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A Gallows walk

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

GRADIENT: A few ups & downs
OS MAP: Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis

Walk description:

From Yeovil 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 start walking down South Street. On your left you will come to Durngate Street. Turn left and walk along Durngate Street.

Durngate Street follows the line of the main Roman road. The pavements are narrow along here, so widder wheeelchairs and buggies may have to walk down the road for this part of the walk. When you get to a crossroad go straight across and straight across at the next crossroad as well.

Keep going straight on until you get to the end of the road. Turn right and walk up a slope. You will come to Salisbury Fields playing field on your left. Keep walking straight on all the way to the end of the path. Turn right and this is Gallow Hill. This was one of the main sites used for public executions.

The gaol once stood at the north end of Icen Way, where it joins the High Street. Condemned prisioners were offered a last drink at the Star, a pub opposite the Dinosaur Musum.

Keep walking straight on and cross over Icen Way. On your left you will see The Dorset Martyrs Statues. These were sculptored by Elizabeth Frink and was completed in 1986. Two martyrs face the figure of death across a circular plaque with the message "For Christ and conscience Sake"

Keep walking straight on along South Walks. The South Walks marks the boundary of the Roman defences. Evidence of the outer rampant can be seen on the far side of the road near the entrance to Sunninghill School.

Turn right along Acland Road. Keep walking until you come to a carpark on your right. This used to be the site of a Roman Bath. The Roman Bath were excavated in 1978 before being covered over by the car park and day centre. It is hoped that one day that one day they will be re-opened to the public.

On your left you will see Waitrose. Cross over and enter Waitrose car park. Walk to the back of the car park to where the lifts are. Take the lift to the basement. When you walk out of the lift look left and you will see an information board on the wall. Go through the door into the basement car park. Turn left and you will see red circles of mosaics tiles on the floor.

The red circle of red tiles mark the position of some of the five to six hundred wooden post that made up an enormous circular monument that was built over 5,000 years ago. The area was large enough to contain ten full size football pitches.

Go back to the lift and go up to the first floor. This bring you to the Tudor arcade. When you get out of the lift straight in front of you are five panals, telling the story of Dorchester down the ages.

Walk through the Tudor Arcade until you get back to South Street. Turn right and you will come back to the Town Pump.

Additional notes:

The walk takes about forty minutes to complete and is wheelchair and buggy friendly.

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.

22/10/2007 | Walk posted by cathy nettley

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