West Knighton

Wander through a landscape where the villages have been deserted, woods exploited and the ground quarried. A landscape, full of forest, heath, floodplains and a lonely standing stone, which was once bustling with life from the medieval period, through both World Wars and up to modern day. The Norman knights, American soldiers and extraction machinery have all gone but replaced with wildlife rich nature reserves. Slowly life is returning to this once extraterrestrial environment, a new development of luxury eco houses has begun and the forests, fields and lakes are now preserved. Beginning at a church that inspired Thomas Hardy’s last, and most controversial, novel explore the new sandy gorse lined permissive routes in between water filled quarries, over medieval earthworks and past graffiti ridden trees, scarred by men before they left for D-Day.

Distance:  7.5miles/12km

Duration: 3-4 hours

Ability: Easy.

Max Height: 250ft.

Min Height: 140ft.

Total climb: 120ft.

Terrain: Tracks, paths and minor roads. It also includes new permissive paths through the Silverlake development.

Map: OS Explorer OL15 Purbeck and South Dorset

Start Point: West Knighton. (Postcode: DT2 8PF, Grid Reference: SY732876, What Three Words: stunner.generated.charted).

How to Get There: Leave Dorchester to the east on the A352. After passing through the small remains of Whitcombe, take the second left signposted to West Knighton. Turn left on entering the village where space to park can be found opposite the church.

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

Refreshments: Just off the route is The New Inn in West Knighton and nearby is The Black Dog in Broadmayne or The Wise Man in West Stafford.

Neighbouring walks: West Stafford, Crossways, Warmwell, Osmington and Bincombe.

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Walk Excerpts

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