|The Curiously Named, Cheesefoot Head|
|The Devil, Recently|
When I suggested the Devil’s Punchbowl, my daughter asked why I always took them to places with evil names - we walked to the Hell Stone in Dorset last Summer and the year before we found the Deadman's Plack. I explained that remarkable places often have curious names. To be honest, I simply love maps and enjoy walking; so I frequently gaze at Ordinance Survey maps, hunting for wicked names or stunning ancient contours, where we can have a little adventure.
There are various legends attached to the Punchbowl, including an argument between Thor and Satan; the village of Thursley (named after the Thunder God), lies nearby. It’s always good to have an ancient story to engage the nippers with on the journey and there is a conveniently grisly tale attached to the A3 at this point. This involved the murder of an unknown sailor in the 1700’s and the subsequent punishment of three perpetrators. They ended up hanging from a gibbet atop the appropriately named Hurt Hill.
Fortunately, the grim remains have now been replaced with a granite monument and some nice laminated signs. The original engraved marker-stone still stands though, detailing where and when the crime occurred. The unfortunate sailor’s gravestone can be seen in the Thursley churchyard, if you are curious enough.
The final part of our journey was more challenging and involved negotiating a very steep and slippery hill, which was covered in storm smashed trees and damaged fences. There were no casualties but the dog, and everybody else, did require hot baths that night.