Last Saturday the Winterborne Walkers took to the hills. Helen and Derek led us across soft green Dorset uplands flanking the valley in which the hamlet of Plush nestles. Setting out from the Brace of Pheasants pub, our circular route began with a climb up to a wheat field, through which a straight path led to the summit of Plush Hill. We turned northeast to walk along the ridge of Cross Dykes on Higher Hill. These were easy to pick out in the landscape later on, viewed from Ball Hill. We descended via Sheeplands Copse to cross the road and ascend to Ball Hill. Our way followed the Wessex Ridgeway, over the open high ground of Watcombe Hill until we started our descent, to the east of West Hill and returning to Plush. We repaired to The Poachers Inn at Piddletrenthide for lunch.
At every point on our route we had spectacular views. North we looked across Blackmore Vale, to unidentifed high points on the horizon. Looking south we could pick out Hardy’s Monument. Closer to the ground, we enjoyed a flock of Common Spotted Orchids on banks flanking the track through Sheeplands Copse. We were lucky with the weather which was fair, with just the smallest of sprinkles at midday. On Sunday it rained all day, the first, much needed downpour after a protracted period of dry weather.