Saturday, 21 February 2009

Unexpected meeting in North Dorset!

Today's walk turned out a little differently than we had anticipated, let me explain. It was such a nice afternoon we decided to drive up to North Dorset and look at Holwell Church as I have been tracing my family tree and find that alot of my ancestors are from farms in the Holwell area. The graveyard was as a country graveyard should be, a little unkempt with carpets of snowdrops dotted around, very old graves jostling next to much newer and shinier stones. We didn't find any family tombs but I think the family may have been too poor to have been able to afford any lasting memorial.

As I looked at this path down to the church I could imagine my relatives walking down these flagstones to the door to be married or to have their babies christened or even to bury a loved one. At the back of the graveyard there was a bridle path that looked as if it had been a drovers path so we thought we would wander down it a bit. We hadn't got far when we heard the sound of dogs and a distant hunting horn.
As we glanced across the field the first huntsman came into sight with a few dogs as you can see in the video below. As you may also notice he was heading our way and we were on a narrow path! You will need your sound on to get the full experience!....the horns and hounds and hooves!

Next thing we knew we were surrounded by the hounds, sniffing all around us, although not touching us. We just stood still as these are not pet dogs but working hounds, three of the huntsman were also on the path on large hunter horses. It was the way of things that they were going to go past us so we stood back in the bushes while the whole hunt passed us, some of the horses brushed us as they rode past, the horns blasting and dogs yelping, horses hot and steaming and riders covered in mud splats! Most of the riders acknowledged us and wished us 'good day' but I think they may have been concerned about who we were!

I am not going to get into a debate about hunting here and I will not comment either way but it is a long time since I last saw the Hunt and I suspect it may be a good while before we see it again.


happyone said...

Wow, I'm sure that was quite a surprise for you!! I didn't realize people still went on fox hunts.

I love walking around old cemeteries and reading the tombstones.

Eileen said...

As much as I love horses and the whole idea of riding with hounds -the thought of them actually chasing and catching some poor little fox totally disgusts me. They have "hunts" here as well but they are carefully planned events that follow prescribed safe courses (for both horses, riders and the dogs)and follow scent trails that people lay down across lands the riders are permitted to ride on. I have heard they do that in other countries as well so no foxes are harmed. Still it must have been rather exciting!

MrsL said...

Ah - did you see my house? LOL We can hear Holwell bells from here; teh thrid picture is the way we take to get to Holwell through the fields, over the ancient slab bridge. The carts used to go that way too. It's beautiful in spring down there, you just have to watch out for the bullocks usually in the field. Holwell church is lovely; they did a great job of raising money to restore the roof a couple of eyars back. Where it is, and teh few houses that surround it, are all that's left of the original Holwell; it was a plague village I believe, and the main, modern part of the village up on the main road has no old houses in it for the main part. Very interesting village, thanks for the post.
We didn;t hear the unt yesterday, but they foten come across the field at the back of ours, as the Estate lets them ride. I rush up the garden when I hear them to keep an eye on the livestock!



Tattyanne said...

Wow Goosey! What an amazing thing to have witnessed! Love your posts as always.... Dont stop ....Please!

Goosey said...

Hello Happyone and Eileen...Fox hunting is no longer legal in the Uk...I'll say no more than that!
Mrs L..We didn't get up into the field becuase we didn't know which way the hunt was going to go and didn't want to get in the way!We'll try another time!
and Tattyanne, Thanks for the comment I'll keep going while I have something to share but maybe less often?!

Goosey said...

Mrs L...I can't seem to see your blog anymore or I would have commented, have you restricted the access now? BW Goosey

oldcrow61 said...

Hello, thanks for visiting my blog. Your pictures are wonderful. I really like the first one...marvelous.

Andrew at Quicksilverbirds said...

Hi Goosey, How odd I was in Swanage on Saturday photographing the "dog house" by the station. Haven't had a chance to write the blog yet, but you were up "my" way. The Green Man at Kings Stag is worth a stop at if you like carvery.

That was the Blackmore Vale Hunt you saw, and yes, hunting with more than one hound is now illegal in the UK, but there are more people hunting than ever before.An interesting cause and effect of the legislation.

Country Cottage Chic said...

My dog was quite put out when I played your video - he gave a few barks to see those hounds off!
The hunt do look very impressive in all their fine gear don't they? They do drag hunts around these parts nowadays.

Elizabeth said...

Wow, that was quite a walk! :)