Walk 3748 - printer friendly version
Southover Heath from Tolpuddle Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 5.0 miles / 8.1 km
Ascent - 400 feet / 121 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference SY791945
Lat 50.7497210 + Long -2.2976158
Postcode DT2 7FB (approx. location only)
A leisurely walk from Tolpuddle renowned for its six 'Tolpuddle Martyrs' who were transported to Australia in 1834 for challenging the inequalities in farm labouring. The route crosses pleasant Dorset countryside and includes a section of woodland. If you have time, you can also visit the Tolpuddle Martyr's Museum which offers a walking trail around the village.
The start is near St. John's Church (grid ref. SY791945) where limited on-street parking is normally available. After parking walk east along Dorchester Road (with the church on your right). Turn right across a small grassy area with the Martyr's Tree and memorial shelter to join Southover Lane. Follow this lane for about 400 metres to where the lane bears sharp left. Just before the house on the right, turn onto the signed bridleway (grid ref. SY790941). Go through the gate and continue along the bridleway which soon leads onto a track. Reaching Park Farm, follow the signs and continue through a field with hedge on your right. The grassy path soon becomes a track and leads to a junction of bridleways close to Athelhampton (grid ref. SY771941).
Turn left and follow past Highwood Dairy on your right to enter afield. Keep to the right-hand edge of the field with the hedge to your right. The bridleway passes through trees and continues across a field to reach Admiston Farm (grid ref. SY767934). Turn sharp right onto a clear track. Pass through a gate and a small house on your left to follow the bridleway along the south side of Compound Wood. You soon enter a small field with a fine view to the south. Continue ahead to enter more woodland. The path bears half-right and continues about a kilometre to reach a cross track (grid ref. SY783925).
Turn left onto a gravel track and continue ahead as the tracks trends to the right ignoring any sidetracks and paths. The well-defined track continues north to reach a tarmac lane with a thatched cottage on your left at the junction (grid ref. SY790940). Bear right and follow the lane to another junction. Turn left and retrace your steps back to Tolpuddle.
The Tolpuddle Martyrs - were six agricultural labourers from the village of Tolpuddle in Dorset. They were convicted of swearing a secret oath as members of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers, which was in effect a trade union. They were arrested and subsequently convicted to penal transportation to Australia. After mass protests, they were pardoned in 1836 and returned to England between 1837 and 1839.