Dorset walk around Wimborne and Barnsley

PUBLISHED: 11:54 05 May 2016 | UPDATED: 11:54 05 May 2016

The River Allen after High Hall

The River Allen after High Hall


Edward Griffiths enjoys exploring the riverside paths and lovely rolling parkland around Wimborne Minster

Starting from the town’s historic Minster Church of St Cuthburga, this varied walk meets the rivers Stour and Allen, wanders through delightful Pamphill and circumnavigates Kingston Lacy Park before visiting the pre-Domesday settlement of Barnsley. Nearby the 17th-century High Hall is a smaller version of more famous Kingston Lacy House.


• Distance: 7¼ miles (11.5 km)

• Time: 5 hours

• Exertion: Long but not too strenuous. A few stiles. Some mud after rain.

• Start: Minster Church of St Cuthburga, Wimborne (Grid Ref:SZ009999)

• Map: OS Landranger Sheet 195

• Public Transport: Damory 182, 302, 322

• Dogs: On leads in fields with livestock or where requested and on roads

• Refreshments: Quarterjack’s in Cooks Row, and several Wimborne cafés and pubs

The walk

1 Leave the Minster by the south gates into Cook Row. Turn left to Cornmarket. Cross diagonally. Past the Methodist Church, bend right to West Street. Turn left to The Minster Arms on Pye Corner. Cross Victoria Road and turn into Old Road. At the end, go right into the footpath-signed track across allotments. In 100 yards, take the left fork. Join the path towards the River Stour. Past a right fork, follow the river into another field and continue to the National Trust (NT) footpath-bridge/stile. Over into a longer field, continue to another footpath-bridge/stile. Over, turn right along the hedge/ditch to the facing footpath-stile. Over into the road T-junction, cross to the NT-stile past the right corner.

2 Over, follow the regular path along the field’s lower edge. In 300 yards, go over the NT-stile/bridge into a wood. Up the opposite steps and over the NT-stile, go right along the path. Reaching a footpaths’ crossing, go left, up steps and path to a gate/stile. Over, continue up to a pylon. Turn left, past ponds to the road, opposite Pamphill Green. Turn right for ‘Stour Valley Way Sturminster Marshall 3½’. Past a left turning and right First School, meet Pamphill’s oak avenue. Walk the length of the avenue, passing Pamphill Manor House left. Turn left at the T-junction facing St Stephen’s Church. Follow Abbot Street past the Blacksmith’s Shop and down past Kingston Lacy’s Home Farm and Kitchen Garden. On the left bend, go straight into the parking area. Through the bridleway-gate, pass Kingston Lacy’s South Lodge and follow the undulating drove for a mile around Kingston Lacy Park with left fields, a left Stour Valley Way track and another left turn.

3 After the car park, meet the B3082 avenue. Cross over into the regular path, bending right. With Blandford Lodge right, cross Lodge Farm track. Take the left barriered bridleway-track. Follow this undulating track between fields for ½ mile to a crossing. Go left-right into the bridleway-track. In another ¼ mile, a left fork leads to King Down barrows. Continue on the bridleway a further ¼ mile to another crossing. Turn half-right, through the barrier, onto the long straight Barnsley lane. Pass right Lower Barnsley Farm drive, Barnsley House, Lower Barnsley Cottages and left Barnsley Farm drive. Past left woods and up through trees, meet High Hall’s grounds right. Go through High Hall’s white-painted gate posts. On the drive’s right bend, turn left across the grass to the fence’s footpath-stile.

4 Over, turn right along the regular path over the field with High Hall’s water-tower right. Don’t go through the right gate! Continue along the right fence and hedge to the corner gate-stile. Over, walk down the field, aiming for the footpath-stile 50 yards right of the field gate. Over, go through the wood and over the stile into another field. Walk straight across, aiming at the pylon, and along the second-half fence to the nearby stile-in-gate. Over the River Allen bridge and the facing footpath-gate/stile, walk up the field, aiming left of the pylon, to the hedge’s footpath-stile. Over, passing the pylon’s left leg, cross the field to the footpath-stile and boardwalk under trees into a wide field with Wilkswood Farm left. Keep straight across to the right end of the facing wood. Follow the track along the left wood, through a gateway into the next field and up to the wood’s end.

5 Turn right along the footpath-arrowed fence to a footpath-gate onto a T-junction. Turn left. After Sembcorp’s Water Works, take the left-fork gate onto a drive with a left field. Pass right Longclose Farm. Reaching Wimborne Road’s backward footpath sign, turn right. Cross over and walk over Walford Bridge. After the left garage, cross back into Knobcrook Lane to Walford Mill. Continue past the car park to Victoria Road. Cross into Cemetery Road. Passing Blind Lane, take the immediate left footpath along the playing field’s left fence with the Minster ahead. At School Lane, go right/left into ‘Redcotts Lane’ path. Reaching Redcotts Lane, continue to West Street. Turn left past the King’s Head to The Square. Take right Church Street back to Wimborne Minster where you started. 


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