Dorset – Chapel in the Woods – Walk #9

BrideValleyMaps : OS Landranger 194 & Explorer OL15.

How to find: This walk can be done in a number of ways either from the parking area described or from any of the surrounding villages using the amazing myriad of footpaths and bridleways in the area.

Facilities available: Abbotsbury, Portesham, Litton Cheney and Puncknowle.

Terrain: Some rough terrain – muddy and slippery especially after rain.





Chapel Ruins:

Lying in the grounds of Ashley Estate the ruins of this chapel have certainly not been forgotten. This chapel was built on land given to the Cistercian monks from Netley Abbey by local landowner William of Litton in 1246 – a trade for perpetual prayers – this type of gift for prayer was quite common at this time in history salvation did not come cheap!





All that remains now of this small rectangular chapel is the western gable end. Dedicated to St Luke the chapel was originally only 32ft x 18ft in size. A small alter has been constructed from the debris  and crucifix, with Christ wearing a crown, reside over the graves of Sir David and Lady Olga Milne-Watson who actually built the large house nearby in the early 1920’s – little else is known of this amazing little chapel.




On visiting you will see why……………

In such a peaceful and magical setting the ruins have a some-what inspiring feel. One can visit this remarkable place and just be there.

A visit to the woods and chapel while the bluebells are in flower (May) is just wonderful and the tranquility is just exquisite.

The sun shining through the fresh green leaves of the trees, their shadows dancing across the floor of the woodland, bluebells swaying gently with the soft gentle breeze whispering in from the sea, what a wonderful place to be.



Dogs are welcome but please remember to keep them under close control as there are farm animals in the fields, which will be protective towards their young.


From Abbotsbury take the B3157 westwards for about 1½ miles, which leads up a steep hill.  Towards the top, there is a very minor road (you come upon it rather suddenly) to the right.  Take this for about ½ mile.  You will come to a fork in the road with a grass verge in the middle: leave your car here (1).  Take the left fork and follow the track for about a mile.

GorseWonderful scenery of the Bride Valley will stretch out before you and look out for buzzards soaring overhead on the thermals looking for a meal and flowers on the gorse bushes whose bright, almost luminous, yellow are vividly displayed against the clear blue sky.

(2) After about a mile there is a gate on your right leading into the wood, with a path beyond.  This leads directly to the ruin (3). The path is wends its way though the woods and has some bridges that cross a meandering stream. The carpet of bluebells stretch right through the woods towards the chapel.  The chapel is well hidden by the trees and will appear directly in front of you after about 300 yards.

Leave behind only your footprints take away with you just your memories and photographs