Castle views from Castle View
Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset BH20 5EZRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Take a relaxing stroll around Corfe Castle and discover this famous romantic ruin. This brief walk also gives you the chance to explore some lesser known sites and take in some unusual views. Look out for the water meadows and chalk downland which are teeming with wildlife, including some of our rarer native butterflies in the warmer months.
- Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder
- Bus stop
Start: Castle View car park, grid ref: SY959824
From Castle View car park, cross the A351 and continue straight through a gate onto a stone path signed Village Centre.
Continue along the path, ignoring all gates left and right until you reach a gap in the hedge.
Cross the road and turn immediately right along the footpath to a gate and onto the Rings; take a good look at the gate post as you pass.
The Rings are thought to date back to the 12th century when King Stephen unsuccessfully besieged Corfe. They were later adopted by Cromwells parliamentarians in 1775 as a battery. The impressive ramparts provide wonderful, uninterrupted views of the castle.
The earthwork you see is a medieval ring and bailey castle consisting of a massive rampart up to 13ft (4m) high, with a surrounding ditch and a platform just inside it. Its about 130ft (40m) across and 0.2 acres (0.1ha) in area. This earthwork is the remains of a siege castle thrown up by King Stephen in 1139 when he unsuccessfully besieged Corfe Castle, held for Matilda, his cousin, who disputed Stephen's right to the throne. It was used by the Parliamentarians during the 17th century English Civil War.
Walk down through the site, cross a stile and head towards a gate. Once through, turn left.
Cross a small wooden bridge and walk through the field to a kissing gate leading onto a road. Turn right and follow the road around to the next junction. Turn right then left into Webber's Close which will bring you out onto the halves, once a medieval strip field system. Today all that remains is an occasional linear ridge and stone boundary marker.
A medieval field systems called strip plots can be seen around Corfe village. They were once arable fields but are now under pasture. They usually appear as a linear ridge and can have a stone to mark the division. By the 16th century they were called 'hawes', a term applied to urban closes. Each property had strips of land scattered around the village, this way good and bad land was shared equally.
Bear left towards the playing field. Diagonally cross the playing field and take the alleyway beside Corfe Castle Evangelical church. Turn left into the square and head towards the castle.
Turn left past the tea-rooms, onto Olly Vies Lane. Continue to the road and cross the footbridge directly opposite. Pass the ruin of West Mill on the right which dates back to the 16th century. Explore, sit down or splash about before returning back along the path to the car park.
The first probable reference to West Mill is in 1290, when Edward I wished to know the value of his castle and chase at Corfe. Everyone on the manor had to bring their corn to be milled there and 1/16th was kept by the miller as payment. By 1795 records show that, Mr Apsey was paid for `taking the said mill asunder'. The buildings were then converted into three houses, which were demolished in 1922 for the war memorial in Corfe Castle.
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 www.nationaltrust.org.uk
End: Castle View car park, grid ref: SY959824
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- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
- Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer OL15
The majority of the walk is on a well made path, but some parts may become muddy. At points the walk runs beside a road, so be careful with children and dogs. The walk crosses a river by bridge but for the more adventurous bring wellies or a towel.
- How to get here:
By bus: Wiltshire and Dorset 40, Poole to Swanage, stops just beside Castle View
By train: Wareham, 4.5 miles (7.2km) or Corfe Castle station on the Swanage Steam Railway, 0.5 miles (0.8km)
By car: From Wareham: Take A351 to Swanage. At Norden roundabout (Park and Ride signposted to left) take second exit (straight on). Castle View car park next left-hand turning, about 200yd (182m) after Corfe Castle village sign. From Sandbanks ferry: Take B3351 to Corfe Castle. At end of road, turn right at T-junction onto A351 and immediately take next right-hand turning for Castle View
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