Walk 1: SADBOROW POUND TO SCHOOL HOUSE
Distance: 3.74km/2.33 miles
TVT Walk 1 pdf All walk descriptions © Eve Higgs
This walk goes down Witteys Lane and through The Dungeon to Sadborow Pound. It crosses the Sadborow Estate following the route of an old road to School House.
Part of the walk follows the Monarch’s Way. For more information go to:
1. With the church behind you turn left, walk down Chard Street, turn right into High Street and walk up past Golden House to your left. It used to be a pub called the Golden Lion and dates back to the 17th century. During the 19th century there were three pubs in Thorncombe, the Royal Oak next to the churchyard and the Old Crown at the bottom of Fore Street.
2. Turn left down Witteys Lane. Richard Witty was fined for fighting on the royalist side by Parliament in 1646 following his capture at the Siege of Lyme. Note the hedgebank on your left. Hedge dating suggests it is around 800 years old. Walk down to the end of the lane and climb over the style directly ahead of you. Follow the path across two fields. The plantation of trees on the left in the second field was planted by Thorncombe Village Trust in 1987.
3. Climb over the stile at the entrance of ‘The Dungeon’. It is thought to be so called because cattle due for slaughter were herded through here to one of the slaughterhouses on High Street. Eight butchers and one cattle dealer are listed in the 1841 Thorncombe census. Follow the path along the gorge through which Stonelake Brook runs into the River Synderford . In wet weather the gorge is a rushing torrent and the foot path becomes a stream but is still a useful short cut back to Thorncombe village if the Sadborow Road becomes impassable as a result of heavy rain. Climb over the stile at the end of the path. Turn right and follow the track until you reach a gate.
4. You have now reached Sadborow Pound where stray animals were coralled. Owners were fined before they could claim their beasts. Keeping the triangular grass covered island in the middle of the road to your left, turn right through the white gate next to the post box. The drive next to it leads to Sadborow Hall; built between 1773 and 1775. Keeping the hedge to your left follow the path through two fields. The path follows the route of an old road which was closed at the end of the 18th century to save the parishioners money. Until 1835 the parish was responsible for the maintenance of all the roads in Thorncombe. Go through the gate and head across the middle of the field where there is another gate.
5. Pass through the gateway and head towards the white house at Shearings Cross. You will see a stile in the fence to the garden. This is a right of way and all that is left of the old road which was 'stopped off' by Sadborow owner John Bragge, in 1798. Keep the white house to your left. The footpath goes through the garden and comes out on the road. It looks overgrown but still passable. You are now standing on Thorncombe’s one and only turnpike which dates back to 1777. Lyme Regis Turnpike Trust handed it back to the parish in 1803. From Shearings Cross, the turnpike ran down the hill past Easthay, leaving the parish at the ford on the River Blackwater and the other way up through Thorncombe past the Toll House at Thorncombe Thorn up High Street and all the way up to Venn.
6. Turn right and take the track on the left next to School House Farm. The house was Thorncombe’s 18th century parish workhouse. As well as providing shelter and food for Thorncombe’s paupers, it trained inmates for employment in the weaving industry and as servants and agricultural labourers, which gave School House its name. Follow the track until you reach a gate. Pass through the gateway and keeping the hedge on your right follow the path into the second field. (Thorncombe’s Parish Workhouses)
7. On the right is a stile and a wooden plank across a narrow stream. Cross the stile into the field and strike out in a straight line towards the stile in the fence ahead which marks the boundary of Thorncombe Sports and Social Club.
8. Keeping the club house to your right, cross the field to the gate. Cross Horseshoe Road and go through the gate diagonally opposite which is marked with a footpath sign. The grounds of Greenhill, a large Georgian house, can be glimpsed through the trees,on your right. Cross the field and pass through the gateway.You are following an old road which linked Hewood to Thorncombe.
9. Ahead is a new fence with several gates. Go through the middle gate marked with the footpath disk and aim for the stile in the middle of the trees ahead. Climb over, turn right and head for High Street, then retrace your footsteps to the church.