Welcome to Dorset Allsorts

We'll be posting a variety of facts and photos of whatever takes our fancy as we wander around Dorset. They may be of churches, buildings, visitor attractions or natural scenes – in fact there will be all sorts! We hope they will give you a glimpse of some of the sights this beautiful county has to offer.



Saturday, 17 July 2010

Two mills and a manor house.....

Our ramble today took us on a circular route starting and ending at Fiddleford in the beautiful Stour valley.  Walking in this area is like walking through a landscape where time has stood still and is a real treat. 

First stop was Fiddleford Manor, which is one of the oldest buildings in Dorset.  It is thought to date from around 1355 and was built for the Sheriff of Dorset.  Parts of the original house no longer exist, or have been replaced, and a new house was also tacked onto the side in the 18th century.  This is privately owned and not open to the public.

However, the truncated remains of a great hall, complete with screens passage, service rooms, a Solar and two 14th century roofs, can still be viewed by the public free of charge and is well worth a visit, as you can get a good feel of what it was like to live inside a medieval manor house.


The Solar was intended for use as a bedroom and was used by the lord and lady of the house.  It is a partitioned room which overlooks the Great Hall.  The walls of the Solar at Fiddleford Manor were once covered with wall paintings.  One of the paintings, which depicts the Angel Gabriel, is still partially visible.  As you can see from the photos, the original magnificent beamed ceilings still exist.


Next stop was Sturminster Newton Mill, which is still a working flour mill, and dates from the 17th and 18th centuries. 
You can have a tour of the mill, do some fishing or have a picnic by the mill pond - it really is a beautiful spot to while away some time on a summer's day!



Our walk took us onwards through the unspoilt market town of Sturminster Newton, known locally as Stur. Thomas Hardy lived here for 2 years and wrote The Return of the Native during that time. 

The Dorset poet, William Barnes, was also born and educated in Stur.




After crossing pretty river meadows, we arrived at our last stop, Fiddleford Mill. This is a former corn mill, which was apparently also once used as a hiding place for contraband liquor which was consumed by factory workers from Sturminster Newton. 
All is quiet these days though, and just the ivy-clad buildings remain.
 

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