Saturday dawned the nicest day of the week and was also NAH's aunt's birthday. 85th birthdays are to be celebrated, so we took G and her friend E (they've been friends since primary school days) for a meal at Prezzo's in Wimborne, just a stone's throw from the Minster and in the older part of town.
Nearly three hours later after a delicious meal, we thought it was far too nice a day to go straight back home to Poole, so we decided to visit Badbury Rings nearby. This is an impressive iron age fort dating back to 800 BC, but stands in an even more ancient landscape as there are several tumuli dating back to the bronze age on the way to this impressive structure. There are 3 rings of ditches and earthworks surrounding the central protective area now clothed in trees.
The late winter sunshine had bought out many other families to the spot and the car park was nearly full. The scene was dotted with many walkers climbing the ramparts to play their version of 'king of the castle'. The breeziness of the day had brought out plenty of kite fliers too.
The famous avenue of beech trees lining the B3082, just by the entrance to Badbury Rings
Badbury Rings now forms part of the Kingston Lacy estate, both owned by the National Trust. I was pleased to see as we drove along the road to Blandford Forum that the estate's famous avenue of trees lining the road was still largely intact. This is one of my favourite drives in the entire country as it's lined with hundreds of mature beech trees over 170 years old.
A few years ago it was reported in the press this avenue was going to be felled. The implication was it would happen all at once, but I see now that the cull is planned over a period of 30 years or so. It means that this scene will remain for a while yet. Further back from the road the next avenue has been planted: it's of hornbeam this time and it will be quite a while before it reaches the stature of today's scene.
So where does the ballet fit in? That was the final part of the birthday celebrations. NAH and I deposited G and E at the theatre in Poole in plenty of time for the evening performance of Sleeping Beauty before we headed off for home :)