Melcombe Horsey

Explore the landscape of the Melcombes. Several villages with similar names, but all with a different history. Discover the deserted village, the manor and the farm surrounded by footprints of the past. Climb the medieval trackways to reach the Dorsetshire Gap, an ancient junction of five routes, linking the northern and wild Blackmore Vale to the southern and fertile Valley of the River Frome. Skim the Iron Age hill fort of Nettlecombe and walk through the Romano British settlement of Hog Hill. Return under the watchful eye of the Giants Grave marked with surrounding sarsen stones that apparently rotate every time a cockerel crows.

Distance: 3.5 miles/5.5km

Duration: 2-3 hours

Ability: Easy, a few steady climbs.

Max Height: 875ft.

Min Height: 390ft.

Total climb: 490ft.

Terrain: Track, path, road and field.

Map: OS Explorer 117 Cerne Abbas and Bere Regis

Start Point: Cross Lanes Layby. (Postcode DT2 7NP, Grid Reference: ST754013, What Three Words: laminated.repeating.status

How to Get There: from Dorchester travel east on the A35. Turn off at the Puddletown roundabout and take the first exit and then turn right. On entering Cheselbourne, ignore all diversions to stay on the same valley road. Gently curve around to the left and follow the lane for another mile. When it turns sharply right, a layby sits on the left hand side. Remember to park with care.  

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

Refreshments: None on route but nearby are The Fox Inn at Ansty and The Brace of Pheasants in Plush.

Holloways of Dorsetshire Gap

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