Sunday, 26 February 2017

Win Green to Ashmore (Wessex Ridgeway [Wiltshire] 11)

View from Win Green

Today is the final leg of the Wessex Ridgeway in Wiltshire and of the whole Wessex Ridgeway, as we have already completed the Dorset section. It is a shame that the weather is rather grey and cool, but perhaps this is not totally surprising in February. It is particularly frustrating that I can't get any decent pictures of the wonderful countryside below Win Green (at 277m the highest point on Cranborne Chase). Above is the best I have managed.

We head immediately downhill to an area marked on the map - rather wonderfully - as Under Win Green. You can't really argue with that, as it is at only 150m above sea level! We bear right (south) and enjoy this fine wooden dry valley to our right.

We are now in the park of Ashcombe House, rebuilt before 1740 (Pevsner) with only parts remaining, notably the Orangery and Gatehouse. The tree-lined road stretches ahead invitingly.

The view back shows something of the house.

We follow this delightful road for a while then turn left along the edge of another splendid dry valley in the direction of Tollard Royal.

We touch the village quite briefly, passing this phone box which now houses village notices, books and a defibrilator.

Very soon we turn right and follow an uphill track called Benches Lane. This is rutted and muddy and a reasonably arduous climb. We emerge to follow a path by a road and then strike out across two fields where the right of way has been obliterated by crops. Why could they not mark out the path with a tractor as most farmers do these days?

This brings us to the edge of Ashmore, where the distinctive Dorset Wessex Ridgeway sign reminds us of the second part of the Wessex Rideway which we finished at Lyme Regis last October.

On the outskirts of the village is this lovely newish house using the unusual combination of greensand stone and flints which is characteristic of this attractive village, famously the highest in Dorset.

A little further on is an older cottage built in the same style.

A sit was such a dreary day, I will end this post with a picture of Ashmore taken on our first visit there in January 2015 when we did a very nice circular walk to Stubhampton Bottom.

Conditions: Cold and grey.

Distance: 6 miles.

Map: 118 (Shaftesbury & Cranborne Chase).

Rating: four stars. This would be a lovely walk on a good day.

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