Milton Abbas, Dorset

Daisy Stuck in a field
Daisy Stuck in a field

After three days in our field with the almost non-stop torrential rain, we weren’t looking forward to trying to get out. For the last two days, we had been watched little cars getting stuck in the mud and having to be dragged out of the field by tractors. With Daisy being heavy and not as young as she used to be we were fully expecting to have to call on the use of a tractor ourselves, so it was with much surprise and a great deal of back slapping that we managed to get out the first time with no help.

High on our success, we made our way to Milton Abbas in Dorset, straight into our new site without stopping to check the sponginess of the grass and immediately got stuck. Our site owners had a lovely old tractor sitting in their shed but, they weren’t at home, I had been warned this may be the case before hand, but that wasn’t much help at the time. Luckily there was only one other occupant in the field, a 70 year old man and his wife, and bless his heart he tried really hard for two hours to help us get unstuck. The problem was we were at an awkward angle and the front left wheel just wasn’t getting enough grip, even with grip mats to get us moving. After two hours we called a stop and decided to walk the dogs while we awaited the return of the owners.

So, our sole reason for staying on this site was to visit Milton Abbas. This area in Dorset was going to be the best weather for the entire six counties that we can travel to easily, and being as we were only expecting to get one vaguely nice day, that wasn’t saying much. Whilst searching for something of interest in this area I came across pictures of what I could only describe as a “Smurf village” when I explained it to Nik. Nik was at work at the time but was intrigued by my description and agreed we should go there. This place was, of course, Milton Abbas.

Milton Abbas, Dorset, UK
Milton Abbas, Dorset, UK

On this evening, we were really more interested in walking the dogs, as they’d been locked in for hours whilst we messed about trying to move old Daisy. We were pretty sure there was a walk straight from our site but with no one about to ask, we opted for a quick walk into the village. This turned out to be a much better walk than anticipated. We found a footpath just at the bottom of the village that took us up through a little, wooded area and out onto a recently harvested cornfield. From here the possibilities seemed endless, there were paths all around this field leading to different places. It’s a shame that we didn’t have time to explore them all during our stay. We did a nice circular walk around the field with two very happy dogs thoroughly enjoying their freedom and all the new smells. Just to put a smile on our faces as we were walking back into the wood we spotted a deer just far enough away for the dogs not to pay it any attention. We do love seeing a deer.

We took a different path out of the woods than the one we’d entered through and found ourselves right in the middle of the “Smurf village”. It’s a shame that the weather was dull as it is as stunning as we had hoped it would be. We didn’t hang around though, as we wanted a sunnier day for a proper visit. We left happy that this could be the making of our visit.

We got back to our site around 8pm to find that our owners were still out. As it was starting to get dark we decided we’d be stuck here for the night so we best just get on with it. Unfortunately, the angle we were at was so severe that it was very difficult to do anything without falling over. Cooking dinner was an experience I don’t want to repeat. As for sleeping! Nik sleeps on the side of the bed that was down hill, so once he’d got into position he was away with the fairies. I, unfortunately, spent the whole night falling on him; how he didn’t wake up squashed I don’t know. You can’t really tell from the picture just what an angle we were on, it was mainly the back end, which is where we sleep.

I can laugh now, but I’ll be honest at the time I had a bit of a sense of humour loss. It’s not like me and it did confuse my poor husband but the extreme angle was making me feel ill and I got grumpy.

Thursday

It rained all through the night and when we got up it was obvious that we weren’t getting out of that field without help. We had to wait until it was a sensible hour before we could go find the owners with fingers crossed that the tractor in the barn worked. As it turned out the owner had noticed we were stuck already but didn’t want to wake us up so was waiting for us, haha. Oh well! In the time of waiting, we had decided that if we could get a pull out of the field we didn’t want to go back. We had noticed there was a nice area of hard standing just in front of the house, far enough away not to feel that we were on top of them, so we were praying that they wouldn’t mind us parking up here.

Daisy being helped out of a field
Daisy being helped out of a field

Thankfully, the tractor worked a treat and the owner didn’t even bat an eyelid when Nik went to see him, so we think it’s probably not the first time he’d pulled someone out of his field. Makes us feel a bit better. When Nik mentioned that he wasn’t keen to try again and possibly need help again the owner volunteered the hard standing which was a bonus. He also told us about the walks into woodland straight off their land, which we spent what was left of the morning exploring.

It’s a shame that the weather had been so wet as this whole area is full of beautiful scenery and there are around 1000 acres of woodland with paths going in all directions just begging to be explored. We had a fantastic walk following the dogs along different paths and taking photos. Whilst walking Nik found some Spiny Puffball mushrooms which we’d never been lucky enough to see before, one piece had been knocked over and resembled a hedgehog’s head.

Lycoperdon echinatum, the Spiny Puffball mushroom, Dorset, UK
the Spiny Puffball mushroom, Dorset, UK

In the late afternoon we again took the dogs down to the woods, this time we followed a path that we hoped would take us closer to the village and therefore bypass the part of the road that had no pavement. It did, but in a very roundabout way, so we decided that when we visit the village the next day we’d go along the road. By the time we’d reached the end of this path the sun had come out and we were so close to the walk that we had taken the dogs on the day before so we decided to go back there.

As is our usually way, we got distracted and never did make it there. As we were walking down the hill towards the footpath we decided to take the long route through the village so that Nik could get some photos, just encase the sun doesn’t make an appearance on Friday. There were far too many cars as everyone had obviously returned home for the evening but the village was pretty anyway, so we kept walking to the bottom of the street and here we discovered the path to Milton Abbey Church. Obviously, we had to follow it. The footpath was a nice little mud track that ran beside a field of sheep on one side, and Milton Lake occasionally visible through trees on the other. As we came out of the path and onto the Abbey grounds we were immediately greeted with the amazing vision of the Abbey right there in front of us. I don’t know what we were expecting, but whatever it was, we got so much more. The Abbey and the school were made with a very grey stone that adds to the spectacle. It’s just a shame that we arrived there in the evening when it was closed. I would have loved to have gone inside. As it was, the sun was out and there was no one else about so we had fun investigating and photographing the outside of the building.

Milton Abbey Church and School, Milton Abbas, Dorset, UK
Milton Abbey Church and School, Milton Abbas, Dorset, UK

We both enjoyed our walk so much that we ended our evening with big grins on our faces. Luckily the dogs had enough to explore and sniff to keep them happy as well and returned to Daisy nicely worn out.

Friday

We awoke to a lovely sunny morning. It’s been too long since we awoke to a bright warm sun so we got ourselves ready to go out as quickly as we could and made our way to Milton Abbas‘ main street.

We decided to take the woodland path after all so that the dogs could have a little run around before being dragged around the village while Nik took photos. Luckily they are used to this and were very patient with all the standing still.

To begin with, we were worrying that Nik wouldn’t be able to get the photos he was after because there were cars everywhere, and although the sun was out there was a big dark cloud sitting above us. We walk all the way to the bottom of the street with Nik stopping at almost every house to photograph them. Once we reached the bottom Nik found the perfect position for his photo; we just had to wait for the clouds to move and as the wind didn’t seem to be in any rush to help us out, we decided to have a little explore further along the road. We didn’t want to find out later that we’d missed something spectacular.

Milton Abbas, Dorset, UK
Milton Abbas, Dorset, UK

When we came back the sun was in a perfect position and many of the cars had moved. Nik came away feeling that he had got the best pictures he could. So with that finished we then made our way to the walk that we had promised the dogs the evening before and let them free for a nice long run around while we explored a few more of the footpaths in the area.

We found ourselves a nice little spot on the edge of a field to eat lunch and give the dogs a drink. Whilst we were there the local farmer drove past us with cages full of young pheasants that he was bringing to a big cage in the wood at the edge of our field. Nik and the dogs got very excited, luckily not for the same reasons. Nik couldn’t wait for them to finish so he could get photos and the dogs could smell them, so desperately wanted to get in the cage and chase them. They weren’t amused when I put them on a lead and pulled them away.

We had a fantastic day and returned to Daisy happy and somewhat worn out.

For more blogs in Dorset, click HERE

 

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