A circuit of Hod Hill

Walking trail

Perched high above a meander on the River Stour, this hill fort has wide ranging views over rural Dorset and is home to wildflowers and butterflies.

The deep ramparts date back to the Iron Age and Roman period and are home to spectacular wildflowers and butterflies.

A lone walker in the long grass on the north rampart at Hod Hill


Map route for Hod Hill perambulation


Car park on Child Okeford road, grid ref: ST855107


From the car park, go through the gate and up the steep grassy field, keeping the woodland to your right.

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At the top of the hill, go through the gate beside the National Trust Hod Hill omega sign.

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Turn right (anti-clockwise) along the ramparts. Hod Hill is a Scheduled Monument and was constructed during the Iron Age period. It would have enclosed around 250 round houses.

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The more sheltered woody edge provides a place for butterflies like the speckled wood. There is a constant battle to prevent scrub from colonising the very important SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) grassland and smothering the chalk flora.


Keep going for about 218yd (200m), where on the left you should be able to see the remains of one of the best preserved Roman forts in the UK. The Romans captured Hod Hill in 44AD and built a fort which was defended by 600 foot soldiers and 200 cavalry.


Continue along the ramparts and have a look down to the River Stour on its route from Stourhead to Christchuch.


The next section of ramparts is particularly rich in wildflowers including cowslip, common spotted, pyramidal and fragrant orchid, agrimony and clustered bellflower.


At the next corner, there's a path which drops down an old lane to Stourpaine. Look out for butterflies here, including the marsh fritillary, chalkhill blue, Adonis blue and marbled white.


Keep going round the hill fort and take in the fantastic views over rural Dorset and the Cranborne Chase towards Melbury Down. If you look down to the A350, the vehicles seem almost like matchboxes from this distance.


Go back through the gate you came through and return down to the car park.

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Car park on Child Okeford road, grid ref: ST855107

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A circuit of Hod Hill


Hod Hill is a steep climb to the ramparts of the hill fort, followed by a moderately level walk.

Dogs welcome but please keep under close control as the area is grazed by sheep and cattle.

A circuit of Hod Hill

Contact us

A circuit of Hod Hill

How to get here

Hod Hill, Stourpaine, Dorset
By road

Either park in small National Trust car park off Hanford Lane, off A350 1 mile (1.6km) north of Stourpaine and ascend short steep slope, or park in Coach Road or Manor Road in Stourpaine and take longer, more gentler route up bridleway.

By foot

Walk from nearby villages of Stourpaine, Shillingstone and Shild Okeford. Directions same as 'by road'.

By bus

Service 83, 30 and 314, Blandford to Shaftesbury, alight Stourpaine; service 7, X8, 309, 310, 317, 323, 330, 368, Blandford to Sturminster Newton, alight Durweston.

By bicycle

Hod Hill is adjacent to the North Dorset Trailway (National Cycle Network NR25) and can be accessed from Stourpaine.

A circuit of Hod Hill

Facilities and access

  • Dogs welcome
  • Car parks: Hanford Lane: OS ST853112, Stourpaine village: OS ST860095