Common Lane Now
Linking Halstock and Corscombe in West Dorset, Common Lane is a medieval lane traversing two miles through an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The lane, recetly restored, is a track, suitable in most parts, for well equipped walkers, horse riders and mountain bikes with care. It is closed to vehicles.
The Lane starts in Halstock, 6 miles from Yeovil, and ends in Corscombe, 8 miles from Yeovil.
Why not park in Halstock village, which has a communiy-run shop stocked with local produce.
Take the road (walking!) opposite The Quiet Woman B&B and, after 30 yards or so, take the left fork in the road (before you get to the village hall).
Follow the unmade track, which crosses the site of a Roman Villa; the site was excavated between 1967 and 1985.
The villa is pre-dated by evidence of early Bronze Age activity, and Durotrigian (pre - Roman Celtic tribe) settlement. The Roman villa, was established in the middle 2nd century AD, 3 miles west of the Roman road, between Ilchester (Lindinis) and Dorchester (Durnovaria). Four Roman periods of development have been discovered, with impressive halls, mosaic flooring and a bath house.
The next section of the lane passes 0.5 mile through ancient woodland, through a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. The bordering hedges and woodland form managed ancient woodland, which existed before 1600 AD.
Ocean Hill (121 metre, 400 feet approximately)
Thomas Hollis named this, like many of the local fields based on his philosophical connections. Branch for Brackett’s Coppice or Wood Fold Hill.
Brackett's Coppice Reserve (38 Hectares)
A Dorset Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve a Site of Special Scientific Interest with access from Common lane. This is ancient woodland swathed with wood anemones and orchids providing colour. The hay meadows are cut annually and the pasture is grazed, creating fields of wild flowers.
Wood Fold Hill, Farmers End and Corscombe
Return from Brackett’s Coppice to Ocean Hill, proceed towards Wood Fold Hill, one local name that Thomas Hollis left unchanged, and commonly written as ‘Woodfole’. The hill provides easy burrowing which throws up the under soil often containing fossils. Farmers End, at the junction of the two Corscombe branches, was the site of labourers cottages, occupied until the 1930s, now in ruins.
Branch right towards Pitts Farm, one time the George Inn and later the Corscombe Steam Bakery, or branch left along Brick Kiln Lane. Pass the lost Victorian brick works kiln to Pines House. The house, and parts of the garden wall, are made of local bricks.
Nestling on a peaceful chalk hillside , it has a varied history. Visit the Fox Inn on the road that returns to Halstock. /The Fox Inn
, dating back around 400 years, opens Wednesday to Sunday, has a great selection of draught beers, fantastic food and great company.