Gillingham

Inspiring the writer Thomas Hardy and the artist John Constable, this small rural town was once hidden in forest. Follow the river Lodden past the hunting lodge turned castle of Kings Court, now nothing but earthworks. Walk on into the old landscape of the wood, scattered with ancient trees and thick hedgerows. Cross the railway twice and discover an abandoned Northern line underground train carriage, hidden amongst the foliage. Follow fields and farms to North End Farm, a building that has escaped modernisation and been left to grow old. Return via the remaining ancient Forest of Kings Court Wood, where the trees would have witnessed battles and encountered royalty.

Distance: 6 miles/8km

Duration: 2/3 hours

Ability: Easy.

Max Height: 390ft.

Min Height: 240ft.

Total climb: 140ft.

Terrain: Track, path road and field.

Map: OS Explorer 118 Shaftesbury and Cranborne Chase and 129 Yeovil and Sherborne

Start Point: Kings Court Road. (Postcode SP8 4LE, Grid Reference: ST817261, What Three Words: cried.gratitude.hasten).

How to Get There: From Gillingham town centre, cross over the River Lodden and take the next left onto Kings Court Road. Be mindful of access when parking.

Refreshments: Just off route is the Coppleridge Inn at Motcombe. Alternatively a number of options are in Gillingham.

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