Sherborne orienteering trail

Sherborne Pleasure Grounds, North Cotswolds, between Northleach and Burford, Gloucestershire GL54 3DW

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Escape into the garden, with majestic trees and beautiful lawns © Alasdair Ogilvie

Escape into the garden, with majestic trees and beautiful lawns

Discover the secrets of the South West with our series of one mile walks © John Hammond

Discover the secrets of the South West with our series of one mile walks

Sherborne is home to many different species © National Trust

Sherborne is home to many different species

Route overview

This is a fun trail for families; discover a mystery two-part word by finding 13 hidden letters along the route. Start at Ewe Pen Barn and finish at the Pleasure Ground, taking care to put the letters in the right order as you go along.

  • Grade of walk: Flip Flop (easy and lots of fun)
  • Type of walk: 'Hidden Places'

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route map for NT One walk 40 Sherborne orienteering
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Ewe Pen barn car park, grid ref: SP166140

  1. The walk starts in the Ewe Pen Barn car park. Look out for the buildings where sheep used to shelter in the winter. Here is where you'll find your first letter.

    Show/HideSherborne House and Gardens

    We don't own Sherborne House; it was sold by the last Lord Sherborne and converted into apartments. The first building on the site was probably a hunting lodge for Winchcombe Abbey but has been rebuilt as a house several times over the centuries. What survives today is largely from the 1830s, designed by Lewis Wyatt but finished by Anthony Salvin in the 1840s. The Pleasure Grounds also date from the mid-19th century, when paths winding through the woodlands were created and a new ice house was built. The circular iron seat around a tree was probably installed a later.

    Escape into the garden, with majestic trees and beautiful lawns © Alasdair Ogilvie
  2. Turn right as you leave the car park and follow the track. Bear right at the gate to walk along the stone wall. Look out for an elder bush against the wall at the end of the tree line, where you'll find your second letter.

    Show/HideThe Duttons of Sherborne

    The first Dutton at Sherborne, Thomas, a Crown Surveyor from Cheshire born in 1506, bought the manor in 1551. Thomas son, William, was prominent in local society. He was High Sheriff and Deputy Lieutenant for Gloucestershire and his marriage to the daughter of a Lord Mayor of London brought great wealth into the family. This was enjoyed by their son John Crump Dutton, named after his hunch-back, who built Lodge Park and the deer course on the estate. Crumps heir was his nephew, who he hoped would marry the daughter of his associate Thomas Cromwell, but he never did.

    Discover the secrets of the South West with our series of one mile walks © John Hammond
  3. Keep on the track and pass the football pitch until you come to the avenue of beech trees. The beech trees lined the original driveway to Sherborne House. One of the first four trees has letter number three hidden amongst its branches.

    Show/HideBats at Sherborne

    Bats are the only true flying mammal and are found all over the world, except in the Arctic and Antarctic. There are over a 1000 species of bat globally, with 17 known to be breeding in the UK. Species range from the tiny pipistrelle, weighing less than a one pound coin, to the biggest woodland bat, the noctule, which is still smaller than the palm of your hand! Sherborne is home to ten species of bats, which use the woodlands, hedgerows, rivers, gardens and buildings as roost sites and feeding areas.

    Sherborne is home to many different species © National Trust
  4. Go back to the track and follow the edge of Quarry Wood. The area used to be quarried for stone until the First World War, hence the name. The wood is bordered by a young plantation of trees. At the end of the plantation, just before another wall starts again, you'll find the fourth letter.

  5. Stay on the track until you come across a metal gate on your left. Go through the gate to enter the Pleasure Grounds and follow the path down. Before the path goes up, you'll see a gap looking like a 'valley' on your left. The fifth letter is hidden in this area.

  6. Continue on the same path to a beech tree, just before the metal gate. Look up and you'll see a flying bat sculpture. Somewhere around the tree is the sixth letter.

  7. Walk through the gate and find the ice house for the seventh letter.

  8. The path will lead you to another metal gate. Follow the track and keep bearing right to follow the edge of the parkland. At the point where the two fields separate is a fence. Letter number eight can be found on a conifer tree on the woodland side of the fence.

  9. Stay on the path until you reach the sculpture with the life cycle of the beetle on it. Somewhere on the tree is the ninth letter.

  10. Go back towards the bench and keep bearing right whilst following the path. In the bend there are two Austrian pines. There may be pine cones on the ground. Look up to find letter number ten.

  11. Look out for letter 11 on an ash tree in the wooded area, just before the waymark post.

  12. Follow the path straight on and climb up the hill where a yew tree surrounded by the circular seat stands. You'll find letter 12 on the tree.

  13. Run down the hill to the right to find a rock standing on its own. You'll find the last letter here. Now you've found all the letters, put them in the right order to make a two part word. Have you guessed what it is? You've now finished the walk. From here, follow the track back in reverse to get back to the car park.

  14. We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. The National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please go to

End: Ewe Pen barn car park, grid ref: SP166140

In partnership with

Cotswold Outdoor logo © Cotswold Outdoor
  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 163
  • Terrain:

    This is an easy access track, although the paths can get muddy and slippery in wet weather. Dogs are welcome.

  • How to get here:

    • By bus: Swanbrook 853, Oxford to Gloucester; 833, Cheltenham to Northleach
    • By train: Cheltenham, 13 miles (20.9km), with bus links to Sherborne
    • By car: Approach from A40 following Sherborne direction. Car park at Ewe Pen Barn

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