Tag Archives: Dorset

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A farewell Sunday lunch to remember…..The Cricketers at Shroton…..a magnificent Free House….

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Well, in a little over a week we will be flying out of this country to gorgeous Florida for a well earned break, then home to Australia in the new year after 3 1/2 years living back in the UK…..wow!  My Aussie bones are very excited! but I will be sad not to be visiting this great pub for some time, The Cricketer’s Free House, in the village of Shroton, Dorset.

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I have loved this place as it’s always consistent….great fresh food, presented beautifully and the staff are always so friendly and attentive….and the owners care so much.

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Thank you to Sally, Joe and all the wonderful staff, yours is a pub we will remember forever……but soon we will be visiting ‘Surf Clubs’ on a Sunday! feasting on grilled seafood with a sea breeze cooling us down!……..a long way from an English Inn for sure, but certainly fitting for the heat and sunshine experienced on the magnificent Queensland coastline of Australia!  The Cricketers free House is truly a gem of a place.

 

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The Blackmorevale Inn, Marnhull, Dorset

We have been meaning to try this pub out for a while now, and I am so pleased we did.  I love this place already and I’m so sad we didn’t find it sooner.  We just stopped by for a drink today to check it out! as we were having roast lamb later at home for dinner.

Sarah, who was working wonders behind the bar was very professional and as we approached the bar, she immediately acknowledged us and said ” I will be with you in a short moment.”  She was delightful and friendly and a breath of fresh air to be honest as service in country pubs can be disappointing.

I was looking for a special pub to have lunch on my birthday next weekend and I found it today.  The Sunday roasts on offer on the menu board today were…Beef, Chicken, Pork and Lamb!!  Wow!  Four roasts on offer is pretty special.  Menu looks and sounds brilliant too with variety and all food locally sourced and cooked fresh to serve daily.  We sat in the wonderful bar full of character…..very clean and a wonderful wood burner was a brilliant feature of the stone and wooden floored room.  The sunshine streamed in from the windows as we enjoyed our drink; we even had one of the regulars bring over a plate of wonderfully prepared finger food the landlady Gail served complimentary for her loyal friendly locals drinking in the bar.  If only this wonderful pub was in our village!

A great atmosphere in this place with a lovely ‘looked after’ feel about the place.  These people care…just wonderful, can’t wait to visit again soon.

A wonderful treat again of the beautiful drive back to Compton Abbas was passing this farm again selling gorgeous cherry tomatoes and sweet red peppers!  We bought a few!!

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Roast Partridge at The Cricketers in Shroton, Dorset

It’s the weekend, yippee!  and we are going out to lunch today to The Cricketers Free House in the near by village of Shroton in  beautiful Dorset.

The game season is upon us and they are now serving wonderful game birds on their menu.  Today they have roasted partridge…a very lean little delicate bird and if cooked well, an absolute delight.  They are serving this with gorgeous thin game chips, bacon & bread pudding, sweet & sour red cabbage and a white wine sauce, at £12.95, an absolute bargain!

Well, this did not disappoint as the bird was beautifully cooked and the bacon and bread pudding was simply gorgeous, similar to stuffing but with a wonderful, light texture,  The game chips were expertly made, non greasy and light as a feather.  The red cabbage was a wonderful compliment to this delicate game bird and I loved it all.

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We had a drink at the bar first and the lovely girl behind the bar gave us a sample ( a couple!) of the honey chilli nuts they have on offer.  I would highly recommend these moorish little morsels, made fresh in the pub’s kitchen.

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There were many other specials on offer including a number of fresh fish dishes……..and Joe said they will be serving pheasant soon…..unreal!

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The Cricketers Free House, Shroton, Dorset

  • Great food, service and atmosphere…..
    Just back from a lovely lunch at The Cricketers and it didn’t disappoint, in fact it was the freshest, beautifully cooked pub food I have had in a long while…fantastic! We sat outside in the sunny beer garden and the tables were filling up quickly. Steve had one of the famous pies (pork and beef today) and it was just sensational with crisp, homemade short crust pastry. Presented beautifully it came with a decent serving of veg (buttered new potatoes, peas, beans, carrots and mange tout.) I chose the Cod in Beer batter which was cooked perfectly, served with a generous serve of crisp, golden chips and a lovely mixed leaf salad, along with tatare sauce and fresh lemon….extremely good (and I was pleased I missed breakfast and walked the dog up Melbury Hill this morning!!) The menu is so reasonably priced, not over complicated and many daily specials were on offer on the blackboard inside. We drank wonderfully chilled Stowford Press Cider and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The staff are wonderful, a breath of fresh air really…so polite and the attention to detail is just fantastic (our plates were cleared in no time with a friendly smile)….but all good things must come to an end, but we will be back again soon!!! Magic place.

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Magical Christmas Tree…….

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This year we have bought a 10 foot Christmas tree and it looks so amazing, standing tall in the barn at Compton Abbas in Dorset.  It is adorned with glass snow flakes/stars and the fairy lights and tinsel give it a silvery glow….we love it!

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Let the decorating begin!…..Steve pictured here with our 10 foot Christmas Tree and some of his home made glass decorations.

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Steve’s beautiful fused glass star adorns the top of our Christmas Tree.
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Basil the Labrador loves our tree too!!…..too much as he started eating the branches!!
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Steve’s glass snow flakes cover the entire tree……

 

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What great weather for walking in the Dorset Countryside……

How much do I love Dorset?  So very much and I will make the most of the gorgeous sunny weather we are having today, with a walk from Brynmor Acres down into Cerne Abbas, taking in part of the Wessex Ridge way and magnificent countryside views.  It’s around 9kms round trip, perfect distance before lunchtime.  Unfortunately Steve is still limping from an achilles tendon strain, so I’m on my own again!

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Leaving Brynmor Acres

Perfect conditions for a long walk with full sun and only a slight breeze…..beautiful.  Bring on the vitamin D!

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Back to Brynmor Acres, Cerne Abbas, Dorset

 

 

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Greyhound Inn, Sidling St. Nicholas, Dorset

Steve enjoyed a great Birthday lunch last weekend at the Greyhound Inn, Sidling St. Nicholas in Dorset.  It was gorgeous sunny day, but a little too cool to sit outside!

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The Greyhound Inn, Sidling St. Nicholas, Dorset
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Tubs, pots and hanging baskets with spring flowers are a lovely greeting at the Greyhound Inn, Sidling St. Nicholas

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Steve with Gina and Ken who were visiting from Florida, in the Conservatory at The Greyhound Inn, Sidling St. Nicholas, Dorset. I promise Ken was not asleep for the entire lunch!

 

We booked a table in The Conservatory which was lovely….we ate in this wonderful, bright and airy room when Steve’s mum Gina and husband Ken were visiting recently from Florida.  I love this place, it has a great atmosphere and the food is pretty good.  Advisable to book though as it can be quite busy, especially on the weekends.

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The Greyhound Inn Blue Vinny Wellington, a vegetarian delight!
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Buttery garlic french bread at the Greyhound Inn, Sidling St. Nicholas

I chose a scallop and bacon salad (scallops were cooked to perfection) and Steve had a Blue Vinny Wellington.  Tender vegetables were wrapped in philo pastry and served on a bed of Blue Vinny sauce.  He thought there could have been a little more blue cheese flavour in the sauce, but other than that, cooked and presented beautifully.  We ordered a side of lovely green veg and french garlic bread.

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The scallop and bacon salad at The Greyhound Inn was wonderful
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Water served with fresh orange and lime is fantastic
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Flowers on the tables and throughout the Greyhound are a beautiful, fresh touch

This is a great country pub in a pretty village, down the hill from Brynmor Acres.  If only they left there doors open on a Saturday afternoons as it would be great to walk down and back to Brynmor for a pint!

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The Greyhound has a great selection of real ales and are very well kept too.
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Happy Birthday Brownie Cake for Steve!
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…….still in Dorset and loving the countryside walks…….

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The sun is shining today, which has been rare lately, but I’m making the most of it.  I’m walking from Brynmor Acres to Sydling Saint Nicholas and back, just before lunch.  It is a spectacular walk with picture perfect vistas in every direction.  The hill back to Brynmor is a killer, but definitely worth the effort!

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looking back towards Sydling Saint Nicholas and fields beyond…..

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Dorset Blue Vinney Cheese.....a Birthday surprise!

Dorset Blue Vinny

Blue cheese is my favourite cheese, a close second is the well ripened Pont L’Eveque.  Steve secretly bought some of this luscious cheese for me for my Birthday while driving through Crewkerne the other day.  Wonderful treat…..thank you!!!

Dorset Blue Vinney Cheese.....a Birthday surprise!
Dorset Blue Vinny Cheese…..a Birthday surprise!

This traditional blue cheese is made near Sturminster Newton, in Dorset.  It was a rather common farmhouse cheese  for a few hundred years, but production of this favourite cheese of mine dried up in 1970 and it eventually became extinct.  Woodbridge Farm in Dorset revived this lovely old recipe in the 1980’s and lucky for me, it is now producing the cheese again.  Thank you Mike Davies from Woodbridge Farm!  Produced from the milk from his own herd of Friesian Cows.  I believe this cheese was Thomas Hardy’s favourite too!

It has a wonderful strong, long lingering taste and because it’s made from skimmed cow’s milk, it is lower in fat than the traditional Stilton cheese.  I love it served with some finely sliced onion or even better, a little quince jelly with crusty bread or a cracker…..along with a glass of red wine to cut the richness.  A marriage made in heaven in my opinion.

Friesian cows in Dorset make wonderful cheese
Friesian cows in Dorset make wonderful cheese

 

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Livestock everywhere on the South West Coast Path

Charmouth to Golden Cap and Seatown

After a days rest walking 20 miles (around 32kms) on the South West Coast Path, we decided today we would walk one of our favourite stretches of this Jurassic Coastline.

Livestock everywhere on the South West Coast Path
Livestock everywhere on the South West Coast Path

We started off just as the sun was rising, a beautiful sight on a rather frosty clear morning.  I wasn’t expecting to see so many cows taking over the path!  They are quite harmless stupid creatures.  As long as you don’t disturb them or go near their calves, the are OK.

Frost covering a welcome seat on the way to Golden Cap
Frost covering a welcome seat on the way to Golden Cap

Feeling like mountain goats again, we made our way up some decent slopes to Golden Cap.  It was a stunning bright morning.

Signs on the way to Golden Cap
Signs on the way to Golden Cap

It was a very wet summer in England this year and the rainfall has continued into the Autumn, causing many landslides on the south coast due to the unstable, damp ground.

The top of Golden Cap in Dorset
The top of Golden Cap in Dorset

We made it to the highest point on the south coast, Golden Cap in Dorset.  Well worth the steep climbs for sure.  We added a rock to the pile that someone had started and headed down into Seatown.

Looking back towards Golden on our way to Seatown
Looking back towards Golden Cap on our way to Seatown

We love this part of the world.  The steep climbs and descents along this section of the South West Coast Path require some level of fitness otherwise one will find it quite demanding.

Seatown beachfront in Dorset
Seatown beachfront in Dorset

Seatown beach was our half way mark and after fuelling up with water and an energy bar (my home made muesli bars) we were off back up to Golden Cap and on to Charmouth.  Nine miles (14.5 kms) wasn’t a bad start to the day!

Walking down Stonebarrow Lane into Axmouth....whew!!
Walking down Stonebarrow Lane into Axmouth….whew!!

What a great relief to reach Stonebarrow Lane…..all down hill now from here into Axmouth and back to the cottage in Seaton.

 

 

 

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The Fox Inn at Corscombe, Dorset.

The Fox Inn, Corscombe, Dorset

The Fox Inn is a lovely thatched pub, situated in the rural hamlet of Corscombe.  A stream runs through the village and in the summertime it’s lovely to sit outside with a cool beverage and watch the ducks mucking about  in the water.

The Fox Inn at Corscombe, Dorset.
The Fox Inn at Corscombe, Dorset.

I highly reccommend The Fox Inn at Corscombe if you are anywhere around this part of Dorset.  Whether it’s just for a quick pint or to sample their lovely Sunday lamb roast.

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The unspoilt Lulworth Cove on the Jurassic World Heritage Coast of Dorset.

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, Jurassic Coast, Dorset, England

The unspoilt Lulworth Cove on the Jurassic World Heritage Coast of Dorset.
The unspoilt Lulworth Cove on the Jurassic World Heritage Coast of Dorset.

My love of the Jurassic coast in Dorset and East Devon has taken Steve and I on some spectacular hikes along the Southwest Coast Path.  This area around Lulworth Cove is an extremely popular tourist destination, so towards the end of September in England was a good time for us to spend a couple of days hiking.

Chalk and limestone cliffs near West Lulworth are a geoligist's dream.
Chalk and limestone cliffs near West Lulworth are a geoligist’s dream.

We stayed in the small fishing village of West Lulworth in a B&B that was the closest cottage to the waters edge of Lulworth Cove, called the Boat House.  Views were amazing, we loved this place.

You couldn't get any closer than this to Lulworth Cove. The Boat House was fantastic!
You couldn’t get any closer than this to Lulworth Cove. The Boat House was fantastic!

 

You couldn't get any closer than this to Lulworth Cove. The Boat House was fantastic!
West Lulworth is full of character with some lovely old shops and cottages.

 

Lulworth Cove Inn, Dorset.
Lulworth Cove Inn, Dorset.

 

One of many lovely old cottages in the village.
One of many lovely old cottages in the village.

The weather was perfect when we arrived and the forecast for the next couple of days was excellent for walking.

Jenny Kirwan (me!) arriving at West Lulworth in perfect weather conditions
Jenny Kirwan (me!) arriving at West Lulworth in perfect weather conditions.

 

The Southwest Coast Path and Jurassic Coastline looking a picture of delight!
The Southwest Coast Path and Jurassic Coastline at St. Oswald’s Bay looking a picture of delight!

 

Walking towards Durdle Door from Lulworth Cove was pretty easy going.
Walking towards Durdle Door from Lulworth Cove was pretty easy going

 

Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast, Dorset.
Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast, Dorset.

Durdle Door no doubt would have to be one of the most photographed landmarks on the Jurassic Coast.  Over a period of time this arch will eventually collapse and leave a sea stack like those that can be seen at Ladram Bay in East Devon.

Durdle Door near Lulworth Cove, Dorset
Durdle Door near Lulworth Cove, Dorset
The views around Durdle Door were breathtaking
The views around Durdle Door were breathtaking
Jenny Kirwan says, "Bring on the steep cliffs, I'm ready for it!!"
Jenny Kirwan says, “Bring on the steep cliffs, I’m ready for it!!”

 

Approaching West Lulworth (whew!!)
Approaching West Lulworth (whew!!)

What a magnificent sight it was to see this tiny village of West Lulworth again.  The cliffs after Durdle Door were undulating to say the least!  What a relief to finally make it back!  A quite few beverages at the near by Castle Inn was a wonderful reward!  The Real Ales and extensive list of Real Ciders at this 16th century thatched free house is sensational…….but that’s another blog!

"Yes please!" A pint of Stowford Press Cider for me and a Real Ale for Steve went down well!
“Yes please!” A pint of Stowford Press Cider for me and a Real Ale for Steve went down well!

 

 

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Looking west from Seaton, Devon

South West Coast Path, The Undercliffs, Seaton, Axmouth to Lyme Regis.

Looking west from Seaton, Devon
Looking west from Seaton, Devon

I absolutely love the hilly countryside around Devon and Dorset and in this area there are some of the most spectacular (and arduous!) Coast Path walks.  We’ve based ourselves in Seaton, Devon this week to walk some of our favourite stretches of this famous coast path.  Today is Steve’s favourite West Coast Path walk.  Surprise, surprise, it’s one of the most strenuous, difficult, physically challenging walks on the coast!  Steve has always been one for a testing physical challenge and this walk was just that.  The Undercliffs walk from Seaton, Axmouth to Lyme Regis we have walked many times…..so we knew the dangers and how difficult and rewarding it can be.

Leaving Seaton at Axmouth Harbour at the start of the walk
Leaving Seaton at Axmouth Harbour at the start of the walk

The Undercliffs are part of the ‘Jurassic Coast.’ This magnificent reserve covers wild woodlands, land-slipped cliffs, fossils, geology and spectacular wildlife.  It was declared a National Nature reserve in 1955.  It is one of the largest active coastal landslide systems in western Europe and lies within the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

The Undercliff Walk from Seaton, Axmouth to Lyme Regis can be extremely dangerous.
The Undercliff Walk from Seaton, Axmouth to Lyme Regis can be extremely dangerous.

Rain was forcast to come through around mid morning, so we needed to get an early start to reach our destination without getting too wet.  We packed our rain coats and a few supplies and set off in good spirits……..

Wake up Jenny! This first hill goes on forever leading up to the golf course at Axmouth.
Wake up Jenny! This first hill goes on forever leading up to the golf course at Axmouth.

Yep!  This lane up to the Axmouth Golf Course was a killer of a hill that seemed to get steeper as we walked on.   When we finally make it to the Golf Course we then had to continue uphill until we made it to level land for a little breather!

Steve marching! through the Golf Course towards higher but level ground.
Steve marching! through the Golf Course towards higher but level ground.
From Axmouth Golf Course, looking back down into Seaton.
From Axmouth Golf Course, looking back down into Seaton.

The views on this walk are quite breathtaking but soon we would be approaching the Undercliffs where it would be pretty tough going with only a few glimpses of the sea along the way.  Weather still looked bright but rain was definately on the way.

Before we entered the Undercliffs this sign greets you! We took 2 and 1/2 hours to walk to Lyme Regis!!!
Before we entered the Undercliffs this sign greets you! We took 2 and 1/2 hours to walk to Lyme Regis!!!
Steve climbing down one of the many sections of steps in the Undercliffs.
Steve climbing down one of the many sections of steps in the Undercliffs.

I was enjoying this walk so much and Steve was too.  The Undercliff’s warm and sheltered micro climate was a different world away from the windy cliff tops and pebble beaches surrounding it.  Steve spotted a lizard and we passed a tiny Hazel Dormouse that unfortunately had passed away earlier that morning.  There were so many beautiful butterflies and the bird life was wonderful too.

Beautiful trees line the path near the Rousdon Cliffs.
Beautiful trees line the path near the Rousdon Cliffs.
Another endless amount of steps to climb in the Undercliffs.
Another endless amount of steps to climb in the Undercliffs.

We were so lucky as it was still very dry underfoot as there hadn’t been much rain over the past week.  This path can be treacherous when wet….very slippery and muddy, so we were thankful of the conditions. 

Steve working out how far we had come and how long we had to go before we reach Lyme Regis.
Steve working out how far we had come and how long we had to go before we reach Lyme Regis.
A welcome sign, we were almost on the home straight!
A welcome sign, we were almost on the home straight!
....but a bit more torture before the end is near!
....but a bit more torture before the end is near!
....and another mountain of steps to climb!
....and another mountain of steps to climb!

The wildflowers were wonderful on this walk….yellow Wort, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Rock-Rose, Yellow Horned Poppy and some beautiful Lilac.

Beautiful wildflowers on the Undercliff Path. Steve was on a mission....no time to pose for photos!!
Beautiful wildflowers on the Undercliff Path. Steve was on a mission....no time to pose for photos!!
What a wonderful sign!! Not long now....
What a wonderful sign!! Not long now....

Wow! We were nearly there…..eight miles of difficult, strenuous terrain was coming to an end.  The sense of achievement was massive!  The rain had started now but we didn’t care.  Our delight in the walk we completed (without injury) was enormous and getting a little wet was not a concern.

Walking down into Lyme Regis....wet but extremely satisfied with the Undercliff walk.
Walking down into Lyme Regis....wet but extremely satisfied with the Undercliff walk.
We made it! Lyme Regis beach in 2 and 1/2 hours.....wonderful!
We made it! Lyme Regis beach in 2 and 1/2 hours.....wonderful!
Jenny (me) back at Seaton in dry clothes and happy with our achievement today.
Jenny (me) back at Seaton in dry clothes and happy with our achievement today.
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