I had a few days of annual leave to use up before the end of the financial year, so I decided to extend the Easter weekend a little. The huz and I weren’t planning on doing much, possibly just taking day trips and going geocaching, but then by chance I happened upon The Shepherds Hut Retreat. I thought, ‘Well, don’t that look cute?’ We checked the dates and saw that one hut was free for the Easter weekend, so we booked ‘er!
The hut came with everything you could possibly need. In fact, we ended up overpacking as we weren’t 100% certain on what wasn’t included in the hut. It was just great to come back to a cozy little place at the end of our long days out. The only disappointment was that the weather didn’t play ball all weekend, so we weren’t able to enjoy quiet moments down by the lake. Oh, and then Storm Katie happened. Even though we felt completely safe in our hut, it was so loud with the wind and heavy rain that we had very little sleep the night before we were to leave. D’oh! All that aside, we enjoyed this peaceful location and doing something a little different rather than our usual “hotel route”. I’d recommend a good dose of glamping!
On our first full day, we went to Tyneham Village, a ghost town that was abandoned during WWII so the military could use the area for training purposes. It would seem that I use the Easter long weekend to go to abandoned villages as this was our second year in a row doing just that!
I actually liked wandering around Tyneham more than Imber as it was a lot more preserved and was presented like a museum with information plaques about each of the now crumbling buildings. The church was fully in tact and a quirky little place. All the same, it’s still disconcerting seeing targets on distant hillsides and signage warning you about “live firing” in progress. However, I felt more comfortable here unlike during our descent into Imber where I had this odd feeling I just couldn’t shake. It was this overwhelming feeling of “you’re not meant to be here.” Tyneham felt a lot more welcoming!
As we were about to leave Tyneham, Pete turned to me and said, “Do you want to see Corfe Castle?” I immediately said, “Yes!” It’s a place Pete talks about often and it was only 15 minutes away, so why the heck not? As we got closer, I admit to feeling excited as I had a vague idea of what the site looked like, but when it finally appeared I actually said, “Holy shit!” It’s quite the epic location. The castle is now a ruin and sits atop a rather large, green hill. Unfortunately, as it was the long weekend, the parking lot was just rammed and there were lots of tourists about, so we decided to visit the village instead for lunch and then take off. I’m sure we’ll come back to visit the castle properly!
We managed to cram a lot into the two and a half days including a visit to Thomas Hardy’s cottage (the woodlands around it have great walking trails, so even if you’re not a Hardy fan–like yours truly–you’ll find enjoyment here), a blink and you miss it visit to the former Roman settlement of Dorchester, a slightly longer visit to Exmouth (the wind was strong here and blowing sand into our faces, so we left just before the rain poured down!) and we managed to ingest some wonderful Devonshire ice cream at Otter Valley Dairy. Holy moley, if you ever find yourself near that place, then make sure you pull on over and shove an ice cream into your pie-hole. It was wonderful.
I’m glad you asked, photo caption. This is Wolford Chapel and the land belongs to the province of Ontario. I randomly saw signage on the road that pointed to this place, so we made sure to detour here on the way home to check it out. It was definitely weird seeing the Canadian flag flying on a dead end street in the middle of Devon, England. It wasn’t an unwelcome sight, though! I’m glad we stopped by for a visit.
I’m definitely glad I took the Tuesday off as I was quite exhausted from all our jetting around…or car-ing around? Vehicle-ing around? Anyway, it was a good ol’ time. I’m hoping for more fun outings during future Easter weekends. I think we’re on a nice little roll so far so that may very well be the case in 2017!