Broadmayne - Hardy Country - Hardy's Cottage

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Broadmayne - Hardy Country - Hardy's Cottage - Lower Bockhampton - West Stafford - West Knighton - Broadmayne

A very varied walk through the Dorset countryside, quite remote from villages on the outward leg, passing through a few villages on the return. It is mostly along footpaths and bridleways, with a little road-walking, nearly all on very quiet lanes. You cross the Frome Valley twice; this is what Thomas Hardy referred to as the 'Vale of the Great Dairies' in Tess of the d’Urbervilles and you will see why. Look out for the information panels at West Stafford and West Knighton that describe how irrigation made these water meadows some of the richest in the country.

You will also see a very large watercress farm, heathland, woods and forest, farmland, lots of thatched cottages and Hardy’s Cottage (NT) itself. There is lots of wildlife and lovely flowers in spring and summer, also a couple of very large gravel quarries, fortunately well-screened by hedges, plus the usual Dorset mud and a couple of rather overgrown stretches of path – boots are advised!

Most of the walk is well-waymarked. You will come across 'Hardy Way' waymarks too, but it seems the authorities no longer support this. The outward and return legs of this walk are never more than a mile apart, so if you want to shorten it that's easy to do.

While the walk passes three pubs and a food shop, these are at the beginning and end of the walk; there are other options available, see under 'additional information' below. There is a very good picnic location just before Hardy's Cottage.

England - South West England - Dorset - Countryside


Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Food Shop, National Trust, Pub, Public Transport, River, Tea Shop, Wildlife, Woodland
1/2/2020 - Iestyn Roberts

An excellent walk. Further to Barbara's comments, we did the walk after one of the wettest autumns in a long time. The walk is very muddy in places but not over the top of your boots. The section between 12 and 15 was under a lot of water, however there are footbridges over the streams - they may have moved location so look around - and it is possible to get through without getting a bootfull. We rather enjoyed the overflowing streams! WE also rejigged the walk at 15, where the bullocks have churned the field up to make it impassable, we walked down the road to Pine Lodge Farm, rejoining the walk at 17. With that detour we covered 12.5 miles, I really doubt it is normally 10.9 miles

7/17/2016 - Paul and Tracy Dawson

A truly fabulous walk, especially on a warm, sunny, clear July day, with interest all the way! The paths and fields were dry when we walked it but would certainly be flooded after some rain. There's now a NT visitors centre by the car park near Hardy's Cottage, with a cafe and toilets. Guide directions are spot on. Thank you for this walk Alan, certainly one of our favourites.

7/10/2012 - Barbara Howcroft

We did this walk last week while we were on holiday in Dorset. Under no circumstances should you do this walk after 2 months of rain!! When you get to waypoint 12 to go through the gate there should be a little bridge to walk on. This has been washed away. We also had a young herd of bulls to deal with. The only way to cross was to take off our boots and socks and roll our trousers up and wade across. When you get to the next gate you cross the footbridge. This field was also under about 15 inches of water. Once again we waded through this. When you get to the corner of the field and go onto the lane you are then met with another whole lot of water. It was that deep our dog was swimmming in it! We had no option but to turn around, go back the way we came (once again passed the young bulls), back to the main road and look at the map for an alternative route. We did re-jig the walk and ended up doing 15 miles. All I can say is good walk but DO NOT attempt after too much rain. At least Millie enjoyed herself running through all that water. Barbara, Jeff & Millie the dog.

9/2/2010 - Barry Rossiter

My wife and I walked this on August Bank Holiday (sunny day and cloudless sky). Excellent instructions with no problem on directions. Timings about right.

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