Dorset walk - Branksome Park and Coy Pond
PUBLISHED: 09:41 03 February 2015
Edward Griffiths enjoys a delightful town walk that takes him through enchanting wooded chines and along the golden sands of Bournemouth’s beaches
Surprisingly for an ostensibly ‘urban’ walk, 60% of this route follows streams through woodland or green parkland where we meet the old decoy pond used to lure ducks and fowl for shooting; we then pass the re-sited pedestrian gateway from the 1855 ‘County Gates’ between pre-1974 Dorset and Hampshire, and a fine Victorian water-tower. Over a quarter of this walk is along the magnificent beach and only 13% is actually along town roads. Even here, we find surprises including two magnificent arched viaducts carrying the Bournemouth to Poole railway, and the original electricity Generator House.
Distance: 5 1/2 miles (8.75km)
• Time: 3 1/2 hours
• Exertion: Easy
• Start: Branksome Beach Car Park, The Avenue (Grid Ref: SZ065897), or start at Bournemouth Yellow Bus 18 stop at Poole Road, Branksome (Point 3)
• Map: OS Landranger Sheet 195
• Public Transport: Bournemouth Yellow Bus 18 stops at Poole Road, Branksome
• Dogs: On leads on roads, but free to roam on beaches from 1 October until 1 May. Please ensure you clean up after your dog.
• Refreshments: Restaurants and coffee kiosks at Branksome Beach and Durley Chine, restaurant at Alum Chine, and coffee kiosk at Branksome Dene Chine
1 Cross at the pedestrian crossing into Branksome Chine. Instantly, cross the stone bridge to the stream’s left-bank path. Past four slab-bridges, reach a clearing with the right ‘grotto’. Go up the stone steps to a crossing. Go straight over, keeping wooden railings right, and drop down to rejoin the right stream. Keep following the stream, passing a stone bridge and another slab-bridge before rising again and descending stone-steps. Soon, cross the stream on a slab-bridge and rise before crossing back again to the left bank path, now Tarmac. Past left All Saints’ churchyard, pass another ‘grotto’ where the stream emerges. Past the ‘Penn Hill’ pointer, cross Tower Road West into ‘Branksome Park Woods’ path, meeting the right stream again.
2 Keep straight on, with roads both sides. Reaching Western Road T-junction, cross into ‘Branksome Park Woods’ again. Continue on the lesser path along the left stream, soon veering right to a crossing. Bear left onto the wider path, aiming for the bollard-protected exit. Cross Wilderton Road into the track passing left Branksome Park tennis courts and bowling green. Past the re-sited County Gates pedestrian arch, continue through the car park. Meeting Leicester Road, turn right along St Aldhelm’s Close, over the stream culvert and past right Withingham Road. At the end, continue onto the Tarmac path, rising under trees and past left houses, to St Aldhelm’s Road. Continue to Lindsay Road with St Aldhelm’s Church on the opposite right corner. Over the pedestrian crossing, continue along St Aldhelm’s Road to Poole Road. Turn right.
3 The 18 Yellow Bus stops near the traffic lights. Here, cross into Bourne Valley Road. Walk down, under two railway arches, past left James Road, and cross Gordon Road with its magnificent viaducts. At Surrey Road roundabout, cross into Bourne Valley Road again and walk up through Branksome Business Park, past the Old Generator House right, into Coy Pond Road. Swinging right, pass left Dalling Road and go under another railway bridge. Opposite left Wren Crescent, turn right into Havelock Road. At its end, go down steps into Coy Pond Gardens with the Bourne Stream running through. Turn left along the path. Meeting Coy Pond Road again, cross to see Coy Pond then return to this path and continue. Reaching some steps, go up to Brunstead Road and cross into Upper Gardens. Continue along the path, passing a red footbridge and ignoring all turnings off. Later, after the boardwalk, join the parallel Tarmac path and keep straight on, with the stream right.
4 Rising to Prince of Wales Road, cross into the path/cycleway signed ‘The Sea’ above right Bourne Stream. In 100 yards, fork right down to another red footbridge. Don’t cross but follow the right stream past the left Victorian water tower. Past another red bridge, continue to Queen’s Avenue and cross into the gardens, now more open and tended. Keep straight on, ignoring a crossing path. Up and over another crossing, go under the by-pass flyover and down into Middle Gardens, keeping left of the tennis courts and more distant stream. Continue past manicured lawns, flower beds, and the War Memorial with Bournemouth Town Hall up to your left. After the right pergola, rise to Bourne Avenue and cross into The Square. Cross the open centre to the pedestrian crossing into Lower Gardens.
5 Down the palm-edged path, continue through the flower bedecked gardens, past the passenger balloon and ignoring any side paths. Near the left bandstand beyond Bourne Stream, keep straight on at a fork to see the Pavilion Gardens, then continue under Exeter Road flyover into Pier Approach. Aim right of the pier head to West Undercliff Promenade. Pass the Oceanarium, the Amusements and the Cliff Lift. Stroll along the promenade or the firm beach near the sea for 1½ miles, passing Durley Chine, Middle Chine, Alum Chine and the ‘Grand Canyon’ cliffs at Branksome Dene Chine on your return to Branksome Beach Car Park.
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