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Details

  • Start: Pilsdon Pen lay-by (grid ref SY414009)
  • End: Pilsdon Pen lay-by (grid ref SY414009)
  • Country: England
  • County: Dorset
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: In the nearby town of Broadwindsor is the Broadwindsor Craft and Design Centre’s restaurant, which does cakes, cream teas and hot food from 10am-5pm (01308 868362), or try the White Lion Inn in Back lane for bar meals and good beer (01308 867070).
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Landranger 193
  • Difficulty: Hard
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Description

Edward Griffiths enjoys a hilly walk with commanding views and a plethora of beautiful wildflowers

Burstock and Childhay


Distance: 4 miles (7.5km) Time: 2-3 hours Exertion: Strenuous


Edward Griffiths enjoys a hilly walk with commanding views and a plethora of beautiful wildflowers


This delightful corner of Dorset is as hilly as Devon and, in parts, as damp as the nearby Somerset Levels. Pilsdon Pen Iron Age hill-fort stands 277m above sea level, commanding views to the coastal hills and woods and over the Marshwood Vale. Leaving the hill-fort, we drop down 150m to explore the villages of Burstock and Childhay, to enjoy the vast range of flowers and maybe spot a heron or two standing silently in the waters of Temple Brook. Look out for bluebells, stitchwort, wood anemones, wild violets, late primroses, ladys smock, wild garlic, campion and celandine.


1Over the Pilsdon Pen stile, climb the gorse-clad slopes and steps to the hill-forts OS trig point. Follow the right bank to the entrance in the far corner. Across the paths junction, follow the left fence closely down from the footpath-arrow. Through the half-gate, turn right to another footpath half-gate. Into the sloping field, bear half-left down to the footpath-gate in the lower hedge. Through this, follow the left fence down to the lane-gate, signed back Pilsdon Pen .



2Across the lane, follow the gated track down. Before Newnham Farmhouse, turn right through the stable-yard and out through the left gate, into a fenced track and down the field edge. At the stream bridge, turn right. Through the footpath-gate, walk diagonally up the field to the corner footpath-gate, then up to the next field corner gates junction, signed back Pilsdon Pen . Turn left to the lanes crossing. Turn right. Past the white house, take the left footpath, up the field slope, go over the footpath-stile in the corner of the wood. Walk around the woods edge to the track left of St Andrews churchyard.


3Down the drive, turn right and stroll through Burstock. Before Manor Farmhouse on the right bend, take the left footpath-track right of several barns and through the facing barrier-gate. Follow the right hedge into a large field. Turn right along the hedge and woods to a footpath-post. Drop down into the hollow, over two sleeper-bridges and up into another field. Turn left at the footpath-post to the first left half-gate. Through this, turn right along the narrow field with the left stream. Through the end gap, cross the next field to the gate onto Wetham Farms drive.


4Into the lane, go left over the stream-bridge and through the footpath-gate. Cross to the footpath-arrowed horse-jump, follow the long fields right edge to the footpath-arrowed drive. Go right to pass left Childhay Manor. At the triangle, go left along the lane for mile, ignoring all right paths and bridleways. Continue over the stream-bridge and ford-footbridge. Pass the right lane. At the right bend, take the left footpath-signed track into trees and along the multi-flowered path. Look out for herons in Temple Brook.


5Before the trees end, go over the right footpath-stile. Turn left. Over the nearby stile, cross the field to the footpath-stile/gate and continue across the next field. Through the bottom left corner footpath-gate, cross the field to 1 footpath-gates with pointers. Cross the lane into Coombe Farm drive. Instantly, bear -left to the twin-arrowed footpath-gate at the left end of the pines. Through this, take the right footpath, almost along the right trees, over and down to the Jubilee Trail gate, footbridge and path past Lowdown Farmhouse. At the tracks junction, walk straight up. At the fork, bear left through the footpath-gate.


6In 50 yards, go through the right footpath-gate. Ascend the slopes, keeping right of the electric wires. Go over the footpath-stile, where two overhead lines cross, into the marshy gorse and bracken area. Pick your way up to the lanes Pilsdon Pen wicket-gate. Cross to steps and half-gate. Climb the steep field. Through the top left footpath half-gate, continue up to the left half-gate this time saying Pilsdon Pen . Through this, turn half-right towards the domed end of Pilsdon Pens bank. Through the bridleway-gate, cross the hill-fort to the OS trig point. Past this, find the path and steps back down to the stile and lay-by where you started.



Start: Pilsdon Pen lay-by (grid ref SY414009)
Map: OS Landranger 193
Terrain: Mostly field paths and farm tracks, several steep ascents; country lanes through Burstock and Childhay; one marshy patch
Dogs: Dogs on leads or under close control to avoid disturbance to farm animals, wildlife and ground-nesting birds (sheep and cattle everywhere, even in villages). On short leads in open country and common land between 1 March and 31 July
Refreshments: In the nearby town of Broadwindsor is the Broadwindsor Craft and Design Centres restaurant, which does cakes, cream teas and hot food from 10am-5pm (01308 868362), or try the White Lion Inn in Back lane for bar meals and good beer (01308 867070).

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