Many thanks to stourvalewaker who has suggested an alternative route for the tricky bit between Swanage and Ringwood.
You may remember from previous posts that I am not overly happy with this leg of the walk. Felix and I tried continuing along the coast to Boscombe and then cutting up the Avon Valley Path to Ringwood in January. There are a few issues with this route:
1. Booooooooooooooooooooring walk along the beach for hours.
2. The cut-through to AVP is fiddly and involves a fair bit of walking by noisy traffic.
3. There is a death-defying stretch of 60 mph roadside walking for about a kilometre. It is exhilarating, but not in a good way!
When I did the full walk2012 route at the start of August, I tried another approach, this time going into Poole and following the Castleman Trailway to Ringwood. This also had problems:
1. The walk through Poole to Upton Country Park is unattractive and noisy (though Upton Country Park is amazing).
2. Castleman Trailway is also pretty dull, being essentially 16 miles of disused railway line.
3. I got lost. I know this is my fault and not the Trailway’s (and its stupid signs inviting me to jump off a bridge) but it took hours to get back on track.
So I am excited to hear from someone that there is an alternative route involving the Purbeck Way, Wareham Forest Way and the Stour Valley Way, picking up the Castleman Trailway at a later point. I need to weigh up whether to keep the route as far as Swanage/Studland and cut-back on ourselves, or whether to stop at Kingston/Worth Matravers and cut-off the Swanage bit, which will mean missing out on Old Harry rocks. My gut feel is to do the latter – the new route will go past Corfe Castle which I am sure will add to the drama of the route.
I am going to Weymouth this weekend to visit my sister and her family so there’s a good opportunity for me to check out this route. Fingers crossed!