Woodsford Castle

Starting in the youthful settlement of Crossways, explore Thomas Hardy’s Vale of the Great Dairies; over rivers and railways, amongst castles and earthworks. Discover medieval manor houses and timber framed barns, which have stood for centuries, before joining the wide and slow River Frome. Wander through the deserted village of West Woodsford to find its very own castle, topped with a thatched roof. Return via the industrial landscape of the working quarries to then follow the railway through the remains of a World War II British and American airbase.

Distance:  5 miles/8km

Duration: 2/3 hours

Ability: Easy.

Max Height: 200ft.

Min Height: 115ft.

Total climb: 90ft.

Terrain: Track, path, road, quarry and field.

Map: OL Explorer 15 Purbeck and South Dorset.

Start Point: Frome Valley Road. (Postcode: DT2 8XU, Grid Reference: SY764889, What Three Words: preparing.squeaking.comfort).

How to Get There: From Dorchester, leave the town south via the A352. At the second roundabout, take the first exit, signposted to West Stafford and Crossways. Stay on the same road for about 2 miles to meet a T-junction and turn left, passing under a railway bridge. Curve with the road around to the right to again meet the railway before arriving at Crossways. As you approach the buildings take the first left onto Frome Valley Road. Parking is along the right hand side of the road being aware of access and other traffic.

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

Refreshments: None on route but nearby are The Wise Man in West Stafford, The New Inn at West Knighton and The Frampton Arms in Moreton.

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