Grange Arch cycle trail
The Square, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset BH20 5EZRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This circular route passes under the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle and heads west, taking in flower-rich slopes to Grange Arch, an 18th-century folly, at the halfway point. The return leg is largely downhill via old clay workings that have evolved into a charming mosaic of oak woodland, ponds and heathland.
Start: National Trust car park at Castle View (BH20 5DR), grid ref: SY959825
Turn left out of the NT car park, then turn right immediately onto the C road, signposted Church Knowle. After 985ft (300m) you cross a stone bridge at the base of the castle, 330ft (100m) further turn right through a gateway to follow the bridleway running west along the base of West Hill.
Common blue butterflies are often seen alongside the track at the bottom of West Hill in early summer you may also spot the vivid Adonis blue.
After 1640ft (500m) youll pass through a gateway. Continue for another 820ft (250m) to where the bridleway forks. Take the uphill path, which is the steepest part of the route. At the top continue west along ridge path for just under a mile (1500m) to the road at Cocknowle.
The path runs alongside the flower-rich slopes of West Hill, before climbing steeply up to top of the hill, where you can feast your eyes on the stunning views across the Purbeck landscape.
Cross the road and take the long steady ascent up Ridgeway Hill. After 2625ft (800m) the path turns left through a gate and then continues along the top of the hill for 1970ft (600m) until you reach a gate at the start of the track leading to Grange Arch, which lies 300m further on.
Built in the 1740s by Denis Bond, the folly sits above Creech Grange, a grand country house first built in the 1550s. This is an ideal spot to rest as it lies at the halfway point on the cycle route; fortunately the remaining half is largely downhill.
From Grange Arch retrace your route to the road (be careful on the long downhill descent of Ridgeway Hill) at Cocknowle, where you turn left and follow the road down a steep downhill for about a mile (1500m), ignoring the left turn to East Creech and passing a campsite entrance, immediately after which you turn right onto a bridleway that meets the road on a sharp left-hand bend.
The bridleway takes you east through woodland (the track can be muddy at points). The path turns right at a small pond, climbs a steep bank and continues through the wood to the campsite at Norden Farm. From the road this whole section measures about 1 mile (1500m).
Follow the road through the campsite and farmyard and then turn right onto the A351 (take care at the junction). Follow the main road for 1640ft (500m) back to the NT car park.
End: National Trust car park at Castle View (BH20 5DR), grid ref: SY959825
- Trail: Cycling
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)
- Time: 2 hours
- OS Map: Explorer OL15 (Purbeck)
Mostly off-road with one short section of main road. Mainly level with some short steep climbs and fast downhill runs.
- How to get here:
By bike: From Wareham follow National Cycle Network Route 2 to Ridge and then south across Hartland Moor to the roundabout at Norden on A351. Follow main road south for 985ft (300m) to National Trust (NT) car park
By bus: Wilts and Dorset number 40 from Poole or Swanage
By train: Wareham station, then follow 'By bike' above; Swanage Railway from Swanage to Corfe Castle or Norden stations
By car: Follow A351 to Corfe Castle. NT car park is on east side of road at base of Castle Hill