Dorset walk around Bradford Abbas & Ryme Intrinseca

PUBLISHED: 11:23 13 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:23 13 June 2017

Mill Lane to Bradford Abbas Mill

Mill Lane to Bradford Abbas Mill


From ancient woodland to a remnant of a monastic route, Edward Griffiths walks through history in the Blackmore Vale

This lovely walk crosses typically lush Blackmore Vale farmland with truly ancient woodland and historic tracks. One footpath is a remnant of an ancient monastic route between Sherborne, Lenthay Common, Bradford Abbas and Ryme Intrinseca. Here is the 13th-century Church of St Hippolytus, the patron saint of prison guards and officers, which shares its dedication with only one other church in England, at St Ippolyts in Hertfordshire. In both Bradford Abbas and Ryme Intrinseca there are ‘roses round the door’ cottages, and Bradford Abbas enjoys melodic changes from St Mary’s elegant church-tower’s bells.


• Distance: 6¼ miles/10 km

• Time: 4½ hours

• Exertion: Not too strenuous but several stiles. Expect mud after rain.

• Start: St Mary the Virgin church, Bradford Abbas (Grid Ref: ST587143). Park in Westbury, close to the church, or Church Road.

• Map: OS Landranger Sheet 194

• Public Transport: South West Coaches 74

• Dogs: On leads around livestock and on roads

• Refreshments: The Rose and Crown, Bradford Abbas for lunches and bar meals

The walk

1. Opposite the churchyard corner of 12th-century St Mary the Virgin’s church, walk into Mill Lane. Past the school, and after bending left between cottages, take the right track passing 17th-century Bradford Abbas Mill. Reaching the facing gate, take the footpath-pointered path down between a stone wall and iron railings. Over the white-railed River Yeo footpath bridge, walk up the long field to the left hedge’s kissing-gate beyond the wooden electricity stanchion. Through, cross the road to the footpath-pointered stile. Over, cross the field diagonally right to the Railway Crossing Notice. Over the stiles and rail crossing into the field, follow the left hedge to the footpath-stile by the gate.

2. Over, follow the nettled path through the copse to the footpath-stile. Over this, bear ¼-right across the field and under overhead cables, aiming slightly right of the houses beyond the hedge, to the footpath stile. Over the stile, bear ¼-right to the far right corner stile and footbridge. Into a lane, turn left and continue between fields and past right Clifton Farm buildings. Keep straight ahead. Through the facing end-gate, with the track turning left, go straight across the field to the facing hedge gate. Through, bear slightly left between two electricity posts to a visible short track into trees. With lots of footpath arrows, instantly take the right footpath into woodland, then over a footpath-stile and boardwalk. This is part of the ancient monastic route. Continue through with boardwalks and an accompanying stream for ¼ mile.

3. Over the end footpath-stile, turn left. Through the facing footpath half-gate, turn right against the wood’s edge into the corner where it’s ‘Private straight on’. Turn left along the right hedge through this very long field. Reaching the corner footpath-stile, go over and turn left along the hedge. Notice Ryme Intrinseca church ahead. Over the next stile, continue along the left hedge to another stile. Over continue to another footpath-stile and, over this, cross right to a footpath-bridge. Over this, follow the right hedge up to the top corner stile. Over this, follow the path to emerge by Ryme Intrinseca’s old school with a footpath pointer opposite. Turn right along the pavement, passing the telephone box book-exchange opposite, cottages both sides and St Hippolytus’ Church left. Reaching the lanes’ junction, keep to the ‘Yeovil’ road. Leaving the village, continue along the lane and verge.

4. In another half-mile, after the de-restricted sign and a left cottage, take the right bridleway and ‘Private Drive’ to Frankham Farm. Past the right farmhouse, cross the concrete yard and leave through the ‘Permissive’ gate. Cross to the bridleway-gate into a hedged track. Reaching a gates’ junction, go through the facing bridleway-gate into the grassy tree-lined track. Through the end bridleway-gate, follow the grass track against the right hedge over and down to right Clifton Wood. Continue to the corner half-gate into the next field, still with Clifton Wood right. Follow the wood’s meandering edge to the far left corner bridleway-gate. From here, go straight on over the field, aiming to left of the farm buildings on the far side. If planted, keep following the right edge before turning down along the fence.

5. Join Cowpool Farm’s track and keep straight on through to the Clifton Maybank road with Stoford village left. Turn right up the hill. Over the top, descend to pass listed originally 16th-century Clifton House on your left. Around the right bend, turn into the left track to the footpath-gate. Through, aim for the far left corner kissing-gate - not the farm gate onto the road. Through, go under the railway arch to another kissing-gate and walk through the long field to the line of electricity posts ahead. At the first footpath-arrowed post, look right to see the kissing-gate where you went earlier. Now, follow the left hedge down to the white-railed bridge, go up the path to the track into Mill Lane, and return to where you started. 


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