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Thursday, 25 August 2011

News Clipping: UFOs reported to Dorset Police

Sightings of UFOs have been logged by Bridport police for the second time this summer.  PC Scott McGregor, Bridport's Safer Neighbourhood Team's lead officer, announced that members of the public had informed them that unidentified flying objects had been seen in the Bridport area.

READ MORE - Source: Western Gazette Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Events: Weird Weekend 2011, 19th - 21st August

For one weekend a year the tiny North Devon village of Woolsery becomes the weirdest village in the land. The largest gathering of scholars of esoteric natural history in the English-speaking world, is set to take place in rural north Devon. The Centre for Fortean Zoology’s annual conference, the Weird Weekend, will see speakers from all over the country gathering Woolsery to discuss their work and discoveries.

The Weird Weekend, held over the weekend of the 19th - 21st August, now in its twelfth year it is the largest convention of its kind. This year’s speakers include one of the world’s leading geneticists Professor Bryan Sykes. Professor Sykes will be speaking on the yeti and samples of hair he has tested. Continuing the theme, cryptozoologist Richard Freeman will be talking about the Centre for Fortean Zoology’s latest expedition that took them into the Garo Hills of northern India on the track of the ape-like creature known as the Mande Burung.

Last year at the convention scientists announced that hairs found in local woodland were those of a leopard. These findings were later confirmed by DNA analysis. A world exclusive this year comes from Dr. Darren Naish from Portsmouth University and Max Blake from Bristol University who will produce conclusive proof that over 100 years ago there were still mystery cats in Devon.

Other speakers include Fortean researcher Matt Salusbury who has been on the track of Pygmy elephants in India, entomologist Nick Wadham on giant spiders, cryptozoologist and explorer Adam Davies on the orang-pendek, the mystery ape of Sumatra, and Glen Vaudrey on the Water Horse, a lake monster from Scottish legend.

As well as monstrous creatures, other esoteric subjects are covered. Former police officer John Hanson describes UFO cases reaching back to the 1940s. Irish author, Ronan Coghlan on the labours of Hercules, and Henry Hartley on Fortean aspects of the modern Mayans.

As well as a series of talks there will be stalls, workshops and events.

The Weird Weekend raises funds for village charities dealing with children and for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the only full time organization in the world dedicated to the investigation of mystery animals.

For further details visit www.weirdweekend.org or ring 01237 431413

News Clipping: Bill Bartlett, The Symondsbury Mummer

The Symondsbury Mummers
Bill, a great Dorsetman, passed away in late July 2011. www.transitionvision.tv was privileged to shoot an interview with him at Eype on the Dorset coast about his involvement with the Symondsbury Mummers - how the tradition was revived in 1950 and particularly about the film of the Mummers made by the late Peter Kennedy in 1952. Bill was simply brilliant company and to meet him was to feel that you had known him for years: a very special person to many, many people. "Singing the Travels" - the song associated with the Symondsbury Mummers - is played on melodeon by the late Peter Kennedy. This material is drawn from the Trilith Production, "Walk in Room".

Source:  http://www.transitionvision.tv/play/People/Bill_Bartlett_Symondsbury_Mummer

Source: http://www.darkdorset.co.uk/symonsdbury_mummers

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Mapperton villagers pay tribute to 'Posy Tree'

The Posy Tree, Mapperton
Dark Dorset learnt of the sad news that the 'Posy Tree' of Mapperton has been removed due to health and safety fears.  Residents from Mapperton gathered last Saturday at the tree, with glasses of cider, to toast the historic landmark.

This tree was planted to commemorate victims of the terrible pestilence that occurred at Mapperton, near Bridport, some four hundred years ago.

Though the Black Death took the lives of twenty-five million Europeans between 1348 and 1351, outbreaks continued to occur in isolated villages, towns and cities throughout England for the next three hundred and eighteen years.  It was a common enough practice for the inhabitants of Mapperton to bury their dead at the cemetery of the neighbouring parish of Netherbury. Mapperton's cemetery was deemed unsuitable for burial because the soil was inadequate. In 1582 this routine of burial changed due to the outbreak of bubonic plague at Mapperton. Villagers of Netherbury gathered at the parish boundary refusing to let the residents of Mapperton bury the corpses of plague victims in their cemetery. This resulted in a bitter skirmish between the villagers but after some negotiations, it was agreed that the bodies should remain at the boundary, which the old Mapperton and Netherbury track crosses, now known as "Dead Man's Lane".

The sycamore tree known locally as the 'Posy' or 'Cosy' Tree, marked the spot where the 80 dead of Mapperton were collected and buried a mile away in a mass grave within a small enclosure on the summit of South Warren Hill. After burial a copse of Beech trees was planted on the site to make sure the area was not disturbed.

There have been several attempts made to save the tree.  On 1st February 2002 it was reported in the Bridport News, "that its fate was uncertain, two years after the news was reported that is was under threat”. "But in recent years it has deteriorated, despite being severely pollarded in the vain hope that it might spring to life".  But old age has taken its toll on the sycamore and safety fears meant it had to come down last weekend.

It was reported in the Western Gazette, 11th August 2011 that Rohaise Newall, who chairs the Mapperton parish meeting, said: "It was incredibly old and completely hollow. The tree man from the council came to look and he asked us to take it down because it was really dangerous. We went through all the proper channels. "We had the whole village there to have a glass of cider and wish it well and we are going to plant another one.” It was lovely because nearly everyone walked from the village to the tree and chatted and talked about what we're going to do. We will have a ceremony when we put the new one in."

Thursday, 11 August 2011

News Clipping: Thomas Hardy Society go to war with National Trust as his house falls into disrepair

The National Trust has been accused of 'grossly neglecting' the upkeep of the home of author Thomas Hardy.  The Thomas Hardy Society has written to the heritage charity expressing its 'grave concerns' over the current condition of Max Gate in Dorchester, Dorset.  The Hardy enthusiasts claim the Grade I listed property is in need of urgent repair work, including a new roof and windows.

READ MORE - Source: Daily Mail 11th August 2011

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

News Clipping: Former Weymouth teacher launches new book in Dorchester

Available at Amazon Click Here
A former Weymouth teacher who found fame as a writer has returned to Dorset to launch her latest book "Shadows at Stonewylde". Kirsten Espensen, who taught at St Andrews School and Westfield Technology College and now goes by her pen name Kit Berry, was at Waterstones in Dorchester for the unveiling of Shadows at Stonewylde.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 10th August 2011

Monday, 8 August 2011

News Clipping: Portland is an explorer's paradise

The former 'Mermaid Inn' at
Church Ope Cove, Portland.
commemorates that a mermaid
actually once came ashore there!

The isle of Portland – that long, low wedge that can be seen to the east from all along the West Dorset coast – is an explorers’ paradise, with curiosities of history and folklore just waiting to be discovered.

Source: Dorset Echo Monday 8th August 2011

News Clipping: Ridgeway gets a funding boost

Plans for a project to improve the South Dorset Ridgeway have received a major funding boost.  The Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership has received more than £96,000 in development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its South Dorset Ridgeway Project.  The money will help the AONB team carry out preparatory work before submitting a bid for a full grant that will take the lottery funding up to around £3million.

Source: Dorset Echo Monday 8th August 2011
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