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Lawrence of Arabia Trail

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Lawrence of Arabia Trail
Author: Claire, Published: 01 Jul 2011 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Lawrence of Arabia Trail Walking Guide star1 Lawrence of Arabia Trail Walking Guide star1 Lawrence of Arabia Trail Walking Guide star1 Lawrence of Arabia Trail Walking Guide star0 Lawrence of Arabia Trail Walking Guide
Dorset, Bovington
Walk Type: History trail
Lawrence of Arabia Trail
Length: 8 miles,  Difficulty: boot Lawrence of Arabia Trail Walking Guide boot Lawrence of Arabia Trail Walking Guide
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This 7.5mile circular historical trail starts at the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset and gives walkers the opportunity to visit both the former home and the final resting place of T. E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia.

Lawrence was born in Wales in 1888. He studied history at Oxford University and then joined the army in 1914, progressing to Colonel by the end of the war. He first came to Bovington in 1923 where he joined the Tank Corps, buying the nearby retreat Clouds Hill in an attempt to escape the public eye. After a spell in the RAF he retired to Clouds Hill in 1935, but sadly only a few months later he was fatally injured in a motorbike accident.

The route mostly follows wide rough stone and earth tracks through forests and plantations with no stiles. The walk is flat for the majority of its length, with just one steady climb to Clouds Hill. The popular walk, known as the Lawrence Trail, is clearly marked with wooden waymarkers. Limited opening times and entrance charges apply to some of the attractions so please check these separately when planning your walk.

Parking is available at the Bovington Tank Museum, accessed via Bovington Lane. Approximate post code BH20 6JG.

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Walk Sections

Bovington to the River Frome
Bovington to the River Frome

Start point: 50.695 lat, -2.242 long
End point: 50.7051 lat, -2.2764 long

Parking is available at the Bovington Tank Museum, accessed via Bovington Lane. Walk out of the car park following the vehicle exit signs with the museum on your left. Cross the main road and turn right to follow the pavement for a short distance, before turning left into a narrow wooded track signposted Lawrence Trail and Moreton.

Follow the track, cross over another road and go straight ahead (signed Lawrence Trail) past a metal gate and into deciduous woodland. Follow this track straight and pass through a pair of gates as the route crosses Ministry of Defence training ground.

At the sandy junction in the track, keep left, signed for the Lawrence Trail and Moreton. Follow the track as it turns to the right next to private property and then at the T-junction turn left towards Moreton.

Cross the small wooden bridge over the River Frome, fork to the right and you’ll reach the second river crossing, a long concrete footbridge.

River Frome to Moreton
River Frome to Moreton

Start point: 50.7051 lat, -2.2764 long
End point: 50.7031 lat, -2.2769 long

At this point the River Frome runs fast, clear, wide and shallow with a stone bed, and you may see the odd vehicle crossing it as a ford. Popular as a spot with dog walkers, you’re likely to see many dogs wading across the river as their owners take the drier route over the footbridge.

Cross the footbridge and continue straight up the lane opposite. Turn left into the entrance road for St Nicholas Church, where the funeral service for Lawrence took place on 21st May 1935.

Moreton to Clouds Hill
Moreton to Clouds Hill

Start point: 50.7031 lat, -2.2769 long
End point: 50.7176 lat, -2.2509 long

St Nicholas’ Church was built in 1776, but was rebuilt in 1950 following bomb damage in World War Two. The church is normally open to visitors and from inside, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the engraved glass windows. Lawrence’s funeral was well attended by a range of dignitaries (including Winston Churchill) and was widely covered by the press.

Return to the road and turn left. Bear left again at the road junction and the cemetery entrance is on the right. Lawrence’s grave is at the far end of the cemetery.

Retrace your steps to cross back over the two river bridges and continue straight on as the track climbs steadily towards Clouds Hill. On meeting the main road turn right and follow the grass verge – take care as the road can be very busy. Turn right at the junction and you’ll find the entrance to Clouds Hill a little further down on your left.

Clouds Hill
Clouds Hill

Start point: 50.7176 lat, -2.2509 long
End point: 50.7142 lat, -2.2487 long

Clouds Hill was owned by Lawrence between 1923 and 1935 and is now managed by the National Trust. Of the many places he lived, this is the only one that retains physical evidence of his occupation including decoration and furnishings. Entry fees and limited opening times apply, so please check with the National Trust if you wish to go inside the house.

Leave Clouds Hill and turn right back to the main road T-junction. Turn right here and follow the grass verge once again, until you come to a signpost marking the Lawrence Trail turning right. Turn right and follow the trail into woodlands behind Clouds Hill. Look out for a memorial stone on your right.

Memorials
Memorials

Start point: 50.7142 lat, -2.2487 long
End point: 50.695 lat, -2.2419 long

The memorial stone on your right was donated by the T. E. Lawrence Society and is close to the spot of the motorbike accident in 1935. Returning from the post office in Bovington Camp on his motorbike, Lawrence swerved to avoid cyclists and was thrown from his bike. He sustained serious injury and died at the military hospital without regaining consciousness.

Follow the path to the lay-by, the main tank viewing area. Here you’ll find a memorial oak tree dedicated to Lawrence and planted in 1983 by Tom Beaumont who served with him in Arabia.

Cross the road and go through the metal gate to the right of the military training area. Follow this path as it bends first right, then left then right again and passes through another gate into the deciduous woodland. Follow the path downhill (a relatively steep section) and then bear left at the fork. At the bottom of the hill you’ll reach a sandy T-junction where you need to turn left to return to Bovington. You are now on the same path you walked on earlier to get from Bovington to Moreton.

Retrace your steps going straight on through the gates and back to the Tank Museum, where you can explore the museum (which has more than 200 vehicles on display) or just return to your car.

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Check out these resources for your walk

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network Lawrence of Arabia Trail Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2011 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 comments for "Lawrence of Arabia Trail"

A lovely walk with some interesting features. Don't miss Moreton Walled Gardens and Clouds Hill. But Moreton Tea Rooms doesn't deserve its rating as the Best of the West Tea Rooms (try using Worth Matravers Tea Rooms as a standard). The walk has a a few boggy spots and a gradual incline but otherwise it's flat and easy going in March 2017.

By Hoppers on 19 Mar 2017

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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