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a village in the Bride Valley Litton Cheney Dorset
Do You Know Where this Picture Is? In the last newsletter we offered you the above image of an unknown station and its workers, and asked for your help in identifying which station it may have been. A few eagle-eyed observers told us that this was the station at Bridport, with one person informing us that "It was taken during 1884 at the completion of the new down side platform at Bridport station. The locomotive in the view is No.1308. The photograph is shown on page 58 of "The Bridport Railway" by B.L. Jackson & M.J. Tattershall published by the Oakwood Press in 1998 which covers the entire history of the branch line."
This year we all know that Christmas will feel a lot different. Although we may not be able to celebrate in our normal ways, the good news is that being outdoors is widely recognised as a healthy place to be this winter. We've come up with lots of ideas of things to do and places to go to help you celebrate the winter season. And if you can't get out, there's still plenty you can do to enjoy the midwinter from the comfort of your sofa.
Space, fresh air, freedom ...We love that the benefits of being outdoors has been recognised during this pandemic, nature really does help you feel happier and healthier. Head out to one of Dorset’s Iron Age hillforts to feel on top of the world – great views, lots of space and so much fresh air your lungs will sing!
You’re spoilt for choice – Hambledon and Hod Hills in north Dorset have fantastic views over the Blackmore Vale. Lambert’s Castle and Coney’s Castle and Pilsdon Pen in west Dorset wonderful views across the Marshwood Vale to the Jurassic Coast. Or promenade along the immense grassy ramparts of Maiden Castle near Dorchester, the largest iron age hillfort in northern Europe. Have a look at our website Explore Map for details of all these and over 50 other ideas of great places to get out and explore this winter.
Sunsets and starlings ... We know that sunsets aren’t unique to Dorset but watching the sun set over the sea at Lyme Bay or Poole Harbour or over the rolling downs of west Dorset feels very special indeed. Make the most of the short winter days to catch a few - slow down, wait awhile and the pleasure will be all yours!
While you are waiting for the sun to set, look out for murmurations of starlings as they gather and swoop before settling down together for the night. Cogden in west Dorset and Studland in Purbeck are current hotspots but keep an eye on Twitter for the latest sightings. Other favourites sunset spots from the AONB Team include West Bay Pier, Creech Hill near Corfe Castle, and Black Down near Dorchester.
Winter wildlife ... Poole Harbour is a very special place for wading birds and winter is a great time to see them. Many wading birds come here from the Arctic, North & Eastern Europe and other parts of the UK, attracted by the frost free climate and food-rich tidal mud & shallow lagoons. Over 25,000 wading birds call it home in the winter, including avocet, little egret and the Eurasian spoonbill.
The RSPB reserve at Arne near Wareham is a great place to be winter birdspotting and other suggestions listed on the Birds of Poole Harbour website. Several Poole Harbour webcams, help to bring the outside in over the bleak winter months - a unique and very mesmerising view. And if you’d like a little help to work out what’s out there, then the RSPB have an excellent on-line guide to help.
Stride out or stroll ... Whether you want to walk off the festive excesses or meet up with friends & family for a gentle stroll, there's plenty of walks to do that are interesting in winter. Striking landscapes come in all shapes and sizes in Dorset so you can take your pick depending on your mood, energy levels and company!
Welcome to December's newsletter There's little more than a week until Christmas 2020, and, whatever your plans might be in this disrupted year, everyone at Dorset History Centre would like to wish you a happy and peaceful holiday season.
Thomas Hardy - A fundraising update In early December, Dorset Archives Trust launched a campaign to raise the final £5,000 of a total requirement of £50,000 to allow the purchase by Dorset History Centre of a highly significant set of records by and relating to Thomas Hardy. We are delighted to say that thanks to the generosity of the public, the sum was raised in rapid order in just a few days. DAT and Dorset History Centre, where the collection will be housed and made accessible, would like to thank everyone who supported this appeal. We will now be able to proceed with the purchase and bring the collection back to Dorset. The next step will be to make the full Hardy archives (many thousands of documents, images and volumes) accessible via our online catalogue. This will mean further fundraising to enable us to catalogue, conserve and selectively digitise the substantial Hardy archives now held at DHC. We will update you as a project plan starts to take shape. Thank you again for your support. DAT would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy, safe and peaceful festive season.
DHC is lucky enough to care for the collections of Windrose Film and Rural Media Trust. The films in the collection illustrate around 125 years of life in Dorset and Somerset and are currently stored in a variety of formats. Amanda Boyd is an accomplished singer, and collects and performs West Country folk songs which she often uses to accompany Windrose’s film shows. She has created 4 ‘songbooks’ to share online, and feel free to sing along! We will be sharing other songbooks in future newsletters, so please stay tuned!