This is a lovely walk in chalk country. It could be 25 miles total, but we wandered about
in order to see more (and there is a lot to see), so our days were quite long. This is not
an official path, and it's surprising that there isn't one. There are lots of Rights of Way,
from impressive Drovers tracks along the tops to smaller bridleways and paths. This is a
(surprisingly) under-walked area, so some of the paths end in a sea of wheat. You do have
the right to go through it, but this walk may put you in such a good mood as to be willing
to find an alternative. Even the bridleways (such as the one pictured) can be very under-used.
But, hey, this is a mini-adventure!
There are some great pubs. Alvediston Ale was my favourite brew, but others came close.
1. Walking days
This can be done in a week-end, but travel to Blandford Forum the previous evening is
essential as, even without detours, the first day is long. If you stay somewhere closer
to Blandford than Alvediston, then the second day becomes longer.
2. Getting there & away
Train from London (Waterloo) to Salisbury, about 1½ hours. The bus stop is 0.7 mile away, in Endless Street. The last bus on a weekday (number 184) is 17:45.
Return from Salisbury (trains about once an hour).
3. Leaflet, Maps
1:25000 maps (essential) are OS Explorer 118 and Explorer 130.
4. The Route
Previous night: B&B and evening meal (there are also lots of restaurants) at the Crown Hotel.
This is just a description of the route we took:
Day 1: Blandford Forum to Alvediston (16 miles)
(OS 118) Blandford Forum - up Black Lane to Blandford Camp (the path round the camp was exciting, but a more predictable way would be to take the previous left, then right to the playing field) - north to Tarrant Gunville (some of the path is crops) - Jubilee trail to beyond Chettle, left on roads to Farnham - continue north, L at Larmer Tree gardens then path on R through Tollard Park - Tollard Royal, trail up to the Ox Drove road - down Ashcombe Lane, through Berwick St John, L off road to Norrington (here, the continuing path to Church Farm is diverted south, get back north of the stream if it's visible, it's deeper than it looks!) - on to road and into Alvediston.
B&B and evening meal at the The Crown Inn. Good food, good beer, good atmosphere (quite important after a long day).
Day 2: Alvediston to Salisbury (14 miles).
Alvediston - south (on Landlady's recommendation) to the Ox Drove at Bigley Barn, east
along track, L on track at Woodminton Down (the track peters out but you won't mind, it's
gorgeous) - up track alongside Wood House Hanging, cut across to bridleway (pictured) that
takes you ENE to Rookhay Farm - path to Little London and Watercress beds - to Broad Chalke pub (there is a shop next door, closed Sundays) - (OS 130) -
Follow paths along river Ebble - at Bishopstone we took the minor road past Lower Mill by
mistake, but it was lovely - up to 'main' road at Manor Farm, then second L and on up Roman
Road to Old Shaftesbury Drove (the cut-through implied on the map doesn't exist) - on towards Salisbury, going L on the Avon Valley Path.
5. Shorter version from Tisbury
If you get a return ticket to Tisbury station (1½ hours from London Waterloo, one train per hour) then Alvediston is just
a few miles away through this lovely countryside. We wandered via Old Wardour Castle (English Heritage, you have to pay to
get in, but it's a lovely setting) and Ansty village (delightful). Then next day you can either continue to Salisbury, or
if weather, feet or mood dictate, go back to Tisbury by a different route.