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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

British Long Distance Riders Dorset Road Book Feb 2016 Day 1

Day 1

With another day off and with the forecast set for sunshine it was too good an opportunity not to get out on the bike once more.

I had thought of completing or at least getting some more of the Devon Road Book done, but that would of meant a couple of hours in the saddle before I started.

I wanted an easy day so decided to keep it local and start the Dorset Road Book.

With the bike rested up for the day I did wonder if it would start due to the recent charging issues. I needn't of worried, on the button, so I was ready to go.

I always ride with panniers fitted, it just makes me feel safer by giving me greater road presence. With the amount of lunatics on the road Ill take any help I can get.

I was a bit later getting away and filled up with fuel at 1025hrs at New Milton.

From here my satnav was set for Knowlton Church. At a little over 20 miles away it would not take me long to get there.

On my way satnav wanted me to travel up the Wessex Way, which is currently down to one lane with excessive tail backs. This is one of the major routes in and out of Bournemouth.

I avoided this and took the road that leads up past Matchams, all the way to Verwood. Passing  all the stationary traffic made me smile!

Out and into very rural Dorset, and picked up the road that leads back to Wimborne. 

Although I had been on this road before this was the first time I had actually noticed the church up to my right on a hill.



I turned right off the main road and down a lane and pulled up right in front of the entrance.



It's free to enter, it's a place I want to go back to and have a wander around, but today it was off to my next stop.

Tarrant Rushton, or I should say as it was RAF Tarrant Rushton. Parts of the runway are still visible, as is a massive hanger.

The map below takes you to the village of Tarrant Rushton, but the airfield is just outside the village.



This airfield was used during WW2 and has a great deal of history attached to it. A memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives is accessible from the road.







From here it was only a short hop over to Compton Abbas Airfield. This one is still working and is a busy little place. It has a great cafe with amazing views across towards Shaftesbury

But be warned, in the summer it is packed and to get in is almost impossible! It was almost full when I arrived!






I stopped for lunch here, food was good if a little on the expensive side.

I managed to bump into Mike Nelson, who runs Maverick Motorcycles. The guy who taught me how to ride a motorbike, it was good to catch up with him.

Full after my lunch it was a very short 10 minute ride to the foot of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury. My home town.

The hill was made famous by a TV advert. Remember the Hovis advert with the boy riding down a cobbled street on his bike?



This is the bottom of the hill that is never seen and rarely photographed.



History has it that towards the bottom of the hill was a poor house and also a brothel!

I wound my way through St James, and down the hill towards Guys Marsh and it's Prison!

My next stop would be The Mill at Sturminster Newton.  I often used to come here as a young lad to look at the water running through the sluice gates.






The water can often be right over the top of the walk ways!!



Sturminster used to have a massive cattle market, my Auntie Dot used to work there. I often used to go down and look at all the animals. Sadly the market has gone and to be honest the town has died as a result.

I left Sturminster, riding past the old Red Lion pub at the foot of Glue Hill, now a private dwelling with houses built in the car park and beer garden.

I spent many an hour as a boy in that garden whilst my Nan had her 8 gallon scrumpy barrel refilled!

 On towards Sherborne and it's Abbey. A beautiful building, which really does glow in the sunlight due to the colour of the stone it is built with.



Sherborne is also famous for it's Castle, built for Sir Walter Raleigh and later the gardens were designed by Capability Brown.



My last stop of the day would be The Giant and Cerne Abbas There are many theories as to what this 180ft chalk carved Giant represents. However, I like it just because it's there!




Situated up on the hill outside of Cerne Abbas you would have a job to miss it as you drive by!


As this was now my furthest point from home it was a case of retracing my wheel tracks and heading home, going back through Sturminster, Blandford, up over the hills and out across the Cranborne Chase.

I stopped at the Horton Inn for a brew and to use their loo, and then it was the last push for home, riding through the New Forest getting in around 1700.

A brilliant day on the bike covering 147 miles and grinning from ear to ear all the way round!

The journey continues.........................

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