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A Town and River walk

LOCALITY: Dorchester, Dorset
DISTANCE: 1 miles (1.61 km)
FACILITIES: Circular route, Parking, Suitable for wheelchairs, Toilets, Pub, Cafe

GRADIENT: Quite steep in places
TERRAIN: Easy
OS MAP: Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis

Walk description:

From Yeovil you drive along the A37 toward Dorchester. When you get there head towards any of the car parks. When you are in the town centre walk up South Street until you get to the top. Here you will see a stone column. This is the Town Pump.

From the Town Pump at the top of South Street, turn right and walk down High East Street. When you get to All Saints Church, cross to the other side of the street at the crossing. Then continue down this side of High East Street.

Keep walking along the pavement until you go across a bridge. Immediately after going across the bridge turn left into a lane along side the river.

The path at first is a little uneven. Walk along this path until you get to wooden plank path on your right. This is the entrance into a small Nature Reserve. Follow the path all the way to the end. This brings you back to the path you were on. Turn right and continue your walk along the river.

When you get to a bridge on your left this is where people used to gather to watch hangings at the local gaol. Go across this bridge and walk up Friary Hill. This is quite a steep hill. At the top of here you will see the Chubbs Almshouses. This is one of the oldest building still in use in Dorchester. This establishment dates it foundings to the rebuilding of the town after the great fire of 1613 and today comprises four flats.

Walk straight on and you will come to the King's Arms. This is a 18th century coaching inn which features in the Thomas Hardy's novel The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Turn right and you will come to the Corn Exchange which dates from 1848. It was originally built without the clock tower. This was added later thanks to Alderman Galpin, but became known as Galpin's Folly as the townfolk were sure it would soon fall down. The Town Hall and Council Chambers are here. Reputedly the table and chair in the Chamber were used by Judge Jeffreys in 1685.

Keep walking up the street and you will come to St Peter's Church/Statue of William Barnes. This parish church dates mainly from the 15th century. Jush past here is The Dorset County Museum.

Cross over and you will be back at the Town Pump.


Additional notes:

The walk takes about forty minutes to complete and is wheelchair and buggy friendly as long as you can cope will a couple of hills.

There are several car parks through out the Town Centre. There are toilets and eating facilities in the Town Centre.

The Walk Map and details are available from the Tourist Information Centre. The leaflet you will require is called Discover Dorchester.


18/08/2008 | Walk posted by cathy nettley

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