A perfect day out for us as a family would be driving along the coast road from Bridport towards Weymouth, passing though Burton Bradstock with it rich history of seafarers , visit Burton Bradstock and the name of Roberts will crop up, either in connection with the Mills , Farming ,Railways or with The Battle of Trafalgar.
Burton Beach all photos by www.ifphotos.com
For instance FRANCIS ROBERTS (1748-1794) only had one ambition and that was to go sea.
He joined the Navy and was promoted to first Lieutenant on the frigate Quebec ,in a battle with the Surveillante ,he was the only surviving officer, was captured, escaped and was posted to HMS Helena.
Later that year Thomas Masterman Hardy (later Admiral Hardy, Captain of the Victory at Trafalgar) Also joined the Helena and the Captain was none other than Captain Francis Roberts.
Quite a coincidence as they were bought up just a stones throw from each other.
In 1782 young Hardy wrote to his brother Joseph who was living a few miles away in Martinstown, he wrote:- ” Captain Roberts has promised that when an opportunity offers to send me home to go to school for some time to learn navigation and everything that is proper for a sailor”
Captain Roberts endorsed the letter saying ” Am glad to inform you that Thomas is a very good boy, and I think will make a complete seaman one day or other”.
His Demise came when he was on board HMS Success in September 1794 off the coast of the West Indies when struck down with Yellow fever and died .
You can see the family graves of the Roberts Family in Burton Bradstock Church, Which has two Very nice pubs nearby , The Anchor And the Three Horse Shoes.
Moving on from Burton Bradstock passing Cogdon Beach with its breathtaking views across the fleet,and you can see why this inspired John Meade Falkner to write in his novel Moonfleet in 1898 ,which gives a great feel for the romantic and smugglers paradise which is Dorset.
Normally after a brief stop in Abbotsbury I would turn off Left at Portesham and go up past Hardy’s Monument , into Martinstown and onto Dorchester.
Don’t get me wrong there is plenty to see and do in Abbotsbury with its Quintessentially English Experience,with its thatched cottages and tea rooms , and there is also the Swanery and sub Tropical Gardens to visit.
But today I am going further along the coast , maybe popping into the Elm tree at Langton Herring for a quick half of the local brew, or possible stopping Moonfleet Manor ,at Fleet, but the reason I making this journey is to make my way to the causeway joining Weymouth and Portland , as just before you cross on the right hand side by the Ferryman Public house, you will find the entrance to Abbotsbury Oysters(The Crab House).
If you are ever in the area , you must not miss this opportunity to try some of the mouth watering fayre that is on offer at the Oyster farms Restaurant, now called the Crab House ,with the 2012 sailing events taking place nearby this place is going to be discovered Big Time.
I think by the time we have fitted all this in and had a glass of vino with our Lunch its time to make our way back to the White House, I hope you have a feel for the area with the changing scenery, smells of the county crossed with the sea breezes and the smells of fish, Oysters ,Crabs ,wine, garlic and herbs all pungent in the air around the Oyster Farm.