On Wednesday evening I found myself in Sherborne, and it was suggested I enquire at the Abbey to see if they knew of anywhere I could stay.
I was told there was a patch of common ground by the railway station, with a stream running through it, so in the evening I headed there to find a spot to pitch my tent. As I was looking for a suitable campsite, I got talking to a man walking his dog who very kindly said I could camp in his garden. He and his family were very kind and not only let me camp there, but gave me some dinner, breakfast the next day (Thursday) and saw me off with a tour of the area around Sherborne castle before I headed off to Shaftesbury.
I walked on quiet roads and footpaths off the main road, so it was nice not to constantly have to watch traffic. When I got to a little place called Purse Candle, I asked a local farmer if the footpath marked on the map I’d been given was walkable and not too overgrown…he looked at my attire, and said after a pause, “Yeah, I think it should be fine.” I waited for him to move some cows along the road into a field nearby for fresher grass (it’s been so dry recently that the field they were in needed a rest), before making my way on the footpath.
Having received my detailed instructions from the farmer, and assurances that a style marked on the map was “probably still there” I went across wheatfields, through (very overgrown) gaps in hedgerows, and came out onto the road where I had planned to. From there it was quiet roads with little traffic all the way to Shaftesbury….the only thing was, there were no shops to speak of to get any food at which I had been banking on, so I managed on an apple and a peach.
Shaftesbury is a pretty town, which happens to be at the top of a MASSIVE hill. I arrived exhausted, at around 8pm and got myself a pint of coke and a pint of water at a pub. I’d been told that that pub was the best place to get food, but everything was a bit fancy, pricey, and probably not that filling, I reckoned. Besides, I was too tired to eat anyway, so decided to forget about food.
I found somewhere for the night, and filled up on the orange and chocolate chip cookies that were on offer. I had a bath, and felt human again.
Friday, I set off for Salisbury, not taking things too fast because of the heat which has been ramping up the last few days. I stopped to get some lunch at an inn (it almost sounds like a holiday!), and treated myself to another coke. Bad idea. My stomach felt a bit dodgy. I made use of the facilities, and took plenty of toilet paper just in case.
Luckily the terrain seems to be getting flatter, and luckily the road went around and not up this:
I made it to Fovant, and decided it was best to hitchhike from there to Salisbury. It was late in the day all ready (around 6pm) and I had booked an Airbnb in Salisbury for the princely sum of £18 for the night which I needed to check into. That and the fact that my stomach problem was not resolved ( constant concentration required and the situation exacerbated by walking) decided it for me.
A nice builder on his way to an auction in Salisbury gave me a lift and we covered the distance that would have taken me 4 hours to walk in 20 minutes.
Saturday (today) I visited Stonehenge, which I felt was important on this trip, as a site in England around 5000 years old with religious significance (although it’s exact propose remains shrouded in mystery).
Tomorrow I continue on towards Andover.