‘Beer garden hosts the best views in the Purbecks’

August 31, 2017

PERFECT SYMMETRY: This is at the back of a woodland walk from St James Church, the ‘Cathedral of the Purbecks’. Although this observation of the view from Kingston towards Corfe is from the Good Pub Guide by Jonathan Goodall, these words are appropriate for this view too: “Centre stage are the shattered ruins of Corfe Castle, framed with perfect symmetry by a pair of thoughtfully matching hills, Some distance away, behind the Castle, is the top of Poole Harbour.”

LISTED BUILDING: St James Church lies 400 metres above sea level and has a peal of ten bells cast by foundry makers by John Taylor and Co of Loughborough but were not all done at the same time.

MAIN ROAD: This is the arterial route through the village and is used to travel onto Worth Matravers and Langton Matravers. The village is two miles south of Corfe Castle and five miles west of Swanage.

GREAT VIEWS: Steve and Dave prop up a gate whilst taking a stroll around the woodland that surrounds the village.

POPULAR PUB: The Scotts Arms is mentioned in the Good Pub Guide. It has a mounted telescope in its bench area looking out over the countryside and serves food sourced from predominantly Purbeck suppliers.

 

ONE of the Purbeck’s most unfamiliar villages lies off the main thoroughfare through the district.

Kingston lies two miles south of Corfe Castle and five miles west of Swanage and lies on the highest point of the Purbeck Hills called Swyre Head. It is surrounded by woodland and is 200 metres above sea level and can be seem from far away.

Church has peal of ten bells

The church of St James Church in Kingston dominates the village skyline that lies 400 metres above sea level and is called the “Cathedral of the Purbecks” and is listed a Grade I listed building by National Heritage.

It did have a predecessor designed by George Repton but this was considered unsuitable by the 3rd Lord Eldon and it was turned into a private residence.

The tall central tower has a peal of ten bells – originally cast as a peal of eight – they were made in 1878 by John Taylor and Co of Loughborough. The same company were involved in the re-casting of eight bells at St Leonard’s Church in Butleigh, near Glastonbury, almost a decade ago. Seventeen years ago they added two trebles to make a peal of ten.

Pub serves plenty of seafood and game

The view from the Scotts Arms is said to have the “best views” over the countryside and visitors can eat al fresco on benches served with food sourced locally. It takes in the Corfe Castle ruins and the Swanage to Corfe Castle steam railway route right down the town’s beaches.

They are very popular so if anyone is intending to eat there, it would be best to ring up and book a table. Many of their suppliers are on the Purbeck Peninsula and they serve a variety of dishes including game in winter and fresh seafood in summer with plenty of fresh vegetables.

In Jonathan Goodall’s The Good Pub Guide, he says this about Kingston, the Scotts Arms and its views: “So spectacular is the view from the Scotts Arms that a mounted telescope has become a permanent feature in the beer garden.

“Centre stage are the shattered ruins of Corfe Castle, framed with perfect symmetry by a pair of thoughtfully matching hills, Some distance away, behind the Castle, is the top of Poole Harbour.

“Viewed through the telescope, the winding streets, rooftops and church of Corfe resemble a model town.

“And when the steam locomotive of the Swanage Railway trundles through with its shiny green carriages in tow the impression is complete.”

Jamaican cuisine

When Dave, Steve and me were visiting the Scotts Arms, The Jerkshak was serving up Jamaican cuisine and does so during the summer months and there may be one or two weekends left to sample what they have to offer.

The Scotts Arms and the Jerkshak are the only pub in Dorset mentioned in The Best Country Pubs for Food 2014 by The Times food editor Tony Turnbull. They have also been featured in the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Pub Guide in 2014 and 2015.

Other landmarks worthy of note in Kingston include a memorial obelisk to Lord Stowell (William Scott), a former High Court Judge, on the Kingston end of the Encombe estate.

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