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In general I am not a great fan of walking up hill, but this often means doing an out-and-back walk along the top of a ridge. Here at Ballard Down above Swanage it is possible to do a circular walk were the upward section is so gentle you barely notice it.

After a brief steep section, the route turns on to a path along the bottom of the downs.

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This starts off quite wide but gets narrower and narrower as it slowly climbs up the side of the hill. Eventually it becomes fairly indistinct as it reaches the top of the ridge.

Here we are only just over halfway up, as the route doubles back along the ridgeway, with wonderful views over Poole Harbour and Swanage on either side, and back towards the Isle of Wight behind us.

Whilst the journey up may have been painless, the same cannot be said for the precipitous decent down the steps from the Swanage Water Act Obelisk. However, I would rather have painful knees than a painful chest any day. Continued ...

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Swanage Water Act Obelisk

Location

Dorset Map

The Swanage Water Act Obelisk is strangely invisible from afar. Partly because it is not very big, and partly because it is tucked below the summit of Ballard Down, in front of a large round barrow.

The inscriptions are difficult to read but appear to state that:

This Obelisk was placed here by George Burt, to Commemorate the introduction of pure water from the chalk formation into Swanage
The granite was taken down from near the Mansion House London and re-erected here

There is an old print from before c1880 in Old and New London by Edward Walford, showing the obelisk in its original position outside the Church of St Mary Woolnoth on the corner of King William and Lombard Streets in the heart of the City. It was probably removed when Bank Underground Station was built, and was re-erected here in 1892.

There is a metal plaque recording its more recent history:

The Obelisk was demolished in 1941 to avoid it being of assistance to enemy aircraft during the war. It was re-erected by men of 129 (E. Riding) Field Squadron Royal Engineers (Volunteers), under the direction of Capt. R.Alton, R.E. The lowest section was found cracked and was mounted beside the obelisk. II.VII.73

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