We are in a serviced three bedroom apartment at the Hollies Hotel in Martock. It is very modern and comfortable with a back yard and patio but nothing that we would recommend unless you are desperate as we were when we booked.
After a fairly short morning run we pack up and head out for our next stop which is Sherbourne on our way to Sidmouth. Sherbourne is a market town in NW Dorset on the river Yeo. We park our car and have a lovely breakfast in a local cafe before doing a self guided tour of Sherbourne Abbey, otherwise known as the Abbey Church of St. Mary the Virgin. It has been a Saxon cathedral, a Benedictine Abbey Church and since 1539 a parish church. When people look at the Abbey they see different things, some see the finest building in Dorset with its glorious fan vaulting of which Simon Jenkins says in his book England’s Thousand Best Churches “I would pit Sherbourne’s roof against any contemporary work of the Italian renaissance. Others see a place renowned for its Quire and its music and bells which has the heaviest peal of eight bells in the world. What we saw here was the amazing restoration of color that was stripped from all churches during the reformation of King Henry VIII. It is absolutely spectacular and gives you a sense of how these churches originally had brilliantly colored statues, ceilings and walls.
Our next stop was Cerne Abbas to see the giant. The Cerne Abbas Giant is a hill figure near the village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset. It is 55 meters high and depicts a standing male nude figure with a prominent erection and weilding a large club in his right hand. It is outlined by shallow trenches cut in the turf and backfilled with chalk rubble. The origin and age of the figure are unclear. The earliest mention of it dates back to the late 17th century. It is one of England’s best known hill figures and a top visitor attraction.
We explored the town and visited the remains of the great Benedictine Abbey founded in 987. Abbas is medieval Latin for Abbot. The Abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII in 1539 with dissolution of the monastery and was largely destroyed. A portion of the Abbeys gatehouse and guesthouse remains. We also visited St. Mary’s church built by the Abbey in the late 13th century.
We left Cerne Abbas and headed for our next stop, Sidmouth. This is another deviation from our original itinerary and it takes us further south and west. The reason for this is a former nurse colleague of Sandy’s, Janine Raby at Lahey Clinic, has a sister who owns a TeaRoom there and we decided it sounded too sweet to pass up. Sandy is really good friends with Janine and wanted to meet her sister Jamie. We had a lovely sun filled Airbnb in Sidmouth just around the corner from Somewhere Someday. We arrived on Sunday and the Tearoom was closed.