There’s a reason why a country walk in the Autumn is such a delightful thing to do; it’s the feeling of wrapping up warm and breathing in that insatiable smell of fallen leaves, it’s the dazzling display of rich burgundies and warm golds that ignite the landscape around you, it’s watching the animals scurry past, feverishly preparing for the colder months ahead and it’s the welcoming sound of the kettle boiling when you return home happy and rejuvenated from your day’s adventure.

Here, Jess from the team shares some of her favourite circular walking trails to experience that 'oh so hygge' feeling for yourselves…

Commoners’ Way, Corfe Castle (5.5 miles)

This walk is one of a series designed to help families understand more about the history of Purbeck.

The Commoners’ Way starts and finishes by the pretty Kingston Church (known as the Cathedral of the Purbecks) and follows the story of the common working folk who made a living off the land for thousands of years.

What makes this walk so captivating is how the leaflet explains the history behind what you are seeing in front of you, it’s as if you’ve hired your very own private guide!

Views of Corfe Castle from Kingston, Dorset

One of the highlights of the walk has to be the views you get of Corfe Castle over the valley and in Autumn especially, looking down into the valley is a sight to behold!

Jess’s top tip: The wonderfully quaint village of Corfe Castle is an excellent place to stop for a pumpkin soup!

Raleigh’s Country Retreat at Sherborne (6.4 miles)

This walk takes in one of the best displays of Autumn colour you’ll see in Dorset.

The route will take you about 3 hours and leads you past the gentle hills and dairy villages south of Sherborne and through the open parkland and woodland of the majestic Sherborne Castle estate.

Sherborne Castle in the Autumn

The Castle’s 30 acre Capability Brown gardens are planted with Acers and 30 named cultivars of Japanese maples providing spectacular photo opportunities.

Jess’s top tip: If you have time after your walk, then a visit into Sherborne town is a must with many places of interest including the impressive Abbey – the ceilings will take your breath away!

Sturminster Marshall (7.8 miles)

North Dorset really comes into its own in the Autumn and stepping out over the Blackmore Vale as the season turns is a real joy.

The first half of this beautiful walk takes you from Sturminster Marshall along the old railway line, grassy bridleways and field edges to Spetisbury.

The second half follows the tranquil river on the Stour Valley Way to White Mill.

Sturminster Mill, Dorset

Few things in life can beat walking in this part of Dorset - picking blackberries from the hedgerows, the haunting sound of the deer rut and the puffs of smoke rising from distant cottage chimney pots.

Dorchester to Thomas Hardy’s Cottage (7 miles)

Set in the beautiful Thorncombe Woods, Hardy’s home and birthplace lies in a quiet and remote position.

Hardy's Cottage in the Autumn

This is a fairly easy walk from Dorchester (although wellies are strongly recommended after wet weather) and takes you past Stinsford and its church, where you can visit the resting place of Hardy's heart, his two wives and other members of his family.

As you take in the scenery around you, you can really imagine treading in Hardy’s footsteps as much of the route would have been walked by the great writer and the landscape used as settings and inspiration for many of his works.

Jess’s top tip: Stop off for a warming hot chocolate at the Visitor Centre whilst you immerse yourself in a chapter from your favourite Hardy novel.   

Wareham Walls (1 mile)

The Wareham Town Walls were built to defend the town from the Vikings and surround the town on three sides (the fourth side being defended by the River Frome).

This short and easy walk around the ramparts will take about 45 minutes and is perfect if you have young children in tow or cannot manage a longer walk.

Two women walking along Wareham Walls in Dorset

The Walls give a fantastic view over the Saxon town and the River Piddle and reveal hidden pockets of Wareham you didn’t know existed. There are information boards dotted along the way that reveal the secrets of the past.

Jess’s top tip: We enjoyed solving a Dorset Treasure Trail when completing this walk which added a fun element to our day out.

Related

Commoners' Ways
Walking Route
Views to Corfe Castle

A stunning circular walk which starts and finishes in Kingston and is approx 5.5 miles in distance.

Sherborne Castle and Gardens
Historic House/Palace
Autumn colours at Sherborne Castle and Gardens, Dorset

The Castle Gardens are open from 10am-5pm every Saturday and Sunday until 1st November, last admission 4pm. The Tea Room and Gift Shop are open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am – 4pm. Unfortunately the Castle will not be open during 2020. Built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594 & home of the Digby family since 1617. View Magnificent Staterooms, Nationally Important Collections of Art, Furniture & Porcelain, Raleigh’s Kitchen & a Museum. Explore 42 acres of English Landscape Gardens designed by ‘Capability Brown’ and discover a 50 acre lake, herbaceous borders, magnificent specimen trees and sweeping vistas.

Sturminster Marshall Walk
Walking Route
White Mill near Sturminster Marshall

Circular, moderately difficult walk of just under 8 miles taking in the pretty village of Sturminster Marshall, the old Dorset and Somerset Railway line and a section of the Stour Valley Way.

West Dorset Walks - Thomas Hardy's Cottage
Walking Route
Hardy's Cottage - Thomas Hardy's birthplace

Set in the beautiful Thorncombe woods, now a nature reserve, Hardy’s home and birthplace lies in a quiet and remote position. It is an easy walk from Dorchester visiting Stinsford and its church, the resting home of his heart and his two wives. Much of the route would have been walked by the great writer and would be used as settings and inspiration for many of his works. The return walk is approximately 7 miles long. It can be quite muddy in places and walking boots or stout shoes are recommended.

Hardy's Birthplace and Thorncombe Woods
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Thornecombe Woods

Thorncombe Woods (and its car park) remains open during November. Check their website to check which facilities are open. Discover more about Thomas Hardy's early life at the Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre. The Centre is located on the edge of Thorncombe Wood Local Nature Reserve and a short walk from Hardy's Cottage. Thorncombe Woods is home to a great diversity of trees including mature Oaks, Sweet Chestnut and Beech. It is a mixed woodland and heathland nature reserve, covering 26 hectares. Explore the paths and connecting rights to way to Puddletown Forest and Dorchester. Running through the site is a well preserved Roman road which would have stretched from Dorchester to Badbury Rings near Wimborne.

Wareham Walls
Historic Site
Wareham Walls

The Walls are Saxon ramparts which surround the historic town of Wareham. Paths on the walls give good views of the River Piddle and town, and link into the ‘Bowling Green’ open space. Walks leaflet from Discover Purbeck Information Centre, Wareham.

Treasure Trails Dorset
Walking Tour
Treasure Trails Dorset

Turn a regular day out in Weymouth into a full-blown adventure! The Weymouth Mystery Treasure Trail is a captivating challenge that combines mind-twisting clues and fascinating stories for anyone with a sense of adventure.

1 Comments

Comments

  1. Julia
    Some good advise

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