Shaftesbury – Kingsettle Wood – Motcombe - Shaftesbury

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The walk starts at Shaftesbury, 'Shaston' in Thomas Hardy's novels, overlooking the Blackmore Vale and one of the oldest and highest towns in England. It has a fine collection of historic buildings and Gold Hill, made famous by the Hovis Bread advertisement.

From Shaftesbury, the walk traverses Kingsettle Wood, an ancient woodland of just over fifty acres, with a profusion of flora and fauna and carpeted with bluebells in the spring. On leaving the wood to descend to the village of Motcombe, there are good views.

The Coppleridge Inn at Motcombe offers spectacular views from its terrace, where you can linger over food and drink before navigating back to Shaftesbury over more glorious Blackmore Vale countryside.

There is quite an energetic climb towards the end of the walk up Church Hill in Shaftesbury. This was one of the original turnpike roads into Shaftesbury and extra horses had to be attached to carriages to pull them up the hill.

This walk was originated by Ryder Cowan but he has moved away from the area so Walkingworld is happy that Kai Chandler has taken this walk over, rewalked it and updated it November 2019.

England - South West England - Dorset - Countryside


Birds, Butterflies, Good for Kids, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Pub, Restaurant, Wildlife, Woodland
11/23/2021 - Kai Chandler

20 November 2021 - I had a great time revisiting this lovely walk - it's now been updated to provide an alternative route between waymarks 2 and 3 if the footpath is closed due to building works.

11/16/2021 - David Nicholson

16/11/2021 - Just come back from this walk and thank you for the precise instructions. However there are some major amendments needed to the early part (No fault of yours). At waymark 2 you can enter the private road but after 100 yards it is completely blocked off by a new industrial estate and housing estate. We tried to find a way round by going about 200 yards along the A350 and entering the new industrial estate. We met a really helpful guy, on his coffee break, who asked if we were looking for the footpath. He explained that it was now impossible to pick it up and that he had lost his lunchtime walking route. It was totally impractical to walk right along the main road to pick up the route. His suggestion of a re-route worked for us. We went back along the A350 towards the start to the new mini roundabout that has been built, then left into that industrial estate. This is on the other side of the A350 to the first 7 waypoints of the walk. We turned left into the industrial estate in the original intended direction and found our way to the very far right hand corner, where we picked up a footpath. It took us out North East, past 'The Bungalow' and to meet a metalled track on which we turned left to meet a minor road. A quick left and then right took us down another minor road to Hatts Farm, Past that farm after a few hundred yards is a footpath on the left that then leads on to another minor road leading past Hart Hill Farm and onto the A350. Turn right and cross the main road to a major track on the left, by a right hand bend. That track takes you to where you can pick up the route between waymarks 8 and 9. We enjoyed it anyway and sorry this is a bit long but hope it helps someone.

8/9/2020 - Kai Chandler

Walk checked June 2020 - just as glorious as ever and with lots of wild garlic in woods. There have been some recent footpath changes between 3 and 5 and the directions have been updated accordingly.

11/20/2019 - Kai Chandler

Walk updated 10th Nov to take account of the new housing estate that John Branscombe mentioned. It was a really interesting walk with plenty of variety. Although it had rained recently the walk wasn't particularly muddy. There were, however, a couple of quite demanding stiles to negotiate. Credit to Ryder for his clear directions!

10/22/2019 - John Branscombe

Tried to do this walk on Sunday 21 October 2019. The start is now a problem due to a huge housing development and the welcome to Wiltshire sign an. We are strangers to the area so we did another walk instead. Perhaps a revised start point would be good. Thanks anyway John Bee

5/21/2015 - Ryder Cowan

Many thanks to Nigel for reporting updates needed to walk directions, providing a good excuse to walk the route again; the wild garlic has indeed put on a spectacular display this year. Changes have now been incorporated as necessary in the walk details.

5/10/2015 - Nigel Williamson

Great walk - the wild garlic and the bluebells were stunning this year in the Kingsettle Wood. Some corrections to the details: 1). Access - Take the B3081 signposted Guy's Marsh not B3091 2). Waymarker 7. Waymarker post missing. 3). Current pipeline excavation . Waymarker 10. Cross stile. Cross field and small footbridge etc. 4). Waymarker 19. Just AFTER Solar 30mph restriction sign.

5/3/2014 - Paul and Tracy Dawson

Walking through Kingsettle Woods with the blue bells and wild garlic plants in bloom was lovely. A few fallen trees to negotiate through the woods. Very easy going walk for about 6 miles, then a gradual climb before the steep bit back into Shaftesbury, well worth it though. Excellent walk details

9/5/2010 - John Quinn

Really enjoyable Sunday walk. Thanks Ryder

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