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Thomas Hardy Trail

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Thomas Hardy Trail
Author: blackcoffee, Published: 01 Nov 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Thomas Hardy Trail - walking guide in Dorsetstar1 Thomas Hardy Trail - walking guide in Dorsetstar1 Thomas Hardy Trail - walking guide in Dorsetstar1 Thomas Hardy Trail - walking guide in Dorsetstar1 Thomas Hardy Trail - walking guide in Dorset
Dorset,
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Thomas Hardy Trail
Length: 6 miles,  Difficulty: boot Thomas Hardy Trail - walking guide in Dorset boot Thomas Hardy Trail - walking guide in Dorset boot Thomas Hardy Trail - walking guide in Dorset
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A six mile circular walk within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Starting at the Thomas Hardy monument which is a memorial to Rear Admiral Masterman Hardy (1769-1839), best known as the Captain of HMS Victory at the battle of Trafalgar (1805). The monument is 22 metres high and was built in 1844/5.
The walk has excellent views of Weymouth, Portland Bill and Chesil Beech and has one rather steep climb as well as several stiles and gates.

The monument is situated between Portesham and Martinstown.
Post code DT3 4ET.
Car parking is available at the monument but it has limited opening hours. A second car park is available a short distance down the hill from the monument. At both sites please note warnings not to leave valuables in your vehicle.

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Walk Sections

Start to Portesham Signpost
Start to Portesham Signpost

Start point: 50.6865 lat, -2.549 long
End point: 50.6874 lat, -2.546 long

From the monument walk down the road toward Martinstown for approx. 100 metres to a signpost marked Portesham 1.5 miles.

Portesham Signpost to SW Coast Path
Portesham Signpost to SW Coast Path

Start point: 50.6874 lat, -2.546 long
End point: 50.6801 lat, -2.5539 long

Turn right along the path marked to Portesham. The path goes through broken woodland and decends to the bottom of the hill to join the SW Coast Path by a ruin.

SW Coast Path to W Bexington Sign
SW Coast Path to W Bexington Sign

Start point: 50.6801 lat, -2.5539 long
End point: 50.6804 lat, -2.5548 long

Turn right along the SW Coast Path and then cross the stone stile at a left fork.
Cross several fields and stiles eventually arriving at a road. Turn Left down the road and within 100 metres turn right at a signpost marked W Bexington 5 miles.

W Bexington Sign to Stone circle
W Bexington Sign to Stone circle

Start point: 50.6806 lat, -2.5665 long
End point: 50.6768 lat, -2.5731 long

The footpath goes through the farm yard and turns left through a gate and starts to climb a ridge which leads to an ancient stone circle. This stone circle was excavated in 1965 and is thought to have been constructed initially between 1800 and 1200 B.C.

Stone circle to SY588 866
Stone circle to SY588 866

Start point: 50.6768 lat, -2.5731 long
End point: 50.6776 lat, -2.584 long

Continue straight ahead keeping to the well marked path the South Dorset Ridgeway climbing several stiles until you reach a road. The sign post is marked SY 588 866

SY588 866 to Cricket Pavilion
SY588 866 to Cricket Pavilion

Start point: 50.6776 lat, -2.584 long
End point: 50.6977 lat, -2.5797 long

Turn right up the road and almost immediately left by a grass triangle. Just before the cattle grid take the right hand track which turns ninety degrees to the right again within 50 metres. Follow the track with the wire fence line now on your left and the hedgerow on your right. This track leads down to Top Parts B&B. As you approach this building the wood on your left will end, take the path through the gate on your left and head for the wood directly ahead. Keep the wood on your right and as it turns further north keep straight on across the field starting to slowly descend to the valley below. Ahead you will see a small hamlet, head for the left of the cricket pavilion to reach the road.

Cricket Pavilion to T junction
Cricket Pavilion to T junction

Start point: 50.6977 lat, -2.5797 long
End point: 50.6947 lat, -2.5702 long

Turn right along the road passing Crow Hill cottage on your left and climb the steep hill to reach the T-junction.

T junction to Road crossing
T junction to Road crossing

Start point: 50.6947 lat, -2.5702 long
End point: 50.6926 lat, -2.5619 long

Turn right at the T-junction and take the footpath between the first and second group of trees. This path can be muddy in wet weather and goes behing the wood to your right. Follow this path keeping the wood on your right to reach a roadway.

Road crossing to End
Road crossing to End

Start point: 50.6926 lat, -2.5619 long
End point: 50.6882 lat, -2.5459 long

Cross the road and within 400 metres you will start to see the Hardy Monument in the distance to your right. The path will lead you to the lower car park and the end of the walk.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author blackcoffee and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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