You only have to glance at an OS map to know that the triangle of Dorset between Dorchester, Bridport and Portland is one of the richest and most interesting prehistoric areas of England. Better still is driving along the A35 on a bright day after leaving the colossus of Maiden Castle and heading towards Winterbourne Abbas and that amazing view of the rolling hills and cliffs and the sea to your south. It’s so uplifting it makes you want to sell up and move down there – now!
Today, however, it’s not bright and we’re heading east after a few days of walking and fossil hunting in Lyme Regis and we seem to be keeping just ahead of a huge rainstorm heading in from the south west. So it seemed a good time to stop off at the Grey Mare just before the impending deluge. It’s not a terribly easy one to find and seemed to be further from where we parked than we’d imagined, infact so much so that Alison gave up and headed back to the car before she could hear my triumphant exclamations as I climbed over a gate into the field where it stood.
Despite it’s relative remoteness it’s a charming piece of work and has the feel of a diminutive WKLB or Wayland’s Smithy with it’s big stone façade and has a very different look to The Hellstone which is a not too distant neighbour. The back of it appears to have been a largely stone construction as there are very large flanking stones visible in various places which you don’t often see at long barrows unless they’ve been seriously denuded of their earth covering. It’s also very well sited as there are tremendous views over the Dorset countryside and, if I’m remembering rightly, a view of Chesil Beach and Portland Bill to the south east. Having stretched my “just 10 minutes” into half an hour I made my way back across the fields vowing that I must return for a long weekend to this regional treasure trove.