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

Saturday 24th October, meet time 10:30

9.5 mile Day Walk

Cheselbourne and the Dorsetshire Gap

Walk or event leader: Rod    Contact: 07765 497887    


A circular walk passing through some very attractive countryside and fairly easy-going, virtually all of the ascent being very gradual.

Starting from Cheselbourne, we’ll pass over downs with views over a patchwork of fields. We then pass Highdon House and continue gradually uphill with a total ascent of about 200m in 4 miles. At the highest point, views extend from Hardy's monument in the west to Melbury Hill in the east.

Descending through woodland, we approach the Dorsetshire gap which has been a meeting of paths at least since medieval times. We walk along what is effectively a high embankment with great views over the lower ground to both north and south, with the medieval village of Melcombe Horsey in the distance.

Then it’s over fields to Lower Ansty followed by part of the grounds of Bingham's Melcombe House, a Grade I listed property, with a church dating mostly from the 14th century. There’s a short stretch along a quiet road followed by the final bridleway back to the start.

Walks grade: Moderate

Start or meeting point: Long lay-by by Hillview Cottages, Cheselbourne, DT2 7NL. Best to enter Hillview Cottages on the Sat-Nav, if recognised; this is more precise than the postcode. If the lay-by is full, I suggest using the roadside parking of the closed pub a short way back down the road from the A35.

Directions: Heading along the A35 east of Dorchester, take the turning signed B3142 Piddlehinton. Cheselbourne is signed from the roundabouts. Note that after the north-side roundabout, and when travelling parallel to the A35, there is a right turn where the sign to Cheselbourne is partly obscured by vegetation. In Cheselbourne, pass the closed pub on the right, then about 1/4 mile after, the lay-by will be found on the left.

OS Grid Ref: SY764994    Lat/long (for Satnavs): N50.79423, W-2.33524

Address and postcode for Satnavs (note - this is approximate): 5 Hillview Cottages, Cheselbourne, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 7NL

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.