Dorset walk around Wimborne Minster and Pamphill

The River Stour viewed from Eye Bridge

The River Stour viewed from Eye Bridge - Credit: Archant

Edward Griffiths follows an important Roman military supply route that leads to one of the finest churches in Dorset and the final resting place for a King of Wessex

This rewarding walk starts at Pamphill, a hamlet on the National Trust’s Bankes Estate with a fine oak avenue and impressive manor house. The walk crosses Dorset’s longest river next to a Roman ford before retracing part of an important Roman military supply route. It follows a delightful country lane leading through some of Wimborne Minster’s streets to the famous Minster Church of St Cuthburga. The return route passes ancient almshouses, pretty thatched cottages and Pamphill Dairy Farm Shop for refreshments at the end of the walk.


• Distance: 4¾ miles (7.5 km)

• Time: 3½ hours

• Exertion: Not too strenuous. Some mud after rain.

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• Start: Pamphill Green Oak Avenue Car Park (Grid Ref: ST990007)

• Map: OS Landranger Sheet 195

• Public Transport: None, but Damory 302, 322 on certain days into Wimborne Square at Point 5

• Dogs: On leads in fields with livestock and on roads

• Refreshments: Pamphill Dairy Farm Shop for lunches and teas

The walk

1. Walk down the avenue with Pamphill Manor House and cricket pitch to your right. Pass Pamphill First School, in Roger Gillingham’s 1698 Writing School and Almshouses building. Pass the right fork at Pamphill Green and a left Stour Valley Way arrow-post. Before the Vine Inn sign, turn left for ‘Stour Valley Way Wimborne 1¼’ across the grass by a right cottage. Under the electricity pylon, turn right down the gravel path through trees to a stile/gate. At a paths’ crossing, turn right along the level path. Reaching the footpath-stile, go down left steps and cross to the opposite bridge/stile. Over into a field, turn right for ‘Wimborne’ along the trees.

2. Over the facing‘s footpath-stile, cross the lane to the stile opposite Vine Hill. Over, follow the left hedge for 50 yards before turning right across the field, left of the cottages, to the footpath-stile and gate into the overflow car park. Cross to the main parking area. Turn left to the Roman ford and Tarmac path to Eye Bridge. Cross over and follow the used path to the fence’s kissing-gate. Through, keep following the grass path along the left hawthorn line over the flood-plain. When the hawthorns end, bend slightly left towards the fence stile with a nearby Stour Valley Way arrow-post. Over, go straight on to a left boardwalk. Cross and turn right to pass a left hawthorn. Go over the next boardwalk and swing half-right along the field towards a solitary willow. Over the gated footbridge before it, turn right. Past the tree, continue to the facing fence‘s footpath-stile. Over, cross the paddock to the left corner footpath-stile into trees. Through onto the A31, cross at the nearest refuge into the opposite road.

3. Cross to the left pavement. At the ‘Corfe Mullen’ nameplate, turn left into Willett Road. Stroll along this peaceful lane, past Lake Farm and a right turning. Now hedged with fields, pass right Ashington Lane with Wimborne Minster across left fields. Past newer houses, the lane meanders past Brook Cottage and Merley Hall Farm left. Reaching the end, take the Stour Valley Way Footpath 31 down into trees and under the by-pass. Turn right through gates and ascend, passing left entrances into woodland, to a left gate/kissing-gate at the wood’s end. Through, follow the right fence down and round, above the River Stour, to a kissing-gate into a play area. Follow the left hedge down to the fenced path into Merley Way.

4. Keep straight on through the estate. At a left ‘island’, take the ‘Wimborne 31’ path between houses to Poole Road. Turn left. Over Merley Bridge, continue along Poole Road passing right Coach and Horses with Deans Court railings left. Reaching a left fork, keep left into old Poole Road and pass the Long Stay Car Park. At the end T-junction, turn left. Pass right Park Lane and cross the River Allen bridge into East Street. Cross right High Street with Deans Court Lane left. Into King Street, opposite the Methodist Hall and the medieval timber-framed house next door, turn right into the passage keeping the Minster church left. Entering High Street, keep straight on, past right Priest’s House Museum, to The Square.

5. Turn left. Walk past the King’s Head into West Street. Meander to the mini-roundabout and Minster Arms. Turn right into Victoria Road for ‘Blandford B3082’. Continue past right Redcotts Recreation Park, left Serles House Secret Garden and Victoria Hospital, and right Wimborne Cemetery. On Cowgrove Road corner, notice the 13th-century rubble-stone Chapel of St Margaret and St Anthony with its adjacent almshouses. Up tree-lined St Margaret’s Hill, cross to the left pavement and pass the traffic lights with left school playing fields. Past Queen Elizabeth Leisure Centre and School, continue for ¼ mile and turn left for ‘Pamphill ¼’. Pass Pamphill Parish Hall, Pamphill Dairy Farm Shop and left Pamphill Farm track. Continue under tall trees to left Pamphill Green and the car park where you started.


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