This 6.9 mile (11.1 km) circular walk from Melplash follows country lanes and footpaths through rural West Dorset. A section of the route follows the Ant Trail and goes through Loscombe Nature Reserve. Near West Milton the walk passes the ruins of St Mary Magdalen. Sections of this walk follow quiet country lanes, but they are not completely devoid of traffic so care needs to be taken.
6.9 miles / 11.1 km
2.15 to 2.45 hours
This walk starts from the Half Moon public house in Melplash (DT6 3UD) (Grid Ref: SY484975). Please ask permission and only use the pub car park if you intend to stop for refreshments before or after you walk.
Leaving the Half Moon car park cross the road with care and take the right fork by the garage which leads along Mapperton Lane. After 450 metres at a junction turn left down into Twinways Lane. At the junction with the A3066 turn right and carefully walk down the road for 80 metres to take a footpath on the right that leads past farm buildings. Then take a right turn on a footpath (Grid Ref: SY488983) heading steadily uphill to reach Mapperton Lane.
Turn left and then almost immediately fork right (Grid Ref: SY491982) on a narrow tarmac lane that heads steadily downhill. Stay on the lane for 1.4km, ignoring a turning on the right, until it reaches Loscombe. Keep on the lane as it heads slightly uphill to reach a footpath sign on the right marked for the Ant Trail (Grid Ref: SY502979).
This path leads into Loscombe Nature Reserve and follows a route through fields besides a stream to the right for 500 metres to reach a footbridge across the stream (Grid Ref: SY506981). The footpath continues through pasture fields with the stream now on the left. After 500 metres, at a junction of paths turn right to follow the Ant Trail sign (Grid Ref: SY511980) and head steeply uphill.
Follow the way markers through a field of pasture to reach a lane, Ridgeback Lane. (Grid Ref: SY514979). Turn left and follow the lane for 1km to reach South Poorton. At a junction (Grid Ref: SY519978) turn right to follow a lane for 1.8km to reach Powerstock.
At a junction opposite the church turn right and descend on School Hill. (To reach the Three Horseshoes Inn fork left within twenty metres of turning down School Hill and walk a short distance along the road, return to School Hill to resume the walk.) After passing the village primary school take a footpath on the right just before a stream (Grid Ref: SY515960).
The path enters a field and continues through further fields with the stream below to the left. On reaching a farm follow the clear way markers to cross a new footbridge over a stream (Grid Ref: SY504963). Enter a field and head uphill to reach the grounds of the disused medieval church of St Michael, West Milton (Grid Ref: SY503963).
Pass the church and descend the steps to reach a lane. Turn right and walk steadily uphill out of the village, ignoring a footpath sign on the right continue on to some dwellings and farm buildings (Grid Ref: SY500968). From here continue on the footpath as it goes uphill to reach a tarmac driveway.
Follow the drive to a crossroads (Grid Ref: SY499971). Go straight over and then after 65 metres take a footpath on the left that soon leads into a field. Cross the field to reach another field and then descend on the path to reach a minor road soon passing the entrance to Elcombe Farm (Grid Ref: SY494972).
Continues up the lane for 450 metres to reach the entrance to Walnut Farm (Grid Ref: SY489972)?. Turn right onto the footpath heading north for 200 metres then the path turns left and heads west through fields around Hinknowle Hill to then descend back to our starting point at the Half Moon pub.
A narrative of this walk with pictures, historical information and points of interest can be viewed on my associated Two Dogs and an Awning website.
To follow this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 117 – Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis
© Walking Moonraker (2020)
All information on this site is provided free of charge and in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of damage, loss or injury which might result from it. Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. It is your responsibility to check your route and navigate using a map and compass.