Dorset walk: Kington Magna and Buckhorn Weston
PUBLISHED: 10:57 12 August 2016
Edward Griffiths embarks on a Blackmore Vale countryside adventure that rewards the walker with outstanding views across Dorset and Somerset
Both of these pretty Dorset villages enjoy fine views over the plains where the River Cale and Filley Brook meander to the River Stour and mainly dairy fields spread far into Somerset. Sir Frederick Treves wrote of All Saints Church at Kington Magna, ‘such is the situation of the church on its precipitous incline that, if the recumbent dead could but lift up their heads a little, they could look down the whole fair sweep of the valley’. Indeed, the views are very beautiful, and well worth the many stiles and twine-tied gates which you’ll encounter on this walk. A few times now, I’ve found the official route through any fields with unmarked entrances and exits, so wearing proper boots for a typical Blackmore Vale countryside adventure, you should really enjoy this lovely walk.
• Distance: 5¼ miles (8.5 km)
• Time: 4½ hours
• Exertion: Not too strenuous but lots of stiles and sleeper-bridges. Some farm gates don’t open, so you will need to climb over. Several footpath-arrows missing.
• Start: Millennium Walk lay-by, Church Hill, Kington Magna, just above All Saints’ Church (Grid Ref: ST768232)
• Map: OS Landranger Sheet 183
• Public Transport: None really suitable
• Dogs: On leads in fields with livestock, in farm yards and on roads
• Refreshments: The Stapleton Arms at Buckland Newton for good beer, ciders and lunches
1 From the lay-by, walk up Church Hill. The official footpath-signed kissing-gate further up the road will probably be overgrown so, at Worthy Farm’s entrance, go up the right-corner bank and over the stile into the same field. Follow the left wood, around the bend. Then turn right along the fence to the corner kissing-gate. In to the enclosed footpath, meander to the end kissing-gate. Meeting a lane, cross left to the footpath-signed kissing-gate. Through, walk down the long field to the farthest footpath-arrowed electricity post and the kissing-gated sleeper-bridge in the left corner.
2 Into the field, turn right to the ditch-bridge and footpath-stile. Over into the next field, turn half-left down past another footpath-arrowed electricity post to the hedgegate. Through, cross the field to the gate/stile/sleeper into the next field. Walk straight across to the footpath-stile/sleeper into a narrow field. Cross to a footpath-stiled sleeper in the hedge. Cross the even narrower field to a half-gate and footpath-stile into a long field’s corner. Through, walk to the far right corner farm gate. Through, go through the nearby footpath-signed gate into the road. Turn right.
3 Past Brook Cottage, take the left signed footpath to a half-gated footbridge into a field corner. Turn left up the field to the far corner stile and steps. Over the railway crossing, descend to the footpath-stile into a field. Turn right to the footpath-sleeper/stile into another field corner. Bear half-left and around the hedge corner. Follow the left hedge up. Nearly at the top, bear right to the wooden footpath-gate. Through, walk up the rising field, well beyond the left fence gate, to the fence’s footpath-stile. Cross Harding’s Farm drive. Over the opposite stile/gate, cross the field to the far right corner footpath-stile. Over, cross the paddock to the footpath-signed stile and steps down to Church Hill lane opposite Hill Farm. Turn left.
4 Walk down the lane into Buckhorn Weston, passing St John the Baptist’s church on Pound Lane corner. Past the Stapleton Arms, turn right into Weston Street. Enjoy a mile-long level and easy stroll, passing the right ‘Wincanton’ turning and going over the railway bridge. Past left Pelsham Farm’s drive, take the left footpath-signed gate into the field. Cross, slightly right, to the facing hedge gate. Over, walk to the far left corner footpath-stile/sleeper/stile into another field. There may be temporary wire fences about. However, go left to the footpath-gateway and up into Pelsham Farm’s concrete dairy yard.
5 Pass between left house and right cattle-sheds. Leave through the footpath-gate onto the long hedged and fenced track through several fields and past a left footpath. Through the end gate into another field, bear half-right to a hedge-gap. Into the next field, turn left to the hedge-gateway. Through, follow the left hedge, past the first gate, to the another hidden gate. Through, follow the right hedge and Filley Brook all the way to the footpath-gateway into the next field. Cross to the far end footpath-gate. Through, turn right to the footpath-stiled Filley Brook bridge.
6 Over, cross the narrow field to another stiled footpath-bridge. Over this, veer towards the left hedge. Well before two oaks, go over the unmarked stile into the wildflower filled hedged track. Emerging at a road bend and ‘Public Route to Public Path’ sign, keep straight on along the road. In ¼ mile, take the first left lane signed Cycle Route 253. Past Broad Close and Pill Meadow houses, continue to a staggered crossing. Turn right into Green Lane. At its end, turn left into Church Hill. Continue up the hill, calling into All Saints’ Church for its fabulous views, to the lay-by where you started.
• Dorset walk: Okeford Common and Fiddleford - Edward Griffiths enjoys a nature-filled walk through the Vale of Blackmore and admires a medieval manor house with a magnificent oak beamed roof
• Native reptile species that call Dorset home - Dorset is home to all six native reptile species and at this time of year you can spot them basking on our heathland, as Hester Lacey discovers