Chase and Chalke Advent Calendar, Days 17-24

by Charlotte Moreton
30th December 2020

Chase and Chalke Advent Calendar, Day 17.

A very dear Oldgran’s birthday.  Would have been 113, just so’s you know – a big milestone!

And a beautiful lace hanky she must have sweated blood to make, being more of a gardener, pony and child wrangler.  She grew and sold vegetables and cared for relays of evacuees alongside my dad, aunts and uncles during the Second World War while Granfardie was away with the army.

I’m lucky to have a pile of treasures made by all four grandparents.  We love learning of our heritage from our family, and their skills that may not be so much in use today.  Even if we may not have appreciated the stories in our youth, we sure do now!

If this rings bells for you, click here to have a look at our Memories Captured project to see if you’d like to get involved.

Chase and Chalke Advent Calendar, Day 18

.The hunting rights Cranborne Chase passed from the Crown to the Pitt-Rivers family early in the 18th Century, roughly 150 years before being inherited by the remarkable Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers.  Keeping this sizeable area of land in one parcel is largely why so much of the landscape, wildlife and archaeology remains as special as we see today.

Animals that were hunted were protected under Forest Law, under categories of forest (hart, hind, wild boar, wolf and hare), chase (buck, doe, fox, martin, roe) and warren (rabbit and pheasant).  The wild boar and “martin-cat” were pretty much locally extinct.

The fallow was the dominant deer species in the 18th Century, and is significant locally in various ways today.

Chase and Chalke Advent Calendar, Day 19.

The Japanese language has 50 words for rain.  Here in the Chase and Chalke we find that if we repeat the word “RAIN!” nineteen times, nineteen to the dozen, that pretty much sums it up. 

Looking out from under our stone, however, we love the rainbows, stormy skies, gentle mizzle, pelting blobs, blackbirds singing, cows lying down, Ebble rising, splashing in puddles, ripples on roadsides, circles on silky ponds, rescuing earthworms onto the grass, favourite sou’wester, frog-eyed wellies, dripping twigs, steaming by firesides, upside-down worlds, patterns on windows, scraps of blue big enough to make a sailor’s trousers, and oh yes, raindrops on eyelashes!

What are your favourite rain things?

Chase and Chalke Advent Calendar, Day 20.

Here in the Chase and Chalke, we have 20 projects running over four years, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  Such a fabulous variety of projects and ways to get involved with our landscape and heritage! Click here to find out more.

20 on the map takes us back to the Shire Rack. Heading west along the northern edge of Pribdean, we come across age-old hedges, layed and layed and layed over hundreds of years until the hedge line becomes gnarled wooden dragons of oak, ash and whitebeam.

“The Jabberwock with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came.” (Lewis Carroll)

We would love to hear your walk-inspired words – verse and worse!  Click here to find out about our Words in the Landscape project.

Send them to us at Chase and Chalke and we’ll put the best in a compilation….

Chase and Chalke Advent Calendar, Day 21.

In ’21 we’ll have more fun!

In the darkness of the Winter Solstice it is good to seek out accessible sparks of light ahead.

There are 21 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) within the Chase and Chalke area.

Three SSSIs are designated for their woodland interest, twenty for their chalk grassland interest and one for its diverse chalk grassland, scrub and woodland communities.

There is an ever-improving Rights of Way network, passing through many of these sites, allowing us to go and find out what’s so special.

Chase and Chalke Advent Calendar, Day 22.

Many pairs of little ducks and their fellow water beasts will be happy with our Crystal Clear Ebble project!

22km of the river is to be improved, working with our partners Wessex Rivers Trust, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West, and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

Chase and Chalke Advent Calendar, Day 23.

Today we may well be scraping the barrel with our archaeologist’s trowel.  Perhaps the barrel had 23 staves, and was made by a local cooper.  It may have been used by local smuggler Isaac Gulliver.

Let’s go and see what he says at our Cranborne Chase Time Traveller App location at Sixpenny Handley church.

Why not download the free app and go and find out!  There are ten sites to collect, which will take you all over the Chase and Chalke are, guided by the two moles, Archie and Ollie…!

Chase and Chalke Advent Calendar, Day 24.

24 humans have orbited the moon.

Tonight looks like it’s going to be clear enough to see the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn low in the southern skies shortly after sun set.  If you have good binoculars, you may even see Saturn’s rings.

Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. Now where is that first mince pie…?

We at Chase and Chalke wish you and yours a happy and safe Christmas, and look forward to seeing you at our events and projects between now and 2024!