16th July 2021
Broome to Asterton
A truly magnificent day! Clear blue skies and a gentle breeze. Helen lead us back to the farm at Broome where we quickly harnessed the boys and set off. We had to retrace our steps for about ¼ mile to the crossroads in Broome. This is memorable because the road we were to take took us under a railway bridge. We soon came to the village store which had a notice saying 'Village Hall'. There were some people waiting there for us – their names were Ron and Kate Church. Their daughter, Alison Gunning Stevenson had met me at Goodwood when I gave a talk there. After chatting to them and a family with children had come up and made a fuss of the boys we were on our way. Our route took us through beautiful woodland and the overhanging trees made it nice and cool for the boys and Nelson. When one is travelling at under 2 mph you see all sorts of things that you wouldn't see from a car. The lane was only one car width with passing places but there was hardly any traffic so Nelson could run along off the lead. The wildflowers were in abundance in the hedgerows which rather resembled Devon as they were so high. The road went through a village and we knew we must ignore a road coming in from the right or at least turn left. We saw a road off to the left so took it but very quickly realised it was wrong as it ended at the church! We turned round and soon found the right road. More gentle undulating road with a gentle climb. At the top a lady in a car stopped – she was Suzie Wilkinson a friend of Carolle's – she told us we didn't have far to go to Red House Farm where Neville had organised a lunch stop. The farm was empty and Neville asked some workmen who owned it. It was owned by the Plowden Estates so Neville, undaunted rang Plowden Estates but they gave him the combination for the lock into the loo! We tied the boys to the trailer with a haynet and sat in a shady barn for our lunch. Susie had brought Lucy, a friend of hers who has MS and is in a wheelchair. She was delightful and used to drive and ride donkeys – she fell in love with Wizard and whilst having her photograph taken with Wizard and displaying the Donkey print - Wizard took a bite out of the donkey print!!
Back on the road we didn't have far to go to the main A road which we had to do about 300 metres on. Just before the main road we pulled in to let some cars go by and Peter pulled in with the trailer and one of the trailer wheels got stuck in a ditch. We signalled to Neville who was about to lead us onto the A road and with his and Oscar's help Peter managed to get free of the ditch. The main road wasn't too much of a problem, but then we had to do a 180 degree turn back on ourselves. This wasn't a problem for the donkeys, but Peter held up the traffic for a short time while he manoeuvred the trailer off the main road onto this tiny road going back behind us. This road took us on the most beautiful gentle slope up towards Asterton alongside the mountain Long Mind where the Midlands Gliding Club operate from the top. We saw some gliders, but the views looking down and across were just stunning. Sheep were running around with their lambs in tow. Every so often we had to avoid cattle grids by going through a gate on the side. Half way up the hill Sally Mellor was waiting for us with her 8 month old sheep dog called Blue (he has a blue eye!) Sally walked the rest of the way with us and we were delighted to meet her and chat to her all about the endurance riding she does with her Arab horses.
Tonight we are off to Yvonne and George friends of Viv (Haigh) who is now with us for drinks and supper.