Walk of the Month – Bulbarrow Hill to Milton Abbas

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Lauren Atkinson tells us about a new walk she has coming up in April and she is excited to share it with everyone now that we are getting back outside.

This 8.5 mile circular route begins with spectacular views from our meeting point near the top of Bulbarrow Hill. The green pastures of Blackmore Vale, captured in Thomas Hardy’s novels and poetry can be enjoyed, and in the distance the Blackdown and Quantock Hills. On a clear day the mound of Glastonbury Tor can even be seen. At 259m above sea level, Bulbarrow Hill is one of Dorset’s highest vantage points. The Wessex Ridgeway; a long distance footpath stretching for 137 miles from Marlborough in Wiltshire across Dorset to Lyme Regis runs along the top of the hill and beyond.

We begin by walking gradually down the valley, with changing views as we head through woodland and open fields, and past a number of farms. Next we rise uphill above the village of Winterborne Houghton before dropping down again into the historic hamlet of Milton Abbas. Here there is an opportunity to stop and have our own refreshments, before making our way along the serpentine form of the main street, admiring the alms houses, pub, church, and an array of beautifully thatched homes; all identical in their shape and design – a very unique sight to see. The village was built in 1771 by Joseph and Caroline Damer to relocate the residents who lived in the growing village around their new home Milton Abbey, in favour of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown creating them a landscaped parkland with a more pleasing view.

Next we leave the village and walk alongside fishing ponds to the stunning Milton Abbey Church and house itself, which now houses Milton Abbey School. We pass through the school grounds where we can view the landscape created by Capability Brown. The original church was built c.933 AD by King Athelstan of Wessex, rebuilt in stone and flint after a fire in 1309 and has seen several restorations since.

Finally we leave this beautiful parkland and walk uphill through more woodland, filled with wild garlic at this time of year, and across fields back to our starting point at the top of Bulbarrow Hill. This walk offers wonderful variety – beautiful views, changing terrain, architecture, history and a landscaped parkland. Why not join Lauren to enjoy this spectacular walk

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