Starting in the smallest town in Dorset, buried in the Blackmore Vale, the settlement of Stalbridge has a selection of historical aspects which have influenced the rest of the country. Explore the landscape to discover the ancient Stalbridge Park, now surrounded by a 4 mile crumbling stone wall. The imposing, but lost, manor of Stalbridge Park (fifth largest building in Dorset at the time) was the home of the scientist Robert Boyle, who we can thank for air in our tyres. Thomas Hardy used the house as inspiration for Stapleford Park, yet today the manor is no more than a mystery, marked with lumps and bumps in the ground. The town was home to Douglas Adams – author of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Stalbridge also feeling very far away from the rest of the world.

Distance:  4 miles/6km

Duration: 2 hours

Ability: Easy.

Max Height: 420ft.

Min Height: 250ft.

Total climb: 170ft.

Terrain: Track, path road and field.

Map: OS Explorer 129 Yeovil and Sherborne

Start Point: Dikes Supermarket car park. (Postcode: DT10 2FB, Grid Reference: ST735177, What Three Words: ghosts.dreams.outlooks).

How to Get There: Arriving at the town from the south, on the A357, pass the petrol station and the green on your right. Dikes supermarket is on the left hand side, just before the road narrows briefly to a single lane.

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

Refreshments: William’s Café in Dikes and in the town are The Stalbridge Arms and The Swan.

Neighbouring Walks: Marnhull, Hinton St Mary, The Swan, Kings Stag, Purse Caundle, and Stourton Caundle.

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