OUR VISION

 

We have a rich treasure of unspoilt countryside, historic sites, wildlife, and quality local food.

 

The White Hart Link is a 50 mile / 80 km walking route which has been devised as a circular link taking in the five market towns of North Dorset and the villages between. Using existing public rights of way and quiet lanes, it passes through some of the iconic countryside of the Blackmore Vale.

 

The project will engage with local communities and businesses, and encourage initiatives to create and participate in projects involved with health, education, heritage, art and tourism. The White Hart Link will establish a uniting and sustainable project for the enhancement and enjoyment of the Blackmore Vale in North Dorset.

 

Creating this long distance circular trail has been possible with the practical support of the Dorset Council Countryside Rangers, and financial support from Dorset Council, initially by way of a grant from the Dorset Council Innovation Fund. Having established and waymarked the route, which was completed in September 2019, the next few years will see improvements to route furniture, improved signage, and links to other routes, local facilities, and where possible, links to public transport.

Our Aim

Using existing routes, we intend to deliver on our four outcomes;

1. Community involvement

To communicate a sense of pride in ownership by involving community groups and volunteers in the parishes along the route.

2. Health

To encourage physical activity of any degree, in participating in activities.

3. Tourism

To encourage engagement with local commercial enterprises involved in providing food and accommodation.

4. Preservation

To protect and preserve a rural heritage asset, by encouraging the greater use of footpaths in the countryside.

Who Are We?

The White Hart Link project is a volunteer led initiative, supported by Dorset Council, and working closely with charities and community groups, clubs and societies.

We are grateful to Dorset Council, the Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust, Henstridge Parish Council, Tesco and Waitrose for their support.

How Does it Work?

The White Hart Link project will undertake to improve accessibility to the optimum standard, working within local restraints, to improve path furniture, route identification and information. In relevant areas and having sensitive regard to the existing aesthetics of the location, we will work with local communities to explore the siting of picnic benches, information boards, and some tree planting.

We intend to do much of this practical work through Community groups undertaking projects, with a special focus on younger groups (for example: Guides and Scouts, children with special needs, school groups, members of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme) This involvement should help to reduce the chance of vandalism or anti-social behaviours.

A new tourism asset for the region

North Dorset has a rich treasure of unspoilt countryside, historic sites, wildlife, art and quality food, which is under promoted in the terms of tourism. We will promote the White Hart Link through links to Visit Dorset and other related websites, as well as through sites promoting walking routes.

To support and sustain this effort over the longer term, we will build a project infrastructure with volunteer membership, much of it drawn from experts in the field, including those in local government responsible for delivering the Government’s strategies for managing rural assets.

Our ethos

The active group is made up largely of volunteers and aims to be as independent as is practical, working on behalf of the community, but recognising the need for statutory support and hence compliance with their regulations.

As such, we adhere to best practice in all we undertake.