Let me introduce a little ‘pet’ I found in deepest, darkest Dorset. I’m sure he’ll make the perfect guard dog; he’ll even deal with troublesome neighbours. I may name him Fido.
We’ve only visited Dorset once before and now, living far closer, we explored more of the area. We stayed in lovely accommodation, sharing the use of the owners’ wonderful garden. So wonderful, it rather inspired me so that I brought several plants home from garden centres in the area. It’s official — I cannot add another plant to the garden from here on. It’s simply jampacked. I’ve also got a clear idea of what I’ll do with our next garden should we get the chance to make another move. This garden is far too established to change now.
We kept things simple for me as I find going out and about currently difficult for health reasons, choosing to visit gardens, houses, maybe a beach, starting with a day out, in and around Abbotsbury, which is an attractive village built in bluff stone. We visiting Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens and the Abbotsbury Swannery. They’re separate but close by and you can save by purchasing a ticket for both at either attraction without having to go to each on the same day. All the birds are free, but as they’re fed twice a day and provided with appropriate pens and nesting material, they choose to nest here. At the time we went, the cygnets were hatching, and it was full on cuteness overload.
Cerne Abbas is worth visiting for a short while, though there’s not much there. We did a circular walk along the river into the village, around the buildings on the oldest street (much my favourite), and to the abbey. Reviews complain about the price to enter the abbey grounds, and I see the point. At £2.50 a head (paid via honesty box), it’s pricey for what’s there.
From the grounds of the old cemetery, one can head into the woods and even up to and around the Cerne Giant, though it’s now fenced off to protect it. We headed further out and then made our way back, at last heading down on what, to me, felt like an almost vertical descent. The so-called ‘steps’ on the left side of the giant are hardly that.
We looked at the giant from the viewpoint (best way to see it, anyway, so unless you love walking save yourself the trek), and had a much needed cream tea in the garden of the local tearoom.
Nearby, though going over the border into Somerset, are the National Trust properties of Montacute House and Tintinhull Gardens. Back into Dorest, there’s Kingston Lacy and, though not National Trust, there’s Thorncroft Woods, which contains Thomas Hardy’s cottage, which is. We also explored Minterne Gardens and made our way over to Weymouth, though I found that to be a little too quintessential ‘British beach holiday’ material for me. I far prefer less crowded long winding beaches, or small secret coves.