The best of Dorset in words and pictures

The Dorset walk — Lydlinch and Stock Gaylard

Matt Wilkinson and Mark Bauer in the part of the Blackmore Vale where the gates bear a ‘Y’

Church of St Thomas a Becket at Lyndlinch
The church of St Thomas à Becket at Lydlinch

1. Continue down Holebrook Lane past the church of St Thomas à Becket and Manor Farm. About 200 yards past Manor Farm, turn right through a ‘Y’ gate. Walk diagonally down the field to the left-hand of two gates in the bottom left-hand corner. Go through the gate and turn left to follow the left-hand field-edge. Follow the left-hand edge of the field beyond and in the corner turn right to continue up the left-hand edge of the same field. In the top corner turn left to cross a plank bridge and continue through a belt of woodland to a stile into an open field. Walk diagonally up the field and go through the left-hand of two gates in the top left-hand corner. Parallel the hedge on the left, heading for the left-hand end of a wood ahead. Go through a gate on the left and turn right to follow the edge of the wood on the right. At the end of the wood bear right through a gate, then turn left to walk downhill, heading for the right-hand end of the belt of tall trees at the bottom of the field. Here go through a gate and turn right to follow the right-hand edge of the big open field beyond. Go straight ahead into the next field and continue to follow the right-hand edge. In the next field, continue along the right-hand edge until it swings sharply away to the right. Here bear left, almost straight across the field to a gate visible by a telegraph pole on the far side.

A 'Y' gate that has seen better days at Lyndlinch
A ‘Y’ gate that has seen better days, under a lowering sky

Fallow deer in the park at Stock Gaylard
Fallow deer in the park at Stock Gaylard

2. Turn right on the lane beyond and follow it to a T-junction, where turn right. This is the B3143 and can be busy, so walk carefully on the right-hand side or use the verge on the left. In a little under ¾ mile, turn right at a T-junction and in 40 yards left up the drive of Stock Gaylard House, past a lodge with a 1900 date-stone. Follow the drive as it passes the house and its chapel on the right, then swings left and right to cross a cattle grid. Where the drive bends sharply right, go straight ahead through a gate. Ignore a track to the left and bear slightly right, downhill to the corner of a wood on the right. Continue straight ahead to a gate in the right-hand edge of the field. Head for the far left-hand corner of the field beyond, where continue straight ahead along an enclosed track. Bear right to follow the right-hand edge of the open field at the end of the track. In the next corner go straight ahead with the buildings of Stroud Farm on the right. The track bears left then right to enter an open field. Head straight across the field, uphill and aiming just to the left of the largest tree in the hedgerow on the far side. Here go through the right-hand gate and head down the field, straight towards the obelisk that is clearly visible across the valley. Cross a stile and continue in the same direction, diagonally across the field. Leave the field by a gate onto a main road.

A gate on the route of the walk just past Stock Gaylard House
A gate on the route of the walk just past Stock Gaylard House

3. Cross the road and go into the field straight ahead. Bear right to cross this roughly square field diagonally, heading for a gap just to the right of the far corner; aim somewhat to the right of a house with three chimneys on the skyline. At the gap, head in the same direction towards the end of the foreshortened hedge on the left-hand side of the field in about 150 yards. Here turn left, across a concrete bridge into the next field. Bear slightly right to a double stile between two trees close together in the middle of the far hedgerow. On the other side of the stile bear half-right to an opening at the end of the hedgerow next to a clump of trees. Beyond this opening continue straight ahead to the other side and carry on, now with the hedgerow on the left. In 30 yards turn left through a gap and immediately right to follow the right-hand field-edge. In about 200 yards, just after the hedge has curved to the left, keep a sharp eye open for a rather overgrown double stile on the right. Cross this stile and bear right to walk down to the far right-hand corner of the field beyond. Here turn left and follow the right-hand field-edge up to the top corner, cross a metal gate on the right and walk straight ahead through two more gates to reach the main road. Go straight across the main road into Holebrook Lane and walk down it to your car.

Crossing the field beyond Stroud Farm towards the obelisk on the skyline at Lyndlinch
Crossing the field beyond Stroud Farm towards the obelisk on the skyline

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