Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Golden Day

So it's grey and raining, where do you go? Obvious - to the beach! Well not directly to the beach of course; me being me, we have to slot in a visit to an ancient site or two -so where to go?

A quick browse of the Megalithic Portal threw up some good possibilities and 9 Stone Circle it was. This is right on the A35 which meant it should be a quick drive-by on the way to Lyme Regis.

Drive -by is exactly what happened! I was keeping a sharp look out as I've been down that road many times and not realised there was a circle there.

 Having spotted it, (and it is right on the road) came the problem of where to stop. The A35 is horribly busy but luckily there is a very rough and muddy lay by between the circle and the Little Chef so a quick U turn and we were there.

This is a lovely little circle despite the proximity of the main road and the traffic noise. The ramsons were just starting to show, filling the air with the unmistakable scent of garlic. The woodland surrounding it lends an air of calm and it must have been quite idyllic before the invention of the internal  combustion engine.

There are 2 main stones and 7 much smaller ones. There was once a large beech tree but it has been largely removed by English Heritage on the basis that it was diseased.  The remains of the tree bears much graffiti and it is a sad sight.  

Having soaked up the ambience we decided to look for the "Broadstone" which was apparently close by but a little further along the A35. Finding this was far more challenging and despite have a detailed OS map and having programmed the co ordinates into the trusty GPS locator we had a number of trips up and down the same section of road before deciding  where it MUST be  even if we couldn't actually see anything.

And there it is! Yes rather small and inconspicuous. If you go to find it yourself, pull into the tarmac layby on the right hand side of the A35  ( travelling away from Winterbourne Abbas). If you peer through the hedge you can see a smallish stone lying prone in the field.

After that anticlimax it was Lyme Regis for lunch and a stroll in the now blazing sunshine along The Cobb   where they have a relaxed attitude to time!

Since the circle required no effort to visit and lunch had included large helpings of  Dorset Apple Cake  some exercise was definitely needed so the trip was rounded off by a 5 mile walk.

This was serious exercise. I can well believe that  Golden Cap  is the highest point on the South Coast and the walk which took in the ruined church of St Gabriel's had some steep climbs and descents. It was worth it though for the views ( I think!)


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