CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

Dorset walk - Kingston Lacy Avenue and White Mill

PUBLISHED: 16:28 26 November 2014 | UPDATED: 16:28 26 November 2014

The famous Kingston Lacy Estate beech avenue - new trees on the left, 200 year old trees on the right

The famous Kingston Lacy Estate beech avenue - new trees on the left, 200 year old trees on the right


Edward Griffiths strolls down the famous beech avenue then follows the River Stour to Dorset’s most beautiful bridge

This lovely walk may be a trifle longer than usual, but we’re starting by walking the first two miles of the famous Kingston Lacy Estate beech avenue with its glorious autumn shades. The 2½ miles long avenue was laid out in 1835 by William Bankes of Kingston Lacy so, approaching 200 years of age, the trees are nearing the end of their natural lives and will soon need to be felled. However, the National Trust has been planning this for years and started planting replacement beeches about 25 years ago. These are maturing nicely and patiently awaiting their turn in the spotlight. We also follow the River Stour between Shapwick village and White Mill where the ‘chequer-board’ stone bridge is said to be the most beautiful in Dorset. There are fine views to enjoy, rooks in the woods, and swans, egrets and herons in the river.



• Distance: 7 1/2 miles (12 km)

• Time: 5 hours

• Exertion: Not strenuous. Level field paths and gentle ascents/descents on good tracks. Some mud and wet grass after rain.

• Start: National Trust’s Blandford Lodge Car Park. Out of Wimborne on the B3082, pass left Kingston Lacy House entrance and Blandford Lodge. In 50 yards, take the left track into the car park (Grid Ref: ST973020)

• Map: OS Landranger Sheet 195

• Public Transport: None

• Dogs: On leads by roads and when requested. Note diversion onto country lane for dog-walkers between Shapwick and White Mill (see point 2 and map inset below).

• Refreshments: The Anchor Inn at Shapwick


The Walk

1 From the car park, walk along the west side of the B3082 avenue between the old and new beech trees. Pass a left hedged track and cross the Sturminster Marshall road. From here, the ground is higher with good views left to Charborough Park’s tower and right to Badbury Rings hill-fort. Across the Shapwick road, with Badbury Rings access right, continue along the avenue to left ‘Swanway Cottage’ bridleway-gates. Follow the hedged track between fields, rising to a right bend under beeches and passing Swanway Cottage with its super views.

2 Descending now, pass a left wood and keep on down with fine views along the Stour Valley and to Highwood Tower ahead. Through 2½ bridleway-gates, pass a right footpath-stile and continue down, narrowing. At a facing open-fronted barn with Elm Tree Cottage on Swan Lane corner, turn right along the bridleway. Through facing 1½ gates, follow the grass track down by the left wood to locked 1½ National Trust Walk gates. Onto the road, turn left into ‘Shapwick’, passing Bishop’s Court, thatched cottages, the old school and the Anchor Inn. Dog-walkers continue along the lane for 1½ miles to White Mill at the end of Point 5. Everybody else turn right at the war memorial for ‘Stour Valley Way White Mill. No Dogs’.

3 Follow the lane to St Bartholomew’s, then go through the flood-gated gap into the car park to the first of many National Trust riverside route stiles. Over, bear half-left across the field, past the stanchions right support cables, to the next stiled-footbridge. Over this, turn right to the next stile into a wide field. Follow the riverside to another stile. Over this, keep along the fenced river around a sweeping bend. Hear the Poole-Blandford road’s traffic behind the right wood just before another stile. Over this, keep following the river. Over another stile, level with the opposite wood’s end, stay along the river again.

4 Over the next stile, with Sturminster Marshall church tower ahead, veer away from the river to pass left of some stunted trees to the next stiled-footbridge at the right end of facing trees. Over this, aim towards St Mary’s tower to the stile by the right fence. Past this, keep aiming for the church across the field. Under electric wires and over the next stile, you’re along the river fence again with the church behind the opposite bank’s willows. Over the next stiled-footbridge, cross the field to another stiled-footbridge. Over this, follow the river to the stile and half-gate into a narrow riverside field. Turn right to a stile/gate. Over, follow the path and steps up to the roadside stile. Walk straight on, passing the left ‘Cowgrove 2’ turning and White Mill Car Park. Meet the dog-owners at White Mill.

5 Past White Mill, go through the road-corner ‘Stour Valley Way Pamphill 3’ kissing-gate into the riverside field with superb views of the ancient bridge. Dogs are welcome on this official footpath. Over the footpath-stile by the gate, follow the hedged path into the field with a clear path to the next footpath-stile. Over, follow the river path to the footpath-stile into a small wood. Over the nearby exit stile, cross the field to the footpath-stile/gate onto the road. Over, turn right. At the first left oak, take the 1½-gated bridleway-track, rising gently for ¾ mile and passing Harry’s Copse left. At the Kingston Lacy Drove T-junction with ‘Stour Valley Way Pamphill’ right, turn left. Pass left Sweetbriar Drove and continue for another ¾ mile to your starting point Car Park.


Read on

Dorset walk - Milton Park and Oatclose Woods

How the countryside and ecotherapy has helped depression and obesity

Making wildlife welcome in the garden this winter


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, December 7, 2018

This easy walk takes us into Hardy territory as well offering some glorious views towards Weymouth and Portland

Read more
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Here are some Dorset walks, easy and challenging, to get you out and about over the festive period

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

If you’re willing to brave the cold this Christmas Day, check out Dorset’s festive swim calendar for the best organised dips taking place in 2018

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Confusion reigns on the county’s eastern border

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

From festive light switch-ons and Santa’s Grottos, to German Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Dorset this season

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

From your first step, you will see superb views from hilltops and farmland footpaths on this walk

Read more
Sunday, November 11, 2018

Martin Clunes and his family have called West Dorset home for over two decades. Here he shares some of their favourite local places

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

To mark the centenary of the end of World War One we visit some of the memorials erected across Dorset to remember the fallen in the ‘war to end all wars’

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

This lovely walk takes us from watercress beds to a church famous for its life-size carvings of apostles

Read more
Thursday, October 25, 2018

Autumn is a great time to brush up on your gardening knowledge with the help of some experts, as well as see some well known gardens in a different light

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The guide to Dorset’s best firework displays and bonfire events happening in 2018

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Prepare to experience the paranormal this Hallowe’en as Visit Dorset reveals some of the county’s most haunted pubs, stately homes, historic buildings and tanks

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

Dorset villages are some of the most beautiful in England – think winding lanes, thatched cottages and a cosy pub or welcoming tea room. We suggest ten of the prettiest villages to visit in the county

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

Follow in the footsteps of the Romans on this lovely walk that takes in rare habitat, ancient woodland and glorious views

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search