Sunday, 31 August 2014

Osmington and the White Horse

It is a nice sunny Sunday morning and so we set off for a circular walk from Osmington. We park near the church and follow Church Road to the north, turning off up some almost invisible steps to walk through the wooded surroundings of the village. We soon emerge into fields and before long have our first view of the famous White Horse.

We first saw it from a distance when we were walking the coast path from Osmington Mills to Ferry Bridge on a murky November day in 2011. It is much more impressive from closer up in the sunshine. It was created in 1808 as a symbol of gratitude to George III for his patronage of nearby Weymouth. John Rainier was the instigator.

The view back along the full extent of White Horse Hill is impressive.

We follow the valley bottom to reach Sutton Poynz, a pretty village which dates its existence back to 987 AD. Poynz was the name of the Norman family who came to own it after the Conquest. The restored Water Mill makes a fine house.

And the pool beyond is charming, fed by a spring at the base of the ridge.

I couldn't resist these beautiful hawthorn berries.

We climbed the path out of the village to reach a delightful combe, Spring Bottom.

From here, we made a diagonal climb up West Hill where I was delighted to find a number of Adonis Blue butterflies. This is a species that I have fancied I have seen before but have never been quite sure. The two key identification marks are the intensity of the blue and the fact that the black veins cross the white wing margins (they don't in other blues).

Now that I have seen some, I am sure that they were the first: the blue really is, as all the books say, distinctively different.

As we went further up the slope a fine view south to Portland and Weymouth opened up before us.

Once we reached the top and headed along the ridge, there was also a good view to the east.

Ridge walking is always wonderfully exhilarating and this was no exception, wide wide views to the wide open country to the north as well as those south to the sea. Eventually, we took a right to head back to Osmington, strung out up the slope of its hill. The sea can just be made out behind it.

Conditions: warm and sunny.

Distance: just over 4 miles.

Map: Explorer OL14 (Purbeck and South Dorset).

From: 50 walks in Dorset (AA books).

Rating: four stars.

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