Distance – 5 Miles
Grade – Easy with mainly gentle climbs
Description – This is a fairly easy, low level route around King Down and the Iron Age hill fort of Badbury Rings. The walk not only takes in the downs and the hill fort but also includes a stretch of Roman Road and some ancient greenways. Despite the lack of real height, there are some beautiful views, very spacious feeling, and usually skylarks along the way.
Parking – Parking is available at the start of the walk on the north side of Blandford Road in a small, rough lay-by (above Point A on the map) – when travelling from Wimborne, this is just before the start of the famous Kingston Lacy avenue. If there is no space there, then more space is available on the opposite side of the road a little further on – turn left (south) up a short track immediately before the avenue.
Notes – 1) Parts of the route can be muddy in wet seasons 2) Most of the route is on well used farm tracks and paths
Refreshments – Refreshments are available nearby at The Pamphill Parlour (https://www.pamphilldairy.co.uk/parlour-cafe), or at Kingston Lacy House (National Trust)
Route Description – From the rough lay-by on the north side of Blandford Road (A), take the obvious track that heads north away from the road and follow this track for around a mile, crossing King Down Drove/Pitt’s Drove on the way. When the main track bends to the right, take the footpath that continues straight ahead to cross the downs, passing two Tumuli (B). The views from this point are worth noting, and you may well be serenaded by the skylarks as you enjoy the open vista. Drop down the other side to reach another wide drove/farm track and turn left to pass a small clump of trees and continue straight up the hill to reach the top of the ridge. Continue along the same track to drop down off the ridge and pass Lambing Cottage to reach a junction of tracks (C).
At the junction, turn left and head up the hill along another wide drove/farm track (this is part of what was the Ackling Dyke Roman Road). At the top of the hill, take the track off to the right that skirts round to the north/west of an area of woodland known as The Oaks. Where the main woods end and the track bends left, turn immediately right to follow a track with trees either side for a time before narrowing and dropping down into a dip to reach a gate that opens onto the Badbury Rings open access land.
From the gate head initially straight on along the fence line before heading left up the slope to reach a small tree with three seats around it (D). Do sit for a while to enjoy the views across the Point to Point horse racing circuit. From the seats, take the track that continues up the slope towards the left side of the hill fort that you will see in the near distance. When you reach the hill fort itself, climb up onto whichever of the three rings you want, and walk along the top in an anti-clockwise direction. When you reach the far west side of the rings, the ramparts dip down to one of the original entrances into the fort. At this point, walk out of the fort along the track to the right which then bends left to reach a gate out of the open access area onto another wide track. Turn right to immediately reach a seat where the track divides (E).
Take the left fork that skirts to the south of High Wood and when you pass a hedge line on the right, the track bends to the right and follows that hedge line. As you near the Blandford Road again, the track bends right to reach the road. Turn left and follow the road a short distance to reach the starting point again.
Points of Interest –
(B) – King Down – This is low level downland but still with lovely 360 degree views. At the summit are the two round barrows that remain from a larger group of burial mounds.
(C) – The track at this point is part of a Roman Road, Ackling Dyke that ran from Badbury Rings to Old Sarum.
(D) – Badbury Rings – This is one of Dorset’s finest Iron Age hill forts with three rings of varying height. It is well preserved and has a lovely wooded area in the middle, and some beautiful views from the ramparts.
Blog Posts for further information –
A short, fairly easy to follow walk that takes in some lovely expansive downland as well as the historic ramparts of Badbury Rings. With great views, mostly easy walking, and the wonderful skylark song to accompany the walk, what’s not to like. And don’t forget to check out the amazing and famous Kingston Lacy beech avenue while you are there.
Until next time,
The Dorset Rambler
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A favourite place of mine,
Yes, and mine John 🙂