The Ancient Whisperings of Dorset’s Lewesdon Hill. Shhh….it’s a secret.

The ancients were a wily lot who knew a thing or two about the safest place to inhabit although I cannot help but think they were also better equipped to deal with the high winds that seem to be a permanent feature of their Dorset Hill Forts.

Lewesdon Hill, like its neighbour Pilsdon Pen, was home to our ancient ancestors but unlike Pilsdon the approach to the summit starts with a walk bordered by banks that are densely packed with a vivid assortment of wild flora from the resplendent richness of the Ranunculus acris L or buttercupbuttercup to the dainty graceful face of the Fragaria vesca or wild strawberry . wild strawberry flower

After a very short walk along the concrete path, you go through a gate and are instantly planted into the woodland. There is a variety of ferns including the Hartstongue  fernbut there are also plenty of reminders that there is more animated life in the area.feather

The strength of creeping plants such as ivy has always intrigued me and especially when you see the solid wooden remains of its entrails that have wrapped themselves around a tree, only to be ingested into the tree’s structure in a rather scary alien absorption kind of way!ivy up tree But the sweetheart of the English meadow is always a welcome sight in the form of bluebells and white campion.bluebells & daisy

You do have to be aware of the tremendous tree root obstacle course that emerges along the path. One of the drawbacks of being a popular walk is the erosion caused by tramping feet, exposing the extensive and often treacherous tree root systems. But anyone finding walking over rootsoffence in this may as well turn around and go home because there is worse to come!

Of course being a wood, there are plenty of fallen branches that make ideal material for den building. What boy (or man) can resist creating a tepee of twigs?den

Through the years, some of the trees have developed some very unusual and quirky shapes and sizes, with fairy sized caves, caverns and arches and I’m sure if you stayed there long enough and kept quiet, you would hole in treeprobably find yourself whisked off to some far away land.

There are some alarming reminders of nature’s strength including what would have been a colossal tree at one time that had been felled fallen treeby the might of the high winds that sweep across the hill.

After the steep and perilous climb you reach the summit, the flat top of Lewsedon Hill. It is a relatively open area flanked by huge trees, but through the gaps you can still see the the flatmiles of patchwork quilt, hedgerows, trees and hills that make up the Dorset and Somerset landscape.

If you can, stand quietly for a few minutes; let the wind sweep over you like a huge invisible wave whilst you look far away into the distance or simply shut your eyes and allow yourself to be transported to another time and another place. Somewhere that relied on the seasons and the land for survival, when you lived by your wits and the co-operation of those around you; where technology and gadgets were represented by something crafted by hand, when the latest must have was an essential not a luxury.view from top

Imagine the sound of the wind rushing through the green canopy and hurtling through the branches is the hushed voices of ancient tribes that carved their existence out of that land, all of them whispering at once trying to share their secrets with you.

Of course if like me you have your young sons with you, that moment of serenity and peacefulness is likely to be short-lived as you hear the whoops of delight when they have found the ideal branch to attach their rope old rope swingswing. The remains of a previous visitor dangles and sways like the hangman’s noose that has long since held a victim.

Another thing I love about this walk is creating different creatures from the shapes that have morphed from decaying branches such as this wide mouthed frog with gaping giant jaws!frog Or canyons of decay that have become home to a whole new set of life that feeds off the carrion decay in treeof the tree’s partial decomposition.

There are plenty of climbing opportunities for novice and experienced tree acrobats, the dismembered parts of trees are fallen tree for climbingscattered everywhere giving both low and higher branches to practice a variety of monkey skills!

And whilst your offspring are finding their inner jungle selves, take a look around; I found ground lichen that looks like a green green star mossstarburst and I loved the shaggy fringes of moss alongside the tight perm curls of green that blanketed the trees. curly mossThere was also evidence of a very active woodpecker that had obviously found its cornucopia of insect life.woodpecker

So for a combination of a challenging walk, beautiful wild flowers and remarkable trees, I can definitely recommend Lewesdon Hill. But I would say this, if you do go there, bear in mind it comes at a cost and it is the National Trust that takes care of this wonderful place, so why not contribute towards its upkeep and join this worthwhile organisation?nt sign

Link to the National Trust info on site

About Sophia Moseley

Freelance Copywriter, Feature Writer and Author. Looking for that illusive job that every working mother craves but surviving, just, on what I can find. My writing and poetry keeps my sane. Watch this space.
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4 Responses to The Ancient Whisperings of Dorset’s Lewesdon Hill. Shhh….it’s a secret.

  1. Kat 4 Obama says:

    Love those roots! Love the atmosphere you create!

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