• Start: Hinton St Mary
  • End: Hinton St Mary
  • Country: England
  • County: Dorset
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: White Hart and Swan Inn, and Café Espresso and Poets in Sturminster, Corner. White Horse in Hinton St Mary
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Landranger Sheets 183
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Hinton St Mary and Cutt Mill
Edward Griffiths enjoys a walk through history around Sturminster Newton and the Stour valley

Hinton St Mary and Cutt Mill

Edward Griffiths enjoys a walk through history around Sturminster Newton and the Stour valley

Hinton St Mary and Cutt Mill

Edward Griffiths enjoys a walk through history around Sturminster Newton and the Stour valley

Starting in the old market town of Sturminster Newton, the first mile is deliberately along the Marnhull road because of the fine views either side of this low ridge. This route passes a road called Rabin Hill, used as a pseudonym by Dorset dialect poet Robert Young who lived in Stur for 97 years from 1810. after the high ground around the charming village of Hinton St Mary, you will be exploring the woods and riverside fields of the Stour valley. Cutt Mill was devastated by fire some years ago, but its semi-ruined state is quite picturesque against the smooth waters of the River Stour, the foaming weir and the old cobbled footbridge from Bagber where the most famous Dorset dialect poet william Barnes was born in 1801.


Distance: 4 miles (6.75km)
Time: 3 hours
Exertion: Relatively easy, mostly level on pavements, tracks and field paths. Some mud after rain.
Start: Sturminster Newton Car Park (Grid Ref: ST788143)Map: OS Landranger Sheets 183 and 194Public
Transport: Damory Coaches 309, 310, 323, 330, 368. Wilts and Dorset X8
Dogs: On leads in fields when requested and where there is livestock, and through Sturminster Newton
Refreshments: White Hart and Swan Inn, and Caf Espresso and Poets in Sturminster, Corner. White Horse in Hinton St Mary

The Walk

1 From the car park, cross into Railway Gardens. walk up to the top exit by the displayed railway track section. Crossing Old Market Hill, walk along Bath Roads left pavement. Continue past some substantial houses, Rabin Hill, the old chapel which once housed the Town Museum and, crossing back to the rightside, the High School. leaving the town, there are superb views right towards the Cranborne Chase escarpment and left over the Stour valley. Reaching the top of the ascending road, take the signed footpath through the right pillared gateway. Through the wood and along the avenue, emerge into Hinton St Mary, outside the Manor House gates.

2 Turn right along the Manston 1 drive but, first, visit St Marys church beyond the old buttressed stable-block. along the left manor house wall and yew hedge, there are superb views right to Hambledon Hill. Before Home Down Dairys sheds, turn left onto the concrete footpath-track between valley fields. Reaching the T-junction, turn left, passing right Bartletts yard and continuing between fine stone cottages. when the white Horse Inn appears ahead, turn right into Castlemans lane. Continue past lovely cottages, round the left bend, past Castlemans Farm with rear views to Marnhulls St Gregorys church, and down the sunken lane to another T-junction. Turn left down to the main road.

3 Cross over into the track between Turks Garage and the right thatched cottage, behind which turn right across the concrete yard to the footpath-stile/gate. Over this, cross the field half-left to the hedges twin-stiles. Over these, turn right. Follow the field edge round the corner and down the second side, passing two footpath-arrows. keep parallel with the fields right hedge down to a bridleway-arrowed gap into right trees. Through here, follow the wide grass track between old and younger trees, muddy towards the far end. Reaching the No Right of way sign, turn left down into trees, past a bridleway-arrow, to the lane signed back wood lane .

4 Turn left and pass a left footpath signed Sturminster Newton 2. This is your way after visiting Cutt Mill down the lane. Over this footpath-stile, follow the arrowed Hardy way path along the right River Stour, muddy at first through a coppice, to a footpath-stile. Over this, follow the Stour-side footpath through two fields. Over the stile/bridges/stile into Field 3, keep following the Stour. On a sweeping left bend, the River Divelish comes in from the right railway bridge. at the end of this long field, go through the footpath kissing-gate into the end of Twinwood Coppice, over a footbridge and through a kissing-gate into Field 4.

5 Still follow the rivers edge to a footbridge by a willow tree. Over this, keep straight on up onto the river terrace path with left garden fences. Dont take the left footpath kissing-gate but continue along the terrace top before dropping to the kissing-gate onto a muddy path past reed-beds. a boardwalk gets you through some trees to a paths fork. Follow the river path under the old railway arches to Colmer Bridge. Dont cross the bridge. Turn left along the pebble path. Through the facing Market Place footpath-signed kissing-gate, walk up the hill and steps to the top kissing-gate. Past old stone cottages and left Bonslea Mead, continue to the end of The Row into Market Place. Cross into Station Road back to the car park. Change your boots then eat, drink and shop!

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