This 15.2 mile (24.5 km) circular walk from Coombe Bissett follows droves and footpaths on Cranborne Chase and visits the villages of Rockbourne, Whitsbury and Homington. Sections of this walk follows minor roads, these are not devoid of traffic so care needs to be taken.
15.2 miles / 24.5 km
5.5 / 6.5 hours
This walk starts from the Village Hall car park, Shutts Lane, Coombe Bissett, SP5 4LU (Grid Ref: SU110260). Please check there is no function at the Village Hall before parking.
From the village hall head south along the edge of the cricket field to join a track besides the pavilion. On the track turn right and head steadily uphill to pass the entrance to Coombe Bissett Nature Reserve. Stay on the track to reach a tarmac lane (Grid Ref SU111256). Head south along the lane for 1.4km to a fork in the lane, go right and follow the track by Pennings Farm. After 1.1km at a junction of tracks turn left (Grid Ref: SU 107233).
Follow the track for 400 metres to reach a crossing of tracks, turn right along a track that runs parallel to a Grim’s Ditch. After 300 metres at a crossing of tracks carry straight on and follow the track for a further 2.6km to reach a minor road (Grid Ref: SU092210). Turn right and then almost immediately take a minor road on the left signposted to Toyd Down.
After 300 metres the road bends to the right, continue straight on along a track for a further 300 metres to a junction of tracks (Grid Ref: SU089205). Turn left and follow a grassy track south to reach the burial mound at Knapp Barrow. Turn left and then after 80 metres on reach a footpath on the right, go through a gate and pass Grans Barrow. At a crossing of paths (Grid Ref: SU090192) turn left heading towards Bokerley Dyke Planation.
The path runs through the edge of the plantation and through a hill fort before emerging into pasture. On reaching a hedge the path turns to the left and heads steadily uphill (Grid Ref: SU105181). Follow the footpath over the hill and then head down to reach a minor road. Turn right and walk into Rockbourne with a stream running besides the road.
After passing the Rose and Thistle pub take a path on the left (Grid Ref: SU113182) leading up to the 12th century St Andrew’s Church. Follow the path around the churchyard and turn left to head uphill into the edge of woodland. On reaching a tarmac lane (Grid Ref: SU118183) turn left and follow lane downhill through the trees. After emerging from the trees, take a path on the right (Grid Ref: SU117185) heading up through the valley towards woodland.
The path then follows a route through trees to reach a gate leading to an avenue of trees. The route continues on to Whitsbury Stud Farm. At a road (SU124195) turn right and then almost immediately turn left on a path through Manor Farm. (To visit the Cartwheel Inn at Whitsbury turn right along the road for 1km) The path now descends to cross Long Steeple Lane Track and then goes uphill onto Breamore Down and across South Charford Drove (Grid Ref: SU 140205).
The track goes along the eastern edge of a copse to reach North Charford Drove (Grid Ref: SU142207), turn left and continue along the northern side of copse. The path then continues between fields to pass Gallows Hill and then goes on to each a drove turn left (Grid Ref: SU136218). After 150 metres at a fork in the track go right and head north west. After 400 metres cross a track and continue straight on along the drove for 1.4km to the southern edge of Great Yews.
At a four-way junction of tracks (Grid Ref: SU119227) turn right and follow a track besides Great Yews. Soon after emerging from the woods ignore a path on the left but 175 metres later take a track on the right and head towards Down Barn (Grid Ref: SU115235). At Down Barn the track becomes a tarmac lane, follow this along the ridge and then down into Homington. In the village go straight across the road and then join Lower Road which heads west through the village to pass the small attractive church of St Mary the Virgin.
Follow the minor road from Homington to reach Coombe Bissett. In the village turn left up Shutts Lane to head uphill back to the village hall car park.
There are no public toilets.
Toilets are available in the pubs on this route during opening hours.
Coombe Bissett: Village Stores; Fox and Goose
Rockbourne: Rose and Crown
Whitsbury: The Cartwheel Inn
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 118 – Shaftesbury & Cranborne Chase
© 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.