Saturday, 11 June 2011

A Walk on the Wild Side

It truly has been a beautiful Spring here on the Devon and Dorset border, with the slopes of the hills blanketed in flowers and the woods resonant to the sound of the world coming back to life. There's been times when I try to capture the sunlight beams shafting through the trees, or the sun shining through the hedgerows – but simply fail every time to capture their true beauty.

Epye Down with its beautiful rolling hills, just outside of Bridport, is one of our favourite places to go walking. A great circular route is to walk via the Secret Garden Cafe down to Eype Beach, then back up to Thorncombe Beacon. On one day the sunlight was lighting up the woods and leaves in a simply stunning manner, like fairys had alighted on the Bluebells, leaving a magical essence of light.

There's magic afoot in the woods at Eype Down
We tried shooting the light coming through the leaves, but failed miserably. I sometimes feel that maybe that's the answer why, that the only way to see the world is to be out seeing it for real. To capture it would ruin the magic, like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Courtesy of Hugh Stoker, West Dorset's answer to Wainwright*, I have been out exploring the beautiful West Dorset countryside which sits on our doorstep. Every one of Hugh's walks takes my breath away, with their surprises at every turn. A walk I expect to be ordinary turns out surpassing my dreams, with its rolling meadows, the unexplored woodlands. The farms where time has stood still, the farm machinery rusting in the hedgerows hinting at an agricultural hey-day long past.

We are blessed with a multitude of long-distance trails around our home: The Monarch's Way, the Wessex Ridgeway, the Liberty Trail, the East Devon Way. All of them seem to pick out the best of our local countryside. One of mine and Purdey's recent day walks was to start at North Chideock, walking part of the Monarch's Way. It was one of those days where the sunbeams filtered down onto an ancient path, a ridgeway route used over the centuries; The holloways (or hollways) of Dorset, that Robert Macfarlane has written about so beautifully. Once again, the camera simply could not capture the day's beauty. Like a secret tunnel of light leading to something beautiful, the only way is onwards...

In the words of Bilbo Baggins, "The Road Goes Ever On".

Purdey questions why we have stopped
*Hugh Stoker was a local man, living at Seatown (home of one of our favourite pubs, The Anchor), who self-published in the mid to late eighties a series of guides to local walks in Dorset and East Devon. I discovered my first one in a bookshop on Honiton for £2, but they're readily available on ebay for next to nothing. I can't recommend them highly enough, with every walk being a joy.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Somehow I missed this beautiful post until today! Good writing! How I wish I could join you for one of those hikes. We just adopted a Golden Lab; she's pretty old so we are her retirement home but she's a sweetie, very gentle and still with lots of energy for walks and playing ball. Her name is Goldie. Sometimes we walk down Diamond Gulch to the beach from where we can see the Kachemak Bay mountains and Mount Illiamna when it's clear day. Beach walks are fun too. Glad you are in the Lake District again and hope you have enjoyed more good hiking there. Lots of love and hugs, Sue