Walking route: A ramble around Holdenhurst and Pig Shoot Lane

PUBLISHED: 11:47 06 August 2018

Throop Mill on the River Stour

Throop Mill on the River Stour


This easy level walks takes in an ancient village described as The Mother of Bournemouth and Throop Mill of the River Stour

Thomas Hardy described Bournemouth as a ‘pleasure city and glittering novelty’ …a new world in an old one’. Historian Elizabeth Edwards wrote that ‘the old world consisted mainly of the ancient village, parish and hundred of Holdenhurst, The Mother of Bournemouth’. Listed in the Domesday Book, Holdenhurst had several owners - from the time of Edward the Confessor to the Earls of Malmesbury and the Cooper-Dean family. The adjacent village of Throop has Throop Mill where the River Stour provided the power through its diverted mill stream until 1974. Pigshoot ford on the Stour’s tributary, Leaden Stour, was a smugglers’ crossing place, and Sir Walter Tyrell crossed here after killing King William Rufus in the New Forest.

The Walk

1 Take the ‘River Stour 200 yards’ track into ‘Stour Valley Nature Reserve’. Past the brick building, continue down the path through trees with carved birds to the T-junction with a stepped ‘beach’. Turn right along the gravel path above left River Stour. Past a right turn and steps, pass a Stour Valley Way post. Just before a facing gate, turn right up the path through younger trees with a left wooden fence. Reach 1½ gates onto the road, signed back ‘Wilderness Way’. Turn right. After the ‘traffic calming’, take the left fenced gravel path, meandering through trees to Muscliff Park. Continue, with more houses and trees, to another road, signed back ‘Wilderness Way’.

The Leaden Stour, a tributary of the Stour, at Pig Shoot FordThe Leaden Stour, a tributary of the Stour, at Pig Shoot Ford

2 Turn left/right into Carey’s Road, a track between fields, with a few cottages, paddocks and fields. In ½ mile, reaching a wavy T-junction, turn left. With barns right, follow Mill Road North, around a right/left bend, to emerge into Throop Road. Turn right. Pass left Georgian Throop House built in 1807 and Blue Roof Farm complex right. Pass right Yeomans Road, then Valley Road opposite the Old Dairy and River Barn. Reaching a right bend, keep left into Holdenhurst Village Road passing the Old Forge and Vicarage Cottages. After the Old School and Old Vicarage, Hurn Court’s left iron fence and the gas street lamps. Past South Lodge, continue between fields into Holdenhurst village with Georgian New House (16) on the corner.

3 Continue past the green, with various cottage styles, to St John the Evangelist’s church, which replaced the Saxon church in 1834. Now, follow Throop Road back and pass Mill Road North. Reaching right Throop Mill, take the ‘West Hurn 1½’ footpath. Behind the mill, cross the sluice-gate footbridge and continue along the field path to the River Stour’s sluice-gate bridge. Over, take the right footpath along the river bank. In ¼ mile, through the end footpath half-gate, follow the undulating path with a left field.

4 Through the end half-gate, turn left along the recently re-built track under trees. Cross the Leaden Stour footbridge and join Pig Shoot Lane. In 200 yards, pass Hurn Court’s West Lodge. Continue along the tree-lined lane to the T-junction. Keep straight on along Hurn Court Lane. Pass Heronshaw House and the Dorset Smokery. In 200 yards, at cottages on a right bend, take left Dales Lane. Pass Dales House. With Merritown Farm gate visible ahead, take the left footpath-signed gate after a massive oak. Follow the woodland walk, becoming green track and emerging into the open with left fenced fields.

The Leaden Stour, a tributary of the Stour, at Pig Shoot FordThe Leaden Stour, a tributary of the Stour, at Pig Shoot Ford

5 Follow the clear path, soon joining right River Stour, for about ½ mile to the footpath-signed half-gate leading to River Stour’s sluice-gate bridge. Over, follow the path back to Throop Mill. Up to the road, turn right. Pass a good viewpoint for Throop Mill, and the car park. Past thatched Throop Mill Cottage, continue over the triangle at Taylor Drive T-junction. Pass left Lavender Road, Stour Walk, Footpath K26 and some pretty cottages as you come into Muccleshell, a separate hamlet. On the left Broadway Lane bend, continue into the 10mph drive, passing 17th-century timber-framed Muccleshell Farm, originally Muccleshell Hall.

6 Reaching Berry Hill Recycling Plant, take the left path with left fields, soon signed ‘Muscliff and Redhill’. At the first left bend, take the right kissing-gated path into Stour Valley Nature Reserve. Follow the path alongside the River Stour and along the river terrace. Ignore the first left kissing-gate up onto the parallel path. Keep following the river but, before a facing kissing-gate, go left up to the kissing-gate past the bench carved with fish. Onto the top path, go right. Through the gate, follow the path straight back the way you came through Stour Valley Nature Reserve to the beach, the left path with carved birds and fenced path to the car park where you started.

Fishing in the Stour at Throop MillFishing in the Stour at Throop Mill

The walk

Distance: 6½ miles (11.75 km)

Time: 4½ hours

Exertion: Easy. Level roads and paths

Start: Stour Valley Nature Reserve car park, Granby Road off Muscliffe Lane, Bournemouth

Public Transport: Yellow Buses B3

Dogs: On leads on roads

Refreshments: The Broadway Inn, Castle Lane, for lunches and bar meals

Latest from the Dorset