On a hot afternoon last week, we drove westwards across the top of the Bournemouth and Poole conurbation and down into the tranquil lanes and hills of Purbeck. Climbing the steep hill beyond Corfe Castle village, we found the small, grey stoned village of Kingston and the Scott Arms, draped in green Virginia Creeper, a pub that dates from 1787.
The small car park behind the pub was surrounded by dry stone walls which were smothered in vibrant pink shrub roses.
Behind the roses stretched one of the the finest views in Dorset. These photos do not do it justice. In a gap between two long, downland hills, lie the ruins of Corfe Castle, surrounded by its narrow village streets of Purbeck stone cottages. Beyond, the waters of the northern edge of Poole Harbour glinted in the sunlight and the view into rural Dorset stretched for miles and miles.
Corfe Castle has Saxon origins and is said to be the place where the Saxon King Edward the Martyr was assassinated. After the Norman Conquest, William I ordered the castle to be rebuilt as he enjoyed hunting in the Forest of Purbeck. The Norman castle was modified over medieval times and was a significant stronghold at many times in history, including the Wars of the Roses. It was attacked and largely destroyed by Parliamentarian troops during the English Civil Wars, as it was then in the ownership of the wealthy Royalist Bankes family.
Today, the castle belongs to the National Trust and is one of the most atmospheric and interesting castles in Britain.
We enjoyed our light lunch and a cool drink in the gardens of the Scott Arms, gazing out across the view and feeling the welcome heat of the sun after so many weeks of dismal rain. It felt like real summer at last!
Afterwards, we walked around the village, where pretty cottages grew roses and hollyhocks in small front gardens.
The old village water pump.
The "New Church" of St James, built by local landowner, the third Earl of Eldon in 1874 and designed in Neo Gothic style by architect George Edmund Street. This church is built from locally quarried Purbeck stone and marble. It was built to replace the earlier Old Church at the other side of the village. It was initially the private chapel of the Eldon family but later became the main village church.
Inside, it was cool and rather splendid, but to me it lacked the depth of history and atmosphere that is so often felt in the oldest English village churches.
Across cottage rooftops and gardens, where fruit trees soaked up the sunshine and washing blew dry in the hot breeze.
The old church, now disused, can be seen amongst the trees on the edge of the village.
Looking eastwards across rooftops and fields, shone the misty blue of the sea in Swanage Bay.
Living in the beautiful New Forest, I am a married late-fifties woman, a recently retired teacher and the mother of grown up boys who have flown the nest. I share my days with cats, dogs, ponies and the wildlife all around us. Starting this blog is a chance to explore woods, fields, lanes and heath with my camera. A chance to share the simple pleasures of my country life.