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.