Dark Dorset Online Scrapbook is an archive of current and past events relating to local history, folklore and mysteries that can be discovered in the English county of Dorset.

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Friday, 31 July 2009

Dorset's smooth snakes slipping away to help Devon

Ten of Britain’s rarest snakes will be plucked from Dorset’s heathlands and taken to Devon as part of a project to increase their population.

The timid and non-venomous smooth snake was first discovered in Bournemouth in the 1850s and spread in numbers across the South but can now only be found in Dorset and Hampshire, and some areas of Sussex and Surrey due to habitat loss.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Friday 31st July 2009

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Breeding bonanza at Weymouth Sea Life Park

There's a breeding bonanza under way in the behind-the-scenes seahorse breeding station at Weymouth Sea Life Park.

And according to her colleagues, it’s all thanks to the special talents of new seahorse ‘midwife’ Emily Madge.

Since 22-year-old Emily took up the post just 12 week ago, a litter of baby spiny seahorses, dozens of baby tropical zebra-snouted seahorses and literally hundreds of closely-related pipefish have been born.

Read More: Source - Dorset Echo Tuesday 28th July 2009

Beware of false widow spiders on Dorset windowsills

The mild climate in Dorset has brought an unusual visitor out of the woodwork.

While it may look like the deadly black widow, this spider found lurking in a Weymouth house is actually a false widow (Steatoda nobilis).

Experts say because of the warmer weather we have been experiencing over the last few years the false widow is no longer an uncommon sight in this part of the world.

Read More: Source - Dorset Echo Tuesday 28th July 2009

Monday, 27 July 2009

Carnival tradition still ‘lifeblood’ of Sturminster Newton

Carnival chiefs in Sturminster Newton are battling to save a town tradition dating back nearly 60 years.

A combination of bad weather, increased regulation and a drop in sponsorship have prompted organisers to redouble their efforts to ensure the carnival’s future.

Read More: Source - Bournemouth Daily Echo Monday 27th July 2009

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Our Venus on the East Cliff

A New BBC drama series is celebrating the art and lives of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the influential British painters who rocked the Victorian art establishment.

But many viewers will be unaware that one of the most famous Pre-Raphaelite paintings is on display in Bournemouth.

Venus Verticordia was created by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, one of the artists featured in Desperate Romantics (BBC2, Tuesday).

It hangs in Bournemouth’s Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, which has been described as one of the most “fascinating and unique” museums in the world.

Read More: Source - Bournemouth Daily Echo Saturday 25th July 2009

A billion painted lady butterflies make for a record summer

The Independent's Butterfly Hunt boosted by sighting of Lulworth skipper

The Independent's Great British Butterfly Hunt reaches a climax today in the middle of one of Britain's most extraordinary butterfly summers – with a billion butterflies of one species about to take wing.

That is how many painted ladies are expected to be in the air across the country in the next couple of weeks, after the greatest ever invasion of the handsome, salmon-pink migratory species from North Africa at the end of May.

READ MORE - Source: The Independent Saturday, 25 July 2009

Friday, 24 July 2009

Spooky happenings as we open the coffin of Tahemaa

We are all familiar with the legendary “curse” of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

But not many people can say they were on hand for a scene which could have come from a Mummy movie.

Despite being a fairly cynical newspaper reporter I had a few butterflies in my stomach when I went along to witness a mummy’s coffin being opened up for the first time since 1993 on Tuesday evening.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Friday 24th July 2009

Alistair Chisholm's Dorchester and Weymouth Ghost Walks 2009

Alistair Chisholm, Dorchester's Town Crier, has been running Ghost Walks for more than ten years and no one has died of a heart attack........yet !

His ghost walks explore the Dorset Towns of Weymouth and Dorchester. Reliving some of its more grisly history, recounting tales of gruesome and ghastly characters whose presence still pervades the narrow streets and alleys of the old towns. A little scary, very entertaining and most enjoyable. Suitable for all the family.

Walks start at 8.00 pm from the Kings Arms Hotel in Dorchester or the Boot Inn in Weymouth. Adults £5, children £2. No booking required.


Wednesday 29 - Dorchester
Friday 31 - Dorchester


Wednesday 5 - Dorchester
Thursday 6 - Weymouth
Tuesday 11 - Dorchester
Thursday 13 - Weymouth
Tuesday 18 - Dorchester
Thursday 20 - Weymouth
Tuesday 25 - Dorchester
Thursday 27 - Weymouth


Tuesday 1 - Dorchester
Thursday 3 - Weymouth
Tuesday 8 - Dorchester
Friday 11 - Dorchester
Wednesday 16 - Dorchester
Friday 18 - Dorchester
Wednesday 23 - Dorchester
Friday 25 - Dorchester
Wednesday 30 - Dorchester

For group bookings and special events Tel: 07773 286197 or email Alistair Chisholm

Thursday, 23 July 2009

National Trust to protect ancient trees

Thousands of ancient and veteran trees are being surveyed by the National Trust in an effort to protect these “cathedrals of the natural world”.

The locations and condition of centuries-old trees will be recorded in a three-year study by the Trust to assess the threats they face.

The UK is unique in the number of ancient trees it has – around 60 to 70 per cent of all those recorded in northern Europe.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 22nd July 2009

Megalithic sites of Dorset - Day tour with Peter Knight

On Sunday July 26th, author of six earth mysteries books, Peter Knight will lead a magical day across beautiful Dorset countryside. Astronomy, ley lines, earth energies and dowsing will be covered in this very interactive day. Sites visited: Hell Stone Dolmen, Grey Mare and Her Colts long barrow, Hampton Hill Stone Circle, Nine Stones, and isolated ley markers.

The day will end with a drumming circle and a gong bath at stone circle. Book now - limited places left!

Special price of £15. Concessions available.

Contact Peter Knight for more details via his email stoneseeker@waitrose.com

Monday, 20 July 2009

Tyrannosaurus Rex spotted in Weymouth bay

The Jurassic Coast came to life when a dinosaur was spotted in Weymouth Bay.

The 20-ft high Tyrannosaurus Rex went for a paddle to the delight of youngsters over the weekend.

But council officials failed to see the funny side and dinosaur called Tex was taken away under police escort and impounded.

The metal model arrived in Weymouth bay courtesy of Great Dorset Maize Maze owner Paul Swaffield in his bid to have dinosaurs erected along the coast in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Mr Swaffield drove a tractor into Weymouth with Tex on a trailer and after passing the Jubilee clock he drove across the Esplanade, down a slope on to the beach and out to sea.

Read More: Source - Dorset Echo Monday 20th July 2009

Saturday, 18 July 2009

New Book! - The Spirit of Portland: Revelations of a Sacred Isle

Today the Isle of Portland in Dorset has a reputation for its stone quarrying and naval heritage, but behind this lies an island steeped in myth and legend. Why was it so important and strategic throughout Britain’s history? Does Portland hold the key to an ancient Masonic secret? Was it a major centre of the Druids? Are the island families descended from Phoenicians and Jutes? This fascinating book explores the island’s mysteries, its sacred geology and geometry, its ley lines, holy wells, and a giant figure formed from roads and footpaths within its landscape. The use of local traditions and archaeology helps to reveal Portland’s special importance to our ancient ancestors, who built a staggering number of stone circles, standing stones and burial mounds. Discover these places and artefacts for yourself with walks that highlight Portland’s hidden treasures and their significance – with surprises for both locals and visitors.

Local author Gary Biltcliffe has spent 30 years researching and investigating earth mysteries, ancient civilisations and lost knowledge around the world. In this book he makes illuminating and ground-breaking discoveries. Quarrying and development may be rapidly changing the face of Portland, but this book captures its essence.

Find out more about Gary's work and discoveries at www.belinusline.com

The Spirit of Portland: Revelations of a Sacred Isle is available from Amazon and also from the publishers Roving Press at £9.95

Dorset Ridgeway’s killing field: were victims Vikings or local heroes?

It was a scene familiar from the killing fields of Iraq or the Balkans, but unheard of in rural Dorset. As the earth-moving machine peeled back a thin layer of topsoil, it exposed a tangled mass of human bones.

Fifty-one young men had been decapitated with swords or axes before their bodies were tossed into a pit. The heads were neatly stacked to one side.

Radio-carbon dating suggests that they were killed between 890 and 1034, when the South of England was pillaged by Viking raiders from Scandinavia. A month after the discovery archaeologists are beginning to piece the story together.

READ MORE - Source: The Times July 18th, 2009

Friday, 17 July 2009

Dr Who villains land in Bournemouth Square

Exterminate, exterminate - The TARDIS will be landing in Bournemouth Square this weekend accompanied by Daleks, K9 and a cyberman.

It is part of Bournemouth Summer Live - a programme of free events happening across the summer.

The fun from 11.30am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday also includes the Dalek driving test where youngsters are challenged to steer a mini-sized Dalek around a track in the fastest lap time.

Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Friday 17th July 2009

Portland's ancient keys ceremony still relevant today

The annual Ceremony of the Keys was held at Portland Castle.

Guests gathered in the castle gunroom while members of the public lined the battlements to be welcomed by Mark Simmonds from English Heritage.

Among the guests were High Sheriff of Dorset Victoria McDonaugh and representatives of local organisations.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 17th July 2009

Ghostbuster Flo rids family's haunted house of evil spirits

Ghostbusting may not be a typical pensioner's pastime, but for Flo Essex it is all in a day's work.

Mrs Essex, aged 77, was called in by a concerned family who believed a teenage prank had brought evil spirits to their Gillingham home.

Dawn Howell of Maple Way, became worried after her daughter Sammy, aged 19, and friend Dan Hunt, 18, took a oiuja board to Wardour Castle when they visited the Wiltshire ruin with friends two weeks ago. Mr Hunt, an engineering student, explained what happened: "We were interested in ghosts and things like that so we went down to the castle with the ouija board and a camera. We were ghost hunting, I suppose. We thought it was all a joke but suddenly we heard this noise like footsteps on gravel and it got really, really cold.

"We just ran off, got in the car and left, but I'm sure there was something there."

He later found that scratches and sore, red welts had mysteriously appeared on his back and said he felt ill and uneasy for days afterwards.

Mrs Howell was convinced the house was haunted and called in Mrs Essex.

Mrs Essex and husband Jim, aged 83, who hail from Yeovil and are both devout Christians, visited the house on Friday to perform an exorcism. Mrs Essex, who says she has been psychic since childhood, sensed something was awry immediately. Over a cup of tea, she sensed that a spirit had followed the teenagers back from the castle and was inhabiting the house.

She told the family: "When I came in here, I felt someone here. There is someone in here now but don't worry it is nothing that is going to hurt us. You are lucky, it could have been much worse."

She explained that the spirit of a rabbi had come to warn the teenagers about the dangers of playing with the occult.

She said: "He is wearing dark clothes and a top hat and he has got a big, iron grey beard. He has come to tell you to be careful."

After another spirit had made itself know, this one an elderly man wearing a skullcap, Mrs Essex banished them from the house by making the sign of the cross with her silver crucifix throughout the house and saying prayers.

She added: "I have told them that they don't need to come here anymore and they should go towards the light. Their work here is done."

For Mr Hunt, the exorcism was a relief. He said: "I feel sick but I am pleased it is over. I won't be playing with the ouija board again for a while."

Mr and Mrs Essex are well known in Somerset for raising over £50,000 for Yeovil District Hospital in recent years.

Mrs Howell was grateful for the charity of the spiritual healer. She said: "That heaviness has gone, I feel much better and safer now."

Source: Western Gazette Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Is crop circle message from the stars?

A message from an alien race or just a freak meteorological phenomenon?

Whatever the reasons one Christchurch resident says he is keeping an open mind about how a crop circle came to appear in the fields behind his house.

The design, which is reminiscent of a compass, is fairly simple compared with some more elaborate formations.

Peter Hammond, who lives in Hinton near to the Old Vicarage said he’s never seen anything like this in the neighbouring cornfields.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Thursday 16th July 2009

Monster fish on the menu at Bridport

Bridport fishmongers scaled new heights when they took delivery of a monster from the deep on Friday.

The giant halibut, trawled from the bottom of the North Sea, weighed in at 140 kilos and cost £1,326.

It was bought by the Bull Hotel at Bridport and delivered to wholesale fishmongers Davey’s Locker on the Dreadnought trading estate for preparation.

Boss Shaun Buller said it was by far the biggest fish they had ever had to deal with.

“It’s a monster,” he said. “It was driven here from Grimsby and it took five of us to lift it onto the slab.”

READ MORE - Source: Bridport and Lyme Regis News Thursday 16th July 2009

Weird Weekend 2009 14th - 15th August 2009

Punk rock legend and monster hunters rub shoulders in North Devon and a new monster hunting expedition is announced
From the 14th to the 16th of August this year, the sleepy North Devon village of Woolsery is to play host to the largest gathering of monster and mystery researchers in the world. The tenth annual Weird Weekend is bringing speakers from as far afield as Australia to talk on their adventures and discoveries.

This year’s line up includes Rat Scabies, drummer with the legendary punk band The Damned, who will be regaling the audience with tales of his hunt for the Holy Grail (we are NOT joking). Tim the Yowie Man has flown in all the way from Australia to speak about his hunt for the yowie, the yeti like ape-man of the Australian bush. Tim the Yowie Man is an Australian cryptozoologist and paranormal investigator. In 2008, he was nominated for `Australian of the Year` for his work in raising environmental awareness.

Other speakers include:
  • Irish scholar Ronan Coghlan will be speaking on the lost continent of Atlantis.
  • Tim Matthews on crop circles
  • Andy Roberts: Renowned researcher and author, on The Big Grey man of Ben McDhui
  • Ecologist Oll Lewis will be giving us his theory on the Kraken, the multi-armed monster of maritime folklore.
  • Julian Vane will be showing us some of the weirder exhibits from Devonshire museums.
  • Dr Jan Bondeson will be revealing the secrets of the death dealing medieval serpent known as the basilisk.
  • From the USA Nick Redfern will be looking into Russian experiments to hybridise humans and apes.
But there is far more to the Weird Weekend than just talks. The organisers, The Centre for Fortean Zoology - the world’s only full time scientific organisation dedicated to researching mystery animals - will be revealing details of their latest thrilling expedition. Each year, the Centre takes part in at least one expedition to the farthest flung reaches of the world on the track of monsters and mystery beasts.

Also appearing will be Sam Shearon and Anthony Wallis; fortean artists who will be exhibiting their monster related artwork. Taxidermist and Dorset Naturalist Jonathan McGowan will be exhibiting his wildlife photography and stuffed animals. There will also be stalls, quizzes, competitions and activities for children.

Venue: Woolsery sports and community hall
View this map on Multimap.com
Get directions on Multimap.com

Tickets for the three-day event cost £20 in advance or £25 on the door. More information can be found on the Weird Weekend website at www.weirdweekend.org

For more details, or to interview any of the speakers, please telephone Jon, Corinna or Oll on 01237 431413

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Medieval village to appear for county festival

A Medieval community will be springing up in a Dorset village this summer with a new festival celebrating life on the middle ages.

The first ever Dorset Medieval Festival is being held at Winterbourne Came near Dorchester on July 18 and July 19.

The event will feature duels between knights, minstrels, a tented medieval village and a medieval market place.

Jerry Bird organised similar festivals in Sussex before moving to Dorchester around 18 months ago and was keen to recreate their success in this area.

He said: “It’s really the first of its kind in Dorset. I have been working with one or two local groups and there will be people from all over the south of England coming down.

“It’s going to be a grand spectacle for adults and children.”

The festival will take place at the old Dorset County Showground at Came House and Mr Bird is predicting a large turn out for the event.

He said: “I think if the weather’s fine we are almost guaranteed a good turn out.

“We have got an excellent location and there is an awful lot going on, such as jousting, swordmanship between knights in armour and archery contests.

Mr Bird said the event was all about bringing the medieval times back to life, with a number of living history groups running workshops in medieval crafts to offer a learning experience as well as entertainment.

He said: “There is also an educational aspect to this and we have already got one or two school groups coming along.”

Mr Bird said that the two-day event would attract many visitors from further afield who want to make a weekend of it, bringing associated benefits to the Dorchester area.

“Dorchester does need to do a bit more in the way of activities and a medieval festival is a great way of inducing people to the town and it’s good for the area.”

Day tickets for the festival cost £10 for adults and £6 for children, with family tickets available for £28.

Tickets are available at the Tourist Information Office in Antelope Walk, Dorchester.

For more information or to book online you can visit www.dorsetmedievalfestival.co.uk.

Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 10th June 2009

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Ghost Walks of Old Town Poole

Between 13th July 2009 - 19th August 2009 Monday's and Wednesdays at 8.00pm outside Scaplen's Court Museum. Be prepared to be scared! during this 1-1.5 hour ghost walk around Old Town Poole. Now in its eighth year, local Victorian character Granny Cousins will take you on around the spooky nooks and crannies of this ancient walled fishing town with tales of the people that have lived, worked and haunted this town. Blood curdling invaders, enraged traders and drunken pirates, they've all been here.

Meet outside Scaplen's Court Museum

View map of BH15 1BW on Multimap.com
From 8.00 pm to 9.30 pm


Adult: £5.00
Child: £3.00
Family (2 adults and 2 Children: £15.00

Weather permitting - please phone on the night if the weather is bad

Please contact Michele O'Brien for more details at michele.ob@ntlworld.com or call 07977969080

Source: www.visitorworld.co.uk

NEW VIDEOS: Highlights of the Tudor Picnic at Sandsfoot Castle

On Sunday 5th July, The Friends of Rodwell Trail have organised a Tudor Picnic to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Henry VIIIs coronation in the grounds of Sandsfoot Castle and Gardens, Weymouth.

A Mummers Play, a light hearted look at that good old villain Robyn Hoade was performed by members of the Pike and Shot Events Company (www.pikeandshot.com).

At the end of the event a selection of muskets used in the Tudor period were also demonstrated.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Viking battle may be behind decapitated bodies discovered in mass grave

Dozens of decapitated bodies at the top of Ridgeway Hill are believed to date from a time when Viking raiding parties were roaming the area. The remains were originally thought to be Iron Age or early Roman due to pottery from this period found in the burial pit.

However, radio carbon dating places the remains to the late Saxon period between AD 890 and AD 1030.

The remains were unearthed by archaeologists working within the Weymouth Relief Road construction site.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 11th July 2009

Friday, 10 July 2009

Dismembered skeletons' Saxon link

Fifty-one dismembered skeletons found in a burial pit on the site of a planned £87m relief road in Dorset are from the Saxon period, tests show.

Initially, it was thought the burial site on Ridgeway Hill, near Weymouth, dated from the Iron Age (from BC 800) to early Roman times (from AD 43).

But radio carbon dating shows the male rib cages, skulls and leg bones date between AD 890 and AD 1030.

Experts made the earlier estimate after examining pottery found in the pit.

Oxford archaeologists discovered the skeletons during the earthwork operation for the Weymouth Relief Road.

They have been excavating since early June.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News Friday, 10 July 2009

Ghost hunt at historic Blandford club

GHOST-hunters will be at a historic building in Blandford on Monday.

The Dorset Paranormal team will set up monitoring equipment at the town's Royal British Legion Club following years of reported sightings of a ghost.

Club secretary John Davies said: "I'm a sceptic - I've never seen or experienced anything here but female members of staff say they have and I've got to accept that.

"They say it's a woman and they don't feel threatened or upset by it.

"It's a mystery but not a problem. This team might find something with all their equipment."

Judy Butler, who worked at the club for 27 years until 1996, recalls seeing the ghost in several parts of the building.

She said: "I have seen her. It's definitely a woman, I would say a servant rather than gentry.

"She would do peculiar things like turn the radio on or occasionally move things around but nothing that was ever a problem.

"It always goes cold when she's about.

"I was never disturbed about it. I just called her, Her.

"I'll be interested to see what that team find out on Monday."

Mrs Butler said other members of staff had also experienced the ghost's presence.

She said a woman who spent three nights at the club on security duty reported that her Alsatian dog had refused to enter two rooms.

Dogs brought in for security checks on other occasions have also balked at parts of the building.

Mrs Butler said the ghost frequented all parts of the building though especially a room used as an office and the one below it that is a meeting room.

Mr Davies said: "This is a gorgeous building built by the Bastard brothers for their sister after the great fire of Blandford.

"It was built in about 1760 though the skittle alley is subterranean and might date from before the fire.

"People have said the ghost, if there is one, could be the Bastard brothers' sister."

Dorset Paranormal Investigators state on their website their main aim is to help people who believe their home or place of work is haunted by providing evidence to help clients make up their own minds about activity.

They state they are not ghost-busters but a mix of believers and sceptics to aim to investigate causes of reported paranormal anomalies, advance scientific understanding of the paranormal and further public knowledge.

They will be carrying out investigations at Nelsons wine bar in Blandford and the A35 at Bloxworth soon.

They have already carried out investigations in homes and other premises in Dorchester and the Weymouth area including Nothe Fort.

Source: Western Gazette Friday, July 10, 2009

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

'Mothman Prophecies' Writer, John Keel, Dies At 79

POINT PLEASANT — As several celebrity deaths have swept the nation in recent weeks, perhaps the closest to the area is the death of John Keel.

Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies, died Friday, July 3. Keel was born on March 25, 1930 and resided in New York City, N.Y.

READ MORE - Source: Point Pleasant Register Wednesday 7th July 2009

NEW VIDEO!: Fingers and Fretz: James Findlay and Jerry Bird performing on stage during the Wessex Folk Festival 2009

Fingers and Fretz: James Findlay and Jerry Bird performing on stage during the Wessex Folk Festival 2009, accompanied by Lucy Grace Findlay, Hannah Cumming, Jon Dyer, Penny Dyer, Alex Cumming. (see previos blog entry Wessex Folk Festival 5th - 7th June 2009)

More information about upcoming performances visit www.chesilpromotions.co.uk

Sunday, 5 July 2009

When the Romans came to Poole

The Roman invasion of England, which in Dorset began in Poole Harbour, has been brought to life in a new open-air play. It's been put together and performed by locals and tells an often brutal story of conquest and domination.

The time of the Romans' arrival in Poole is the subject of a new open air theatre production, exploring the effects the all-conquering Roman armies had on the Celts based in the harbour town and beyond - and how the Romans' arrival changed the county forever.

The play, called The Lost Quay IV - Terra Roma, explores how the brutal and murderous Roman armies had landed in Poole, due to its status as a thriving port, to begin its invasion of the area.

Taking charge is a new Roman army commander called Valerian, as he encounters local people willing to sacrifice everything to fight off their new invaders, while others would prefer to work for peace.

It's the latest in the Lost Quay series from the Fladermouse Productions company, a theatre group using street performances to bring specific eras of Dorset history to life. 2008's Lost Quay III revisited life in Poole during World War II, using real locations in the town to help tell the story.

Read More: Source - BBC 5th July 2009

Free events to mark Dorset beauty spot anniversary

Free events are being held to mark the golden anniversary of protected beauty spots.

The Love For The Land programme is being held from July 13 to 25 for the 50th anniversary of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB).

There will be free walks, bicycle rides and activities for families.

Author and poet James Crowden will lead a walk from Pilsdon Pen and explore how the landscape has inspired writers.

Free events are being held to mark the golden anniversary of protected beauty spots.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Sunday 5th July 2009

Visit dorsetaonb.org.uk, call 01305 756782 or email dorsetaonb@dorsetcc.gov.uk for a full programme of events.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Dorset adventurers go into the unknown

Four Dorset adventurers are teaming up with a famous explorer to take a trip into the unknown.

Colonel John Blashford-Snell has recruited a team of specialists to study the relatively unexplored Lake Roja Aguado area of Bolivia.

The groundbreaking expedition – Koto Mama VII – will journey thorough Amazonia’s savannah, swamp and jungle, while meeting ancient indigenous tribes. In January, the colonel appealed for expedition volunteers in the Echo.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 4th July 2009

Portland Archaeological Finds Day

Have you ever found a strangely shaped flint or old piece of pottery when you have been walking in Dorset's countryside, or found a corroded piece of metal when diving, and wondered if it is important? Tuesday 7th July there is a chance to find out what your finds are and how they contribute to our knowledge of the county's past.

Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen, Dorset County Council?s finds liaison officer, and Gordon Le Pard, Maritime Archaeologist with Dorset County Council?s Historic Environment team, will be at The Portland Museum, Wakeham, Portland between 10:00am and 4.00pm.

Ciorstaidh says: "If you have unearthed objects through metal detecting, on the beach or underwater, or just gardening at home then please bring them along and we will tell you what they are. We may ask to borrow them to record the details on our database - this information contributes to our understanding of Dorset's past."

Ciorstaidh works as part of the national Portable Antiquities Scheme which records thousands of items of pottery and flint, metal objects, coins and other finds, dating from prehistory to around 1650, each year.

N.B. Admission: Normal museum admission charges apply

Friday, 3 July 2009

Dorset author Rodney Legg to start another chapter

An author and historian who has spent his career tracing almost every inch of Dorset’s landscape has now got more time on his hands to discover the parts he has missed.

Rodney Legg is retiring as chairman of the Open Spaces Society after 20 years at the helm.

He was previously treasurer of the national organisation and joined its management committee in 1980, but will now become the correspondent for Dorset.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 3rd July 2009

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Ghost Walk around Old Weymouth with Alistair Chisholm

On Sunday 5th & Monday 6th July. A walk which explores old Weymouth, reliving some of its more grisly history, recounting tales of gruesome and ghastly characters whose presence still pervades the narrow streets and alleys of the old town. A little scary, very entertaining and most enjoyable. Suitable for all the family.

Dorchester Town Crier, Alistair Chisholm has been running Ghost Walks for more than ten years and no one has died of a heart attack..............................yet !

How to book: No booking necessary - just pitch up on the day and pay.

Start at "The Boot" public house at 8pm and finish by the Nothe fort around 9.30pm

Cost: Adults - £5, Children - £2, Families - £13.

Contact: Alistair Chisholm alistair@dorchesterdorset.co.uk for more details

Dorset pupils shoot Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd

Pupils from a Dorset school have created a feature length period film, shot on location around the county.

Far From the Madding Crowd based on Thomas Hardy’s novel is the result of eight months work by a cast of 140 pupils from The Gryphon School in Sherborne.

The remarkably professional-looking production was filmed at some of the most scenic spots in the Wessex region Hardy loved, including Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Thursday 2nd July 2009

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Experience Tudor life at Sandsfoot Castle with the Friends of Rodwell Trail - Tudor Picnic

On Sunday 5th July, The Friends of Rodwell Trail have organised a Tudor Picnic to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s coronation in the grounds of Sandsfoot Castle and Gardens, Weymouth.

So bring your own food, use Tudor recipes if you like, or buy at the Castle Cafe and be entertained with a variety of Tudor events, cooking, games, music, dancing, story telling, Why not come in costume there will be prizes for both adults and children for the best costume.

Admission is FREE!

Programme of Events:

- At 10am, noon and 2pm

Tours with a Tudor guide around Sandsfoot Castle lasting 20-30 minutes

- At 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm
Games, interactive demonstration with public participation of Kings Game, Blind Mans Bluff, Nine Men’s Morris, Tug-of-War and a Tudor version of French Cricket

- At 11am, 1pm and 3pm
Bows, Guns and Bullets, 20-30 minute demonstrations of archery and musketry followed by Pike Drill for “young soldiers of the King”.

- At 3.30pm
Mummers Play, a light hearted look at that good old villain ‘Robyn Hoade

Throughout the day

Cooking demonstrations of dishes such as Mackerel and Sandfire, Sweet cubes of jellied milk, Crab tart, Tudor Salad, Gingerbread, Knot biscuits, Marchpane, Tea and Drop Scones. These will be demonstrated to be edible but can not be offered to the public due to various regulations/insurance issues
  • Quoits and Skittles Tournaments
  • Music and Tudor dancing by ‘Ye Olde Franklin Players’ and the Dorchester Historical Dance Group
  • Crowns and coronet making for children by well known local milliners ‘TG Hatters’
  • Pomander making
  • Storytelling with a Tudor theme for children by Weymouth Library, times to be announced.
  • There will be a Tudor dress costume competition for adults and children.
Refreshments will be available at the Cafe in the gardens but we will be publishing suitable Tudor recipes before the event that we would like the public to make and bring along for their own consumption.

View map of Sandsfoot Castle on Multimap.com
Bird's Eye view of Sandsfoot Castle
Get directions to or from Sandsfoot Castle

N.B. Do you walk or cycle the Rodwell Trail? Would you like to be involved in helping to make this wonderful green route across town even better? ‘Friends of Rodwell Trail’ is a group of people of different ages and interests who have one thing in common: we want to see real improvements to the Rodwell Trail. For more information follow this link Friends of Rodwell Trail
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