The Red Post
Up on the main road, is the most famous of the Dorset Red Posts.
In fact it is one of four painted that colour, the other three being at:
- Horsey Knapp near Evershot at ST553039 (50°50'1.14"N, 2°38'10.19"W),
- Poynington north of Sherborne at ST640198 (50°58'35.87"N, 2°30'50.16"W) and a very small one at
- Hewood near Thornecombe in the far west of the county at ST358028 (50°49'17.53"N, 2°54'45.72"W).
The one here was painted red, so the story goes, so that the jailors escorting prisoners as they were force marched from Dorchester Gaol to Portsmouth
(prior to being transported to Australia), would know where they had to turn off to get to the barn at Botany Bay Farm to spend the night.
Botany Bay Farm, by the way, is now no more than a modern grain dryer and a couple of dutch barns.
Such is the way of modern farming. The original barn burnt down in the 1930s and only the base of the walls remain.
The cruelty of that period was really brought home to me when I visited Wicklow Gaol in Ireland,
now a splendid little museum. There, however, the conflict was seen in ethnic and sectarian terms, whereas in Dorset we see it as part of the class war;
particularly, of course, just up the road in Tolpuddle.
The story has been the same since 1066, Anglo-Norman 'posh boys' oppressing the natives, and so it continues.
Ibberton Green Post
Whilst we are on the subject, watch out for green fingerposts such as this one at Ibberton ST787077 (50°52'8.97"N, 2°18'12.14"W).
Despite my sat nav insisting otherwise, these indicate unmade tracks and private drives, as the Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles sign a hundred yards or so up the road confirmed.
There are rumoured to be six of these, but the only other one I've come across is at Cross Lanes, Melcombe ST760023 (50°49'12.32"N, 2°20'29.50"W),
although interestingly this is only green on one side.
Red post obsessives might like to know that Somerset also has one, just over the border outside Chard at ST306082 (50°52'10.16"N, 2°59'14.15"W).
And there is also one in Cornwall near to Grimscott at SS263052 (50°49'13.44"N, 4°27'58.68"W)