Long Crichel and the Dorset Cursus

Discover the largest ancient monument in the country. An earthwork that covers over seven miles, its path dipping into the valleys and skimming the hilltops. Set in a landscape, rich with spiritual burials, it puts Stonehenge to shame. Begin in the valley of the little Crichel Brook, following old tracks that once cut through the thick forests of a medieval hunting ground but are now surrounded by large open fields. Pass burial mounds to honour the Neolithic, the Bronze Age and even the Saxons, their treasures still lying underground hidden by remaining patches of woodland. Pass a little pond, given an ugly name because of its ugly appearance yet produces the clear, chalk stream that continues through the valley. Climb the hill to find the end of The Great Dorset Cursus, guarded by sheep, before returning to the valley, with views over Cranborne Chase and the Crichel Estate.

Distance:  6 miles/9km

Duration: 3-4 hours

Ability: Easy.

Max Height: 375ft.

Min Height: 160ft.

Total climb: 275ft.

Terrain: Track, road and field (all on bridleways so possible as a bike ride, the terrain mainly chalk).

Map: OS Explorer 118 Shaftesbury and Cranborne Chase.

Start Point: Augustis Cottages, around the phone box (Postcode: BH21 5JZ, Grid Reference: ST974104, What Three Words: irrigate.sculpting.sobbed).

How to Get There: From Blandford travel North East on the A354 towards Salisbury. After just over 4 miles, turn right down a small country lane, signposted for Long Crichel. Continue straight into the village to find the phone box and park sensitively to other road uses and homeowners.

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

Refreshments: None on route but nearby are The Langton Arms in Tarrant Monkton and The Cashmoor  Inn in Cashmoor.

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Walk excerpts

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