Dorset Walk: Mosterton, South Perrott and Chedington
Matt Wilkinson and Dan Bold walk where West Dorset and South Somerset meet
Published in September ’12
It is a while since I was in what might be called the northern fringes of West Dorset, but that is my loss, because it is an attractive and rewarding landscape. The valleys are less abrupt than those to the south and east and there is a more open feel, reflecting the fact that we are close to the flatter lands of South Somerset; in fact, this walk crosses into Somerset briefly before diving back into Dorset. A reminder that we are not far from the better-known landscapes of West Dorset is the occasional glimpse away to the south of Lewesdon Hill’s tree-covered swell and of the sharper outline of wedge-shaped Pilsdon Pen.
Mosterton is not to be confused with Misterton, a couple of miles away and over the county boundary. Mosterton’s main attraction is its setting, but it is home to the remarkable Eeles family of potters, whose reputation has spread well beyond Dorset. The church of St Mary is a copy of the Early English style, built in 1832; its 1970s east window depicts Christ triumphant above a tractor, seed drill and combine harvester.
South Perrott takes its name from the River Parrett which, with the Axe, drains this area; the former flows north, the latter south. In fact, Mosterton’s village school is the Parrett and Axe Primary School and the local council for South Perrott and Chedington is the Parrett and Axe Parish Council. South Perrott suffers from being on the busy A356 Dorchester-Crewkerne road but its stone cottages provide some pretty corners away from the traffic. It was the scene of the hounding of a suspected witch in 1605, Joan Guppy being attacked with brambles and left ‘greevously wounded, rente and torne’.
Chedington, the third village on the route, is the pick of the bunch. It offers many buildings in lovely golden Ham stone, and wonderful views framed in beeches and pines. The approach to the village on this walk gives glimpses of Chedington Court, built in mock-Tudor style in 1840.
1 Walk back to the main road and turn left. Turn left just before the church of St Mary down a path into what looks like the drive of a house. Follow the wall of the churchyard and go through a gate straight ahead. Continue down the field to another gate and in the next field go straight ahead to cross a double stile about 25 yards to the left of the corner of a patch of woodland. Bear right to a gate about 200 yards up the right-hand field-edge. Turn left onto a paved track. Just after a house on the right, turn left into a field and right along the right-hand edge. Continue along another field with West Farm on the right, then a third field. At the end of this field turn right then left through a small gate and walk straight ahead to meet the top of another paved track, which heads downhill to Seaborough Dairy. Continue straight through the farmyard onto the drive which leads out of the other side.
2 Reaching a lane, turn right. At a junction in about 1500 yards (rather splendidly named Duck’s Field Crossing) ignore a turning to the left and bear round to the right, signed to Misterton. In a little over ½ mile, a lane runs in from the right. At the far side of the junction, cross a stile on the right and go straight ahead, under a pylon line. Go over the brow of the field, then bear left to an inside corner of the field-edge ahead. Once round this corner, strike off diagonally to a gate near the far left-hand corner. In the next field turn left to follow the left-hand edge, turning right in the first corner and walking up to a gate about halfway along this side of the field.
3 Cross to the safety of the broad verge on the other side of the busy road and turn right. In about 150 yards, turn left, signed to South Perrott – this is Lecher Lane, named not after a libidinous person but for the stream it crosses, Lecher Water. Walk to the T-junction on the edge of South Perrott, where turn right. Ignore a path which runs between two houses, next to a stream. Instead take the next on the right, which is Church Hill. Walk into the churchyard of St Mary’s through an unusual gate and turn left to follow the wall down to a more conventional kissing-gate. Walk down a path between two wire fences, following the right-hand one until the path enters a narrow alley and leads down to a lane.
4 Turn right, then left after a few yards, between Bridge Farmhouse and Bellamy Farm. Continue ahead on a grassy track to a stream. Here clamber up the right-hand bank and follow the stream until it bends away to the left and the path descends from the bank to continue in the same direction on an enclosed path. Go through a gate and over a bridge and start up a slope. Halfway up the slope, turn right through a gate and follow the left-hand edge of the space beyond to reach a squeeze-stile. Bear right to a gate visible in the next field’s right-hand edge, about 150 yards away. Go through the gate and follow the left-hand field-edge to go through the next gate on the left. In the next field follow the left-hand edge again, to a gate. Cross the end of a paved track and continue up the left-hand edge. In the far corner, go through a gate and follow the river as it bends right, but as it bends left, continue straight ahead, across the field to a gate visible on the far side. Then bear left to another gate, alongside the river, and uphill to yet another gate, from which there is a fine view to the north and west. At first continue straight ahead in the next field, then bear left to a gate near the far left-hand corner.
5 Turn right on the road beyond and walk down through Chedington, ignoring all turnings. Near the end of the village, a narrow paved track comes up from the right and the road bends left. Immediately after the bend, go through a gate onto a track down to a narrow field which leads into a larger one. Follow the left-hand edges of this and four more fields. In the last of these, the path heads downhill and curves round to a gate onto a road. Turn right on the road and walk ¼ mile to a junction on the right. Opposite it, turn left down an enclosed path to a footbridge. Beyond is a smaller footbridge and a gate, where turn right through two metal gates.
6 Follow the left-hand edge of the field and in the far left-hand corner go through a gate into the next field, where parallel the right-hand edge to a gate at the far end. Go straight across the middle of the undulating field to a metal gate visible on the far side. After a bridge and another gate, turn right to follow the right-hand edge of the next field. Just before the first corner, turn right through a gate and walk across a narrow field to another gate. Walk through the farm buildings of Baker’s Mill. Where the track through the farmyard swings to the right, continue straight ahead into an open field. Follow the right-hand edges of this and the next field to reach a gate. Continue on the path beyond until it widens into a paved drive and leads to a road. Turn right and almost immediately left into Orchard Way.
Distance: About 8¼ miles.
Terrain: Field-paths and lanes. There is probably a higher proportion of lanes than normal; they are mostly quite quiet, but walk with care and watch out for the occasional car. The last stretch into Mosterton can be wet. No very demanding climbs.
Start: In Orchard Way, Mosterton.
How to get there: Take the A3066 (Tunnel Road) north from Beaminster for about 3 miles to Mosterton. Orchard Way is on the left in the middle of the village, just after a bridge and open green space. OS reference ST457053. Postcode
Maps: OS Explorer 116 (Lyme Regis & Bridport). OS Landranger 193 (Taunton & Lyme Regis).
Refreshments: The Admiral Hood in Mosterton; the Coach and Horses in South Perrott.