20s to 30s walking, hiking and social group, part of The Ramblers

Saturday 24th November, meet time 10:00

7 mile Day Walk

Winterbourne St Martin and some pre-Rome-ing with Berkshire Walkers

Walk or event leader: Lee (Berkshire Walkers)    Contact: 07780 683521    


This short walk explores the countryside to the SW of the pre-Roman town of Dorchester, but is sufficiently close that afterwards we can (optionally) continue into town to see some of the interesting things there - more on those later.

We'll start from the car park at SY668889 and head down to Martinstown (or Winterbourne St Martin, if you're being posh) before climbing to the South Dorset ridgeway. In good weather, there will be views out to sea, inland across Dorset, and to Hardy's monument to the west - that's "kismet" Hardy, not "Some folk want their luck buttered" Hardy.  Rather like parts of Salisbury, Avebury and our
Berkshire ridgeway, this is an ancient landscape with tumuli and barrows scattered throughout. After a brief section of the SW coast path, we'll head NE towards Maiden Castle - an iron age hill fort which contains the remains of a Roman temple.  After a bit of exploration, we'll drop back
to the car park.

We'll have a packed lunch on the walk, but there will be no pub stop. 
We will, however aim to head into Dorchester after the walk to take in some of the sights. Dorch (as it's known locally) has pre-Roman features but was settled by the Romans: the remains of some of its walls and a villa can be found in the town.  There is also Maumbury Rings – a pre-Roman amphitheatre, several museums, pubs and a fantastic cheese shop. Dorchester was the town on which Hardy's Casterbridge was based (that's "Some folk want their luck buttered" Hardy, not "kismet" Hardy).

Walks grade: Leisurely

Start or meeting point: The car park at Maiden Castle, grid ref. SY668889, nearest postcode DT2 9JF.

Directions: If coming by train or bus, allow 30mins to walk from the station(s) to the start point.

OS Grid Ref: SY668889    Lat/long (for Satnavs): N50.69910, W-2.47088

Address and postcode for Satnavs (note - this is approximate): Maiden Castle Rd, Dorchester DT2 9PP

Your postcode or town:
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Important Advice

Walk gradings are provided as a general guide only. If you have any doubt about your fitness for a particular walk please contact the organiser or leader in advance.

Bear in mind the distance of the walk, regional differences in terrain and the possibility of bad weather, which can make a walk more difficult than planned.

If you're unsure of your fitness level, try a short and easy walk first - it's much better to find a walk a little too slow and easy than to make yourself miserable and exhausted.

Leaders may refuse to accept participants who in their opinion are inadequately equipped or unfit.

What to Bring With You on a Walk

Packed lunch - most walks require you to bring along a good packed lunch as most day hikes over 5 miles will entail a lunch stop of about twenty minutes (or five minutes if it's raining hard!). If the walk has a pub or tea room stop then a full lunch shouldn't be needed, please check the individual walk details for more information.

Proper walking boots and socks - every year a few new people will turn up to longer walks in unsuitable footwear and suffer painful blisters, sore ankles or be forced to get the bus home as a result. Don't let it happen to you - approriate footwear is a must in the rural and rocky terrain that Dorset has to offer, and on any walk that is over 4 miles or has anything more than a 'easy' difficultly rating. Outdoor stores are everywhere now and offer decent ankle boots at affordable prices, so it's easier than ever to get the proper kit on a budget.

Rainproofs - on any walk the weather can turn for the worse, so even if the forecast is clear most members carry a packaway jacket or rainproofs. During the winter a rainproof jacket is a must, and many members also swear by waterproof over-trousars or quick drying outdoor fabrics. Gore-tex and eVent fabrics are perfect if you have the budget!

Mobile phone - a mobile is a good safety device to have with you, even if reception is patchy you can always walk to high ground and try to get a signal if you get lost or seperated from a group walk (which is extremely rare!). Also if you are late for a walk you can contact the Walk Leader and ask them to wait for five or ten minutes, please be aware however that if you are very late the Walk Leader will have no choice but to start the walk.

A print out of the event details - our event start details are optimised for car Satnavs, so you can enter the walk start address, postcodes and even latitude and longtitude coordinates to help you find the walk. The print out will also give you the Walk Leader name and mobile should you run into to trouble on the journey there.

Walks Grading Explained

Easy Access - walks for everyone, including people with conventional wheelchairs and pushchairs, using easy access paths. Comfortable shoes or trainers can be worn. Assistance may be needed to push wheelchairs on some sections, please contact the group running the walk for details.

Easy - walks for anyone who does not have a mobility difficulty, a specific health problem or is seriously unfit. Suitable for pushchairs if they can be lifted over occasional obstructions. Comfortable shoes or trainers can be worn.

Leisurely - walks for reasonably fit people with at least a little country walking experience. May include unsurfaced rural paths. Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing are recommended.

Moderate - walks for people with country walking experience and a good level of fitness. May include some steep paths and open country, and may be at a brisk pace. Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing are essential.

Strenuous - walks for experienced country walkers with an above average fitness level. May include hills and rough country, and may be at a brisk pace. Walking boots and warm, waterproof clothing are essential. People in doubt about their fitness should contact the organiser or leader in advance.

Technical - walks for experienced and very fit walkers with additional technical skills. May require scrambling and use of ropes, ice axes and crampons. You must contact the organiser or leader in advance for further details.