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Published: July 26th 2018
We thought it would be a good idea to join English Heritage and not National Trust as we enjoyed visiting old Castles and Abbey's as opposed to stately homes. We knew we would probably see a fair few heritage sites so by becoming a member the savings would be quite significant.
Close to Semley was Wardour Castle and by all accounts worth visiting. The castle was built in the late 14th century as a lightly fortified luxury residence. The castle was badly damaged during the civil war and is now a romantic ruin and incorporated into the landscaped grounds of New Wardour House which has no public access. The castle was just as they described it, a romantic ruin and we really enjoyed exploring it especially as there was hardly anyone else here.
Our next destination was Poole or should I say Brownsea Island. The island has been on top of Vaughan's visit list for many years now, as this was the birthplace of modern scouting. Vaughan has dedicated most of his life to scouting and has spent the last 20 years as a Cub Leader so Brownsea Island was a pilgrimage for him. Parking was easy right on
the foreshore with spots dedicated to motorhomes and from there it was only a 10 minute walk to the ferry. Brownsea Island is a National Trust site so we had to pay the £7:50 entrance fee as we were not members.
The ferry was £11.50 return for the both of us, one was going in 5 minutes so we hopped on aboard. We spent a couple of hours wondering around the island which is covered in forest, the look and feel of it reminded me of the woodlands in Victoria back home, walking the trails was really nice and relaxing. The castle is the first building you see when you land but it wasn't open to the public. The castle was once the home of the recluse Mary Bonham-Christie who bought the Island in 1927 for £128,000 and ordered the occupants off the island. This resulted in the village of Maryland being abandoned and much of the island being returned to the wild. The island was off limits to the public until her death in 1961.
We focused primarily on the scouting references as we had only the time our parking ticket allowed. Our first stop was the
island church as we were passing it anyway then Baden Powells statue. It was a good 15 minute walk to the scout centre where Vaughan enjoyed chatting with the two lady scout volunteers who gave him a heap of badges on top of the few he purchased. The scout shop held much interest as it was packed with memorabilia, Vaughan was truly in his element. We walked around the camp ground and Vaughan pointed out the very spot where Baden Powell held his first experimental camp for boys back in 1907 and it was here that modern day scouting was born. Last stop was the scout stone before we headed back to the ferry dock, stopping at the visitor centre along the way.
We thought we would have plenty of time catching the 3pm ferry what we didn't know is that the ferry proceeded to give us a tour of Poole harbour, we couldn't really relax and enjoy it as we were worried about getting a parking ticket, we already had one we didn't want another! We got back with 15 minutes to spare and Vaughan made a sprint back to our motorhome and all was well, the grey
ghost hadn't lynched us.
Our stop that night was the Chequers Inn at Lytchette Matravers a large village about 20 minutes north of Poole. We had a drink in the pub, it was an OK stopover, a few noisy revellers were out and about at night but it was a free stopover so we didn't complain.
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