I got to Blandford today ready for the next bus onto Milton Abbas. But such is my impatience that the ten minute wait for it to come was too long…and I wandered off for a coffee and then into the library…
…where I found some great books on walking including an old one that showed walks in Dorset. And it showed footpaths that would take me across fields and through woods rather than the four mile back road to Stickland that I had been using until now.
I moved on to the Tourist Office and halleluiah I could afford to buy Landranger Map number 194, Dorchester and Weymouth, and boy did this make a difference. I opened it up and there before me were dotted lines through woodlands, dash lines along fields, up and over hills and around villages.
This was to be the best walk yet! From Blandford to Winterbourne Stickland I only stepped on a proper road twice, and then for only 100 metres.
Leaving Blandford over the old bridge Westwards I turned right up New Road, the road that runs alongside Bryanston school grounds, and then almost immediately stepped over my first stile and crossed several fields containing at least 50 horses. The horses were cordoned off. I was no threat to them.
Passing through a couple of farms I then accessed a marked bridleway. A hedge bordered my right hand side, views to the South my left. Moving through two small forests, Old Warren Plantation and Broadley Wood I passed a magnificent dovecote which straddled an Estate’s entrance archway. The cote itself must have been eight metres long, two wide and was at least four metres off the ground. Goodness knows how many doves it could house. A hundred easily, and in first class luxury conditions.
I came out of the wood at one of the three scraggy litter strewn lay-byes on the Stickland back road. Crossing into a field a hundred yards down it I walked up Stickland hill and then dropped down at the Southern end of the village right besides the very small village green and the sparkling waters of the Winterbourne river, (stream).
You could sit on a bench and eat your lunch here, splash yourself in the waters, and if it was like today, lie on the grass and soak in the sun.
Walking on you then join back with the Jubilee Trail and walk up over hills and fields and through Milton Park Wood to the top of Milton Abbas village.
Wow, a map, efficiency, and it got me thinking. I need some work. Why don’t I take people on guided walks? The Blandford/Milton Abbas one for a start, three, four hours max and a taxi, (or bus) back to the start. I’ll put the feelers out.