Walking the Wimbleball Lake would hardly appear much of a challenge, either athletically or aesthetically. The reservoir was created in the 1970's, and this artificial tongue of water would seem almost out of place in an area where natural streams and their valleys are so much part of the landscape. On the penultimate day of the May "heatwave", however, it provided a very pleasant and easy walk, and allowed us to discover the delights of "The George" at Brompton Regis. We parked at an unsigned carpark at Bessom Bridge, mainly used by anglers. The signs will try to seduce you into parking at the main park on the western shore of the lake, where there are such delights as boat hire, camping, and cream teas.
We walked clockwise around the lakeshore circular path. You can't miss your way, of course, and you could do it in sandals if you wished. In mid May, however, there is much to enjoy. There are waves of bluebells in the woodland, and I saw the back of a rapidly disappearing fox in West Hill Wood. When the path climbs away from the shore, there are lovely views through the trees down to the water.
When we came to the dam, a grey and sinister construction as dams often are, we left the lakeshore and followed the concrete roadway to Hartford. Reaching the lane, we turned right and walked up through the pleasant cottages and farms at Venn and thus into Brompton Regis. On a hot and sunny morning, not even a dog stirred in the village.
We took a path to the side of the church past the restored parish lockup and came out by the pub. On its sign is the much and unfairly maligned George III. A long, white, plain building, the pub has a very attractive timbered bar for drinking or eating, with a further dining area attached. A low french window leads out into the garden which has attractive views to Haddon Hill.
As usual we had a liquid lunch out of a glass. From the array of pumps, you could have the usual Exmoor or St Austell, but we chose Sharps from Cornwall for the sake of change. Sharps is not for every taste - sharp by name and sharp by nature some people feel - but the very well-kept pint at the "George" showed its tangy, bitter flavour at its best.
For those who like their lunch on a plate, and there were quite a few even on a Tuesday, there is plenty to choose from. There were two blackboards of specials as well as a lunchtime snacks menu. Starters were a fiver, mains came in at less than a tenner, and a pudding was four quid. Like Dracula, we only eat after dark, but what we saw encouraged us to plan to come back for supper in the near future. We were not disappointed when we did. We both enjoyed the game paté, and the salmon hollondaise and the scampi which followed. Vegetables were good and plentiful, and the prices were reasonable.
We walked back through the village and over Bryants Hill to Bessom Bridge, passing Pulhams Mill with its craftshop and tearoom on the way.