Title: More Secret Places of West Dorset
Author: Louise Hodgson
RRP: £11.99
Sale Price: £9.99

Publication date: 4 Dec 2015
Format: 234 x 156 mm
Number of pages: 176
Illustrations: 184
Maps: 1
ISBN: 9781906651-282

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Since my first book, Secret Places of West Dorset, was published, I’ve always felt there was more to discover in this part of the county; more mysterious, atmospheric and provocative places that stimulate our powers of imagination and heighten our ability to empathise with the natural landscape. The drive to explore is within most us to varying degrees, and West Dorset is one of those places where exploration can easily lead to adventures beyond the usual and ordinary.


Batcombe – ‘Conjuring Minterne’ and a Wayside Pillar
Beaminster Down – An Old Drove and Lone Oak Tree
Bincombe – Bincombe Bumps and Culliford Tree
Blackdown – A Forgotten Hill
Bothenhampton – An Historic Church and Downland
Broadwindsor – A Venerable Yew
Cattistock – Butterfly Reserve, Hill Settlements and a Holy Well
Cerne Abbas – A Haunted Abbey Ruin and Silver Well
Charminster – Wolfeton House – an Ancient Family Home
Chedington – Lofty Vistas
Cheselbourne – Lyscombe Chapel
Chilcombe – A Tiny Churchyard and Iron Age Hillfort
Corscombe – A Moated Court
Evershot – An Ancient Oak, St John’s Well and Stone Seat
Eype – Down and Coast
Fleet – Wrecking, Smuggling and Storms
Halstock – St Juthware and an Ancient Way
Kingcombe – Back to Nature
Lambert’s Castle – An Old Fair Ground and ‘Spirit Hole’
Lewesdon Hill – A High Fairy Place
Littlebredy – Secret Walled Garden
Nether Cerne – A Bucolic Setting
North Chideock and Symondsbury
– Hollow-Ways and Healing Springs
Pilsdon – Secret Hinterland of Pilsdon Pen
Portesham – The Hell Stone and Bronkham Hill
Portland – St George’s Church and a Quaint Museum
Puncknowle – A Look-Out Station
Rampisham – Ancient Crosses and an Old Bridge
South Perrott – Mohun Castle, Moats and a Neolithic Ritual Site
Stanton St Gabriel – A Ruined Church and Fae Wood
Stockwood – A Hermit’s Church
Stonebarrow Hill – Old Ways and Smugglers’ Paths
Sydling St Nicholas – An Ancient Settlement and Belling Stone
Trent – A Legendary Pool and Crop Circle
Upwey – Healing Springs and a Wishing Well
Waddon and Corton – St Bartholomew’s Chapel
Whitcombe – A Field Church of William Barnes
Wynford Eagle – An Historic Manor House and Strange Tympanum


WYNFORD EAGLE: An Historic Manor House and Strange Tympanum
The hamlet of Wynford Eagle lies in a valley surrounded by downland. It is thought that the land has been settled continuously since Neolithic times.

The stone in Manor Farm yard.

The bucolic setting of Wynford Eagle.

A stone eagle sits atop the
gable of the manor.

There is an unrecorded standing stone situated on the left of the entrance to Manor Farm, just inside the yard. A bridleway runs past and proceeds up the hill. That this sarsen stone is in its original position is unlikely. A ‘sensitive’ who delved into the history of this settlement thought that the stone may have been used as an altar in rituals and originally would have been standing by a chambered tomb, presumably a long barrow. Early in the 18th century this stone was probably taken from its position on the hillside and placed in the farmyard.

    The fine manor house was once the seat of one of the old West Country families, the Sydenhams. The name ‘Eagle’ commemorates an earlier family; the village was once in the ownership of the Norman barony of Aquila or Eagle, a family who were originally based at Pevensey Castle in Sussex.

    Wynford Eagle was the birthplace of the physician Thomas Sydenham. He was the first person to develop and use the ingredients behind many of the medicines of today. The Sydenhams came to the manor of Wynford Eagle in 1544 and Thomas Sydenham was born here in 1624. He took his degree at Oxford, served in the Parliamentary army and eventually practised as a doctor and surgeon in Westminster. Because of his studies and active application of medical science he was recognised as a skilled clinician and as the founder of modern medicine.


Where is the only water-filled working moat in Dorset? The answer and the key to many other magical places in the county are contained in this fascinating book by Louise Hodgson, published by the Roving Press at Frampton, who produce so many quality Dorset books. With these 168 full colour pages in hand, many happy trips can be planned to the backwaters and back lanes of Dorset.
Society of Dorset Men Newsletter (Mar 2016)


Louise Hodgson has spent most of her life in the West Country and currently lives in West Dorset. Over the years she has walked and explored this part of the county and some of her most intriguing discoveries are in both this book and the preceding volume Secret Places of West Dorset, published by Roving Press. Her work has been seen in various periodicals, including The Literary Review. Her artwork has been exhibited in the West Country and London. She has appeared on television – on BBC Points West and Network 7. She is an accomplished speaker and gives various illustrated talks for many organisations, including Probus and the Women’s Institute.
     Louise currently runs a tour company called Secret Landscape Tours. You may contact her about her writing, art and tours via the website

British History Online
Churches Conservation Trust
Crop circles
Dorset Historic Churches Trust
Ernest Cook Trust: outdoor learning charity
Megalithic Portal
Modern Antiquarian


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