Dorset walk around Frampton and Compton Bottom
PUBLISHED: 11:38 11 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:38 11 October 2016
Edward Griffiths enjoys exploring a peaceful rural idyll off the beaten track in the depths of the Dorset countryside where sheep safely graze
This exhilarating walk takes you through gentle valleys and rolling chalk hills between Frampton and Compton Valence with delightful views. You can only get here on foot or horseback, so the rabbits, chiff-chaffs and late swallows won’t be expecting strangers in their midst. Flocks of sheep safely graze, contented cows munch the luscious grass and buzzards wheel overhead. It’s very peaceful countryside.
• Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)
• Time: 4½ hours
• Start: Millennium Green lay-by in Southover road, Frampton (Grid Ref SY624950)
• Exertion: Easy after 300ft ascent to Notton Hill. Some mud after rain.
• Map: OS Landranger Sheet 194
• Public Transport: Damory Coaches 212/213 Dorchester to Yeovil. Not Sundays
• Dogs: On leads in fields with livestock and on roads
• Refreshments: Chalk and Cheese, Maiden Newton for daily ‘specials’ menu and local real ales
1 Walk over the white-railed River Frome bridge. Along the lane, pass the left ‘Muckleford’ bridleway-drive. At the T-junction, signed ‘Tibbs Hollow’ left, continue around the right bend and along the lane through Southover, mostly hedged left and cottages right. Pass the left ‘Longlands Barn’ footpath, some thatched cottages and Southover Lodge. When the lane becomes a track at left ‘Notton Hill Barn’ bridleway, continue through the ‘Notton ¾’ bridleway-gate and through trees. Through another bridleway-gate, keep following the path with a left field and right hedge to a gated area with ‘Nunnery Mead Nature Reserve’ right.
2 Keep straight on. Through a bridleway-gate into a barns area, take the second right ‘Permissive’ track down to the concrete T-junction. Turn left through the gate and keep straight on, Tarmac now. Through the bridleway-gate/cattle-grid, continue with a left field. Past a right thatched cottage and paddocks, and a left barn, turn left up the ‘Notton Hill Barn’ bridleway-track. Pass the right walled garden and barn. Through the gate, continue up the track, with the valley right. Through the gate into a sloping field, keep rising with a hill left and hazels right. Long and slow ascent at first, then steeper into trees before a gated junction area, signed ’Compton Valence’ straight on.
3 Passing right Notton Hill Barns houses on your grass track, descend to 1½ gates into the field corner. Follow the right hedge, signed ‘Compton Valence’ with meandering ‘Southover Bottom’ valley left. Through the next gate, keep following the right hedge up. Into the top corner, locate the ‘Macmillan Way’ half-gate. Through, take the instant right half-gate into the top field and turn left down the left fence with wide-ranging views and Compton Valence ahead. Through the facing bridleway-gate, walk half-right down to the green track which bears right down the valley side. Meeting the bottom fence at the bridleway-corner fence-post, go round to the bridleway-gate. Through, walk down to the solitary ash and follow the right hill round to the multi-gated and bridleway-arrowed junction at the valley fence’s end.
4 Through the bridleway-gate, take the fenced track. Through Lower Dairy cottages, turn right up the lane to find St Thomas’ Church, Compton Valence. Then return to this bridleway-gate. Pass it and go through the bridleway-gate into Compton Bottom valley. Follow the valley fence and ‘terrace’ track, and go through the valley-floor bridleway-gate. Through, with a right quarry, continue along the valley floor. Through the next bridleway-gate, continue to the far corner bridleway-gate. Through, turn right through another gate and along the left fence to the facing hedge’s bridleway-gate. Across an area with a stream flowing through, go through the bridleway-gate and turn left along the fenced stream to a bridleway-gate. Through, keep following the fenced stream to join a track where it bends through the left fence. Keep straight on along the fenced stream into the next field at a right wood to another bridleway-gate.
5 At this field’s end, go through the bridleway-gate. Another left track comes in here. In 250 yards, go through the left gate (hidden bridleway arrow) and turn right along the stream, now on your right. Through another gate, no arrows, continue to the facing bridleway-gate. Through, follow the path through a blackthorn thicket with bridleway-arrows and up to a bridleways T-junction with a right gate. Turn left down the woodland track. At the next T, with a left driveway, turn right along the track at the bridleway-post. In 100 yards, pass left ‘Tibbs Hollow’ bridleway. Follow the grass-centred track with stately Frampton Park trees. Pass right Littlewood barns and houses and ‘Hampton Lodge’ footpath.
6 Keep following the concrete track, past left ‘Tibbs Hollow’ footpath-stile and under huge old beeches. Reaching another T-junction, go right for ‘Frampton and A356’, still on concrete. Pass the right ‘Littlewood’ turning on a left bend and continue through the Park and over ‘Court Bridge‘. Attributed to Sir Christopher Wren, this beautiful Georgian bridge is the epitome of refined elegance. Leave through the Lodge entrance, cross Dorchester Road and enjoy a gentle stroll through Frampton village back to the Millennium Green where you started.
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