June Walks Giveaway: Milton Abbas, Dorset
This walk is reproduced from our popular walking book 'Dorset - A Dog Walker's Guide'.
📥 To download this walk and take it with you, click here!
MILTON ABBAS, DORSET
Distance: 6 miles
So many villages claim the adjective ‘picture-postcard’ but Milton Abbas can genuinely lay claim to this title. The village holds the distinction of being the first planned settlement in England. It was founded in 1780 when Lord Milton, Earl of Dorchester, decided that the old village ruined the view from his new mansion at nearby Milton Abbey. So he set about moving the entire village over the hill! Sir William Chambers was the architect responsible for carrying out the earl’s wishes, and he created a delightful community of whitewashed and thatched cottages lining a broad street.
This walk also takes in vast areas of mixed woodland to the east of the village made up of Milton Park and Charity Woods, Oatclose and Cliff Woods. Particular highlights will be the bluebells and other spring flora, as well as butterfly species that include the silver-washed fritillary.
HOW TO GET THERE & PARKING
Leave the A354 at Winterborne Whitechurch, five miles south-west of Blandford Forum, and follow an unclassified road signposted to Milton Abbas. The Hambro Arms is at the top end of the main street in the village. Postcode DT11 0BP.
Parking: on the roadside at the Hambro Arms in Milton Abbas (GR 808019). OS map: Explorer 117 Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis.
1. With your back to the Hambro Arms, follow the road to the right, uphill and out of Milton Abbas. In 150 yards, a few paces past a picnic site, follow a footpath on the left, signposted to Haydon Plantation. Follow this path up to a road and continue around to a junction with Catherine’s Well. Follow this road to the right to a crossroads before joining the lane opposite that gives access to a number of properties. In 250 yards, beyond the entrance to Milton Manor, continue along an unmetalled road that heads into Milton Park Wood. After 250 yards, where the track bears right into a private property, follow the signposted bridleway on the left for 300 yards to a junction with another track. Turn left and, in a few paces, right, then continue on the bridleway for 50 yards to another junction.
2. Turn right and follow a track through the woodland for ¾ mile to a crossroads. Continue ahead for 40 yards, climbing uphill to a fork. Take the right-hand bridleway and continue for 200 yards to a barrier at the edge of the woodland. Beyond this barrier, follow a bridleway along the left edge of a field for ¾ mile to a road on the edge of Winterborne Clenston. You may want to put your dog on a lead here. Turn right and, in 300 yards, turn right again onto a track opposite a thatched barn and just past the Old Rectory. Follow this track for 250 yards up to Clenston Lodge on the right. Just past this property, where the track bears right and is signposted as ‘Private’, keep ahead along a bridleway that enters Oatclose Wood. In 600 yards, at a junction, keep ahead, ignoring the path going off to the right. Ignoring all side turns, follow the path ahead for 450 yards to a gate on the edge of the woodland and an open field.
3. Pass to the right of the gate, turn right and drop downhill to a junction with a path in the bottom of a valley. Turn left and, in 350 yards, at a crossroads, turn right. In 400 yards, at a fork, take the bridlepath that goes off on the left. Keep on this path as it climbs uphill into an open field, follow the left edge of this field to its corner before turning right to follow the end field boundary for ¼ mile. Dogs on leads here as you are approaching a road. Cross the road and follow the driveway opposite, down to East Luccombe Farm with its various businesses. Beyond the farm, continue for 250 yards up to Dairy Cottages. Immediately past
these cottages, turn right and follow a track for 300 yards along to an arable field. Follow the right edge of this field and, almost in its far corner, follow a path on the left signposted to Milton Abbas. Walk across to a gate by a telegraph pole at the entrance to some woodland. Follow the path downhill through the woodland to the road in the village before turning left back to the Hambro Arms.
- Alex Batho