THE WESSEX RIDGEWAY : The Stones to the Wheel – Cerne Abbas to Dorchester

Up early from posh accommodation (because J with me) ; quick visit to see the newly chalked Giant (I had met someone in a café what seemed like a lifetime ago back in Devizes who had been one of the volunteers) and we were on our way.

The Wessex Ridgeway continues westwards from Cerne Abbas to the coast at Lyme Regis. I have walked those footpaths before and decided at this point to head down south to the coast at Abbotsbury – aiming for St Catherine’s Tower (the “Wheel”).

The route passed through the River Cerne Valley and then onto the chalk ridge before sauntering downhill back to Dorchester. There were several slightly steep sections climbing back up and down the chalk ridge but nothing too demanding.

We struggled to find the initial route and a chap gave us directions via his allotment. We then missed the footpath and found ourselves scrambling through bracken and thistles trying to find an alternate way. After backtracking the waymark was found and direction finding down the valley was simple.

We passed a couple of farms, tractors spreading muck and one particular yard where J thought it advisable to stand deep in slurry to take a photograph. (I’m guessing for F?)

We stopped and rested for a while in the churchyard of the decommissioned church at Nether Cerne.

Following details on the map we learned the difference between reservoirs and tumuli and spotted distant villages.

Quite soon Poundbury  appeared in the distance and after that the main town of Dorchester and outskirts of Charminster.

A great break was had high up on the downland just outside Charminster. I felt incredibly grateful all day, but particularly at this point that J had suggested and chosen to spend this time with me. He’d only moved house the week before and I’m sure he had plenty of chores awaiting at home! At one stage when we were eating our snacks, sitting in a rough grazed field I was taken to wondering where the last 33 years had gone; being so thankful that I still have a relationship with my son; reminiscing in nostalgic yet happy ways and being so very, very proud of the man he has become. I am so very fortunate and blessed.

(Yes, that is my knickers hanging off the back to dry!)

Before long we were reaching the outskirts of Charminster. We reached a small pond near the church and chuckled to see two young children paddling in the clear water.

A speedy walk ensued through the middle of Casterbridge (woops!) and to our Air B and B, via Maumbury Rings. J had sore shoulders (was it all those snacks he carried, I wondered?) and it was great to get to our accommodation and unload our bags.

Best meal of the trek that night in Wagammmammas! (Is that how you spell it?)

Easy peasy ten miles – great company!

(PS – Almost there, walk lizard!)



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