New free guided health walk to launch in woods near Dorchester

A NEW weekly Health Walk is set to start this month at Thorncombe Wood Local Nature Reserve.

The free, guided walk is part of the Dorset Health Walks initiative, and is designed for people who would like to get more active in a sociable setting.

The walk, near Dorchester, will start on Friday (April 19) and take place from 10am to 11am, beginning and ending at the Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre.

It will then be scheduled for each Friday throughout the year.

Specially trained volunteer health walk leaders will be on hand to welcome walkers and guide them through the paths of the nature reserve.

Some of these paths can be uneven and hilly in parts, so walkers should be prepared for and capable of navigating this type of terrain, said Claire Platten, Dorset Council’s countryside ranger at Thorncombe Wood.

“From scheduled ancient monuments to literary connections, this magical pocket of woodland at Thorncombe is steeped in heritage and full to the brim with wildlife, plants, and trees,” she said.

“A health walk here will exercise your body, your mind, and your wellbeing. And is an excellent opportunity to connect with nature.”

No booking is needed, simply arrive on the day to join the walk. The walk is free, but car park charges do apply.

Walkers are asked to complete a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire ahead of the walk, which can be done online by visiting the Dorset Council website or over the phone on 01425 480811.

For more information on Health Walks or to discover other walks in the area, visit the Dorset Council website or reach out to the Health & Activity Team by email to

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.