35. Dorset: Beaminster Meadow and Wood Walk (Circular) 3 miles - OS Explorer 117
Easy going and lovely. Do it in Spring.
Beaminster is a delightful small town with a great tea house (opposite the charity shop) that sells antiques and art along with coffee and cake. Should’ve remembered the name but I don’t. I’ve seen Martin Clunes there on several occasions not being the grumpy Doc Martin or behaving badly, which speaks for itself. The café and charity shop are on the main road through Beaminster just past the square if you’re coming from Bridport.
Start by St. John’s Catholic Church just off Fleet St (it’s on the O/S) and currently (29.5.21) up for sale for development. Take the track to the left of the church, keeping an eye out for a yellow way-marker into a field on your right.
Head diagonally across the field keeping the cottage dwarfed by a tree to your right. The path continues through a gate, passing a tennis court and onto a lane by dreamy Whatley Pond with its happy ducks.
Soon, the lane deteriorates to a pretty track before meeting another lane. Keep straight ahead to Meerhay Manor. It had a cat ladder from a tiled overhang to one of the upstairs windows when we passed - now there’s thoughtful.
Shortly beyond there’s a drive on the right into what looks like a barn conversion. Turn into the drive and take the path on the right by the veranda (There’s a way-marker a little obscured by shrubbery).
This little copse comes to a stile into a field with arrows pointing right and left. Go left to the end of the buttercup covered field, admiring the fabulous views across Dorset to your right. With the sun in my camera’s eye, I couldn’t do it justice, but believe me, it’s lovely.
At the end of the field, go over another stile (to the left of a farm gate) into another pretty copse. Over that, follow the path to your right until it emerges into another field.
Keeping to the hedge on your right you emerge at the base of White Sheet Hill and a mown track. Go right here to circle and reach the plateau.
The track goes on to a farm gate, but don’t go through. Instead walk on to the right of it to another gate.
Through this gate turn sharp right into another little copse to emerge into another Dorset panorama. This one with White Sheet Hill communication tower in the foreground. It’s so lovely you might fancy skipping down the hill - but if anyone’s watching…
Skipping or strolling, head down to the tower, keeping it to your right. Just beyond the path splits. Take the right option. More stiles ahead plus a little wooden bridge over a stream. Go right after crossing this, keeping to the hedge.
This path/track ends at a field with a right or left option. Go diagonally right across the field, then left as you pass through the far hedge.
This leads to a path by a stream that emerges back at the ex-church where you started.
Now, wasn't that lovely?
Ps.. This is a short stroll to accompany the exploration of a small pretty town with Anglo Saxon roots, interesting shops and glowing buildings in local stone.
Some say it declined when the railway arrived at nearby Bridport and Dorchester. As a Sheffield lad in the sixties, I know what decline is. Well-to-do Beaminster didn’t decline, it mellowed. At least that was my conclusion as I enjoyed a piece of Dorset apple cake at that café I mentioned.
Pps… Noticing I didn’t stick in any shots of the woodland grottoes you pass through on this trail… here's, just in case you think it's all fields. Although there's nowt wrong with fields.