Countryside around Sherborne

Sherborne is a rural market town in northern Dorset surrounded by miles of green fields and quaint villages.  

Whether you are thinking about exploring the area on foot or by bike, there is lots of choice for getting back to nature and breathing in some fresh country air. 

If you don’t want to venture too far, Purlieu Meadow is only a few minutes from the town centre, near to Sherborne Train Station. The River Yeo runs through the meadow, dogs are welcome and there are footpaths connecting to the surrounding countryside. 


If you’re thinking about walking quite a bit during your stay in Sherborne, it’s worth buying the local Ordnance Survey map - OS Explorer 129 which covers Yeovil and Sherborne.  

The Macmillan Way is a coast to coast walk from Boston in Lincolnshire on the north east coast to Abbotsbury in Dorset on the south west coast. This long distance trail is 290 miles in total, but can be split into lots of shorter day or weekend walks. It travels through the centre of Sherborne heading north through the village of Sandford Orcas and past the iron age hillfort at Cadbury Camp. Heading south, you can walk 5 miles to reach the village of Yetminster with a pub and café for something to eat or drink. And another 5 miles south takes you to the village of Evershot which is home to The Acorn Inn – a 16th century coaching inn which features in Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles as The Sow and Acorn. 

Another long distance walking route which passes close to Sherborne is Monarch’s Way. You can follow a bridleway along Trent Path Lane from the edge of Sherborne to join the main trail route which will lead to the market town of Yeovil. The route is about 8 miles one-way and if you don’t want to walk the return journey, you can catch a train back to Sherborne in as little as 5 minutes. The entire trail route for The Monarch’s Way is 615 miles from Alcester in The Midlands, down through The Cotswolds to Bridport at the Jurassic Coast, then east to Shoreham in Sussex. It is based on the route which King Charles II took to escape after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.  


National Cycle Network Route 26 connects Sherborne to the Isle of Portland on the south Dorset coast via Dorchester and Weymouth. And heading north, the route continues to the north Somerset coast at Portishead via Glastonbury. 

The route south to the Isle of Portland is 41 miles but can be split into shorter sections, starting at 5.5 miles one-way. You can download a route leaflet which gives more information about the places of interest and towns and villages along the way including Sutton Bingham Reservoir, Cattistock and Maiden Newton. 

If you are going to be exploring the area by bike, you might want to buy the local Ordnance Survey map - OS Landranger 183. 

Holway Woods 

Located 3 miles north of Sherborne, Holway Woods is a small Dorset Wildlife Trust nature reserve.  

It has superb views of the surrounding countryside looking north towards Somerset and on a clear day you can even see Glastonbury Tor.  

The best time to visit is spring and summer and there are tracks to follow within the woods from the parking areas. You might see or hear birds such as song thrush, great spotted woodpecker or nuthatch. In spring, look out for bluebells and primroses.  

Parking is free but limited. Alternatively, you can walk along The Macmillan Way from Sherborne town centre which will bring you to the edge of Holway. You’ll then join the Monarch’s Way for the final 300 metres through Holway Farm to the edge of the Woods. Depending on how fast you walk, it would take about 1 hour to walk one-way. 

Other Wildlife Trust nature reserves found less than 10 miles from Sherborne include ancient woodland at Hibbitts Wood, wildflower meadows at Perry Mead and Babcary Meadows next to the River Cary. 

Sutton Bingham Reservoir 

Sutton Bingham is a family friendly, scenic water reservoir located just 4 miles south of Yeovil. It sits close the county border between Dorset and Somerset. 

For families, there is a children’s play area, wildlife walks and a picnic area. Fishing is allowed here and you can also hire boats to get out on the water, including a wheelchair accessible ‘wheelyboat’. There is also car parking and toilets. 

This is a Wessex Water reservoir and it is open from March until the end of October. 

Discover More...

Active & Outdoor

Sherborne’s beautiful countryside makes it the perfect setting to get active on your trip.

Gardens & Parks

Take some time to explore the Sherborne's peaceful and historical gardens.

Family Friendly

There is something for the whole family in Sherborne, no matter the weather.