Visiting the Fovant Badges

Today Lynnie and I are out for a days walking on Cranborne Chase to check out a route I plan to use as a guided walk in a few days time.  The starting point for our walk is the church car park in the village of Broad Chalke (Grid reference SU040253).

Leaving the car park by the entrance gateway we turn left and walk along The Causeway soon crossing the River Ebble.

At the road junction close to the Queens Head pub we turn left and follow the High Road through the village as it sweeps to the right into North Street. as this road sweeps to the left we continue straight on along Chalk Pyt Road and stay on this lane as it leads through Chalk Pyt Farm.  At a junction of paths in the farmyard we head north on a track that leads steadily uphill and soon gives some cracking views.

Where the track joins the Old Shaftesbury Drove on Compton Down we turn left heading west along the route of the ancient drove between the market towns of Salisbury and Shaftesbury.

After a mile on the drove we take a footpath on the right following a footpath across a field of pasture to reach the Iron Age Chiselbury hillfort.  This was a sizable fort covering approximately ten acres.

The way marked footpath reaches the edge of Fovant Down and then descends diagonally across the chalk escarpment going through the site of the famous Fovant Badges.  Being so close to the badges it is difficult to distinguish much but I know we will get a good view when we reach the other side of the valley.

The path, steep in parts, leads to a gate and we follow a track to reach East Farm, here we continue on to cross the A30.  Behind us the badges can be clearly seen.

After crossing the road we continue straight on heading steadily uphill on Green Drove and then turn to look back at the regimental badges.  They were created by soldiers garrisoned in the valley below the Downs during World War I.  The first badge was cut in 1916 and a further nineteen badges were created.  Of the originals nine remain and further badges have been added to the surrounding downs.  

They make an impressive and poignant site.  It is impossible to look at the badges without reflecting on the fate awaiting the men that originally created them.  Exchanging the tranquility of the Wiltshire countryside for the trenches in France must have been a traumatic experience.

As we reach the edge of woodland we leave the track to join a footpath on the left.  In the stubble of the field stands a trig point, so I make a slight diversion to “Bag it”; this is my 182nd trig pillar.

The footpath runs around the edge of the field besides woodland.  As the trees end we take another footpath on the right through a kissing gate into a field of pasture to reach another kissing gate.  We make steady progress downhill on the footpath to reach the village of Fovant.

At a road on the outskirts of the village we turn left on the Dinton Road, at a fork we go right to join a minor lane, Mary Barters Lane.  This leads to Mill Lane where we turn right passing the old watermill, now converted to a home, and then turn right along Tisbury Road.   At a crossroads we go straight on, now on Moor Hill, to continue through the village and then as the road sweeps to the right we take a track on the left.  

We stay on this track for just over half a mile to the outskirts of the village of Sutton Mandeville.  Here we turn right towards the village along a lane, Sutton Hill.  At a sign to the church we turn right to make a detour to visit the 13th century church of All Saints.

The tower was added to the church in the 15th century and restoration work carried out in 1862.  In the churchyard is an unusual sundial.

Leaving the church we head back to Sutton Hill and turn right to continue along the lane for just over 150 yards before taking a footpath on the left leading through a field of sheep and then continuing steeply uphill through woodland.

At a junction of paths we turn right and follow the path along the edge of an arable field to rejoin Sutton Hill close to Larkhams Farm.  We turn left along the lane and then take a right into Lagpond Lane.  At the point where this lane turns sharp to the right we take a drove on the left, Hut Lane Path, towards the A30.  Hut Lane gets its name because it was the route to Cribbage Hut public house, this is now closed and known as Lancers House.

After crossing the A30 we continue straight on along another track, Buxbury Hollow, which heads towards woodland where it starts a steady ascent up Buxbury Hill.  After going through a gate onto access land we continue up the track.  At a fork in the path we go right and reach the trig point at Sutton Down.  I have previously bagged this one, but it is another for Lynnie to add to her list.

We continue along the track to reach the Old Shaftesbury Drove, we cross and keep heading south towards North Hill Farm with the attractive Prescombe Down on our left.

After passing North Hill Farm we continue downhill to reach the edge of Ebbesbourne Wake where we join a minor road which leads us down to cross the River Ebble.  Then we take a left to follow a lane, Duck Street running besides the river, signposted to the village centre.

At a fork in the road we go right and join Hay Lane, following this until we reach a minor road on the right, The Hollow, which we take and follow until we reach a cottage on the left.  Here we take a bridleway on the left going steadily uphill towards Hill Farm.

Close to the farm buildings, which all appear to have been converted into homes, we turn right along a track and after about a hundred yards take a footpath on the left leading between properties and then across fields into a copse.

Emerging from the trees we continue downhill crossing fields in a south eastern direction.

On reaching a track we turn left and then just before a road take a path on the right.  This takes us to a minor road on the edge of the village of Bowerchalke.  We turn left to take a footpath along the edge of fields and running parallel to the road.  Interestingly the gate to this footpath has the Postcode engraved into it.

We stay with this path as it runs through the village and passes the church and cricket field.  In my younger days I played cricket for many years and my club visited many villages in South Wiltshire, but I never played here.  It is a cracking setting.

We join a road in the village, Church Road and follow this for a short distance until we reach a footpath on the right, which leads through the farmyard at Knowle Farm.  From here the route follows a tarmac farm road uphill to a junction of tracks.  We go straight over to follow a track to Field Barn.

Soon after passing the barn and storage area we take a right fork in the track and stay with this route to go through a gate and head down to the edge of the village of Broad Chalke.

In the village we turn right along South Street and follow this past some grand looking houses and the village hall.  On reaching All Saints church we stop to have a look inside this splendid building, parts of which date from the 13th and 14th century, the porch is reportedly from the 15th century.  Restoration work was undertaken in the 1840’s, but it must take a lot of effort to maintain such a large church in a small community.

After visiting the church we follow the path through the churchyard to reach our starting point in the car park.  We have covered just over 15 miles and it has been a cracking walk on the Cranborne Chase.

You can view this 15 mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here (Subscription to OS Maps Required)

To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 118 – Shaftesbury & Cranborne Chase

21st October 2019

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2019)

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