Hey all hope you are well?
It Seems an age since I went out walking, but I had worn new shoes for a less than an hour a week or so ago and managed to cause significant damage to my heels (way more than just blisters!) so had to wait for them to heal….Anywho, todays adventure starts at the summit of the hill, and I descend before ascending again, just for a change! Distance 6.32 KM total ascent 185 M.
The walk starts at Hardy’s Monument, A 72 foot (22M) tall tower on the top of Black Down, just South West of Dorchester. I thought that this monument was in memory of the novelist who lived hereabouts (author of Tess of the d’Urbevilles, Far from the madding crowd etc) but no, it is in memory of Admiral Thomas Hardy who was with Nelson when he was shot and killed in the Battle of Trafalgar. Admiral Hardy was born in Little Bredy a village not far from the monument which was the start point of a previous walk. When I learned the monument was related to a naval officer I assumed he was compensating for something as you can see this monument for miles!…..
However, I have since learned that his family had intentionally built this tower to aid ships navigation which it has been doing since 1846, and now I feel like an ass for my assumption….In my defence though, the shape does not help! (although it is supposed to look like a spyglass as used by the Navy at the time….). The Monument is owned by the National Trust. You can go inside the tower and up the stairs to the top, but it is currently closed due to covid restrictions…..After mooching round the site admiring the views we set off on our walk.
We headed along the footpath from the car park to Smitten corner and then along the South Dorset Ridgeway towards Bronkham hill. Picking up clues for the simple two stage multi cache (Bronkham Hill GC7W97A). At the footpath junction, we headed down in to the valley known as Hell bottom…..
There is a cache at Hell Bottom called OYB 43 Bench (GC32T3Z). After reading previous log posts it seems that I was not the only one who had thought that “Bench” was an indication of the cache host (It would be on or in the vicinity of a bench) and I had planned to have lunch on said bench…… It turns out that Bench is the name of the place! So I perched on the dry stone wall to eat lunch enjoying the peaceful area and the weather that was getting hotter by the minute!
After lunch we headed up to the top of Waddon Ridge and west towards Portesham Farm then north towards Benecke wood (Hardy Coppice). The wood provided much needed coolness and shade from the sun on the trek back up the hill. We also met some gorgeous, but very shy, miniature belted gallway cows…I may or may not have spent a few minutes wondering if I could fit one in my back pack to take it home (as a pet, not to eat!!)…
After reaching the top and taking a breather, we crossed the road to bag the hill summit. Then returned home to dinner cooked by kiddos, Hurrah!
Until next time….