Category Archives: News/Blog

A royal forest and a new 50-mile trail: the Gillingham Walking Festival

AN ancient royal forest and a new 50-mile trail are the focus of this year’s nine-day Gillingham Walking Festival.

The White Hart Link is the new long-distance route which links the five towns of North Dorset: Gillingham, Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton, Blandford and Shaftesbury.

It’s so named as the Blackmore Vale was once known as the Vale of the White Hart, a “creature whose rarity and beauty have attracted, in legend, a wealth of mystical and royal associations,” says a report in The Guardian.

It was also described by Thomas Hardy in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. “The Vale was known in former times as the Forest of White Hart, from a curious legend of King Henry III’s reign, in which the killing by a certain Thomas de la Lynd of a beautiful white hart which the king had run down and spared, was made the occasion of a heavy fine.”

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What’s happened to the Gold Hill Hovis loaf?

CRUMBS! The loaf that has sat atop Gold Hill for decades has disappeared.

The town has been agog since The Hovis Loaf, a slice of Shaftesbury life, vanished overnight. “We had a lot of people asking where it is. One guest said he heard people talking about loaf theft,” said Anne Giberson, chairman of Shaftesbury Tourism and owner of The Chalet B&B.

But Anne revealed the loaf is far from being toast: it’s simply being refreshed and repackaged, having gone a bit stale in recent years after a distinguished history.

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Where to fly a Tiger Moth in North Dorset

THERE were several airfields built in Dorset during WW2, as aircraft production moved out of the bombed cities and the Allies geared up for the 1944 invasion of France.

The gliders that landed at Pegasus Bridge on D-Day took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton, while the Americans took over RAF Warmwell for their fighter planes. Henstridge was a Fleet Air Arm training airfield: Seafires, Spitfires and Masters flew from 1943 until 1945.

Today, only one of the five runways remains. But the airport is busy, with the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance based here – as are the Yakovlevs, an aerobatics team often seen (and heard) training over the Blackmore Vale.

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11 brilliant reasons to visit Shaftesbury in summer

The Great Gold Hill Cheese Challenge

NORTH Dorset comes alive in the summer with a series of superb and well-established shows and festivals that reflect the region’s rich culture and agricultural history.

Woodcrafts, dairy farming, cheese production, steam engines and the heavy horses all have their own festivals, alongside celebrations of folklore, music, theatre and outdoors pursuits. Shaftesbury sits at the heart of these bucolic outbursts of pleasure, and is the natural place to base yourself for the parties. We’ll see you soon!

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