Maiden Castle, Dorchester in the background, where Romans fought and defeated the Durotrigian inhabitants. Evidence of that battle can be seen in Dorchester Museum
Sometimes we travel with friends. These are my daughter's dogs, Poppy, Henry & Archie, above Abbotsbury. The Fleet & Chesil Bank are enveloped in sea mist
The Cinnebar Moth was in the long grass on the lower slopes of Poundbury. The Cinnebar caterpiller was photographed in Frampton Park
Rawlesbury Camp near Bulbarrow. I used to ride my Welsh pony, Cupid, through here & on through the Dorset Gap travelling between Tisbury in Wiltshire & Frampton in Dorset
Scout makes a useful measure when looking at geological exposures. This chalk is in a valley at Southover, across the Frome from Frampton. I have a large collection of photographs, recordings and fossils from this area.
The sluice is one of many along the River Frome originally for use in flooding the water meadows for early grass and also for directing eels into traps either for local use and later, once the railway had come through, for sending to Billingsgate market
Here Scout is a useful measure for the depth below ground inside compared to ground level in a WW2 pillbox
a fossil sea urchin preserved in flint from the Cretaceous Chalk
Sandways & Peacock Bridge over the River Frome
Eggardon, an Iron Age Hill Fort with views deep into West Dorset & to the coast
Puddletown Forest, east of Dorchester. The hollow behind Scout is where sand was transported and used for making at Broadmayne
Poundbury, an Iron Age encampment crossed by a Roman aquaduct which supplied Dorchester with clean water 2000 years ago
Chalbury Camp, an Iron Age encampment near Weymouth. The Isle of Portland is cloud-covered in the distance
DOG DAYS IN DORSET
I spend much of my time wandering Dorset with camera and a dog. My present companion is a rescue collie called Scout. He's very photogenic so I use him as a focus and 'added value'. Needless to say he enjoys our outings and as he is a gregarious and amiable animal, he eases my way into conversations with all sorts of people. Yellow stars indicate a link to further information on the subject of the photograph or on why it was taken. The archaeological overheads are from Dorset County Council's "Dorset: A Photographic Atlas" 2000. Orientation is North at the top of each of the map photos. All photos DS unless initialised otherwise
Adders do like to sun themselves in these 'wild' areas. You have to be lucky to see them but this young one didn't quite know what to do when Scout thought he was a stick. And Scout cannot resist any stick. I called him off and eased the adder into the undergrowth to recover from his fright
Scout 'At Home' & 'running free'
There were dozens of these beautiful Parasols alongside the track on this expedition
The track to the brickyard at Puddletown
Many of the brick houses in Puddletown were built around the end of the 19th Century
examples of uses for the bricks are everywhere
Harebells and Common Spotted orchids do well on the chalk slopes
Blackberry and Hawthorn decorate the trackways
Meadow Brown butterflies can be frequently seen as can ladybirds and hoverflies
Frampton to Compton Valence
Stonebarrow and Golden Cap
veiwed from Eggardon
There are usually buzzards wheeling over the hill forts and chalk ridges
Blue butterflies feed on the clover and herbs which like the sunny chalk slopes. This one is a bit old and battered
Along the track high above Ringstead heading toward White Nothe. A misty autumn day with occasional views of the waves breaking on the reef far below, the Isle of Portland in the distance
If you walk round the south west end of Eggardon you can see the pebbly Greensand rock on which it was raised
Shaggy Ink Cap and a solitary Spindle tree
Early morning sunshine was warming the chalk banks between Notton & Cruxton on the old sheep drove to the south-west of the Frome. A fox had left his calling card in a prominent spot and buzzards were wheeling overhead with their mewling cries. The Red Admiral was motionless in the long grass warming up ready for flight
Note the seeds and beetle bits
Looking towards Lyme Regis from above Charmouth Heritage Centre on a wet and windy October Sunday. Too dodgy to walk to Lyme on a rising tide
Long Horn cattle watched us climb the steep hill from Little Bredy
Above the Blackmoor Vale, we are on the Chalk Ridge, The ponds on the right below are in the Kimmeridge Clay.
The toad was on the track but very dead, I'm sorry to say
When I acquired him at approx. 3 years of age, Scout didn't know what a river was & wasn't at all keen to find out. When eventually I got him into the water, it was 'at least one foot on the bottom' for a long time. 2 years later and it's any opportunity for a dip though we are still working on open sea swimming. It probably doesn't encourage his confidence when I have no inclination to join him. I prefer water at bath time temperatures these days
River Frome at Wrackleford
We are in Puddletown Forest yet again. Scout does like sticks but even he found these to be a bit of a challenge. The soil here is sandy and grows entirely different plants to those north west of Dorchester on the Chalk. Pine trees, gorse & heather are the dominant species.
These toadstools prefer the acidic content of the soils on top of the alkaline Chalk. In the boggy bits you can find Sundews patiently waiting for their next meal to land on their sticky traps
River Hooke at Maiden Newton
Maiden Newton has a lot of problems with flooding. These posts with their beautiful carvings of fish and otters mark the flood alleviation channel running through the water meadows behind the bakery. The rivers Frome and Hooke meet here.
Chilfrome is a small hamlet between Maiden Newton and Cattistock. This pretty waterway was a sheepwash originally with shutters up and down stream to control the flow and a temporary brick ramp built in so the animals could get back out.
date on the sluices on the millstream
a well disguised grasshopper
He still isn't adverse to returning via the shallow route!
Meadow Brown, lots of these about
This is Hardy's Monument (as in Admiral!). I took the photo a few years ago. I abseiled off here for a charity event not long ago. We are looking toward Winterbourne Abbas from a track off the road to Hardy's Monument. We are on the boundary between the Chalk and the Tertiary gravels so there are pine trees behind us while ahead are rolling downs and arable fields on the Chalk
Foxgloves grow on the edge of the Pine Forest while thistles take advantage of the rough field behind Scout
Scout is gazing into Culpepper's Dish on (the other) Hardy's Egdon Heath. It's a very deep hole indeed and must have been an impressive sight before it became overgrown. There are a lot of deep holes, called dolines, along this Dorset ridge because of the geology.
There are plenty of more accessible walks but many of them are rather steep in places so if you are looking for a gentle stroll this is no place to be. This path leads down to Rimsmoor known for the depth of its peat formation
We're at Black Hill, a nature reserve near Bere Regis. Scout waits patiently for a peculiar group of humans who seem to spend all their time looking at and talking about rock. As one or other of them can usually be persuaded to throw sticks for him, he doesn't mind too much. There are interesting pools which support lots of diffferent flora and fauna. Scout gets great enjoyment out of them as well. Getting wet, then rolling in sand and lastly having a good shake next to the humans is guaranteed to get a good reaction
We are at Whiteway Hill above Tyneham, heading for Kimmeridge to look at a friend's fossils. The road from East Lulworth is edged with Pyramid Orchids, bellflowers and harebells.
The Harlequin ladybird, found in the farmyard, is a most unwelcome visitor to Dorset. I photographed the obliging Gatekeeper below on the bramble flowers in the car park
Common Blue damselfly
Pyramid Orchid Harlequin ladybird,
Scout is in the Frome at Bockhampton. It's one of those riverside paths where you are guaranteed to meet wet dogs eager to share their sogginess with all and sundry. He has just heard excited yipping from a spaniel further along.
You can follow the Frome from here to Gray's Bridge at Dorchester and beyond. The Bockhampton and the Dorchester bridges display the 'transported to Australia for damage' notices but I don't think anybody ever was given a free ride for damaging them
Marmalade hoverflies seem to like the Spear thistles. I found a clump swarming with them. I have 'captured' many different species here in Frampton
We're at Manswood in East Dorset. The foxy looking madam is Poppy who spends much of her time letting poor Scout know who's boss. He doesn't seem to mind except when she took Grey Rabbit from him (GR has been a firm favourite since I acquired Scout). The Marbled White & Small Skipper butterflies were on a large patch of Field Scabious. I thought the Gatekeeper was even better with folded wings. A Marmalade hoverfly takes pollen from a plentiful supply of Agrimony. The feathers are from a Jay and a Woodpecker.
Green Orb Weaver (female)
Outskirts of Dorchester and we have walked round and through the field of wheat. We will head back along the Hardy Way. There were hoverflies and butterflies but the most frequent observations were of the little red soldier beetles.I quite like the burrs at this stage but am not too keen when they are seeding and Scout gets them in his coat and I have to remove them
This area is a great favourite with dog walkers as there are many and varied pathways
We've been to Worth Matravers to look at an archaeological dig and are on the top road back to Corfe Castle. The tall grasses beyond the hedge are masking the view which I have taken separately. The hedge is smothered in Old Man's Beard in full flower and there are Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, hoverflies and bees all hard at work. The white objects are the size of a slightly flattened and elongated pinhead. They were in a row when I saw them first but the leaf has dried out a bit and rolled them together. I have no idea what they are
Corfe Castle with
Poole Harbour in
the far distance
Scout is in the Frome yet again, this time at Wool with the medieval bridge in the background. The Jack Russells are swimming hard against the current but Scout isn't worried as he has all four feet on the bottom. Don't know the gentleman's name even but you can see that Scout has tranferred all allegiance to him as long as he keeps throwing stones. Scout had already had a wonderful time when we had stopped earlier as he found a campsite with boys playing football. It's a game he can play with great enthusiasm and even some skill. He was keeping the whole campsite entertained by the time I caught up with him.
I chased damselflies through the nettles along the river. There were Banded Blue, male and female, Common Blue and, best of all was the Bluetail as I hadn't got a photo of that one before
The Bluetail (very small) damselfly was on a car bonnet as I came out of the field along the river.
Himalayan Balsam is a serious nuisance along the Frome. It's very pretty but produces enormous quantities of seed which float off and form new colonies wherever it comes to rest
We're on the old railway line at Maiden Newton. It used to run to Bridport. On this bit it crossed the flood plain of the Frome on an embankment, now well wooded. There is no shortage of good sticks but if he thought I was going to throw this one for him he was bound to be disappointed. Even at this fairly wide point he was in difficulties and it narrows considerably past here. I made him leave it behind as I didn't want him sweeping anybody off their feet.
He takes disappointment in his stride and simply went off and found a more suitable stick
I saw Common Blue, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper butterflies plus a Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly. They all, except the Speckled Wood, were flying too high and fast for me to photograph
I had to go to Montacute in Somerset for a meeting so we stopped off at Evershot on our way back. Scout is on the seat at the entrance to Melbury Park. The back and sides are made of the local Greensand rock as the wooden seats were regularly vandalised or stolen. The other local stone, because of natural causes ie faulting millions of years ago, is Forest Marble which has been used for many of the older dwellings in the area. It isn't really a marble, which is a 'heated and squashed' limestone but does take a polish as if it were as does Purbeck Marble.
The various plants were on the road and field edges leading down to the village from the A37
We're on Eggardon on a warm and windy August afternoon. Alec, Iain and the dogs hurtle from 'pillar to post' and up and down the slopes. Scout is quietly getting stuck into his stick while the others are distracted. He has a lot to put up with as three of these mates are quite likely to remove his treasures from under his nose. The view below is of Lamberts Castle and Pilsdon Pen westward across the Marshwood Vale. The line of rock to the right is the outcrop of the Eggardon Grit (Upper Greensand)
Poppy, Nell, Henry, Helen, Archie, Alec, Iain, Scout
Scout in clover, literally. A wonderful field of it in full bloom at Maiden Newton. The Red Admiral kindly allowed me several photos. Bees, beetles, Large and Small Whites, mating Gatekeepers and best of all there were small grasshoppers everywhere.
The hillside has ancient strip lychetts across it as have many of the fields round Maiden Newton
Back at the bakery in the village, the grey cat poses regally in his own wild life garden next to the Frome which is joined here by the River Hooke flowing down from the tiny hamlet of Toller Whelme
Holly is a 10 year old Jack Russell X Whippet X plus XXX, found wandering at 12 weeks in Cardiff and was acquired shortly afterwards from the Blue Cross at Tiverton. Her owners, David and Liz, who sent me her photograph as they liked Scout's website, used to walk her on Hambledon Hill until they moved to Devon. She looks the same 'lets make the most of life' sort of dog as Scout. I expect she is enjoying Devon as much as she enjoyed Dorset
page updated: 8/10/2021
and now joined by Nellie-Bean
Alec and Scout on Fingle's BridgeDartmoor
Scout is just to the left of Leo's shoulder, hopeful that he will throw a stick into the water (Dartmoor)
I wasn't the only one who hadn't got a clue what I was doing! A howling gale and thick cloud cover wasn't exactly helpful either. One minute you couldn't see a thing (which was GOOD), next minute you could see only too clearly!
My geological colleagues were in attendance. That's one of them taking my photograph from an even less flattering angle than this one
Scout's 'friend' in Devon.
The ferocious beastie in Scout's bed is always delighted to see him as he has Scout well and truly under his paw. The pathetic expression on one face and the smug one on the other says it all really
Alec is standing on Fingles Bridge.over the River Teign on Dartmoor. We walked upriver on the steep side where Scout promptly scrambled down the cliff after a stick. All we could see of him was his tail sticking out of the undergrowth as he heaved and heaved to get the stick unstuck. He eventually bounded triumphantly up the cliff with his trophy.
Leo is on one of our favourite regular spots over a small stream near Whiddon Down. Scout, of course, is ever hopeful of a willing playmate.