12/06/2021 Part 1: Hardy Monument & Maiden Castle

The 12th of June is going to be split up into a trilogy of walks. I’m sure you can all hardly contain your excitement. In fact, on this day I ended up walking about 12 miles, or 30,000 steps. That’s a lot. Now imagine you’re a tiny dog. No wonder she secretly resents me.

Anyway, to put all of this into a little more context, I’d booked a few days in Dorset. I’d had a bit of a frenzy of booking places as lockdown restrictions eased, and this was one such booking. I got tempted to cancel it, but then I decided that life is for living and I may as well. Hooray! I wasn’t to know we’d be “enjoying” a mini-heatwave and some truly stunning weather (more on that in later posts), so it was definitely worth the outlay.

I was staying in the tiny village of Toller Porcorum. I think everyone can agree that that is a truly wonderful name. I describe it as a village, but essentially it’s one street plus a farm (where I was staying). I had sheep in the garden and I loved it. I’m convinced I’m going to move to the countryside one day, and this would make a fantastic candidate.

To start this day of many walks, I first headed to the Hardy Monument, which is about 20 minutes from the village. This being the land of Thomas Hardy (cue not so fond memories of having to study Tess of the D’Urbervillles not once, but twice), I’d assumed this was a monument to the noted author. My guidebook told me otherwise – it is in fact for Vice Admiral Hardy. Also confusingly and selfishly called Thomas. This chap didn’t write books, but was instead a commander at the Battle of Trafalgar. So now we know.

From the surrounding paths you get a great view over the Dorset countryside, and you even get a tantalising glimpse at the deep blue ocean in the distance. It was already starting to heat up, but it was lovely to be out relatively early before all of the other tourists descended on the place.

The next stop was Maiden Castle. In the spirit of things not being what you think they might be, this isn’t actually a castle, but an Iron Age Hill Fort. It is now mostly occupied by sheep, plus presumably bewildered tourists wandering around looking for the castle. Here you can find more beautiful views of the countryside. That’s if you can get past the sheep.

Having made our way around the fort, it was to set off on the next part of today’s Odyssey, which I’ll put into another post.

Because why not?

Distance – 0.97 & 1.15miles
Time – 0:31 & 0:48

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