Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

Dutch theme park proposed as Dorset tourist attraction

LIKE THE true oafish Philistine that I am often described as, I don’t know much about art but I certainly do know what I like.

So, as well as treacle tart and Palmers (still apostrophe-less) IPA I am rather keen on the painting of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. In fact, given half the chance and a wife who appreciates the finer things in life half as much as I do, I would plaster the walls of my home with his works.

Anyway, I was taking what we serious students of art describe as a gander at some of his stuff the other day when it struck me that one of his best-known works -Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap – looks really familiar.

Then it struck me – just like bout of flatulence during the evensong sermon –  Broadwindsor. There’s no getting away from it: way back in 1565 old Pete (as those of us who feel that we know him say) has got the village off to a tee.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder's painting Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap (1565)

Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap (1565) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Broadwindsor could become Bruegeland, suggests The Red Bladder.

He has really got the bleakness, the desolation and the misery of the place in winter exactly right.

Now, there are millions of art lovers around they world who, like me, love that picture and would almost give their eye teeth to be able to walk through the scene.

So come on Broadwindsor – cash in.

An artificial skating rink in the Square, glue a few rooks up in trees and invest in a couple of tons of artificial snow and you’ll have the tourists flocking in like bees to a glass of milk.

Bruegeland in Dorset could become one of the county’s premier tourist attractions. Just turn the whole place into a huge 16th Century Dutch Theme Park and you’ll have them queuing all the way from Orchard Mead to Fullers. Turnstiles at every entrance to the place with tickets at a fiver and a lavishly illustrated guide book at a tenner and, before long, the whole village will be able to retire.

Of course the residents would have to dress up a bit and get used to a spot of prancing and frolicking but that will soon all come naturally.

All it needs is a bit of imagination and application and the village could be in clover.

Next week The Red Bladder asks: ‘did Salway Ash inspire Jackson Pollock?’

Editor’s Note: The Red Bladder is a former national newspaper journalist (tabloid and broadsheet, since you ask). His own blog – recently awarded a One Lovely Blog Award by Maddie Grigg – is at 

On Twitter you should follow him (because it’s impossible to guess what he’ll come up with next) at 


4 Responses to “Dutch theme park proposed as Dorset tourist attraction”

  1. The Red Bladder

    I think the old pub would be ideal, wow man look at the colours in the sky, sort of thing. I had toyed with another Dutch custom, having scantily-clad young ladies in the windows of the former shop but that may be a touch on the risqué side for Broadwindsor, just yet.

  2. peter

    If you do want to see scenes like this keep a eye on the Dutch news and look for the Elfstedentocht being staged.

    It only happens every 6 or 7 years as it has to be very cold for a few weeks .

    It goes from city to city but there are little villages en route all lit by candles on the side of the canals with the locals handing out medicinal genever.

    I took part a few years ago and managed 6 miles before fear of frostbite and lack of suitable clothes kicked in

    Nederlands is OK once you get past the tourist hookers and coffee shops stage.

  3. The Red Bladder

    Strong local rumours that the new tenants of Broadwindsor’s White Lion pub were formerly a trick unicycling act in the Albanian State Circus have been firmly denied by Palmers(‘)

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