CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

Dorset walk: Pimperne Long Barrow and Hinton Bushes

PUBLISHED: 15:27 14 January 2016 | UPDATED: 12:12 05 October 2017

The diagonal grass track leading away from the long barrow (Edward Griffiths)

The diagonal grass track leading away from the long barrow (Edward Griffiths)


On this winter walk, Edward Griffiths visits an impressive Neolithic barrow situated on a chalk ridge at the edge of Cranborne Chase

Situated on the summit of a chalk ridge north of Blandford Forum, at the edge of mysterious Cranborne Chase, Pimperne Long Barrow is ‘one of the finest surviving burial mounds in Wessex’ (Royal Commission on Historical Monuments Volume IV North). Built at 370ft above sea level between 4000 and 3500 BC, this early-Neolithic barrow is an incredible 330ft long by 65ft wide and is still 9ft high. The east side ditch is still 40ft wide and 4ft deep even after 6000 years of erosion.

This varied walk takes you right up to the barrow, and follows mostly very clear tracks over some of Cranborne Chase’s typical low chalk hills and shallow valleys with lovely views abounding. There are clear paths through several woods as well, many still being coppiced beneath some fine ancient oaks. Take your time and go quietly and listen for the beautiful birdsong, which you can hear crystal clear in the fresh winter air.

In Pimperne itself, St Peter’s Church was completely rebuilt in 1873-4. The builders kept the 15th-century tower but heightened it above the new higher nave roof, and added the battlements. They also incorporated some of the original Norman sections including the arch between the porch and church, the ‘dogtooth’ arch on the chancel’s north side and the painted east window.


• Distance: 5 miles (8 km)

• Time: 4 hours

• Exertion: Not too strenuous. Only gentle slopes and no stiles. Some mud after rain.

• Start: Pimperne Village Hall (Grid Ref: ST903097) next to the new school or outside St Peter’s Church in Church Street (Grid Ref: ST904095)

• Map: OS Landranger Sheet 195

• Public Transport: Damory 184 Blandford to Salisbury, Farquharson Arms stop

• Dogs: Mainly on leads

• Refreshments: The Farquharson Arms at Pimperne is a dog-friendly pub and is popular for its delicious home cooked food and well-kept beers. Closed Tuesdays.

The walk

1 From the Village Hall, walk back into the village, passing left St Peter’s Close and right Manor Close, before turning left into Arlecks Lane. Alternatively, from St Peter’s, continue along Church Road and turn first right into Arlecks Lane. Now, ascend between houses and gardens to meet another lane coming from your right. Continue straight up slowly through footpath-arrowed gates signed ‘Stud Farm and Westleigh’. On a Tarmac track with a right hedge, pass left barns and sheds, World War II buildings and a phone mast. Continue up, with an open field left and ever improving views over gently rolling hills and valleys. In another ½ mile, the track ends at a bridleway post before remains of a walled building and a storage tank. Pass right of these and continue up against the left hedge.

2 Reaching the end corner gate with three-way bridleway signs. Here is Pimperne Long Barrow, all 330ft length of it. Turn left along the left hedge. In 100 yards, take the bridleway signed grass track meandering down the long field - basically diagonally left. Arriving at the two-way bridleway sign, turn left at the T- junction. Follow the left Hinton Bushes coppice wood’s edge, ignoring the right bend, then follow the left hedge through the valley field and into a hedged track up to a bridleway sleeper post after a left gate. Follow the path with another left coppice and old oaks. Just past a right bridleway gap, take the left bridleway opening into a field with Hinton Bushes still left.

3 Follow the wood’s edge path, with fine views. Leaving the left wood, with Home Farm below right, bear ¼-right diagonally down the long field, aiming for the visible three-way bridleway signs in the bottom-right hedge corner, and passing left of a solitary oak. If planted or rough ploughed, follow the left hedge to the field end and turn down against the left hedge to that three-way bridleway post. Through the opening, turn left up the hedged farm track. Past field gateways, follow the track straight on with Pimperne Wood coppice left and hedge right. Don’t fork left into Pimperne Wood! Reaching a bridleway crossing with a right cantilever gate, continue down the grass track, still with Pimperne Wood left, to a bridleway arrowed sleeper into Gunville Down high field.

4 Follow the left hedge down Gunville Down, up and round above a left valley filled with fluffy white seed heads of traveller’s joy. Down to the bottom left corner bridleway path into another wood, meander down to a bridleway fence post at a bridleway and footpath T-junction. Turn left along the fenced track in the valley floor with a left field and right ‘Private’ hanging wood. Joining a wider track at a right bungalow and bridleway post, keep straight on with a left wood and right field. Becoming Tarmac just before a left two-way bridleway sign, continue on the hedged ‘proper’ road along the shallow valley floor. Pass a young right wood and a three-way pointer at a reverse-right fork for ‘Jubilee Trail’ and ‘Pimperne’. Soon, past the left school, you’re back at the Village Hall, or keep straight on for another ¼ mile if you started at St Peter’s Church.


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