Ian attended the Milton Abbas History Walk and has kindly shared his experiences of joining a Stepping into Nature activity.
It was a last minute decision to go to Milton Abbas; a History Walk led by Steve Wallis (Dorset Council Senior Archaeologist) and Steph Aburrow (Stepping into Nature Project Assistant). Those residing in Bournemouth, rarely venture this way. I am a naturalist/writer/photographer and we are considered to have the best location for diversity in the UK, and also scenic and blessed with wildlife with Poole, Christchurch, the New Forest, then further afield Weymouth and Portland. But apart from Christchurch and apart from smuggling, in truth, we are not blessed with much history in South Eastern Dorset.
Although I am a history lover, I knew little about Milton Abbas, apart from the TV programme, but always wanted to learn more and see the place, so took this opportunity.
It was to be a wise decision to go for this was to be the best history walk I have been on, for several reasons:
The rapid response to my email by Steph, which unexpectedly gave me so much information. A good start and first impression.
Second impression; when going west, I stick to the main road so the drive from Bere Regis To Milton Abbas was also new to me, but what a delight, so another surprise. Hidden Dorset. Thank you sat nav.
Had no idea the history of the place was so fascinating. I thought it was just the ‘village’ but so much more. Obviously, too much to take into in a couple of hours but it was fabulous. I think compared to other historical spots, this is under-reported.
Milton Abbey and the school were totally unexpected. I had no idea, and to see these amazing buildings in the middle of nowhere was a total, lovely shock. We had perfect weather. A little window and was delighted that when I got home, the heavens opened as the predicted storm rushed in. Even saw a Black Swan on the lake (Capability Brown – who else?), which I hope was wild (but may have been pinioned). I will find out.
The guides were terrific, knowledgeable and brimming with enthusiasm, and what a bonus to meet with Tracey Edwards and see the school. This was by pure chance.
The tea room at the end, another surprise, and somehow so apt.
I come from Bournemouth and am a naturalist, writer and photographer, and we tend to stick to the Jurassic Coast, Poole Harbour, New Forest, Christchurch and rarely venture to the north or even north of the county. Also field guide leader for Dorset Meetup https://www.meetup.com/Nature-Wildlife-Group-Dorset/ and would like to venture further afield, especially in the summer and spring. Perhaps a joint history/nature walk if you know of any suitable locations. The scenery is just as important to me, as the quantity of wildlife. We will probably stick to the coast for winter, as it is so rich in winter waders, geese and ducks, but inland in summer for flora, fungi, butterflies, scenery etc.
Am also active member of the BNSS – http://bnss.org.uk/ where I do the newsletter/magazine, photography, ornithology and ‘General’ and helps organise the talks.
We are open every Tuesday if you wish to visit. It is unique in the world, and covers history, archelogy, and every natural history and science subject, as well as 75 talks every year. We celebrate our centenary next year on Feb 8th.
Stepping into Nature Blogs