Spetisbury Ring Hill Fort Round Walk
Every time I step out with a group of dogs I am reminded of how lucky we are to live in North Dorset with such beautiful countryside to explore on our doorstep.
I have spent countless hours walking the fields, hills and trailways and as a dog walker have come up with a short list of local walks that I think offer incredible views and also dog friendly locations. I thought I would document these both so that my clients can see what that their dogs are experiencing when they use our services, but also so that local dog owners have some well laid out, dog friendly walks to go out and enjoy with their dogs themselves. As I use these routes for our group walks they are all planned to take around one hour, start and finish in the same place with safe parking and have as little roadwalking as possible.
Spetisbury Ring Hill Fort
This is one of our regular and favorite dog walks. It is full of beauty spots and takes in two historical landmarks - perfect for a quick picture with your dog. A short stretch on the road starts and ends the walk, but the majority is in safe field and trailway.
Start point is just over Crawford bridge at a lay-by popular with walkers setting out in the area. From here travel south back over the handsome 15th century bridge, a fantastic vantage point for spotting heron, egrets, swans and cormorants. I have even seen the blandford otters playing below the bridge several times.
From here head up to and straight over the cross roads until you reach the spetisbury end of the North Dorset Trailway. Once on the trailway you will take an almost immediate left into the field and follow the path north west along the hedge row. This path will meander through trees and will bring you out onto the Spetisbury Ring Hill Fort ramparts.
The views from up here are incredible year round giving a perspective over the country towards Blandford and the Tarrents that you would not not have expected from the village. These earthworks were built by ancient Iron Age britons, and burial sites in the area contained british and romans laid side by side. It is a beautiful spot to stop, and you will find that more often than not you and your dogs have this hill to yourselves, so a great place to let them off the lead.
Following the ring clockwise you will follow a path through the middle of a field down to a gate. Off the lead dogs will want to be back on here for a moment as you briefly walk a barely used road for 160ft and left through a gate into a field that usually has a few horses (behind a fence). Follow the well laid out path past them and out onto a gentle incline up towards Home Plantation woods. Note as you approach the wood a map outlining public footpath routes around the woodblock. Stick to the route and you will come out at a style on the far side of the tree’s that comes out onto the trailway.
The trailway is very safe for dogs and aside from other walkers and cyclists, very low traffic. There are a few routes off the path leading to houses and you will occasionally come across a horse rider or two so nervous/unpredictable dogs might want to be close by or on the lead here. You will pass the old Spetisbury train station, nicely restored by locals and a great place for dogs to sniff. This spot also has a dog and general waste bin should you need it, as well as a table and picnic rest area.
From here simply follow the trailway back south east towards the end, and back out onto the road towards the starting point.