• Start: Winterborne Stickland Post Office
  • End: Winterborne Stickland Post Office
  • Country: England
  • County: Dorset
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: The Crown Inn at Winterborne Stickland (01258 880838) where the walk starts and finishes. Good food and superbly kept real ales
  • Ordnance Survey: Ordnance Survey Landranger 194
  • Difficulty: Hard
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Edward Griffiths explores the Winterborne valleys and three of its villages

Edward Griffiths explores the Winterborne valleys and three of its villages

Distance: 9.6km (6 miles) Time: 312 Hours Exertion: Moderately strenuous


The starting point for this bracing winter walk is Winterborne Stickland Post Office next to St Marys Church, whose churchyard is packed with snowdrops in January. Theres an initial steep climb up Stickland Hill, but at the top you are rewarded with superb views. This is followed by a lovely slow descent to the stone-buttressed 16th-century barn at Winterborne Clenston. Visit the elegant St Nicholas Church nearby then take a long slow ascent on a field path to Charity Wood. Clear field paths lead to St Andrews Church in Winterborne Houghton; the walk finishes along easy paths above the Winterborne Stream back to the start.


1 With the Post Office behind you, walk past the roundabout-tree to Stickland Village Green. Continue into Clenston Road and take the first left Climb up Stickland Hill, passing Sycamore Down Farm and Beech Tree Farm. At the top, with the radio-mast left, cross the lane to 1 bridleway-gates. Follow the left hedge through three fields. Reaching the bridleway half-gate, turn right along the road. In 300 yards, take the right Canada Farm Private Road bridleway.

2 Where the drive bends right, continue into the fenced bridleway-track. Passing the right gate, continue into the lesser path through The Plantation coppice. Through the end gate, follow the bridleway around the fields right edge. Through the far corner half-gate, follow the enclosed path for about 250 yards. Then, take the right bridleway path through bushes into the high field. Follow the left fence past an electricity stanchion and down into the hedged track. After turning left and right, the track descends through barns.

3 Through the farm gateway, walk down past the 16th-century barn. At the road, turn right but visit St Nicholas Church beyond the left field first. Having turned right, pass the left bridleway-track and right Manor House and Rectory. Just past Higher Clenston Cottages, take the left bridleway-pointered gate into the vast rising field. Follow the right hedge and trees all the way up to the bridleway-gate into mostly pine Charity Wood. Bear left onto the track and follow to the arrowed bridleway junction. Turn right onto the rising bridleway under some ancient beeches. When the pines start turn left at the bridleway junction.

4 After about 300 yards, ignore a bridleway-arrowed narrow right path, but take the nearby right fork onto the rising track to the exit bridleway-gate. With Dunbury Cottages ahead left, follow the fields right hedge to the road gate. Cross the road into the fenced bridleway which passes around a paddock. Through the end bridleway-gate, follow the left hedge down the field, and pass a barrow. Across a farm track and through the bridleway gate, keep descending by the left hedge, more steeply alongside the hanging wood. Through the corner gate, continue down through trees to Glebe Farm. Follow the bridleway straight through. After the last left barn, go through the footpath-arrowed gateway onto the Old Rectory drive to St Andrews Church gate.

5 Continue to the road and turn right. Follow the Winterborne through Winterborne Houghton. Leaving the village, take the left bridleway-track opposite the Trout Farm. Before the facing half-gate, turn right. Follow the footpath through two long fields, above the right Winterborne. Through the end kissing-gate, follow the garden hedges, past the right Village Hall gate, and on to the first right footpath-gate. Walk down the path and over the bridge to the road. Turn left back to the Post Office.

Terrain: Two climbs of varying steepness; some mud after rain

Dogs: On leads where requested or where there is livestock

Map: Ordnance Survey Landranger 194

Refreshments: The Crown Inn at Winterborne Stickland (01258 880838) where the walk starts and finishes. Good food and superbly kept real ales

Public Transport: Damory Coaches 311 except Sundays, 316 Thursdays, 322 Fridays

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