The day was bright and having found a place to park up we set off over the wild heathland behind Studland and meandered our way through muddy lanes and low trees. We’d just stumbled on some of the best cep mushrooms we’d ever found when Alison looked up and suddenly exclaimed “Is that it?” pointing through the undergrowth to a monstrous boulder on the horizon. And there it was, looking completely out of place and out of scale with its surroundings, more like Dartmoor than Dorset.
Having lived three years of my life in relatively close proximity to this amazing natural feature I was surprised that I’d never heard of it, let alone seen it and I’d been anticipating something much smaller like a gnarled old standing stone. As we got closer we noticed that we weren’t alone. There was a climber there, which slightly annoyed me, and for the first half an hour we had to endure him doing the same clumsy climb over and over again. Well I guess that’s what sandwiches were invented for and eventually he got bored and fell off (or did I push him?) and we had the place to ourselves.
It really is awe-inspiring in its size and sheer strangeness and really looks otherworldly, like an organic UFO that’s crashed into a small hill. If you’d lived in this area thousands of years ago how could you not venerate it, there’s nothing like it for miles around and it’s set off with that glorious view over Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island. Even the hillock on which it stands doesn’t seem entirely natural, though to be fair there are other smaller hillocks thereabouts, some of them perhaps man-made.