Ashmore Wood Hike


I did this hike for the first time about 20yrs ago and I've done it nearly every year since. In my infinite wisdom I mostly choose to walk it in the winter, this makes it a deceptively tough hike.

LOOKS LIKE A JUDGE

It's pretty long ???14mile and as it's mostly bridle paths, in the winter they get chopped up and muddy especially after a lot of rain or in this case, snow! and makes the way quite hard to pass. But it's not all like this and these sections of the hike make the rest of the route seem like quite easy going. I would describe this trek as rolling. Not steep, not flat, a little of both in moderate measure.

RUCKSACK PACKED UP AND STRAPPED DOWN

For me Ashmore wood is a favourite section and has continental vibe to it, as a forest in Germany or Austria might be. It's a mixed wood of copiesed hazel, pretty big stands of mixed pine and mixed deciduous mostly beautifully tall and straight beaches.

NOT A VERY WELL USED TRAIL, IT GOT QUITE TIGHT IN PLACES

ASHMORE WOOD - WINTER SUN, MID AFTERNOON

ASHMORE WOOD - I COULDN'T DECIDE SO I UPLOADED BOTH

TEA BREAK!!!

ONLY HALFWAY AND KNACKERED. ENOUGH ENERGY TO TRY FOR A SIGNAL THOUGH

But despite it's charms a weary hiker dose best not to linger for too long, otherwise he will attract the attentions of the local raptors. In my case sitting under a tree having a quick lunch break and cup of tea, I looked up to see circling like vultures a mob of about 7-8 Buzzards and Red Kite. I guess if you look like you were once alive and now you are still that's enough to make you fair game in their very sharp eyes.

VIEW OF A SHEPHERDS BOTTOM

Another favourite part of the hike for me is "Shepherds Bottom" a really pretty piece of rolling British countryside and as the name suggests the view is usually finished off with a sprinkling of sheep, this way and that and at this time of year (mid march) busy about their lambing.

ASHMORE VILLAGE POUND FROZEN SOLID AND SNOW ON THE ROOFS.

The hike starts and finishes in the village of Ashmore which boasts the highest village pond in England apparently. In his younger days my fathers village used to play Ashmore village at football, these days it would be hard to image the village has a population big enough to make up a football team given that it looks like most of the houses, although very tidy and well maintained, are dark quite, rapped up and battened down for winter.

ASHMORE THATCHED COTTAGE. SMOKE FROM THE CHIMNEY, A RARE SIGN OF LIFE

Ashmore is one of the many villages in north Dorset and Wilts hire that are in range of London, therefor fair game for second homes and holiday boltholes. Part of me, I have to admit, likes the quite and sense of abandonment. One images that the zombie apocalypse will arrive any day and villagers have been evacuated to a zombie safe zone which will probably be in Devon.

LUCKY WITH THE WEATHER IN THE MORNING. COLD AND BRIGHT

As you may have already worked out like all good Hikes it's a circular route taking in a most excellent range of countryside from rolling sheep nibbled chalk downland to large well managed forests. You will see sheep, cattle deer, rabbits and squirrels.

DEEP SNOW BLOCKED THE PASS BUT A STIFF-UPPER-LIP AND A GOOD SLUG OF TEA GOT US THROUGH


ASHMORE FOREST THE WOODSMEN HAVE BEEN BUSY WITH THE CHAIN SAW
You will see lots of birds-of-pray including their half eaten carrion, you will see galloping horse and jockeys out for a hack and if you are very lucky you might even see an Emu???

NOT SUCH A LUCKY RABBITS FOOT

THIS EMU FOLLOWED ME ACROSS THE FIELD FOR AT LEAST 20 MINS PECKING AT MY RUCKSACK : )

Toward the end of the hike there is even an air-drone (Small airfield) where you can regularly spot WW1 biplanes and on a very good day the odd Spitfire!!!

THE VERY LAST HILL BEFORE THE VILLAGE

THE ROUTE

This is one of my most favourite Hikes, this is why I keep returning to it but remind me next time, not to try it after heavy rain or snow, it gets very sticky.

RELATED LINKS:
More about Ashmore village
Glebe Farm Boutique B&B

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