Dorset Walks

Slow beautiful winter’s afternoon walk Cranborne Droves way | 4.4 miles

Every month in the Blackmore Vale Magazine we publish a walk in the beautiful Dorset countryside under the heading ‘Take a hike’. Not always in the heart of the Blackmore Vale perhaps, but always within reach for a day’s walk.

What is unique about these walks is the fact that we have created and then walked them all ourselves! We always aim to create interesting, unpopulated routes with as little road use as possible and of course as many beautiful views as we can squeeze in.

You can always see the routes we take and follow them yourself via the Outdoor Active App – see all our routes here. – Click on contents tab.

We usually aim for between 10 – 15 miles, although due to many requests and to keep everyone happy we have now added some shorter routes between 5 – 10 miles in length.

Above all, we hope you enjoy reading about the walks that we do and enjoying the pictures of course, but if you are taking them on yourself, we would love to receive your feedback on how you found the individual route and any suggestions you might have. Oh and of course we would love to receive your pictures to share as well!

Cranborne Droves way

Getting out for some exercise each day is more essential than ever during lockdown. We’ve been restricted for months thanks to Courtenay’s knee injury, but we’ve slowly started enjoying a few short (for us) slow strolls. This particular one was an absolute joy – we headed out on the afternoon of New Years Eve and we took it oh-so-slow. The light was glorious, the air was crisp, the shadows long, and we simply breathed in the dying embers of the year, making plans for better days ahead. Clearly we all need to think about what ‘local’ is during lockdown – this walk may need to wait until we’re all moving around more freely again. But do please bookmark it and go try it. We’ve been asked for some shorter routes, and at just over four miles on wide easy tracks, this one’s for almost everybody. You will not be disappointed.

Link to the full route (free to download) on the outdoor Active here: We use the (we think great value) premium paid for subscription (under £2 per month) to gain access to all the full OS maps, however the free version of the app is still excellent.

Starting on the Ox Drove, there is usually ample space to park under the trees. Then it’s a simple saunter along the Drovers track, enjoying the views and the forest, until a short right cuts across to the Roman Road on Vernditch Chase – we always cut this corner during the winter as the Roman Road gets horribly sloppy. In the summer do square the corner along the edge of Knighton Wood. Then it’s a simple bridleway all the way back up to the car – keep an eye out for the white deer.

Beautiful low winter sunshine through the woods on the Roman road in the Vernditch Chase.

Beautiful icy reflections on the Cranborne Droves Way near Cow Down Hill.

Stunning winters light casting mesmurising shadows on the golden leaf carpet in the Vernditch Chase on the Cranborne Droves Way.

A view across to Chickengrove Bottom, such a beautiful winters day.

As the sun finally starts to set we find ourselves back to the start at Cow Down Hill. Time for a quick hot chocolate whilst we watch the last of the winter rays before heading home.

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