Plan your trip
The Blackmore Vale is the perfect place for an escape to the countryside.
Escape to the greenest countryside and hidden valleys of the Blackmore Vale Line, best viewed from the train, for some of the most the unique and rare views are not accessible on foot. The train follows a route taking in the most picturesque countryside, skirting the Blackdown Hills, Nadder Valley and Cranborne Chase Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the verdant vales of Blackmore and Wardour. In countryside made famous by the Victorian writer Thomas Hardy, the stunning natural views makes the region renowned as a walking and cycling paradise, connecting with the many walks including the Wessex Ridgeway, Liberty Trail, the Leland Trail and National Cycle Route along the way.
Pack up your trusty rucksack, sling on your walking shoes or wellies and head for Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset via the Blackmore Vale Line. Just two hours from London or an hour from Exeter and your getaway opens the door to beautiful countryside and a world of flora and fauna in natural surroundings and landscapes.
After Salisbury, the first stop on the line is Tisbury station, a dark skies destination and gateway to the Cranborne Chase “the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the country to be designated in its entirety as an International Dark Sky Reserve.”
Explore Cranborne Chase AONB by electric mountain bike, reserve yours before arriving at Tisbury from Cranks and Planks.
Celebrate a love of natural history and wildlife by joining members of Tisbury Natural History Society on a guided walk. Try a circular walk meandering through footpaths of the largely undiscovered Nadder Valley. If it is wildlife conservation you want locate the nearest nature reserves via the Wildlife Trusts website.
Local Wheels by the hour. Hire an electric car at Tisbury and explore the delights of the Tisbury area. Membership required visit: Tisbury Electric Car Club.
The next train stop after Tisbury, is at the heart of a fabulous new walking route, the White Hart Way links the five towns of north dorset and can be accessed from north Dorset’s only station at Gillingham. Here in September, you can join the annual Gillingham Walkers are Welcome Festival, to discover rural scenes painted by the famous artist John Constable.
For some of the best views of the Blackmore Vale don’t miss the famous Hovis Hill at Shaftesbury where a connecting bus service run every 30 minutes throughout the day from Gillingham Station to Shaftesbury.
If you are into history take a walk across to Duncliffe Wood HQ for the Blackmore Vale Clubmen of the Civil War. Travel from Gillingham to Sherborne and visit the defeated Royalist stronghold of Sherborne Castle and enjoy a picnic in the grounds, ‘a haven for wildlife and birds.’
Visit the Terrace Meadows, a site of special scientific interest, a short walk from the station and The Quarr Nature Reserve is a must, built on an old disused quarry, with its exposed Jurassic cliff face it is one of Dorset’s Important Geological Sites (DIGS). From the station enjoy a three mile walk and picnic in Holway Woods Nature Reserve.
Sherborne’s Terrace Meadow SNCI (Site of Nature Conservation Interest) is one of the undiscovered joys of the town. A wonderful setting for an alfresco picnic on top of a hill surveying some of the most panoramic views of the town and further afield. Discover many rare species of wildlife and plants including orchids. The best walking route from the station takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Exit the station at the level crossing end and turn right up Gas House Hill. Turn right at the top and walk a short distance until you are opposite the gate on the opposite side of the road. Cross the road carefully, it is very busy. Go through the gate and take the metalled path up the hill. It is quite steep and there are trees up the sides. As the track levels out, you will see a gate through the hedge on your right. Go through and turn right onto the grassy path. This bends to the left before straightening out. You will pass through an avenue of Lime trees, with the Terrace Playing Fields on your left. Walk right to the end of the path, where it opens up into the Terrace Meadow, with a beacon at the far end.
This area is designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI), and in summer months it is full of wild flowers and dancing with butterflies. You can return to the station and town by retracing your footsteps, or alternatively take either of the two paths to the left of the meadow and walk down through the grassy area (Jubilee Meadow) to the gate onto the road. Turn right down the hill, and turn right at the junction, passing the Protected Verge, which also has interesting wild flowers. Cross over the road when the path runs out and walk back to Gas House Hill and the station.
One stop down the line from Sherborne is Yeovil Junction, gateway to Nine Springs Country Park, a family and dog friendly environment where the former railway line forms a cycleway. There is a regular bus service from Yeovil Junction where the country park can be explored from the cinema car park in Old Station Way on the site of the former railway station. A four mile walk from Yeovil Junction where Sutton Bingham Reservoir offers a family day out for free.
Crewkerne’s Bincombe Beeches - wildlife conservation and nature’s best views
Enjoy a picnic at Bincombe beeches in Crewkerne. Surrounded by stunning countryside the green lanes leading up to and around Bincombe Beeches are tranquil and a way to view the whole of Crewkerne. The view from the Beeches overlooks the whole town and away to Winyards Gap in the south. There is a changing background of wild flowers and plants and evidence of badgers and rabbits.
There have also been sightings of deer. There is a well-made path up from behind the Town Hall to the Bincombe Beeches and you can then wander the many pathways along the top of the ridge. All of it close enough to the town to break off for a coffee or lunch.
From the station it is a 20-minute stroll into town or alternatively there is a bus service into town is also available on the main road opposite the station entrance or a five-minute taxi ride. E-Scooters can be hired outside of station and at the town hall.