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Dorset Group: Melbury Beacon/Shaftesbury

Sixteen GOC members, plus one dog, decided to make the most of the mini-heatwave on Sunday May 8th when we headed for the hills of North Dorset. Starting from the National Trust car park at Compton Down, our first stop was Melbury Beacon - what a viewpoint - miles in every direction. Then a big drop followed by a steady climb to the hilltop town of Shaftesbury, which we entered by walking up Gold Hill, the street that became famous through the Hovis adverts. Here groups of us dispersed to various pubs, cafes and benches - all with great views over the countryside to the south.


Regrouping afterwards, with a net loss of two people but net gain of one dog, we turned to the equally dramatic northern aspect of the town before heading back by a lower route. The afternoon just got hotter and hotter, but with cowslips, bluebells, wild garlic and so many other spring flowers at their best, nobody was complaining - until they saw what a big climb it was going to be back up to the car park. That final haul up from East Compton, with its ruined church, had to be taken slowly. There's a café at Compton Abbas airfield nearby - too late, it was just closing! Parched but happy, we headed home.


Gareth,  event leader.

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