Guy’s Marsh

Wander through the valley of the Stirchell Brook, its name reflecting a small stream that can turn into a torrent. From an old US military hospital, which was innovative in its methods to motivate and rehabilitate, escape into the surrounding landscape. Discover the old village pub, Blacksmith’s cottage and mill, all of which have managed to escape recent development exposing their history in their stones and flint. Clamber the low-lying hills to find The Red House, a modern-day example of architectural design meant to merge into the landscape and a winner of House of the Year award in 2022. Return to the prison along the narrow county lanes and between the patchwork fields of the Blackmore Vale, all under the shadow of Melbury Beacon.

Distance: 5 miles/8km

Duration: 2-3 hours

Ability: Easy.

Max Height: 370ft.

Min Height: 220ft.

Total climb: 555ft.

Terrain: Track, path, road and field.

Map: OS Explorer 118 Shaftesbury and Cranborne Chase.

Start Point: Jailhouse Café, Guys Marsh. (Postcode: SP7 0AJ, Grid Reference: ST845204, What Three Words: providing.kinder.breath).

How to get there: From Shaftesbury, travel south on the B3091. After only a mile and a half turn left into HM Prison Guys Marsh and the Jailhouse Cafe is on the right.

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

Refreshments:  At the start and finish of the walk is the Jailhouse Café and shop, stocked and run by prisoners (opening hours vary due to prison affairs). Nearby are a number of other options in Shaftesbury.

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Walk Excerpts

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