Around Witchampton

At Witchampton Mill
New Town, once home to Witchampton Paper Board Mill – the mill owner’s house on the right is all that remains of the mill

It is great to go out walking, or indeed cycling, for the whole day but sometimes that is just not possible because even when you are retired, you still have calls on your time……some would say that you have even more calls on your time than when you are working 🙂 ! Well on those days, I still like to get out for at least part of the day and I have a few areas that I like to visit on days when I have other ‘duties’. The Witchampton area is one of those because it is accessible for me and there are some lovely walks there.

On this day, I just did a 4/5 mile circuit that took in not only Witchampton but New Town as well, and of course the delightful River Allen. It was a beautiful afternoon when the low afternoon sun broke through the trees to light up the foliage that lined the river bank so that the leaves shone out luminous against the dark shadowy backdrop of the river itself.

Reflections of Autumn
Luminous leaves and dark shadows

Parts of the river are stagnant, allowing the duckweed to completely carpet the water surface, which then provided a resting place for a myriad leaves that had been shed by the trees in the recent winds. The effect was somewhat reminiscent of the carpet we had in our hall back in the 1970’s…..if you are my age, I’m sure you will remember those carpets 🙂 !

Duckweed and fallen leaves on the River Allen – like a 1970’s carpet

New Town, as the name suggests, is not as old as Witchampton. It was a milling area with originally two flour mills dating from Doomsday times, which were demolished when the newer mill was built in 1720. This was the water powered Witchampton Paper Board Mill that produced such items as cartridge paper, record sleeves and so on for over 200 years before it too was demolished in 1993 to make way for housing.

Just one building remains and that is the mill owners house which subsequently became the administrative offices of the paper mill. It is the house to the right of the river in the picture at the top of this post. It must be a delightful place to live with the gentle rippling of the river a constant companion…..although it may not be quite so gentle with all this rain we are having! Other relics from the milling age are the sluice gates and channels that once fed the mill streams – these are still in place. It amazes me how many mills there were in just a short mile or two of what is a quite small river. Besides two flour mills at New Town, there were another two just a short walk away, one now being a farmhouse and the other a pile of ruins.

In the Depths of Autumn
Reflections of autumn trees in the River Allen

This was such a great walk. It took in the parklands and carriage ways of Crichel House, the banks of the River Allen, the delightful New Town, and the typically Dorset village of Witchampton. I have just focussed on the New Town section here but the whole walk is a pleasure – it is no wonder I return as often as I do!

There is more from this area here and here.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.


  1. Thank you for posting, this area looks lovely, I will definitely put it on my “to do” list as I hope to retire next and will have more “me time” !!!

  2. I fully agree about aiming at walking each day – just one day without and I feel like a caged animal. Though I’m not retired, being a business owner means I’m able to be flexible to an extent and take advantage of a pleasant couple of hours for walking.

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