It's been some time since I last blogged and part of this is down to being away from my computer for a few days - well that's my excuse anyway! I am back in the Tamar Valley now having had a very pleasant short stay in East Dorset where one of my brothers and his wife live. This was timed to fit in with another brother visiting the couple whilst yet another brother was staying at Weymouth (no more brothers after this!) and we arranged to all meet up on one of the days. Fortunately the weather was perfectly tolerable if cloudy at times and on the occasion when we all met up it was particularly pleasant.
There was the opportunity to get out every day and we made the most of it. An afternoon visit took us up a fairly substantial hill to see the prehistoric fort on Hambledon Hill and very impressive it was too! On another occasion a circular walk of about 10 miles was undertaken in The New Forest. We also visited Swyre Head in the Purbeck Hills from which a super view is obtained. On a better visibility day one can see the Isle of Wight to the east but looking west Kimmeridge Bay was well in view with the long smudge of Portland beyond. According to Wikipedia it's also possible to see Dartmoor - I feel a little sceptical about this and it certainly wasn't visible on the day we selected. Another port of call was Corfe with its castle - well to be accurate we admired the latter from below on this occasion.
Traffic aside I was well impressed with Corfe. We snacked at the Model Village Courtyard Cafe and I would recommend that to anyone. A little cheaper than the National Trust prices at the Castle I would suggest, very nice food and friendly service as well. The Swanage Branch Line, now one of our many preserved railways has a station at Corfe and obligingly a steam powered train arrived while we were there!
One of my passions can best be described as "topographical history" - I love both local and national history and I'm especially interested in the way that the built environment has been influenced by the geography of an area. With relatively high elevations being visited it was possible to get an overview of the landscape. Not so though on The New Forest walk, from what I've seen so far there seems to be little variation in height over the Forest which at least is good if one is a cyclist! On the plus side plenty of lovely trees of course and breezy heathland to walk over. Lots of very low key car parking areas also got the thumbs up. I was also interested to see a smart fairly ornate signpost with a date of 2008 at its base - I think that this was the year when the Forest became a National Park.
Would I prefer to live in the east of Dorset than where I am now? No. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my brief break and the hospitality that went with it I am definitely a 'Peninsula' person rather than a 'Middle England' person. Any downside to the Tamar Valley? Well I wouldn't mind the lower rainfall that goes with the part of Dorset visited. But I guess nothing is perfect in this World!