Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Miz Maze at Leigh

Another short walk was the order of the day, giving Paul's back a chance to recover. We had heard tell of the Miz Maze at Leigh, the haunt of witches so it is said and not too far from home, so we set off in that direction, parking in the village of Leigh.

Footpath from Leigh - ST6108

Passing bravely by a herd of cows, we were soon in the same field as the Miz Maze. No-one seems to know for sure what the Miz Maze was used for. It is a turf-cut maze forming a hexagonal shape and is thought to have been used by Romans as a form of penance or used for seasonal or religious celebrations such as May day or Whitsuntide. Others think it could be the site of a witches' coven. Whatever it is or was, it is not much in evidence today.

Leigh Miz Maze - ST6108

Leigh Miz Maze - ST6108

It is difficult to know which gridsquare the maze actually falls within. I've gone for ST6108, but it could just as easily be ST6208, depending on which side of the maze you are standing on or in.

This means I've missed a square. I didn't take a photo within ST6208 so will need to return.

My next photographed square was ST6207 where I took a photo of the delightful thatched Rookery Farm.

Rookery Farm - ST6207
Although not quite donning their autumnal colours, the trees were just beginning to turn on the distant hillsides.

ST6207 - autumn colours near Rookery Farm
We made our way to Keeper's Cottage where the footpath has been diverted.

Keeper's Cottage - ST6107
In the next square we struggled to find the footpath as the gate was padlocked. Upon checking later on the updated maps, we learned that the footpath did still run through that field. It is most annoying when landowners make it difficult for walkers. It only results in frustration and anger and a lot of trampling about on their land which could be avoided if signage were clearer.

We eventually found our way to Calfhay Farm, where once again it was not clear where the footpath was. We enquired of the owner who came out to see us after his dog started barking.

Calfhay Farm - ST6106
We crossed the Wriggle River by way of a shaded footbridge.

Bridge over the Wriggle River - ST6106
Dorset has so many delightful place names, of which the Wriggle River is just one example. It's such an apt name for a river, evoking images of an unruly, belligerent river which refuses to be tamed as it wends it way from source to mouth.

Another intriguing and delightful name is Hell Corner and there is even a house thatbears that name proudly, The House at Hell Corner, no less.

The House at Hell Corner - ST6006
The House at Hell Corner - ST6006
Hell Corner - ST6006

 As we approached the railway line, the delightful village of Melbury Bubb came into view. It is perhaps my favourite Dorset village, and one I have photographed many times.

Melbury Bubb

We ate our lunch in the shade of the church porch and then proceeded across the fields and Dixon's bridge towards Chetnole where the same herd of cows which had thwarted our path the last time we did this walk were in the same field. We tiptoed across the field towards its non-cow-guarded exit and emerged onto the road at Chetnole. I had photographed these squares on our previous walk, but we had not visited the church, which we did now.

St Peter's Church, Chetnole - ST6008
The only remaining 13th century window, St Peter's Church, Chetnole - ST6008

Sign in St Peter's Church, Chetnole - ST6008
Having enjoyed a brief coffee break here, we enquired of the pub as to whether a group of walkers could lunch there at some future date. The answer was in the affirmative. Paul pointed out an interesting photograph.

Picture in The Chetnole Inn - the Napoli was shipwrecked on Branscombe beach in January 2007 and its booty salvaged by beachcombers. Some of the booty was alcohol, including some Cider Brandy which was contained in oak barrels which were protected by Bibles and then  bottled upon their salvage. An interesting story.

Wishing to prolong our walk a little, we headed northwards to church lane which was dappled with autumnal sunlight.

Church Lane, Leigh - ST6109

The footpath unfortunatley came to an abrupt end where  it had no longer been cleared of overgrowing vegetation -  a shame as it was a lovely footpath and reminiscent of a time when folk from far and wide many the journey on unmotorised transport to church.

We retraced our steps and found the diverted footpath to the church.

St Andrew's Church - Leigh - ST6108
We picked conkers in the churchyard, marvelling at their shiny surface and wooded imprint. This is a living churchyard and visitors are invited to record their natural history sightings in a notebook in the porch. I was saddened to see we were only the second people to do so and vowed to return to write some more. We were glad, though, to be able to record two species of butterflies - Small Tortoiseshell and Small Copper, it was only our second sighting for the year of the Small Copper.

Small Tortoiseshell at St Andrew's Churchyard, Leigh

Face carving - St Andrew's Church, Leigh - ST6108

Window, St Andrew's Church, Leigh - ST6108

We were now back at the car after an interesting and varied walk.

Number of gridsquares: 7
Number of churches visited: 3
Number of padlocked gates: 1
Number of miles walked: 8

No comments:

Post a Comment