Hardy Monument - Loscombe - Littlebredy - Portesham Hill - Hardy Monument

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Little Bredy, pronounced 'Briddy', is the head of the River Bride, which then flows in a westerly direction and enters the English Channel at Burton Bradstock. The names Bredy and Bride come from the Celtic for a torrential gushing stream. The infant river flows out of a lovely artificial lake set in a community garden. If the waterfall looks familiar it's because it featured heavily in the ITV detective drama 'Broadchurch' Series 3 in which there was a murder committed in the nearby grounds. Sadly it is no longer possible to walk round the lake.

The present-day church occupies the same site as its 13th Century predecessor. It is a reconstruction carried out in about 1850 by the third Robert Williams of Bridehead. The only parts of the old church which are visible are the tower and the porch beneath it, the vestry doorway and some of the windows. In the churchyard there is a memorial to a Frederic Wallis, Bishop of Wellington, NZ, who married into a local family. The memorial is made from wood sent specially from New Zealand.

The Valley of Stones National Nature Reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest on account of its geology and rare species. This is a dry chalk valley containing numerous large boulders. Local folklore ascribes their origin to giants playing stone-throwing games. A more rational cause is glaciation. Geology experts say there is a fine example of a sarsen stone boulder train. The boulders were once even more numerous. Some have been taken away and used in local prehistoric construction – there is a particular concentration of tombs and stone circles in the local area.
The stones themselves provide a habitat for rare lichen. The flora is typical of chalk grassland and includes clustered bellflower, autumn gentian and horseshoe vetch, the latter being a foodplant for the larvae of the Adonis Blue and Chalkhill Blue butterflies.

The Hardy Monument was built in 1844 in memory of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Flag Captain of HMS Victory, who lived in nearby Portesham. It is designed to look like a naval spyglass. It is currently in NT ownership and open to visitors some days; there is a charge for non-members. At 72 feet high it offers an extensive view of the surrounding countryside. (Though how much superior it is to that which you have by standing next to it for free I don’t know!)

The route uses two long-distance trails:
Waymarks 1 – 4, The Dorset Jubilee Trail, an 88-mile trail across Dorset created to celebrate the Ramblers Association Diamond Jubilee;
Waymark 8 to the end: The South Dorset Ridgeway, a 17-mile trail which was originally part of the SW Coast Path before that was moved nearer the coast.

There is the possibility of sheep between Waymarks 2 and 3. There are seven stiles on this walk, all of which occur between Waymarks 8 and 9. These can be avoided by going straight ahead at Waymark 7 and returning to your car on the minor road to the monument, though I realise this may be a case of Hobson's choice for dog-owners!

England - South West England - Dorset - Countryside


Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Lake/Loch, National Trust, Waterfall, Woodland

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