Walk - Stones and Circles

Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2020. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.

Route Description

  1. From the King’s Arms walk up Front Street to the junction with Winters Lane.

Turn right and continue uphill until you reach lane to Portesham Farm.

A village of local limestone cottages and a mediæval church, Portesham was originally granted as a manor by King Canute in 1024.

  1. Take this lane, cross cattle grid, walk steeply uphill to a disused Quarry and then pass farm buildings.
  2. Continue on track with a dry stone wall on left.

Stay on the path to ruins of Black Down Barn. Follow the path around to the left, below the woodland and join the South Dorset Ridgeway National Trail.

  1. Follow the National Trail through fields to the road.
  2. At the road cross over and walk towards fingerpost, turn right towards barns. Keep to the left of barns go through a metal gate and along the track. Follow South Dorset Ridgeway National Trail until you reach Hampton Stone Circle on your left.

Continue to follow South Dorset Ridgeway National Trail to Bishops Road.

  1. At the road turn right, walk uphill and turn left into a lane. Go on until you reach the sign for Gorwell Farm. Look for the bridleway which runs to the right of the hedge.
  2. Take this path for Kingston Russell Stone Circle.

You can take a detour to see the Grey Mare and her Colts Long Barrow. From the bridleway look for a small stile in the hedge to your right.

Long Barrow - The Grey Mare and her Colts was built nearly six thousand years ago to bury an early resident of the Ridgeway area.

  1. The Barrow is ahead of you, there is a gateway on the right behind the barrow. Return to the route by stile 8.

Stay on bridleway for ¾ mile until you reach a gateway, go through and the Stone Circle is on right.

Dorset’s Stone Circles date from 3000 to 2000BC. it would seem that one of their roles was as a ritual and meeting place to mark important times in the agricultural year.

Kingston Russell is a flattened circle about 24m across. All 18 stones are lying down and it’s easy to miss in the summer. Hampton is a 6m oval. The original circle may have been demolished in the late 17th century. After an excavation in 1965, the circle was restored by putting the stones back into old sockets.

Go through the gate on left-hand side marked The Macmillan Way.

  1. Follow this path through two fields. When you reach a field behind some houses follow the track to the right and turn left in front of them to a lane.

Walk through Gorwell Farm and its wooded valley. After the woodland on right-hand side, you will see a concrete track.

  1. Follow this uphill to a gateway. Go through and walk on the grassy track, pass through a small gate into an open field. Almost straight away go through a large gate on the left, and follow the field boundary to the right, walking towards the sea. At the end of the field, you rejoin the South Dorset Ridgeway
  2. EITHER Leave the trail here to visit Abbotsbury. OR Turn left and follow until you reach Bishops Road (6).

Cross over to a gateway and follow the path back to a stile.

  1. Take right-hand path to Portesham. Walk along the top of the coombe, ignore stile on left. Continue until you reach a fingerpost, turn right into the coombe, walk down to the valley bottom and head for gate below you.
  2. Go through the gate and follow the track alongside the wooded copse and withy beds.
  3. Continue on the path to a gateway into a field. Walk along the right field edge, Portesham comes into view. Walk on a farm track and go through two gateways.
  4. Go up a track on the other side and before field entrance turn right through the small gate. Follow the path behind houses. Stay on the path until you reach garages and New Road. Turn right and follow the road downhill to the Manor House. Cross over and follow the road to the right of the house to return to Kings Arms.

Portesham or Rocket Quarry opened from the 19th century until 1928. Limestone quarried here was used to build Hardy’s Monument in 1845. The farm track follows the line of an inclined tramway which ran from a siding of the Abbotsbury Railway. The quarry is a Regionally Important Geological Site.

Nearby refreshments

The Kings Arms, 2 Front St, PorteshamDT3 4ET (01305 871342) Open Daily. There are also tea shops and pubs in Abbotsbury

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