Corton Denham Ridge Ride

With hunting at Nyland threatening to be sub-marine, we dodged Saturday’s meet and boxed the horses up to Corton Denham for something a bit different. I’ve been out two or three times this autumn to plan potential routes for newly arrived guests. Rather than plunging people into hunting as soon as they’ve arrived it’s nice to give visitors the chance to get back in the saddle after a long flight and to explore the country at a leisurely pace.

This route is definitely a winner- it has varied countryside, tremendous views of hunt country and a number of possible pub stops for refreshment! Importantly it is largely on bridle paths and open country; any lanes that need navigating are really quiet.

Setting off from the lay-by on the Sutton Montis road overlooking Whitcomb (this is the top point of the route on the map), the ride takes you straight up onto Corton ridge where the Sparkford Vale falls away below like a Lionel Edwards painting.

A good (if slightly muddy) canter along the top soon brings you to the high-hedged lane into Stafford’s Green. From here we followed the lane straight up over the hill towards Wheatsheaf Farm and the ‘Triangle’ where three roads meet.

At this point you pass through an ancient and rather extravagant road tunnel which leads into a peaceful valley, which is charmingly referred to the Ordinance Survery as featuring ‘Pillow Mounds’.

Bringing you through a secluded valley littered with gorse, the ride crosses the main Sherborne road which warrants a bit of care, before climbing above Poyntington to the Lady’s Mile. The mile is a super place to have a proper gallop.

Pulling up, we took the track to the left and then left again, skirting the top of the Sprakes’ farm where the B&SV point-to-point is held, and then back to the Sherborne road.

Passing the pigs in a muddy yard at Seven Wells the lane climbed again bringing us to the geographical highpoint of the ride. The trig. point above Corton Village is easily spotted from the aptly named Beacon Lane. Beyond it lies a fabulous vista with Glastonbury, the Quantocks and even the distant sea all visible on a bright day.

Downhill all the way home, we mooched the last mile or so before reuniting with our trailers. All in the ride takes about two hours. I would firmly recommend it to anyone looking for a scenic, varied outing – it certainly made a nice change from our normal routes.

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Please note, throughout our website we use the term fox hunting to mean all of the activities carried out by our participating hunts operating within the constraints of the Hunting Act 2004.