Last year I went looking for it again, after the better part of thirty years. The whole topography of the area looked different from my memory of it; it was tidier and more enclosed. I couldn't work out where the farmyard had been, and went to the bottom of the lane where I was sure we'd been before, into the bleak and functional yard there. There was a massive pile of manure stacked against the bank and I assumed the well was probably behind it, and decided to return when it might have been cleared.
But I was wrong. Last week the weather forecast was good enough to justify scooting Dorsetwards to take some photographs of wells, and comparing the old Ordnance Survey maps and the aerial surveys of Google Earth I worked out that the well must have been in the garden of a big house just to the east of the lane.
So last Thursday I pressed a button on a gatepost and the gate I had not dared to enter a few months before, or had not thought it worth entering, swung open. A couple of small and loud dogs bounded up to me, yapped about a bit, and eventually lost interest. A knock on the door of the house aroused no response at all. The neat garden was where the muddy yard had been in 1990. Just beyond it was a small wire-fenced enclosure which looked at though it normally housed birds but now stood open, and from which a pigeon wandered out and looked at me. That was where I found the well, doorless and down-at-heel but still there. Had I been able to get closer I would have tidied it up a bit.