Waterston and Yellowham Woods

From the Victorian poet Thomas Hardy’s Cottage, deep in Thorncombe Wood, make your way through the trees to the A35 as it slices its way through the landscape. Enter, if you dare, the woods of Yellowham, home of the Woodwoses (Dorset’s very own Bigfoot). Pass Troy Town, the home of a medieval maze, and down into the valley of the River Piddle. Discover the impressive 17th century Waterston Manor, the house inherited by Bathsheba Everdene in Hardy’s ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’. Pass the medieval village remains and site of a Roman villa before climbing up to the Ridgeway. The views widen over the large chalk fields and on to Dorchester, all in the company of many Bronze Age burial mounds. Return down to the valley of the River Frome passing the elegant Kingston Maurward house and the resting place of Thomas Hardy’s heart.

Distance:  6.5 miles/10.5km

Duration: 3-4 hours

Ability: Easy.

Max Height: 420ft.

Min Height: 210ft.

Total climb: 550ft.

Terrain: Track, path, road and field.

Map: OS Explorer 117 Cerne Abbas and Bere Regis.

Start Point: Thorncombe Wood car park – payment required, even for National Trust members. (Postcode: DT2 8QH, Grid Reference: SY725921, What Three Words: system.hypocrite.levels)

How to Get There: From Dorchester, cross straight over at the Kingston Maurward roundabout. Continue straight ahead for almost a mile and turn left to Higher Bockhampton. Take the next turning on the right down the track to the car park that sits around to the right.

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

Refreshments: The National Trust Visitor centre is at the start and finish of the walk or there are plenty of options in nearby Dorchester.

Toilets: At the National Trust Visitor Centre

‘I am convinced that it is better for a writer to know a little bit of the world remarkably well than to know a great part of the world remarkably little.’ – Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

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Yellowham and Waterston walk excerpts.

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