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Corfe Castle, Walks In Dorset, England, UK

Corfe Castle - Walks In Dorset

Corfe Castle, Walks In Dorset was about 6 miles in distance. The terrain of this route was mainly paths, tracks and quiet lanes with a couple of gradual ascents and descents. Navigation was easy and there are no stiles to negotiate.

Corfe Castle towers above the little grey stone village of the same name, watching over the only gap in the Purbeck Ridge. Its ruined walls and towers, occupy the steep slopes of a conical hill and make for a superb sight, reflecting the castle’s stormy past.

To the west of Corfe Castle, the walk climbed on to the Purbeck Ridge for a very enjoyable ridge-top walk with superb views: to the coast on the left and over Wareham Forest and the Dorset heathlands on the right. After descending Purbeck Ridge and going through the hamlet of East Creech, the route went through an attractive Norden Wood. Norden Wood was once a clay-mining area; the small pools that are scattered throughout the wood have been formed from old clay-pits and add to both the interest and the attractiveness of this part of the walk. At the end of the walk there was a sudden and outstanding view of the castle ruins.

Starting at the cross in Corfe Castle Square leg one headed west down a tarmac track below the castle; then along the Hardy Way below West hill; then along Purbeck Ridge over Knowle Hill and to the top of Ridgeway Hill. Leg two headed north down a track to a lane; then north east down a lane through East Creech; then north along a lane to reach Norden Wood. To complete the walk the third and final leg headed east on the Purbeck Way through Norden Wood; then south over fields; then east again through woodland below West Hill before retrace earlier steps back to Corfe Castle.

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Corfe Castle, Walks In Dorset Route

The Corfe Castle, Walks In Dorset route was circular in a clockwise direction with three legs.

Leg 1

On this first leg we started from the cross in Corfe Castle Square and headed west; initially down a tarmac track below the castle; then on the Hardy Way below West hill and along Purbeck Ridge over Knowle Hill and on to the top of Ridgeway Hill.

  1. We started the walk from the centre of the village at the junction of West Street and The Square next to the cross.
  2. With our backs to the church and facing northwards up west street, we walked towards the castle entrance up West Street.
  3. We then almost immediately turn left down a tarmac track, beside the little River Corfe on the left and below the castle walls on the right.
  4. On reaching a lane, we passed through a gate, cross the lane, passed through another gate and crossed the footbridge opposite on to a gravel path.
  5. We then almost immediately turned left where the path bears right.
  6. Keeping ahead we passed through another gate on to the Hardy Way.
  7. Following the track we headed gently uphill below steep gorse-covered slopes of West Hill on our right, with a wire fence on our left.
  8. Where the track swung to the right by a National Trust footpath marker-stone, we kept ahead in the direction of Knowle Hill and Cocknowle to reach a gate.
  9. After going through the gate we continued along a track to the next fork and National Trust marker-stone.
  10. Here we took the right-hand uphill track, following directions to Ridge Path and Knowle Hill.
  11. We went through a metal gate and continued up to the top of Purbeck Ridge, where we went through a metal gate before going left to follow the lovely, broad, grassy ridge over Knowle Hill.
  12. The little village that we could see below on our left, clustered around its church, was Church Knowle.
  13. All the way along were superb views on both sides: the Purbeck coast to the left and Wareham Forest and part of Hardy’s Egdon Heath to the right.
  14. We passed through two gates, continued past a commemorative stone, and descend to go through a metal gate on to a lane.
  15. To the right was a large quarry.
  16. We kept ahead along the lane for around 50 metres and went through another wooden gate back on to the ridge path that continued over Ridgeway Hill.
  17. Near the top we reached a junction of paths and tracks by a footpath marker-stone.

Leg 2

Having walked about 2.5 miles to this point, the second leg went north down a track to a lane; then north east down a lane through East Creech; then north by lane to the edge of Norden Wood.

  1. At the top we turned right along a downhill track, with a wire fence to the left, passing through a metal gate and going right at a fork to reach a lane.
  2. We turned right to follow the lane gently downhill into the hamlet of East Creech, which was a farm and a few cottages.
  3. At a T-junction we went right and passed a duck pond on the right.
  4. At the next T–junction we went left along a lane signposted to Furzebrook, Stoborough and Wareham.
  5. Where the lane bent to the left, we turned right on to a blue-waymarked path on the edge of Norden Wood.

Leg 3

Having walking about 3.75 miles to this point the third and final leg headed east on the Purbeck way; initially through Norden Wood; then south over fields; then east again through woodland on the lower northern slopes of West Hill; then joining an earlier part of leg one to retrace steps back to Corfe Castle.

  1. We went ahead, east through the outstandingly lovely Norden Wood, following the blue waymarks all the time.
  2. At one point we turned right over two footbridges, after which the path meandered, eventually keeping along the right-hand edge of the wood.
  3. We looked out for a kissing-gate on the right so we could pass through it to leave the wood.
  4. Keeping ahead along the right-hand edge of a field by a wire fence on the right we headed gently uphill towards the ridge.
  5. We passed through two kissing-gates, continued across the next field to pass through another kissing-gate near the top left corner.
  6. Here we turned left, keeping by a wire fence on the left all the while, first across bracken, later through trees and gorse and along a path that runs along the lower northern slopes of the West Hill.
  7. We emerged from woods through a gate to be confronted suddenly by an unexpected but most dramatic view of Corfe Castle.
  8. We followed the path as it curved to the right beside a wire fence on the left, passing below the slopes of the gorse-covered West Hill on the right with Corfe Castle on the left.
  9. We continue gently downhill and pass through a gate to re-join the outbound route.
  10. Here we turned left, crossing the footbridge, and passing through gates either side of the lane again, retracing our steps below Corfe Castle on our left, back to the village centre.

When Done & With Whom

I did this hike with my partner Anne whilst on a Dorset hiking holiday during May 2012. We drove from our holiday accommodation in Puddletown, Dorset to Corfe Castle in Dorset. We parked in a pay and display car park in the south west of the village in Hollands Close off West Street. We walked to the start location of the walk which was the centre of Corfe Castle in front of the church.

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