Title: Exploring the Quiet Lanes and Villages of West Dorset                                                        
Author: Jackie Winter
RRP: £11.99
Publication date: 14 Nov 2019
Format: 234 x 156 mm
Number of pages: 136 pp
ISBN: 9781906651-343
Illustrations: 181
Maps: 10

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The quiet lanes of West Dorset are made for exploring (by two wheels or four). Away from hectic tourist routes, the old villages and gently rolling countryside entice you to linger awhile and admire the view.
     Despite never having learned to ride a bike, Jackie has spent the last four decades cycling around Dorset on the back of a tandem. She and husband Allan take their time, chatting to locals who often have a story to tell. In this book they share their discoveries and
fascinating snippets about Dorset that can’t be found in a guidebook or on Google.
     Try their circular rides for yourself by cycle, follow them by car or motorbike, or simply enjoy reading about their exploits from the comfort of your armchair. Whichever you choose you are certain to be inspired and entertained, while learning something new about West Dorset.


Map of the area                                  


Route 1 – Thorncombe

Route 2 – Beaminster

Route 3 – Powerstock

Route 4 – Portesham

Route 5 – Maiden Newton

Route 6 – Evershot

Route 7 – Cerne Abbas

Route 8 – Puddletown

Route 9 – Moreton



Route 1 – Thorncombe

(visiting Hawkchurch, Wootton Fitzpaine, Catherston Leweston, Charmouth, Whitchurch Canonicorum and Pilsdon)

Distance: 24 miles (39 km)

Hills: 650 m elevation change, three significant hills

OS map: Explorer 116

Brief description: Passing through beech woods, popular with foragers, at the Jurassic coast we linger to enjoy the views. We pay our respects at a shrine to a local saint. Passing a Jacobean manor house, home to a community of people who help those in trouble, we are treated to views over the Marshwood Vale and of Dorset’s highest hills.

From St Mary’s Church (front entrance) we set off, passing Thorncombe Village Shop. This community-run shop has a popular café with outdoor seating, a favourite with cyclists and walkers, especially the Axe Valley Pedallers. On Tuesdays, home-cooked, two-course lunches are served at 12.30 pm at the bargain price of £6 per person. We continue past the Old Granary, Old Forge and Jubilee House (built by Mrs Evans of Forde Abbey as a village library and reading room). The water pump here has a tap for filling our water bottles. Turning right we admire a row of pretty terraced stone cottages. Opposite is Golden House, formerly the Golden Lion Inn.

Heading southwest out of Thorncombe towards Holditch, at Thorncombe Thorn roundel we go straight on, then bear right at Shearing Cross. Through the hamlet of School House, School House Farm is on our right, where the poorhouse was situated, and the Schoolhouse itself is on the left. Ignoring an unsigned left turn, we continue on past the red signpost, one of only four in Dorset, its single arm directing people towards the hamlet of Hewood.


Jackie Winter was born in Dorset and has lived in Winterborne Zelston, near Blandford, since 1981. She spent her working life in Dorset County Libraries, and in 2016 published Lipsticks and Library Books: The Story of Boots Booklovers Library. She has always enjoyed writing (short stories, articles and books) and has been successful in several writing competitions, once winning first prize of £1000. She has cycled the Dorset lanes with her husband Allan for more than 40 years and in 2014 published Life in Tandem: Tales of Cycling Travels. It would be fair to say that if she’s not out cycling, she’s probably writing about it.


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