The places we go 

                           In this one I would like

                       to show you the places

                       we visit. Not the actual

                       houses but the area,with

                       some pictures that I take

                       and a bit of info gleaned

                       from the internet.

                                    Marnhull   -   Dorset      

 

The first thing you see as you approach  Marnhull from the A30 Shaftesbury to Yeovil road is the church . Just before you arrive at the church,  you pass, on your right hand side The Crown Inn, but if you are a Thomas Hardy fan you know it as  The Pure Drop Inn,   in Tess of the D'urbervilles, where Tess's father offered Parson Tringham a quart of beer.

 Thomas Hardy lived at nearby 'Stourcastle' If you look on the map of the area it's Sturminster Newton. He renamed most of the area in his books , Marnhull was Marlott. Continuing at 'The Pure Drop' Tess's father  said although the ale was good here, it wasn't so good as at The Rollivers.   Which is down in the village and is called The Blackmore Vale Inn .The Rollivers name is retained in the local skittles league, by  a team whose captain used to play at The Vale Inn.  A team which I enjoyed playing in for several years.

If  you are thinking of  visiting this area there are plenty of places to stay. The Crown   has rooms but not, as far as I know, the Vale. There are shops in the village, one of which, Robin Hill Stores, Photo below, won the Countryside Alliance Best village store and post office for the Wessex area  and  were  third overall in the country. Catering for most normal needs, so no need to drive everywhere to get things. Both of the inns mentioned do meals. 

In the 1700's bull baiting  was all the rage at Marnhull and surrounding areas, but in 1763 it was stopped. Not because of the cruelty but because the opposing fans caused so much damage fighting amongst themselves.       C'mon you bully's.

Although there are several connections to Hardy in Marnhull it is well worth a visit for its old houses and wide ranging views of the Blackmore Vale.  If you like walking there are lots of footpaths everywhere and this is the best  way to see the village from different angles.Back to Hardy for a second, when he died the literary folk wanted him buried at Poets Corner, Westminster Abbey, the people of Stinsford at his birthplace, so to please everybody his heart was buried at Stinsford, his remains at Westminster Abbey           A local comment was:”And when the Day of Judgment come, Almighty,’ell say” ere be heart , but where be rest of ‘e?”

                                         Farley   nr. Salisbury

 

                     

 Approximately five miles East of Salisbury, within the parish of Pitton & Farley lies the village of Farley. With 140 households, a very small  village. However within this village lies two buildings  accredited to Sir Christopher Wren and the parish holds 28 English Heritage listed Buildings.

 The attraction to me however are  the woods. Hundreds of acres of them and the outstanding one is Bentley Wood. 1700 acres  with tracks and paths in all directions, plenty of scope even for the most  hardened  walker.

 If you just like wandering through woods then the main tracks are for you,hard, level and dry. so a sensible pair of shoes is ok. If you want to wander onto the smaller paths, then perhaps walking boots is the order of the day but unless it has been  very  wet even these paths are pretty good.

pp

There are of course different ways of traveling through the woods. I think cycling is ok but check the websites for sure.  Motor vehicles are a no-no.

                                      Within the woods are tributes to former supporters of the woods.

                                                                                      Supporters of tired legs.

'and just support in the way of information. 

If you can get a map of the woods before you come it would help as they seem a little thin on the ground, and there are a lot of paths.

                   Bowerchalke

 

Bowerchalke is situated in the Ebble valley a couple of miles from Broadchalke,  just  off the road that threads it way from Coombe Bissett on the A 354 Salisbury -Blandford Forum road,  to the A30 at  Ludwell  nr. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Like many of the villages in the valley it is quite pretty and worth a stop to take in the hill views and enjoy the walks around the village and up on to the downs. Sadly all amenities seem to have  gone. The Bell pub is now a private house. The village school built  1844   and had a roll of 84, closed in 1976 is  a private  house. The village shop is a private  house, and the Methodist chapel also. The religious  side of the village still has a Baptist chapel and Holy trinity church next to each other which nestle under the downs very nicely   and  a  friendly community will make you very welcome. 

One thing, Mobile Phone signals are virtually non existant in the Ebble Valley.