Deer stalking in Corscombe

Snowdrops in Corscombe

SPYING on red deer from afar makes me hanker for a long lens.

Crossing plank bridges through a tangled wood, we find them standing tall in the frozen meadows before dashing to cover, heart-shaped white bottoms leaping high, away.

We catch our breath, too, when a buzzard – big and black and yellow and white and brown – hurls itself towards us, in pursuit of a smaller bird. It clocks us, hangs in the air for one glorious split second, and wheels off again.

We meet horses, ponies, sheep, dogs, cats and even three quite civilised, Wellington-booted children on our wanderings through Corscombe and its sister hamlet West Chelborough.

There is evidence of other species all around. A sign warns ramblers and other livestock about ducks waddling between fields and climbing tracks. A thundering of hoof marks at the top of the ridge suggests a stampede of wild horses (or, more likely, the Cattistock Hunt, given our proximity to Charlotte Townshend’s country pile).

West Chelborough is utterly charming. Round the corner from Dairy House Farm, a couple of cottages give way to an ancient church. A Victorian post box and vintage telephone kiosk splash redly into view. We climb up a winding lane to a track opening up breathtaking views of the West Dorset downs.

It’s been a hard winter: low sunlight weakly winks from frosted puddles. Troughs sag with ice. We tramp down, down the valley and to the gingham-frothed, stone-flagged dim sanctuary of the Fox Inn.



3 thoughts on “Deer stalking in Corscombe

  1. But what it was like at The Fox? I haven’t been there for about 18 months. It always used to be good. I used to go there on my bike more than 20 years ago; it would take me longer to get home than it did to get there. In those days there was still The Tiger’s Head at Rampisham and The Quiet Woman at Halstock as well, so you could mazey round the lanes for hours…

    • Amazing decor/interior: fox tails nailed to the walls, stuffed animals, dilapidated old conservatory. Staff friendly, not suspicious. Punters well-heeled. The cider went down pretty quick, and I would certainly go again. Food: not as good as days in days of yore, I suspect: if I wanted microwaved veg and dried mixed herbs I would stay at home!

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