Gorgeous 5* rated walk to the Chalke Valley (the views!) | 11 miles

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This is an old favourite which we’d not done for a while. The below map is our original route (with all its 5* reviews!) but we walked it again during May just to double check all the paths, and it’s still stunning (you can see all 34 photos from the more recent 2022 the duplicated route here)

It’s an up-and-down walk as you cross the hill range and back again, and it took us three hours and 40 minutes at a steady pace. The route really makes the most of those spectacular chalk downland valleys, but the expansive views across the Chalke Valley are interspersed with shady routes through green lanes.

This is the final climb – passing to the left of the twin trees in the valley, then crossing to follow the hedge on the left of the bare strip and all the way up to the right of the copse at the top to crest the hill
The view from the top of Marleycombe Hill though … You can just about make out the cricketers in Bowerchalke below
It’s a steady pull up Marleycombe Hill… but the very steep descent into Bowerchalke isn’t much better!
The Roman path along the Vernditch Chase
No of course we didn’t just plough through a crop. This farmer is ace – he always places posts wrapped in white plastic along the footpath through this huge field, so you always know you’re where you’re supposed to be (see the white dot over to the right of Courtenay’s shoulder? That’s where the path goes, NOT the wide tractor track over hs left shoulder)

There are three steady climbs but they are suitably rewarded, I promise, with big skies, and sights across to Salisbury cathedral, coupled with hidden green lanes and ancient woodland. Walk it on a summer Sunday, and you’ll descend from Marleycombe Hill into Bowerchalke to the sound of cricket on the village green. Perfect.

I love this solitary barn with the wide sky – and as you crest the hill beyond it, an amazing view of the Chalke Valley opens up below you
The farm track from the back of Knowle Farm is steeper than it looks here (under the tree and up the hill between the hedges). Grit your teeth and just keep plodding…

Do watch out for hares in early summer – we saw so many on this walk in the middle of May. 

*There’s easy free parking at the start at Vitrell Gate car park.

All the Dorset Walks we feature have been created and walked recently by ourselves, so you know you can trust them – we aim for unpopulated routes with as little road and as many views as possible! You can always see the route and follow it yourself via the free Outdoor Active app – see all our routes here.

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