Dear Readers, after my Dad’s interment yesterday I felt a real need to get out and walk – it was the most glorious day and Dorchester is such an interesting spot. We started off by circling along the Walks, a path that goes past the Roman Town House. Sadly, in all the years I have been going to Dorset I have never seen the Roman Town House because the paths around it, or the structure that houses it, is always undergoing repair. Never mind. The wall itself is a fascinating mix of flints and bricks, with some round turrets in the middle. It apparently traces the line of the old Roman walls of the town, but these look a bit more recent, though it appears that we might have walked past a section of the original wall. All the more reason to come back for a second look!
We turn down to the river, which at this point meanders gently along the back of the houses. As mentioned previously, there are water meadows here, along with the gates and locks that were used to control the flow of water. There was also a family of sleepy swans, dozing in the shallows. I was a little concerned that that they might be unwell, but on balance I decided that they were just sleepy.
We took a little detour through the nature reserve here, and for once we could walk right the way round the boardwalk – on every previous visit, a portion of the path has been underwater. Like everywhere around here though the watercourse is pretty much choked with Himalayan Balsam. It’s definitely pretty, but what a thug! Some of the plants here are seven feet tall.
Then we walk along the main road, past the car dealorships and the garage and the site where an Aldi supermarket was supposed to appear (but hasn’t yet) to Grey’s Bridge, which always feels to me like the edge of town. We cross the road and then cross back because the path is on the other side. What a splendid view of the town, and some Friesians.
And another swan.
Look at the mixture of Himalayan Balsam and willowherb here, though.It’s definitely narrowing the watercourse. I suspect that the Himalayan Balsam thrives on the nutrient-rich water here, what with all the run-off from the fields.
Somebody’s thatched cottage is getting a haircut and trim, very nice too. This is such skilled work, and you need a nice long patch of dry weater to do it.
Onwards! It has been a very good year for yarrow.
And for rosehips
I love that this tree has a huge sign on it saying ‘KEEP AWAY’. It certainly looks very dead, so maybe there’s a danger from falling branches. Why is it that the sign makes me want to run over and investigate? Curiosity is a dangerous thing.
And then by a miracle of navigation, I find the path across a field that takes us back to where we walked on Friday, past those magnificent trees.
I love the twist in the bark of this one. I wonder how old these trees are, and wonder how they’ve all been allowed to remain. There is what looks like a very big estate next to the path, so maybe they belong to the people there.
And then we stop while my husband takes a phone call from his brother in Canada. His Mum is unwell, and while he discusses the prognosis I try to take a photo of the flighty little brown bird in the tree on the other side of the river. I don’t manage it, but I do suddenly notice the spiders’ webs. They seem to be everywhere.
For me, there is nothing more autumnal than a spider’s web filmed with dew, or whitened with frost. Spiders are with us from early spring, but many species only get large enough to come to our attention at this time of year. So many creatures are living their lives out alongside us, completely unnoticed. We see such a tiny fraction of the richness and complexity that surrounds us.
And look, a buzzard. The bird looks about the size of a smallish door as it flies over, soon to be hotly pursued, as usual, by crows. For a few seconds, though, it sails through the sky unmolested and serene.
And talking of serene, here is a short video of the stream at the start of the walk, with the waterweeds swaying gently in the current. They somehow sum up how I feel – I’m just going with the flow, letting the water take me along for a bit. I feel as if I’ve done so much fighting and organising and planning and trying to make things happen for this past few years that a bit of serene acceptance might not be a bad thing, at least for a while.