Over the years I have been heeding the advice of Mark E Smith to eat yourself fitter. It hasn't worked, so I have decided a different course of action. I have always loved a walk, but never one of great distance until now. The footpaths, dark lanes and byways around this part of the hill intrigue me. So much so that I have been recently marking them off on my maps once trodden like an excited loco spotter. It's verging on the obsessional and I get twitchy if I don't get my fix.
One such route has captured my imagination more than most. The Monarch's Way. It passes my back garden as it carves its 615 mile route from Worcester to Brighton. The section I love the most goes up over my hill into the wilds of West Dorset along a glorious ridge up the holloway made famous in Robert Macfarlane's book of the same title (heartbreakingly now destroyed in places by the tractor and flail) and wends its way through the Marshwood Vale to Pilsden Pen and beyond. I love it.
Bilshay, Axen Brow, Henwood Copse, Jan's Hill, Denhay Hill, Wormstall Copse, Ryall Bottom, Copper Hill, Doctor's Copse all have their charm and I drink in the view to savour on dull days.
A day walk brings much pleasure and all being well a pint en route but the air is the best refreshment - cooling from the sea or warm from the hills with a hint of ramson, bluebell and primrose at this time of year.
This is the stuff of dreams or as I prefer to say it's the right side of the hedge. All being well I'll be back in time for tea.