Pilsdon Pen


WE TWIST and switch along the road to Pilsdon. Up and round, round and up. It rains. Clouds mass over Marshwood Vale.

Cows’ tails twitch as I climb their dairy farm gate to get a better photo.


Rolling patchwork hills ripple for miles, whispering of faery landscapes like Avalon, and the hobbits’ Shire.



We see many different mounds of dung, but no animals save squawking crows can be seen or heard. We’re 277 metres above sea level.


Ye olde Iron Age settlers bred rabbits in special warrens on the top. Lewesdon Hill is never far away. Some say she stands taller than Pilsdon Pen.


It’s pretty hard to tell. What do you think?

Air’s so still, sounds carry for miles. Bramble-snagged ramparts snake round the sides. Brackish pools of rainwater stand, sullenly.



Turf is springy, sprinkled with slate. Frazzled ferns are outdone by glorious gorse and hawthorn berries.



Trees are wuthered.



Steppes are hewn into the flinty steep.


The views are staggeringly beautiful. The air is moist and pure and still and cool. Something magic happens here. A great silence steals into my soul. Doors open in my head, in my heart. I feel glad, and wise, at peace.

At the bottom, a bird sits on a wire, then slowly flaps away. In the car park is a Celtic Orthodox Church poster advertising services for the parish of St Gwenn (a variation on St Wite?)

We stop at the Shave Cross Inn for half a pint of the ‘local’ cider, The Pitfield Thunderbolt. Sitting by the crackling fire, I think of Pilsdon Pen. I’m still suffused with quiet joy, and yearn to return.



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