Rights of Way / Walks

Public Paths

Public Footpaths, Bridleways and Byways Open to all Traffic are all Highways giving the public the right to use them ‘without let or hindrance’.

With these rights however, come responsibilities for members of the public. Most of our countryside is someone’s work place, which must be respected. There is a Code of Conduct that the Public are asked to abide by :-

  • Be safe – plan ahead and follow the signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people
There is also a code for Land Managers:-
  • Know your rights, responsibilities, and liabilities
  • Make it easy for visitors to act responsibly
  • Identify possible threats to visitors’ safety
In addition, there is legislation to comply with, which ranges from obstruction to intimidation. Maintenance of path surfaces is the responsibility of the County Council, but anything encroaching onto or over a path is the duty of the occupier to remove, such as crops, hedges, or trees.
As customary in this country, rights of way are largely policed by consent and conflicts rarely result in prosecution. With good will and some give and take, we can all enjoy the countryside, and land managers can go about their business.

Further information on rights of way. In addition, you can find Public Rights of Way and Open Access Areas in the Ordnance Survey Explorer map series.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further ideas at phil@dorset364.plus.com.
Phil Drake, Puddletown Parish Rights of Way Liaison.

It is generally agreed that circular walks into the countryside of roughly one to three miles are the most popular with walkers, especially for the less able and for dog walkers. However, many of our paths out from the Village have no link with other paths, so it is sometimes not possible to achieve that short, round walk.

Ramblers and other walking groups tend to walk longer distances in half or full days, and therefore on these longer routes it is easier to find different ways back to the start.

Creating a new link path is not always easy. There are two types of paths – a dedicated path that will appear on the official map, or a permissive path that the Landowner permits, but reserves the right to withdraw. The Neighbourhood Plan is looking into ways of linking the current network of paths around the Parish to form more of the ideal circular walks that would be the most popular.

Walks from Puddletown

Puddletown has a number of good paths into the countryside, consisting of both Footpaths and Bridleways, some examples of which are given below:

  • Two of these bridleways start from Three Lanes End and can be linked to make a round walk, or even a ride or cycle.
  • The Byway, known as Rod Hill Lane, that starts at the Doctors’ Surgery and later turns in to a bridleway is the old route between the Old Manor (Ilsington House) and Ilsington Farm on the Tincleton Road. There is a gate and stile which gives options of a return to the village via either the Kennels, the Forest, or the Forest Road. This route in total would make a four or five mile outing.
  • There are several excellent walks or rides that start at Athelhampton and Burleston, one of them a direct off road link with Tolpuddle. Unfortunately, at the moment the only link to this walk from Puddletown is on the road, however the Parish Council are looking into provide a foot or cycleway on this part of the walk.
  • The footpath from Kingsmead is a direct route between the two schools and it is likely that the County Council would consider improving the surface if it were regularly used as a walk to school.

Whilst there are less vehicles on the roads, walking outside of the village is a little easier. During the Coronavirus lockdown one option which takes you north, towards Dewlish is detailed in the documents below. This walk is not recommended for children or people who are not comfortable walking along roads.

Walk from Northbrook

From Northbrook - map option 1

From Northbrook - map option 2

From Northbrook - map option 3

Coming soon... walks from Tolpuddle!