Puddletown Forest, Stinsford and the River Frome

From the depths of Thorncombe Woods discover the poet and author Thomas Hardy’s birthplace. Travel through the little village of Higher Bockhampton to Stinsford, following the footsteps of Roman soldiers. Pass numerous stately homes including Kingston Maurward, Birkin and Stinsford to meet the River Frome. Visit the memorial to Hardy at Stinsford church containing his heart that went on its own perilous adventure. Walk through the tree tunnelled path, accompanied by the babbling brooks of the River Frome, to Lower Bockhampton and its ancient Manor House. Pass Heedless William Pond with a tragic history that led to the growth of an impressive ash tree. Return via Puddletown Forest where, amongst heath and wild horses, obvious traces of the Romans still remain.

Distance:  5 miles/8km

Duration: 2.5 hours

Ability: Easy.

Max Height: 385ft.

Min Height: 170ft.

Total climb: 340ft.

Terrain: Path, track, road and field.

Map: OL15 Explorer Purbeck and South Dorset

Start Point: Thorncombe wood car park – payment required, even for National Trust members. (Postcode: DT2 8QH, Grid Reference: SY725921, What Three Words: system.hypocrite.levels)

How to Get There: From Dorchester head east towards the A35. At the Stinsford roundabout turn off towards Kingston Maurward. Continue along the country road for about a mile and at the cross roads, turn left. In half a mile, turn right down a track, the car park is in the woods on the right.  

Dogs: In accordance with the Countryside Code and any notices on route.

Refreshments: On the route are the National Trust Visitor centre, Yalbury Cottage and Pine Lodge Farm Tea Rooms.

Neighbouring Walks: Yellowham, Woodsford, West Stafford and Poundbury.

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Walk Excerpts

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