We are back safely in London after eight days walking through Wiltshire and North Dorset.
The last hike was the toughest, a little over eight miles mostly through fields and woods. Also, it was the only day we really got lost and had to figure our way to the next pickup spot for our ride back to the inn.
Foot Trails, the company that planned these walks and provided daily trail guides and ordnance maps, has done a great job of taking us through this very rural area.
We get picked up by taxi and driven to a starting point, and then usually walk back to the pub/inn for the evening. Or sometimes we walk from the inn to a destination for pickup. The timing has been precise and very friendly. One day, the driver took us on a side trip to a ruined castle that we decided we had to see, even if it wasn’t on the itinerary. Another time, the driver gave us a tour of town so we could pick out a restaurant.
One element that has made this trip enjoyable is that we stayed at the same inn for several nights, so we don’t have to pack and repack daily. Also, the start times have usually been about 9 or 9:30 – very civilized.
Rather than a rural inn, the last day ended in Shaftsbury, a town in North Dorset. Shaftsbury was one of a few towns established by King Alfred, in the 9thCentury, as a safe spot from which to fight the invading Vikings. There are the ruins of the abbey where Alfred’s daughter was the first abbess. The area is also the background from some of the scenes in Thomas Hardy’s novels.
It was also the home of the Hovis bread company, which has a famous commercial from here available on the internet. Pat was in touch with her roots here, as her mother’s maiden name was Hovis. You can see her treatment on her Instagram account: travels.with.patty.
We are in London for a few days before heading to New York.
Below is a “folly,” a feature of English landscape architecture: