Neville & The National Trust

We’ve been National Trust members for a few years now. I’ve always been a history geek, but if you’d asked me a decade ago if I thought I’d ever join the NT, be an avid jam-maker and currently be planning my winter sewing projects, I’d have laughed at you (whilst buckling up my stilettos and ordering another cocktail). How times change!

We’re massive fans, and try and make the most of our subscription by visiting as often as possible. My favourite by a mile is St Michael’s Mount; it really is magical to see the castle rising from the sea as you round the bend into Marazion, and whether we walk across the causeway or get a boat across to the tiny island, I don’t think I’ll ever lose the excitement I felt the first time we saw it.

Yesterday, we decided it was time that Neville became a fully-fledged National Truster and duly popped him in the boot to drive to The Devil’s Punchbowl. He’s really quiet in the car now, and I had to stop when we’d driven about a mile as I wondered if he’d managed to escape while I was shutting the boot!

The weather was perfect; dry and windy, and it seemed that half of the county had decided a pre-lunch outing was the thing. No problems for our confident little puppy, he just sees loads of dogs who will definitely want to be his new best friends, and hoards of people who will think he’s the cutest thing on the planet (he is).

You can come here hundreds of times and take a different route, and we always see new things. If you are feeling energetic, the walk down into the bottom of the bowl and the steep climb out is great, but in Autumn my joints start their annual seizing, so a gentle amble around the top was in order yesterday. My excuse was that I wanted to be able to appreciate the turning of the leaves from above….

Our attention was somewhat distracted by the small chocolate beast, so we didn’t catch as much wildlife as usual, but we did find a few interesting things we hadn’t seen on previous visits. This is an original milestone from the old Portsmouth to London road, which has been re-routed through the Hindhead Tunnel, allowing this amazing place to return to nature.

And this is ‘The Sailor’s Stone’, erected in the memory of an unknown sailor who was murdered on the spot after being robbed by some locals he’d befriended in a local inn. No good deed goes unpunished! If you wander uphill from here, you can see where the guilty parties were hanged, and their bodies left dangling for three years. Nice.

Neville is fast becoming a country boy! When we brought him home from Outer London, we told him that he was going to love living in the countryside, and we were right. So many things to sniff, lots of other dogs to meet, and the freedom to roam. Phelim, one of the (always) lovely volunteers at the cafe, was ready with a special biscuit for him. Nev was disappointed in the ‘one per dog’ policy though!

One tired little pup and two grown-ups returned to the cottage, made lunch from local food (I’ll be writing about eating local soon), and settled down in front of the fire for a perfectly lazy Sunday afternoon. This is what weekends are all about. Hope yours was as wonderful as mine.

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