I am back on Cranborne Chase again today, this time with my walking buddy Nigel from New Forest Navigation. The start point for our walk is the car park of All Saints Church in 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 right and pass the United Reform Chapel that now also houses the village community shop and café.
Just after the chapel we take a footpath on the left, this leads to a lane where we turn right and continue along a footpath where the lane ends. We are now heading north easterly uphill.
At a junction with a broad track we turn left and continue uphill towards Stoke Down. After passing a farm we continue on the track, this is a long steady haul up the hill, at a way marker we leave the track to fork right and head across arable fields on a clearly defined path.
The route now enters woodland and soon reaches a driveway where we turn left following it to a crossing with the Old Shaftesbury Drove. We turn right along the drove for just over half a mile to reach a footpath on the left. Leaving the drove we follow this path along the edge of a field to a track where we turn left to follow it in a northwesterly direction towards Cross Dykes. Entering access land we stop to admire the contours of the punchbowl below us.
Our route continues along the top of the access land with a fence to our left. Reaching a track we turn left through a gate and follow this route south to return to the Old Shaftesbury Drove where we turn right and head west. After almost two miles, at a crossing of footpaths besides a reservoir, we go right through a gate, leaving the drove, and head across an arable field.
After crossing a stile we enter access land on Compton Down. There are splendid views along the escarpment from here. During World War I the fields below were the location of Army Camps for troops preparing to fight in the conflict.
Our route is down the steep escarpment with an avenue of trees in front of us as our bearing.
At the foot of the hill we cross a stile and then join the tarmac track between the trees heading towards Manor Farm.
After passing the farm buildings and houses we reach the A30, here we turn right and then soon cross to take the road leading into Compton Chamberlayne. Entering the village we soon come to a cemetery on our left, this is the location of a number of Commonwealth War Graves.
Reading the names and regiments of those buried here is a poignant reminder of the tragedy of war. Many of these graves are for Australian servicemen. Some of whom, just boys, had joined up to fight and spent months travelling by sea, leaving the Australian summer to arrive in a British winter, sadly their lives were ended by respiratory disease.
Leaving the cemetery we continue through this attractive village, just after the entrance to the church we take a footpath on the left. This heads steadily uphill and becomes a fine sunken track.
As the path levels out it continues besides woodland to reach Home Farm. Here we keep heading west along a farm track, passing barns and then continuing between fields. From here there are good views of the Fovant Regimental Badges. These 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.
The path now leads along the edge of woodland with a steep slope to our right. On reaching a track, Green Drove, we turn left to go steadily downhill to the A30. After crossing the main road we continue along a track passing East Farm and then continue to go through a gate below the badges.
From the gate we go right across the open access land of Fovant Down. We join a track going uphill to a junction of tracks where we turn left and pass through shrub to reach the Old Shaftesbury Drove. We cross the drove and join a track between arable fields and follow this as it descends steadily, there are stunning contours in the valley to our left.
The track continues and soon becomes hedge lined as it nears Chalk Pyt Farm.
In the farmyard we turn right and follow the farm track to reach a minor road and follow this into Broad Chalke. At a junction with North Road we continue into the village and then turn left into the High Street where we turn right opposite the Queens Head to join the Causeway and cross the River Ebble.
From here it is just a few yards back to our starting point in the Church car park. Our walk has covered thirteen and a half miles through some cracking countryside on the Cranborne Chase.
To follow my walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL130 Salisbury & Stonehenge
You can view this 13.5 mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here (Subscription to OS Maps Required)
7th July 2020
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2020)