Postcard of the Week: Dorset
The mysterious castle shrouded in mist in this postcard is Corfe Castle, in the Purbeck Countryside in Dorset. A few weekends ago I popped down to Poole with four university friends, as one of them lives in Poole. She can see the sea from her house! I am green with envy, as I’ve seriously missed the sea in the last couple of years of living in London and Madrid.
As well as lots of catching up and consuming many amphoras-worth of wine in the process, we also amused ourselves with a boat trip around Poole Harbour, admiring five of the islands (the only public island being Brownsea), explored the infamous Sandbanks (the fourth most expensive place to live in the world after London, Manhattan and Moscow) and strolled along Branksome Beach towards Bournemouth. On the second day we headed to Corfe Castle in the Purbeck countryside, which is an 11th-century castle built by William the Conqueror (one of my ancestors, don’t you know) that now lies in ruins after an impressive stint right up until its demolition in the 17th-century, during the English Civil War. Head up the public footpath to the peak of the hill directly to the west of the castle, and you’ll see this view below of the castle. Another must is an obligatory pit-stop in either the National Trust tearooms or the Greyhound Inn, both of which overlook Corfe Castle and were suntraps on the day we visited.
On the way home we also stopped by Wareham, a small historic market town where you can hire rowboats to meander up and down the River Frome. And this is Dorset. Dorset is a county of small towns, beautiful landscapes and is steeped in history and tradition. The pace of life seems slower there, with bounds more community spirit and outdoorsy sense of adventure. Although I grew up in neighbouring Hampshire, not Dorset, it reminded me of why my childhood was just such a brilliant experience. All along the south coast of England you have beautiful countryside to walk through, plenty of interesting National Trust properties to explore and so much open space. If you haven’t yet visited the south coast then you really really must!