Under the Greenwood tree
Returning home from a trip, I took a detour and drove under this avenue of beech trees that line the two miles of road between Wimborne and Blandford. The trees were planted in 1835 as an anniversary present for Lady Bankes, a fantastic gift that has bought pleasure to so many others too.
The leaves seem to be taking ages to fall here this year, and so we decided to visit our favourite wood on Saturday morning. We have been visiting Thorncombe woods for the last 31 years since we first starting going out together.
The sun was beginning to melt the first frost we have seen this year. This stinging nettle looked so beautiful with it's frosty coat. Amazingly fellow blogger CT was taking a similar picture, over the border in Hampshire almost around the same time!
The author Thomas Hardy was born in this cottage and he wrote two of his books while living here including " Under the Greenwood tree". My first introduction to Dorset was reading "Tess of the D'Ubervilles" at school, never realising that I would be spending most of my adult years in the countryside he described.
The cottage is now owned by the National Trust. I have been remiss in not bringing you here before. It is now closed for the winter but if you want a peep inside we have excellent guides from Elizabeth and CT.
Many years ago someone added some goldfish to this pond. They ate all the newts and other pond life but it has now been restored. As we stopped to take photos and admire the view we heard quite a thundering in the undergrowth. Five ponies joined us by the pond to have a drink. They weren't bothered by our presence. We have never seen them roaming here before and it was a magical moment watching them and sharing this beautiful location with them.
It's the beech trees that draw us here at this time of year. They are always such a magnificent sight.
The woods were also a popular outing when the children were small. Their playgroup used to have an annual outing here. On one of our visits someone had left bird seed on the trunks of old trees, it was lovely to see the birdlife at a closer range than usual.
They say this wood is haunted by a Roman ghost. This site was once the location of the Roman road that linked Dorchester to the ancient settlement of Bradbury rings (located very close to the avenue of trees in my first picture.)
There have been some superb sunrises and sunsets in the past week. As I walked towards the sea, to take these images I disturbed some rabbits that were silhouetted on the crest of the hill. They were too fast to capture, but for me that moment was priceless.