St Catherine’s chapel is not the only chapel featuring in my third novel The Right Place.
Another fantastic location – which I discovered thanks to Louise Hodgson’s wonderful book Secret Places of West Dorset – is St Luke’s chapel on the Ashley Chase estate, close to Abbotsbury.
To get to this hidden and ruined chapel, you have to walk through a lovely wood aptly named Chapel Coppice. The coppice and the chapel are both part of the Ashley Chase estate which is located in its own, secluded valley just behind Abbotsbury Castle. It is a peaceful place with an eerie edge to it.
In The Right Place, Sir Ronald Sinclair's house, Genius Loci, is inspired by several big houses such as Kingston Lacy and Norburton Hall, but its location is that of Ashley Chase House as I needed it to be close to Abbotsbury.
These are the graves of the Scottish industrialist David Milne-Watson and his wife Olga, who built Ashley Chase House in the 20s. They loved the chapel and it was their wish to be buried there.
Yesterday, a thick sea fret (or sea fog) was pouring in from the coast – you could see it travelling through the landscape like fluid curtains of gauze, adding a layer of mystery to an already inspiring, ancient landscape. It was truly exhilarating to walk around the damp countryside, not seeing one human being, accompanied by birds and the noise of the wind in the trees…
I think therefore I write.
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