The landscapes of the Marshwood Vale are stunning with the hills of Lambert's Castle, Coney's Castle, Pilson Pen and Lewesdon and the Vale itself a sweeping patchwork of fields and farms. The River Char rises inland to the north and flows through the Vale. The first block of pictures, below, are a selection of landscapes shot from around the Char Valley. Please click on individual pictures, if you wish to enlarge them or view the caption.
The villages in the Char Valley are attractive, as the photos below show. Whitchurch Canonicorum is on rising ground above the River Char and a variety of house styles extend along the main street with the church of St Candida and the Holy Cross at the village centre. The Five Bells public house is at the upper end of the village.
Wootton Fitzpaine to the west is split into two parts, the village centre with its beautiful village hall in an "Arts and Crafts" design and about half a miles to the east a smaller group of houses and the Church, which is set within the manor grounds.
To the west, Monkton Wyld is a smaller settlement of around ten houses grouped around St Andrew's Church together with a number of scattered farm settlements and other properties. There is also Monkton Wyld Court, an educational centre for sustainable living and a large camp site.
Morcombelake is set at the foot of Hardown Hill in the southern part of the Char Valley and is bisected by A35 trunk road. It is home to Moores Bakery, a post office, farm shop and a small church. Leading from the main road are attractive back lanes that soon take you away from the busy traffic. Ryall, part way between Morcombelake and Whitchurch, and also at the foot of Hardown Hill, consists of a number of houses and farms grouped together around a confluence of lanes. The parish of Stanton St Gabriel, which is the third of the parishes forming the Char Valley Council group lies entirely to the south of the A35 and stretches down to the sea. Stanton St Gabriel village was abandoned in the 17th century and includes a ruined 13th century church and dramatic scenery, much of which is now owned by the National Trust.
Photos of the Council "at work"
The Parish Council meets monthly at village halls in council's area. In between meetings one of councillor's main tasks is making site visits to help them formulate the response to be made to consultations on planning applications. Issues raised by local residents may also require investigation. The photos below capture some of this activity.