Walking Along the Stour in Blandford Dorset
I’m always keen to discover new places in Dorset that are pleasant to walk the dogs. In Blandford, the river Stour is an absolute gem. We parked in the supermarket car park that is right next to the river and it’s pay and display so fine to do so.
We crossed the large blue foot bridge and then walked along the river side. The trail is very pushchair and wheelchair friendly. There are areas where the banks are low and the dogs had a paddle, then as the trail goes along, the bank is steep to the water so I would keep little people nearby.
There was a gentleman with a camera setup and he was taking photos of a pair of white birds that were sitting in the weeping willow and when I said “wow storks” he explained to me that they were little egrets .They do look like herons and we watched them for a while. The man had earlier in the day managed to photograph kingfishers diving into the river as well and we congratulated him before continuing our stroll.
The river water was clear and the sun bounced off the surface as it raced between the fringes of the weeping willows as it made its way peacefully down stream. The river area is very well maintained and there are benches every now and then to sit on and watch the wildlife and water flowing by. There were a proud pair of swans with their cygnets that were chasing each other up and down like siblings do creating quite a splash.
To the right of the river is a large green space that is clearly very well managed to encourage wild flowers and wildlife itself and I think if you sit quietly long enough you may spot dragonflies and other insects and creatures. I took a photo of a grasshopper who was making a lot of noise in the long grass. There was an abundance of yarrow growing and Teasels and beautiful purple flowers that I didn’t know the name of. The other side of the green space is a picnic area with benches and a play park and I think you could spend a whole day there just relaxing.
Then we came to a bridge, but it didn’t go over the water but stopped abruptly at the water's edge. At first I thought it was a folly, but we crossed the river and found it was part of a railway bridge built in 1862. You can go up some metal steps and stand on the top of the bridge and have a lovely view of the river and beyond.
I really enjoyed our walk along the river Stour in Blandford and after we had finished we popped into The Stour Inn for a cool drink. The dogs were welcomed into the beer garden and there was a barrel of cool water for them too! The Stour inn was quaint. The managers had not been there very long before lock down so had spent time building an undercover area and a really nice beer garden. We didn’t eat there but we will be going back as we understand they serve very good pizza!