Dorset Walk #11 – Moreton and Clouds Hill

Moreton Curch WindowLocal insight

One of the advantages of being local, is being able to pass on our knowledge to you, so that you can truly enjoy the beauty of the countryside and all it has to offer. Detailed below is just one in a series of walks that you will find detailed in the different areas pages of our website. Enjoy!

Dorset is a delightful county in which to walk, you are able to marvel at some of the tales from times gone by and discover “long lost”  churches and ancient monuments. Paths radiate from every village and all walks can be shortened or lengthened according to fitness or time available. The most useful map is Ordnance Survey OL 15 which is double sided and covers Purbeck and South Dorset and ideal to help plan your Dorset Walk. If you are new to walking tips to plan your day can be found on our Blog post Dorset Walk .

 

Lawrence Trail: Moreton and Clouds Hill

Maps:

OS Land Ranger 194 and Explorer OL 15

How to find:

Moreton is a charming rural village tucked away on the River Frome 10 miles east of Dorchester. You can get there from the A35 road to Bere Regis or via the A352 Wareham Road. Parking is available on the road near the cemetery.

FaciliMoreton Tea Roomsties available:

Moreton has a well-run tearooms in the old school, offering brunch till Midday and then the most scrummy afternoon tea is served. Just around the corner the local garden and plant centre offers delicious homemade cakes and meals at their cafe. You are also able to stock up on some local supplies of fresh produce from their own Victorian Kitchen Garden at the farm shop.

 

Distance/terrain:

6 miles (9.5 km). Time 2.5 hours  A mix of forestry roads and muddy tracks over heath which can become so boggy in places as to require detours.

 

Moreton Church WindowsBackground:

Moreton has two unusual claims to fame.  The pretty church was almost demolished by the German Luftwaffe in 1940, the bombs were probably intended for the nearby airfield at Warmwell.  The rebuild retained the ancient box pews and apsidal chancel but added a dramatic innovation.  All the windows are clear engraved glass designed by Laurence Whistler. The result is a church interior like no other; it literally sparkles.
Lawrence of ArabiaThe second claim to fame is the connection with “Lawrence of Arabia”. We might well have forgotten him but for David Lean’s film starring Peter O’Toole. His grave is to the rear of the nearby cemetery; he was killed on the Bovington Heath road riding a motorcycle towards his home at the remote cottage “Clouds Hill”. A full explanation of his life is on a display board by the church. His cottage is maintained by the National trust and can be visited for a fee.

 

The Walk:

Start at the cemetery in order to visit Lawrence’s grave which is at the far end. Return and go down the road towards the tearooms then turn right in order to both visit the church referred to above and take in the display board detailing the life of Lawrence of Arabia. Leave the church and turn right down the unsealed road. Cross the river by the concrete footbridge. Shortly after a second bridge over a tributary turn right signed “Lawrence Trail. Bovington 2”.  After the Forestry Commission gate the boggy areas can be avoided by taking a higher path to the right. After about 20 minutes from the start by the edge of woodland turn left signed “Lawrence Trail. Clouds Hill 1½”.

Clouds Hill Please note that the walk can be shortened here:

When arriving at the Clouds Hill Road junction do not take the bridleway on the right but go straight on 400 m and turn left onto a forestry track into the plantation. Keep straight on and this leads, in due course, back to Moreton.

Go uphill and eventually a fenced track passes through MoD land to a road. Cross with care to the small car park opposite and exit the far end onto a track through woodland. On arriving at the road turn left.

When you visit Clouds Hill (NT) turn left again down the Bovington road, if shortening see above, otherwise take the marked bridleway opposite the T-junction over Turnerspuddle Heath. On arriving at the road junction fork left towards Briantspuddle. Walk on the grass verge for 900m and after a cattle grid just prior to a road junction turn left beside a house. From now follow signs for the “Jubilee Trail”. At the Tincleton road go straight over. Watch out for a right turn, again follow Jubilee Trail signs to traverse eventually a couple of fields then back over the bridges to return to the village. Time now for a lovely cuppa at either of the tea rooms at Moreton are well worth a visit following this walk.

Browse the nearby cottages for somewhere to stay.