Autumn is a great season for country walks, the leaves are changing, there is wonderful, autumnal smell in the air and there is something quite special about taking a walk in brisk weather and then settling down for a pub lunch or a quick coffee at one of the many eateries you can find on your route.
Here are a selection of walks you can do around Dorset that come alive during the autumn months when everything is gold and red and a few places that you can stop off at for refreshments.
Raleigh’s Country Retreat, Sherborne
If you’re a fan of seeing the changes in the leaves you absolutely must add this to your itinerary. The whole trail is about 6.4 miles long and takes you through gentle hills, dairy villages and the open parkland and woodland around the Sherborne Castle estate.
We would also recommend a quick walk around Sherborne town, the abbey is particularly impressive (make sure to look up at the ceilings) and of course, there are lots of great places to eat and drink!
Dorchester to Thomas Hardy’s Cottage, Dorchester
The author Thomas Hardy was very complimentary of his home in Dorset and rightly so, this seven mile work takes you from Dorchester through Thorncombe Woods to Hardy’s home which is now a National Trust site. The cottage itself is a fascinating place to visit, especially if you’re a fan of Hardy’s work, but even if you aren’t this is a fairly easy walk through some beautiful landscapes. Why not really immerse yourself by visiting Brace of Pheasants at Plush in Dorchester for a spot of lunch as well as a drink or two?
Commoner’s Way, Purbeck
This 5.5 mile walk is a great way to take in the history and traditions of Purbeck. It’s a circular walk both starting and ending at the Kingston Church and if you follow the trail using the leaflets you can pick up at the start of the tour, you’ll have all the historically important sights pointed out for you. Plus, there are some amazing views over Corfe Castle and with the autumnal colours, it is quite spectacular!
This walk is a must for anyone who loves rural scenery, starting at Sturminster Marshall, follow the trail along old railways lines, bridleways and fields into Spetisbury where you then follow the river on the Stour Valley Way to White Mill. Walkers often report seeing birds, deer and other wildlife, so keep your eyes open and you might come across one of the region’s beautiful animals.
If you’re looking for an easy and short walk, look no further than the Wareham Walls trail, only a mile long, you can complete it in around half an hour depending on how fast you go. It’s the perfect activity for families or anyone with a more reduced mobility that would struggle on a longer walk. The trail take you around the ramparts of the Wareham Town Walls which were initially built to protect the town from Vikings and you are rewarded with fantastic views across the town and the River Piddle. Wareham is a great spot for anyone who is interested in spending some time sampling local produce, there are a variety of pubs, cafes and restaurants to be found in and around the town centre.