No sooner had February slushed its way in to West Dorset, the skies brightened to a glorious blue, the birds began to sing, and snowdrops, primula and daffodils woke up to say hello.
Even my wallflowers have started to spring open.
In the village, trees are being topped before birds have their wicked way with one another and decide to nest in the branches. There are sheep a-plenty in the fields and it won’t be long now before little lambs are skipping around, full of the joys of spring.
Up on Lewesdon Hill, Dorset’s highest point, the weekend brings out walkers with children and dogs and flasks of tea, or something stronger.
Mud clogs the gateways and there’s a strip of treacherous greensand that you mustn’t go near, unless you want to end up knee to waist-deep and lose your wellies in the process.
From Lewesdon you can see Pilsdon Pen, the cow to Lewesdon’s calf, despite Ordnance Survey insisting the former is the tallest at 279m compared with the latter’s 277m. Locals still don’t believe it. Why would you doubt what your parents had told you all those years ago? And who are those faceless people at Ordnance Survey with their new-fangled machinery anyway?
From from 1795 to 1797, William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived in Pilsdon Pen’s shadow at Racedown. She loved it here.
“We have hills, which, seen from a distance, almost take on the character of mountains, some cultivated almost to their summits, others in their wild state, covered with furze and broom. These delight me the most, as they remind me of our native wilds.”
Of Broadwindsor, she wrote: “The place dearest to my recollection in the whole surface of the island.”
I’m with you there, Dorothy.