Walk 9 – Gold Hill, Hammoon and Bere Marsh
There is a good chance of seeing deer along this route. Also, if you are lucky, otters and heron. Probably the best views of Hambledon and Hod Hills are obtained on this path.
A. From the Cross, turn right (not up to the church, but the road signed Shaftesbury etc) and walk up the road past the Surgery. Turn left into the drive of Yew Hedge House, then go through 2 gates to follow a path between the fences. Go through a gate at the bottom, then a pond is seen on the right, perhaps with wildlife such as moorhens, mallard and Canada geese. Cross the bridge and go through the gate. Take the left arrow and follow the left-hand hedge to reach a gate and stile. Go over the stile and follow the right-hand hedge. Go through a gate at the bottom of the field, over the stream. Head diagonally left towards the corner of the field. Ignoring the farm gate ahead, go through the metal gate to the left of a cattle trough. Cross a small bridge, follow the footpath with a high wall on the left, up steps and enter a private garden. Keep close to the left-hand fence (on grass, please do not walk on the drive). Leave via the rustic gate and turn right into the road.
B. After 20 yards turn left into Netmead Lane. After the last house on the right, turn immediately right and follow the track. Go through a gate into the field and continue close to the righthand fence. Okeford Hill may be viewed on the left. Pass through a gate and along a narrow alley. Cross a gravel drive to the road and turn left onto pavement. Cross Bower and turn left onto a track. Continue until the track turns right and follow the right-hand hedge past a line of tall trees. The old Chicken Farm, part of which now houses Self Storage units, is to be seen on your right. Continue with a hedge on the right. At the end of the hedge where the field narrows, turn left towards a 25 large oak tree. Turn right and follow the left-hand edge of a field. After ¼ mile, at the end of the field, pass through a gap in the hedge. Turn left downhill with sight of the river on the left. Follow the edge of the field until reaching a gate on the left. Go through the gate and a footpath goes diagonally across to other side of field. At the public footpath sign on the far side, follow a narrow path on the left to a bridge with the River Stour nearby. Follow the bank of the river – where it bends left, keep straight on across the field towards a wide gate. 50 yards to the right of the gate is a footpath sign and concrete steps over a fence.
C. Turn left along the road, cross the bridge over the River Stour and continue towards Hammoon. As you enter the village, on the right you will see the remains of a village cross, and Hammoon church. Spend a few moments looking at the large thatched farmhouse beyond and to the left of the 13th century church (worth visiting). Our route turns left following the signpost to a bridleway and Haywards Bridge. Follow the tarmac road which veers right past Downs Farmhouse and becomes a track. Go through a gate into the field, keeping to right-hand edge and skirting around a small pond. Go through a gate into the next field and continue along by the right-hand hedge. Go through another gate, still keeping to the right-hand side of the next field. Go through another gate and turn immediately right and continue by the right hand hedge until reaching a gate leading onto the Trailway. Turn left and continue for about ¾ of a mile. Turn left and go through a gate with the Woodland Burial ground on the left. Turn right and continue down the Trailway to Bere Marsh Farm, pass through a gate and after 50 yards cross a stile on the left.
(If you continue along the Trailway and cross Haywards Lane, the Trailway leads past Shillingstone Station after about ¼ of a mile, where refreshments may be enjoyed midweek and at weekends). 26 Our route continues straight across the field towards the lefthand corner. Avoid the gate on the left, cross the narrow foot bridge and the path continues diagonally left between fences towards the footbridge over the River Stour. After the footbridge, veer right until reaching a large willow. Turn right over a small bridge and after 25 yards go through a gate on the left. Go straight ahead across the field past a derelict stile on the left until reaching a kissing gate. Continue along ‘Oak Avenue’, ignore a stile on the left and go through the green metal kissing gate. Turn right to reach the road (Haywards Lane). Turn left and follow the road to return to the Cross.