This lovely circular route starts and ends from the beautiful Wardour Castle. It takes interesting and varied paths across farmland, with a couple of spectacular ancient holloways and a beautiful cathedral-like forest too.
The castle itself is owned by English Heritage, but the car park is free and open all year round. It can be busy in summer, but we’ve never seen it full and if you time it right the castle will still be open and you can pop in for an ice cream from the shop when you finish!
Much of the route is across the folded countryside typical of the Dorset/Wiltshire border, with steep wooded valleys and surprise wide views.
The castle itself is open 10am til 5pm in the summer months (closed in winter), and if you want to explore, entry is £7.50 per adult (free for EH members). It’s a lovely place to visit – we’ve been taking our children since they were babies: english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/old-wardour-castle/
The route travels down three different ancient holloways
Though there are some steep ups and downs, none are very long and the walk isn’t too strenuous. It is well signed – though a few paths suffered from waist-high nettles when we walked it in June. A decent stick may be required! – and it’s lovely to come out of the fields into the quiet lanes of Ansty and Swallowcliffe (the ancient Swallowcliffe yew shouldn’t be missed).
(You may potentially be interested to note that about three-quarters of the way round, a very short detour will take you via the Compasses at Ansty for a cheeky pint!)
The final stretch back to the castle is a grand and dramatic close to the walk, with astonishing views across the valley to the castle itself.
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.