Dorset walk - Corfe Castle and Bushey
- Credit: Archant
Edward Griffiths enjoys a walk filled with fabulous views and traditional crafts
This lovely walk offers some fine views and an excursion into the peaceful heath and woodland north of Nine Barrow Down. After the scattered hamlet of Bushey, we visit Scotland Barn where traditional carts and wagons are being restored by highly-skilled craftspeople.
• Distance: 6 1/4 miles (10 km)
• Time: 4 hours
• Exertion: Fairly easy after initial 225ft ascent of East Hill. Some mud after rain.
• Start: National Trust’s Corfe Castle car park on A351 north of Corfe Castle (Grid Ref: SY959825)
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• Map: OS Landranger Sheet 195
• Dogs: On leads in fields with livestock and on roads
• Refreshments: Several popular pubs and tearooms in Corfe and the National Trust’s own café at the Visitor Centre at Corfe Castle
1 From the Visitor Centre, cross the A351 and turn left. Cross the Church Knowle road and continue below the castle. Past right Boar Mill, cross carefully into Sandy Hill Lane. Under Swanage Railway’s bridge, go over the left ‘East Hill ¼’ Permissive Path stile and ascend East Hill steps, enjoying the views over Corfe Castle and village. At the top milestone, turn right for ‘Rollington Hill ¾’ following the bramble-line, generally aiming for the Nine Barrow Down aerial mast. Approaching a group of bushes on the left, veer uphill and follow the top of the ridge for fine views over Poole Harbour left.
2 At the ‘Ridge Path Ulwell 2¾’ stone, go through the Purbeck Way (P/W) gate before the aerial mast and follow the clear path for ¾ mile. Meeting a track coming up from your right, turn left for ‘Rempstone and Studland Road’ at the milestone. The path starts in the ‘bay’ of bracken and brambles. Follow the path down through Brenscombe Hill coppice to 1½ bridleway gates, and continue through ancient woods, becoming sunken with ferns. Ignore a right turn and left gate into Rempstone Estate Private Wood. Through the bottom white barrier, signed back ‘Brenscombe Hill ½’ cross Studland Road into ‘Bushey’ lane. Continue between hedged fields. After left Rempstone Barns, keep to the left-bending lane at a fork, between fields, trees and heath with blackberries.
3 In ½ mile, at Pear Tree Cottage, take the right ‘Claywell ¼’ hedged bridleway-track. Down past left cottage turnings, go over the right bridleway-bridge signed ‘Forest Studland Heath’. Through the gate into a rising field, aim right of the left electric-post to the bridleway-gate. Through to the tracks’ crossing, take the left ‘Rempstone Estate Permissive Path’ bridleway track, continuing to a right electricity substation and Permissive Path post at the road’s edge. Turn right along the lane with right woods. Reaching the T-junction, continue into the ‘Hartland Moor and Norden’ bridleway track. Around the left bend with a right forest gate, continue to the Wytch Farm road with a bridleway arrow on the left post.
4 Cross to ‘Norden 2½’ bridleway-gate BUT take the left fork path along the pines’ edge. Past a right turn to the road and a left footpath-post, continue for 100 yards and cross to the roadside footpath-post. Go left and cross the road to the footpath gate into a field. In 60 yards, cross the stream bridge into a tree bordered meadow. Into the right corner, cross the footpath bridge to the National Trust (N/T) kissing-gate into another field, with Corfe Castle far left. Turn half-left across to the corner N/T-arrowed gate into the next field. Keep the same line to the right corner N/T-gate under trees into another field. Follow the left trees up, over and down the long sloping field and round to the N/T-post at the far right corner gap. Through into the next field’s corner, follow right trees to the N/T kissing-gate into a paddock.
5 Take the instant-left N/T ‘Norden, Corfe Castle’ half gate into a short fenced path. Through the next N/T-gate, walk clockwise around Scotland Barn to the far track and exit by the gate into a road bend. Take the left ‘Norden. Corfe Castle’ N/T and ‘Poole Harbour Trails’ (PHT) footpath along left fenced trees and across a boardwalk into heath. Meandering through, pass into ancient birch-wood. Through a left kissing-gate into a field, follow the path to another kissing-gate into hollies and through ancient woodland to the fenced half gate and footpath bridge and up to the footpath-stile into a large level field.
6 Bear slightly right, aiming for Corfe Castle behind a dip in the facing tree-line. This direction leads to a gate and footpath/PHT-stile onto a meandering woodland path (generally aiming straight on and keeping the left fence in sight) to the far PHT-stile. Over, keep straight across the field, aiming left of Corfe Castle, to the PHT-stile and steps down into tree-lined Wytch Farm road. Cross into the signed footpath into woods, over a stiled boardwalk and along the meandering path passing Norden Park and Ride. Continue for ‘NT Visitor Centre’. Reaching the railway line, turn left for ‘NT Visitor Centre’, through trees and along the field’s right edge before using the gated crossing back into Corfe Castle car park.
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