On a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday our merry band of 14 plus Jasper the dog escaped the crowds on the Dorset Coast to explore Maiden Castle , the largest iron age hillfort in Europe. Ably led by Stephen we meandered through the pretty hamlet of Martinstown along National Cycle Route 2 and soon reached the rampart rings of Maiden Castle where we ascended to the Temple of Minerva.
Having enjoyed the commanding views north to nearby Dorchester we traversed the Winterbourne Valley through fields of sheep and cows to climb up to the South Dorset Ridgeway. Perched on a grassy tumulus we picniced admiring the far reaching views south of the Isle of Portland and Weymouth Bay with its numerous furloughed Cruise Ships.
Our downland descent through lush meadows and fairy rings allowed some early mushroom foraging. The return to Martinstown along the wooded valley bottom provided some welcome shade before we completed our 7.5 mile circuit with a refreshing pint in the Brewers Arms.