Walk: Around Corfe Castle with Ninebarrow

PUBLISHED: 16:40 01 August 2020

Corfe Castle Village, phoro credit: Greg Funnell Photography

Corfe Castle Village, phoro credit: Greg Funnell Photography


This 5 mile walk has been devised by local folk music duo Ninebarrow, and it makes the most of the area’s breathtaking views

The Walk

Distance: 5 miles

Time: 1 ½ - 2 hours

Difficulty: Easy, one moderate descent on steep steps

Toilets: Corfe Castle Visitor Centre

Refreshments: Many pubs in Corfe Castle village

Start and Finish: NT Corfe Castle Car Park (BH20 5DR)

Corfe Castle and its villageCorfe Castle and its village

1. Use the crossing outside the front of the visitor centre to cross the busy A351. Turn left, taking the pavement alongside the main road up towards the village.

2. As the road bends right into the village proper, look for Sandy Hill Lane on the opposite side of the road.

3. Take care as you re-cross the main road and follow Sandy Hill Lane underneath the railway bridge until you reach a small walkers' car park on your left.

Sunset at Corfe Castle, photo credit: Greg Funnell PhotographySunset at Corfe Castle, photo credit: Greg Funnell Photography

4. Just after the car park, take the footpath on the left marked 'Purbeck Way' and make your way through the double gate and onto the track leading up the southern flank of East Hill. This 'winding track' and the fields that eventually emerge on the right are the images we had in mind when we wrote Summer Fires.

5. Continue up the Ridge Path, until you eventually reach the minor blight of the radio mast at the top of the hill. We'll overlook this though, as the walk boasts more than enough good views to counteract it!

6. With the mast on your left, go through the smaller of two gates, continuing uphill along the Purbeck Way for a quarter of a mile until you pass through another gate.

7. In another quarter of a mile, you'll reach a four-way signpost. Continue straight ahead on the Purbeck Way and a final gate will lead you to a slightly steeper section of path.

East Hill Sunset Hawthorne, photo credit: Greg Funnell PhotographyEast Hill Sunset Hawthorne, photo credit: Greg Funnell Photography

8. When the path splits at the top, take the higher route to the left and within a few minutes, you should be able to see the distinctive tumuli that characterise the crest of Nine Barrow Down.

9. Once you've enjoyed the views (and perhaps succeeded in finding all nine of the barrows!) it's time to 'about turn'. We very rarely go in for there-and-back-again walks but we make an exception in this case. As soon as you turn around, it becomes apparent that the views on the return journey are going to be quite different - but no less glorious!

10. Retrace your steps to the radio mast. At this point, you have a choice. Our preferred route back will involve quite steep steps which do require some sure footing. If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, now's the time to take the path down to the left and retrace your steps back to the car park.

Photo credit: Greg Funnell PhotographyPhoto credit: Greg Funnell Photography

11. If you're carrying on - ignore the tracks to right and left and take the grassy ridge along the top of East Hill with the castle ahead and to the left. Go right to the brow of the hill, where you'll have excellent views of the ruins.

12. Once you've admired the view, the steps off East Hill are to the left and can be found if you orientate yourself towards the village church. Head in this direction until you spot a stone waymarker just ahead and slightly down the hill. This marks the start of the steps which take you back down to the road, under the railway bridge, then right, back on to the main road and down to the car park.

Meet Ninebarrow

Jon and Jay at Winspit Quarry, photo credit: Greg Funnell PhotographyJon and Jay at Winspit Quarry, photo credit: Greg Funnell Photography

Ninebarrow are a multi-award-winning folk duo from Dorset, renowned for their innovative and captivating take on the folk tradition. Described by Mark Radcliffe as sounding 'like two halves of one voice' and by Kate Rusby as 'absolutely amazing', Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere deliver original songs that are inspired and rooted in the landscape and history of the British Isles. Ninebarrow also take a wide-range of traditional folk songs and rework them in their own, distinctive way.

In 2017, the duo were nominated at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in the 'Horizon' category for 'Best Emerging Artist'. One of the highest accolades in their genre, only a few months prior to this Jon and Jay relinquished their jobs as a teacher and GP in favour of a full-time music career. To date they have released three critically acclaimed albums While the Blackthorn Burns (2014), Releasing the Leaves Songbook (2016) and The Waters and the Wild (2018). Find out more at ninebarrow.co.uk.

Ninebarrow Gigs in Dorset

30 August: Lyme Regis Folk Weekend (lymefolk.com)

14 September: Lighthouse Poole (lighthousepoole.co.uk)

Jon and Jay, photo credit Greg Funnell PhotographyJon and Jay, photo credit Greg Funnell Photography

Get The Book…

Walks included in the book and the Ninebarrow songs they inspired:

Studland Circular (Blood on the Hillside); Arne (Birdsong); Langton Matravers (Halswell); Nine Barrow Down (Summer Fires); St Adhelm's Chapel (The Pinner); The Ridgeway (Overthrown); The Grey Mare & her Colts (To The Stones);Tyneham (For A Time); Osmington White Horse (Mother); Corfe Castle & Kimmeridge (Siege).

See the video which celebrates Dorset's stunning scenery and Ninebarrow's walking book at Ninebarrow.co.uk/hwome.

Ninebarrow Musical Walking Holidays

Jon and Jay, photo credit: Greg Funnell PhotographyJon and Jay, photo credit: Greg Funnell Photography

In June and July 2020 Jon and Jay will lead a small group of up to 14 guests on some of their favourite walks, including all the very best views and some of the secret spots that have inspired their songs. Find out more about these three day musical walking holidays at ninebarrowwalking.co.uk

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