Miden Castle

Do You Know Your Long Barrows from your Henges?

The South Dorset Ridgeway is a walking area above the Jurassic Coast. It’s beautiful, interesting and in places quite remote. There are wonderful walks taking in Bronze Age round barrows, long barrows, Neolitic henges, several Iron Age hillforts, lynchets and Medieval villages.

Long Barrows were apparently commual tombs. They were made with a collection of chambers, which then were covered in earth. Henges are the circular earthwork monuments. Sometimes these have circles of standing stones. The best henge to see is Maumbury Rings in Dorchester. When the Romans came they changed its use to an amphitheatre – and remarkably its still used to day to entertain.

There are three stone circles along the Ridgeway, Kingston Russell, Hampton and the one at Winterbourne Abbas. There is always something mystical about these areas. There are also the hillforts which offer fantastic views across the south coast. Maiden Castle, just outside of Dorchester, is the largest hillfort in Europe. At Abbotsbury Castle hillfort the views are oustanding. There are others too – including Eggardon which is next to old Roman Roads which cross the county.

There is always something to do in Dorset! Field Guides are available to help you find your way.

by Jane Greening, New House Farm

chideock to symondsbury

Walking in Wonderful West Dorset

I’d much rather be walking than blogging. Walking is my favourite pastime, besides eating and talking!

I walk every day, twice most days. It’s the very best exercise plus having the feel good factor. I can plan my whole day during my morning walk, great ideas come into my head as I tread slowly uphill (it never gets any easier) and across Eype Down towards to sea. I make a mental list to remember to complete a job I started, I tie a knot in my mind to remember to ring a friend to see how they are, and jot an invisible note to add something to my shopping list! It’s very healthy, walking, whatever the weather.

We’re blessed in West Dorset with glorious views and wonderful walking .. and its free!

Today’s walk is below but do pop back throughout June to join me on some of my other favourite walks:

Iron Age Forts, Eggardon , near Askerswell

eggardon hill, dorset wikimapia.orgThis is one of my special places….. Eggardon Hill. It is an iron-age hillfort which, has, believe me, one of the finest views of any hill-fort in the county. It’s not far from Bridport, about 4 miles, and has the advantage that you’re able to drive to the very top of the hill.

I always suggest this walk to my guests that aren’t walkers because they can enjoy glorious views without the climb and the bonus is the nearby pub! I can happily recommend a visit to see the friendly landlord, Tim, at The Spyway Inn,  and enjoy the excellent food served .. but save it until after your walk round the top of Eggardon Fort!

I often travel across Eggardon to see my daughter who farms in a lovely valley near West Compton and the drive back to Bridport in the evening sun is magical – huge far reaching views of the Dorset countryside stretching to the sea in Lyme Bay all the way to South Devon and Start Point. Sometimes you just have to stop and admire and drink in the sunset.

Join me for another special walk in the next few days, so do pop back!

Pauline Bale, Highway Farm, Owner of  1 of our 12 Countryside and Coastal accommodation places.

Our favourite local walk


We are always being asked by guests what ‘our favourite local walk is’?  This is tricky, as there are endless stunning walks around Chideock.   We’d say our favourite local walk has to be from Chideock to Burton Bradstock.   We walk to Seatown beach via the bridleway and head up the hills heading east.  Sometimes we stop in the Anchor Inn  at Seatown for a coffee before we start!   It’s a hilly climb to get to the Thorncombe Beacon but well worth the effort.

Seatown Beach

Beautiful Seatown Beach

The views from the beacon are fabulous.  On a clear day you can see Portland to the east and Brixham to the west.  Once you are at the beacon, you will see signs leading you inland to ‘Downhouse Farm Café’.  It’s an extra 10 minutes walk to get there! But trust me, you won’t be disappointed.   The menu has lots of tempting lunch dishes.  Mouthwatering cakes for afternnon tea!  The cafe pride themselves on ‘homemade’ with locally sourced ingredients.  From the Thorncombe Beacon you head down to Eype and on to West Bay.

West Bay

West Bay the beautiful East Cliff

We love West Bay.   It’s known as the Bridport Harbour and in recent times has been named ‘Broadchurch’.  After the recent filming of the Broadchurch series.  If you like fish & chips on the beach, you’ll be spoilt for choice.   There are lots of huts selling fish & chips.  Our favourite is Rachels, which is a black and white hut on the side of the harbour facing out to sea.  Rachels serves the best seafood chowder Dorset has to offer, we think!

However, most of the time we prefer to continue our walk to Burton Bradstock.    There we treat ourselves to lunch at the Hive Beach Café,   The cafe is set on the beach and offers a varied menu with lots of choice of fresh local fish dishes.

This walk has the most amazing views of the amazing Jurassic Coast.  It usually takes us about 2.5 hours.

Blog added by Jane Warren House Bed & Breakfast Chideock.

B is for………

B is for………

Colmers Hill

The Iconic Colmers Hill which stands overlooking Bridport


B is for BEAMINSTER.  A pretty litttle market town centred round the
Market Square.  Quaint little shops and eateries.  The church is rather
unusual in that it’s tower is elaborately decorated with friezes,
pinnacles and an array of sculptured figures.
BROADWINDSOR.  Well worth a visit to the Craft Centre – ideal for a dull
day, plus a very nice restaurant.
BRIDPORT was famous for its hemp and flax producing a thriving rope and
sailcloth industry.  Lee Lane a small road off the Dorchester Road was
where King Charles II was reputed to have hidden from the Roundheads in
1651 – there is a stone monument to commemorate it.  Today Bridport has
many fine eateries and also a busy entertainment programme – something
for all.  There are open markets on a Wednesday and Saturday in the
mornings.  The Farmers Market is once a month.  There are pleasant walks
from the town along the river to West Bay, famous for its huge sandstone
BURTON BRADSTOCK is about two and a half miles east of Bridport, and is
well worth a walk round.  It has 2 really good pubs plus the Hive Beach
Cafe.  The Sandstone Cliffs above the Chesil Beach are very attractive.


A is for Abbotsbury.
As you drive towards this pretty village you will see St Catherine’s Chapel on the hill.   It is built entirely of stone, even the roof!  There are heavy stone buttresses to support the 4ft (1.2mtrs) thick walls.   It’s roof is barrel vaulted.   Abbotsbury Swannery, started by monks in the 14th century, is worth a visit.   It is to the west end of the Fleet.   The Fleet is the back water behind part of Chesil beach.   At the swannnery approx. 600 swans reside.  After Easter signs will go up to advertise “baby swans” in case we don’t know what a cygnet is!

A is for Abbotsbury

Abbotsbury swannery is a perfect place to visit.


Abbotsbury garden is a sub-tropical garden and is protected by the prevailing winds by trees and it’s position.   The azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons are beautiful in the season and not to be missed.

Finally, the village itself, tea rooms and quaintness.  Little remains of the monastery except for the huge Tythe Barn.  In St Nicholas Church there are shot holes in the pulpit – said to have been the result of the civil war.

Posted by Jane at New House Farm


Fond Memories of Cerne Abbas and The Naked Giant

Cerne Abbas Giant

Cerne Abbas Giant

I drive past this great, naked giant every week as I visit my mum.  He is carved into the chalk hillside above the village of Cerne Abbas.  No one knows his origin – it is possible that he dates from the Roman period – but whatever he is worth a visit, and so is Cerne Abbas.

The National Trust has the management of the Giant, and he desperately needs some attention before his left arm disappears completely.   A Benedictine monastery was founded here – the remains of the great abbey buildings can still be seen behind Abbey Farm.  St Augustine’s well is in the churchyard, and believed to have healing qualities.  The village still has stocks outside the church.

Cerne is one of the prettiest villages in the county of Dorset. The village is quaint with many thatched properties.  There are a couple of excellent pubs serving locally sourced, home cooked meals.

When I was a child I frequently stayed with a school friend and helped do the milk round.  They had a small herd of guernsey cattle. It was just idyllic – happy memories. Just beyond Cerne is Mintern Magna which offers some lovely gardens to walk round.

Cerne Abbas Village

The beautiful village of Cerne Abbas

Posted by Jane Greening, owner of New House Farm and Mangerton Lake

Colmers Hill

Iconic Colmer’s Hill Walk

Colmers Hill
Colmers Hill… Bridport’s iconic hill, much loved by locals and all who travel the A35.
Walk to the top of Colmers to enjoy the majesty of the Marshwood Vale. A colourful patchwork of working farms have shaped the West Dorset landscape to the delight of all.

Follow Julia Bradbury’s ITV Best Walks with a view. It’s a beautiful walk that starts inland at the lovely pub, the Ilchester Arms in the village of Symondsbury and ends on the spectacular Golden Cap.

I enjoyed the programme very much and from Highway Farm we have a fabulous view of Colmers – it’s our stomping ground! Guests have come armed with Julia’s map keen and ready to walk! We knew all the locals that Julia stopped to talk to on the way – you never know who you’re going to meet up with when walking in Dorset! The walk ends at The Anchor Inn, award winning pub at Seatown, where Julia enjoyed delicious food and a local beer. Here’s an idea.. Use the Jurassic Bus X53 to return to Symondsbury (Chideock to Bridport).

Pauline Bale at Highway Farm.

Pop back in a few days to catch my next walk.

Miden Castle

Maiden Castle Walk near Dorchester

Here’s the second of my favourite Dorset Walks ….

I’ve only just discovered Maiden Castle! It’s the largest hillfort in Britain and the most complex. Again stunning views, and walking is not too difficult. My granddaughter managed the full walk round without complaining!

At the top the site is amazingly large and was home to several hundred people in the Iron Age 800BC – AD43, now home to the local sheep population and a odd few visitors. Access from the Weymouth road, and free parking. DT6 9EY.

The Walk in more Detail, courtesy of Dorset Life

Pauline Bale, Highway Farm