckily turned out to be the right decision.
The first part of our walk took us up a relatively easy hill with fencing all along the edge, which meant the dogs could run off lead and enjoy a bit of freedom without turning me into a nervous wreck. As the hill started to descend down into Eype there were moments for me when it was far too close to the edge and Ella had to go back onto a lead for a bit. The views were stunning and it was a very enjoyable walk. At the bottom of the hill there is a nice little stream that runs onto the beach, which both dogs thoroughly enjoyed playing in. You will find a small National Trust information booth and car park here and if it interests you the hut used in Broadchurch is just behind the car park. From here each up hill trek gets steeper. The first part isn’t fenced so it was back on with Ella’s lead, however it wasn’t long to top and this lead us into a fenced field with no live stock so we could let her have a little free run around time. Fairly flat path on this stretch of the walk giving me chance to rest my girlie legs for a bit. The next field was full of sheep so had to put both dogs on leads as neither of them have any self control around them. From here you have two paths to choose from. There is a bridle path to the right which also has signs for some where to get cream teas, and the path gently slopes up hill to the next field, or go straight on across the field which goes quite steeply down hill giving a beautiful bowl effect to the field and then of course you have a nice steep up hill path to follow to get to the next gate.
Guess which one we followed!
Yup we went straight ahead as that is where the coastal view is. About half way down the hill we stopped for a drink and a snack giving ourselves a chance to really just take in the view, which is stunning before setting off again. I’ll be honest, if you don’t like walking up hills you should probably take the route to the right, about half way up I asked myself why I never take the easy route when I know I don’t do hills. There is an old warning beacon at the top, near the cliff, which I chickened out of going to see, I know it wasn’t too close to the edge but my head just wasn’t having any of it, so I took the dogs around the edge and met Nik at the next gate.
Joy for me, it’s pretty much all down hill from here through several more fields of sheep and their little lambies. From our last hill of the day we could see Chiddock and the little campsite we’d stayed in with the girls the year Dorset flooded and Nik was quite disgusted to realise how close we where to such lovely walks without knowing it, it didn’t matter that we wouldn’t have walked them then as it was raining so much we only just managed to get our motorhome out of the field without assistance.
Anyway, we finally reached Seatown which was our planned end destination for the day. To be honest it isn’t really a town, it’s more of a holiday park. There are a few houses dotted about, but the holiday park is the main feature. There is also a lovely looking pub, The Anchor, so if you didn’t bring a packed lunch you can stop off there. Another little river meets the sea here which children and dogs (ours included) were enjoying. Once the pooches had refreshed themselves and cooled down nicely we found ourselves a nice little spot of the beach to eat our lunch, soak up the sun and listen to the waves pulling at the pebbles. Pure bliss.
We followed the less painful bridle path back to Westbay as once I’d sat down my legs started to feel the effects, I’m glad we did though as the view from that position was no less spectacular and you could really see the bowl effect years of erosion had worn in to that part of the hill.
It took us three hours to walk to Seatown and on one hour to walk back. Nothing new for us as it always takes a lot long on the way because we stop so often to admire the scenery and take photos. Never quite so many photo’s on the way back. Oh and when we arrived back in Westbay the crepe shack had opened and it would have been rude not to try some. We both had strawberries and cream as our filling and they were scrummy. A perfectly lovely way to end the day.
It was a chilly morning that greeted us again, by the time we’d washed and breakfasted the sun was showing it’s face but the wind still had a nasty icy bite to it so we had no choice but to put on our heavy winter coats and hats even though we knew it would warm up before long. We’d decided today was the day to walk the paths around our site, as we know we enjoy walking this area. So we set off, trust up like a pair of Christmas turkeys, following the footpath we’d taken last September as our beginning point. Once we reached the top of the hill we followed a bridle path that we’d not previously travelled which took us down hill between crop fields into the Symondsbury Estate, following the beautiful countryside in a circular direction back eventually, to our start point. Nik of course took more pictures of Comber’s Hill, which was always in our sites. Dorset, or at least this area is fast becoming one of our favourite counties to visit. Good walking always decides it for us. We finished our walk late afternoon and decided to have a nice relaxing evening in. Good job too as Nik put his back out bending down to look at Ella, who had decided to lay under Daisy away from the sun. Poor man can hardly move now.
Another chilly start to the day which unlike the day before quickly warmed up. We’re moving on today so just had a little walk, more for the dogs benefit than ours. Probably a good idea as Nik’s back is still quite painful.
We had to buy a new laptop so we thought we’d pop into the PC World just of junction 30 of the M5 and see what they had to offer us, so we thought we’d stay somewhere near Buckfastly Abbey and whilst we were looking in the CL book for a likely site we found one that advertised good walking and thought, ah well we’ll go there and have a nice walk for the afternoon. We are going to have to learn to do our research before booking as on this occasion what it meant was, you are within driving distance of good walking. I really wish they wouldn’t say that unless there are walks virtually straight off the site as it’s so disappointing.
Today was our last day free day and we had a lot to achieve before heading for the site we would be staying at for the next few weeks. We had to go to Halfords and get a new Inverter as the old one we had didn’t want to power the new laptop. Quite frustrating as it never had any trouble with Katie’s in the past. Then as we were so closed to Nik’s parents we decided to pay them a visit, catch up with our cat and transfer Nik’s work stuff from the pc to the laptop. Having spent a lovely afternoon there we then had to go food shopping for the week, drive to the storage place, to collect a few needed things and leave a few not needed things and collect the car. We arrived at our site at nearly 7.30pm and had to give the poor dogs a nice long walk to make up for the boring day they’d just had to suffer through. We didn’t sit down to eat until 10pm and I had to get up for work at 5am the next day.
So even when you’re living in a motorhome, there never seems to be enough hours in the day!