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‘Walk For Wildlife’ In Reverse!

September 24, 2008

After the successful ‘Walk For Wildlife’ at the weekend, the route markers needed to be collected back up – a perfect excuse to walk the beautiful route through the Purbeck hills again!

Photos coming soon! (Sorry Jane!)

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t quite as sunny as it had been at the weekend, but at least we didn’t get any rain! The team today was made up of Lucie, Nina, Tristen, Kerry-Ann and of course Jack, Lucie’s cute little black menace!

We started off at the Marine Wildlife Centre at Kimmeridge where we nearly had to leave Tristen behind after he adopted the very friendly dog there! Our path went up a very steep cliff, up to the newly restored Clavell Tower. Jack raced up the steps much quicker than any of us could manage!

We weren’t very far from the army firing range at Tyneham and from the sounds of it they were having a great time letting off explosion after explosion. Poor Jack was frightened by the loud bangs and kept running to Lucie. Luckily we were walking away from the range so the noise soon died away and Jack could relax.

Nina had the task of collecting up the route markers and some of them were surprisingly hard to find – even though they were on fluorescent yellow card! As we walked along, Lucie pointed out some interesting snails and she also showed us some Sea Kale (Crambe maritima). We learnt that it is actually very rare and it is illegal to pick and yet along the stretch of coastal path we were on, it was growing in abundance.

Soon it was time for a banana break – and some Bonios for Jack, although he was much more interested in what we were eating. We didn’t sit around for long as there was a very icy wind blowing in from the sea and thankfully our path now took us in-land. Unfortunately though, it was up a very steep hillside with steps that must have been made for giants. Lucie had the chance to get some good photos of the wonderful view and also spotted the Waverley, the only sea-worthy paddle-steamer left in the world, on its way along the coast.

At the top of the hill (and once we had got our breath back!) we then had to make our way through a field full of sweetcorn, which was like a jungle. After this, we then spotted a hedgerow full of blackberries and so we just had to stop and help ourselves! Lucie also found some sloes which she said would make good gin.

Soon it was time to find somewhere to stop and have lunch, as we were starting to get hungry and Tristen was so desperate for some food that he was eating all the blackberries! We found a nice place in a field just near the village of Church Knowle. Lucie had some biscuits and dog treats for Jack but once again he was more interested in our food. We found that we got quite cold sitting still so we didn’t stay for long.

We had to pass through a field of cows and had problems locating the markers that were meant to be there. We hunted around and eventually it was Lucie who found it in a very unusual place! The cows didn’t seem at all bothered by us or Jack, who was determined to sneak off when Lucie wasn’t looking and see what these strange creatures were.

Lucie pointed out some ancient pollarded oak trees, which were probably about 800 years old. Pollarding is where the tree is continually cut back to encourage more bushy growth resulting in a very wide trunk. Some of these trees were so old and gnarled that they were hollow but Lucie explained that only the outer bark of the tree is living so that was why they were still able to grow.

Jack made some new friends as we walked into the village. Two very excited dogs were waiting for us in the lane and at one point it seemed like we might be taking three dogs home with us in the mini-bus!

Now it was just a short walk through the village to the end of our walk, at the M.G.F.T Animal Sanctuary. To find out more about the work of this charity, visit www.animalsanctuaryuk.com. The village of Church Knowle has some lovely cottages and as we walked along we were deciding which ones we would like to live in! Once we reached the sanctuary, we all thought Lucie’s offer of an ice-cream was a very good one and we were soon sat in the car-park enjoying one each. Poor Jack was sat staring at us all, trying his hardest to look as if he hadn’t been fed for weeks and waiting for us to give him our empty ice-cream tubs to lick out. He quite liked the Clotted Cream flavour and the Vanilla Bean, but wasn’t so keen on the Chocolate flavour – maybe there should have been a special Bonio flavoured ice-cream for him!

It was a very tired V-Team that climbed back onboard the mini-bus to go back to the centre at Beacon Hill. Jack was quite happy to curl up on the floor under the front seat and go to sleep and we could quite easily have done the same!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2008 5:00 pm

    Well done gang! Those route markers came in very useful on Sunday! Shame the weather wasn’t so kind to you… I actually got a red suntanned (burnt!) face on Sunday… unheard of this summer. Shame you didn’t have to collect the Tyneham markers, as I’m sure you would have “enjoyed” the hill out of Tyneham! Can’t wait to see the pics… Jane

  2. September 26, 2008 11:45 am

    Thanks Jane! You were really lucky with the weather – no suntans for us I’m afraid, but we had a good day all the same. Not sure about the hill out of Tyneham, maybe another time! The photos will be up as soon as we’ve got them from Lucie’s camera…The V-Team

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