‘A Walk on the Peaceful Side’


By Paul Birbeck, Blue Badge Tour Guide with Sherborne Walks

“In recent articles I have considered ‘Sense of Place’. An elderly friend of mine, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent me a poem which captures a journey in the Vale. To me it is an excellent example of how people express their love for, and are inspired by, place. Enjoy.”

White and woolly clouds flying high and fast
Wind roaring in the trees as we walk past.
Shining through the clouds the sun is still full out
Casting light and dapple shadow all about.

The noisy wind creates a silence of its own.
Blows away all man made noise; just the quiet of us alone. Husband, wife and family dog strolling in natures protected zone.
Absorbing sights, sounds and smells all in a world of our own.

We haven’t paid some vast sum to be here in the open air.
‘’Tis something we have inherited but don’t always remember it is there.
Look at that tree. Can you remember when it was only up to my knee?
Now ‘’tis just about a lovely full grown tree.

Josh is enjoying this new walk. You can tell by the action of his tail.
He dashes this way and then that, picks up a smell which, for a while, stops that tail
Now he
ambles back to take a sniff at some old sack. Marks it with a cock of the keg.
Come on you two, he seems to say.
I’m off ahead. Don’t lag.

From fields and tracks we are now in country lanes but what a show,
Veils of dog roses and swags of honeysuckle in every hedgerow.
Cow parsley – past its best, purple blue vetch in profusion climbing high.
All things you will never see as you drive by.

We have left the lanes for a shadowed track where boyhood memories come flooding back

That beech tree with a fallen branch is where I
carved my initials a long way back.
A squirrel takes off with Josh in hot but useless chase…
legal games for him, so no disgrace.
But at six years old he is no match for the squirrel with his turn of pace.

A gateway with lush growth of grasses and clover forms a pleasant place for our stopover.
Orange juice for us, water for Josh and a while to talk and mull things over.
A lovely spot but must not stop too long or aches and stiffness will set in,
so we heave ourselves to our feet and set off along our path again.

Home now across that dreaded Major road onto a wide green lane of dried compacted mud.
Usually when we walk this way ‘’tis really very sticky mud as this lane is prone to flood.
On either side undergrowth is thick and we know the pheasants are in plenty hereabouts.
Josh is tracking hard to flush them out. We are waiting for him to give a “shout “.

Last phase now, through a field of standing rye to a stream where Josh is standing by.
Stream is very low with just a pool for Josh to paddle in – the sun will get him dry.
Through apple orchards with fruit forming in abundance to make the cider later in the year.
This does epitomise our walk so we should raise a glass and say “ Good Cheer “.

Back through a housing estate where once we walked through a quarry.
An ugly sign of mans unrelenting need for change but we mustn’t worry.
‘Tis fact of Life we all need somewhere in which to live.
So let’s say our thanks to God for we can think of no better place to live.
Thank you ‘DorsetPeasant’.


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