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Archive for the ‘England’ Category

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If you know Poole in Dorset, can you identify where you will find these two versions of the town coat of arms?

I love Poole in Dorset (where my mother was born) and have always been intrigued by the place’s coat of arms, with its heraldic dolphin and three shells – I thought they were cockles, as the town history trail is called the cockleshell trail, but Wikipedia says they are scallop shells. So I thought I would write a post about it, and share my images of three “sightings” of the arms. (more…)

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Traditional architecture in Sherborne, Dorset

I like Sherborne a lot – and hopefully will return there next summer for another visit, to catch up on the parts I missed this time. I have already written about Sherborne Abbey here, but the town itself is also worth a wander. It struck me as very clean and bright and traditional. The Sherborne Town website calls it “without doubt, one of the most beautiful towns in England” and it is probably not wrong. (more…)

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Sherborne Abbey, Dorset

We hadn’t planned to visit Sherborne during our time in Dorset back in the summer, but went there on impulse when we found ourselves in the vicinity. So annoyingly I hadn’t researched it in advance and didn’t read the guide book until weeks later. So I find I missed quite a few features I will have to seek out next time.

The first thing I noticed was that it is made of the same golden Hamstone as Minterne House, the place that brought us to the area and which I blogged about here.

The people of Sherborne seemed very friendly and as I was buying a guide book a man was looking heavenward and said, portentously: “The swifts have gone”. It sounded like the ravens leaving the Tower of London, but he explained that the migratory swifts of the abbey always head south to Africa around this time of year, within a day or two. This was August 16 and we had just missed them. (more…)

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A cormorant on Poole Park lake, Dorset

I love Poole in Dorset – and I remember visiting Poole Park as a child on holiday, but I hadn’t really given it a proper inspection until this summer.

We had fringed the southern bank of the lake on a walk from Baiter two years ago and you can see the blog post here: Poole Park: Beyond the silver tree.

But this time, starting from the same point in Baiter, we walked right around the other three sides of the lake that makes up the bulk of the park’s area (which is 110 acres or 45 hectares). A map may help us find our bearings… (more…)

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Astilbe and Primula sikkimensis, the Himalayan cowslip, beside the stream at Minterne Garden, Dorset

I recently wrote about Minterne House, half-way between Dorchester and Sherborne in Dorset, but the place’s main attraction is its woodland garden.

The U-shaped trail is just over a mile long and we went very early in the day, so we were alone to enjoy the tranquillity among the trees, which are mostly tall beeches, oaks and conifers around a chain of ponds and streams. (more…)

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Minterne House in Dorset

How old do you reckon this building is? Looks a bit Elizabethan, doesn’t it? Well read on and you may be as surprised as I was.

Minterne House (and especially the gardens, which I write about here) was my destination when I stopped off to have a look at the Cerne Abbas Giant during my few days in Dorset recently (see my previous post about the giant).

The house itself is not open to the public, except as a wedding venue, so I had to consult various sources to find out more about it. Most interesting seem to be the stories of a couple of rather scandalous women who lived at Minterne in different eras, although of course it has always been the men who have had all the titles and honours. (more…)

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View from Cerne Abbas viewing point in Dorset

I’m just back from my annual trip to Dorset, so my next few posts will probably feature a few new things I saw for the first time.

One day, while heading somewhere else, I looked at the map and realised we were going to pass by the famous Cerne Abbas Giant, one of those old chalk figures that brighten the area – and this one is famous for being a bit “rude”. (more…)

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