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Dorset Group 12 Sep 21: Sturminster Newton

A warm sunny day greeted our band of 26 as we assembled at Fiddleford for our tour of the Stour valley at Sturminster Newton. Having toured the ancient 14th century Fiddleford Manor we crossed onto the trackbed of the old Somerset and Dorset Railway to enjoy commanding views of the nearby hillfort of Hambledon Hill pausing to glean some ripe blackberries.

Crossing arable fields we disturbed a deer and other wildlife to emerge in the tiny hamlet of Fiddleford. A short hot climb up the valley led us into Piddles Wood with its tall trees and cooling atmosphere. Descending through the village at Broad Oak, negotiating a steep fernclad gorge and a ramble across farmland brought us down to the river Stour at Sturminster Newton Mill.

Here we enjoyed our picnic and refreshments whilst visiting the working flour mill and weir. We circumvented the overcrowded Cheese Festival deciding it was too much of a COVID risk.  A stroll through the pretty village of Sturminster Newton led us along the banks of the Stour to reach Fiddleford Mill with its archimedes screw turbine and walks end. A welcome pint was then enjoyed by all at the nearby inn.



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