The Ramblers North Dorset Group will be walking the length of the White Hart Link, 50 miles, this spring and summer. The route has been broken into seven manageable walks varying between 6 and 10 miles and each section will be led by a trained Ramblers walk leader. The first section from Gillingham to Shaftesbury will be walked on Wednesday 6th March 2024, starting at 10.00 and subsequent sections will be walked on a monthly basis, with the last being in September.
The White Hart Link has been devised as a circular walk taking in the major towns in the north of the county, starting in Gillingham and walking via Shaftesbury, Blandford, Sturminster Newton, Stalbridge, and finally back to Gillingham. The Blackmore Vale was once known as the Vale of the White Hart. Legend has it that a white stag protected by Henry III was killed by a bailiff of Blackmore Forest. He was fined and imprisoned and the Vale paid a fine of White Hart Silver for many years.
Walking in North Dorset
Welcome to the North Dorset Group. Our area covers Evershot in the west of the county, Shaftesbury in the east, and south to Blandford Forum. There isn’t a corner of Dorset that we don’t explore, and you will also find us heading out to south Somerset and south west Wiltshire. We welcome members and visitors alike – so why not give us a try?
When do we Walk
We typically put on two walks each week, on Wednesdays and Sundays. The distance for either ranges between 6 and 10 miles, with an occasional longer walk. We try to avoid ‘route-marches’, but rather take time to enjoy the sights and sounds (and smells!) of the countryside.
We provide walks with 'added interest' when possible, taking in historic sites in town, village or countryside, or visits to nature reserves. Our area encompasses the Blackmore Vale, and part of Cranborne Chase, giving access to limestone hills, clay vales, chalk ridges, wooded chalk downlands and valley pastures – a wonderful variety.
Joining our walking community
As well as our twice-weekly walks, our group works to ensure that paths are kept open and accessible, and routes are well signed. Working with others, we promote the health benefits of walking and having access to the countryside and green space. Becoming a member of the Rambler makes a difference:
- to walkers personally, in terms of physical and mental well-being
- to our path network and our green spaces, by using paths that might otherwise be forgotten, and by working closely with Dorset Council Rangers
- to our collective voice as campaigners.
Our group organises varied social events, to offer something convivial to all members. We also run training days, to encourage participation in the running of the group, and inspire new and existing walk leaders, to equip them with the knowledge, tools and confidence for leading enjoyable walks for members and the wider walking community.