Gillingham Trotters Running Club
LEG 9 MINTERN'S HILL TO SHEEPWASH LANE
1.5 MILES OF DOWNHILL BECOMING MORE GRADUAL AFTER THE INITIAL STEEP DESCENT. AS THE ROUGH TRACK IMPROVES INTO A GOOD, MAKE THE MOST OF IT. ONCE THROUGH BEAMINSTER THERE ARE 4 MILES TO GO ACROSS COUNTRY, MOSTLY UPHILL. THIS STAGE IS FOR THE 'KING OF THE MOUNTAINS' RUNNER.
1 Runners approaching the changeover will be turning off the main road into the access road to Buckham Down car park. The changeover is outside the actual entrance to the car park. New runners will take the track which drops steeply away in the same direction as the access road without actually entering the car park. (the car park does however provide intimidating views of Gerrards Hill later in the leg).
2 The track is steep at first and difficult in wet weather. It soon develops into road. After a mile and a half, having reached Beaminster take the right hand fork and slow down. Emerge carefully into the market square.
When traffic permits, go straight across heading for the church.
3 After a slight descent curve right at the bottom of the hill into church lane. The church is now your left. Stay on this line into Shorts Lane and onwards as the road dwindles into a track. Where this turns right, go straight on over a stile and along the path on the left edge of the field.
4 Emerging on to a road, go left then right into a narrow lane, Half Acre Lane. After the last house on the left, turn left into a narrow path with a car park to the right. Diagonal right across the next field. Skirt round the right of the barn and resume your diagonal line to reach a stile in the right-hand boundary of the field.
5 From here, the single tree halfway up the hill ahead marks the line of your climb up Gerrard's Hill.
Descend through 2 gates, cross a footbridge, and then climb steeply to pass the lone tree. You reach a gate at the right hand corner of the field, go straight across the track and over a stile hidden in the hedge.
6 Continue up the hill; but pass to the right of the trig point and trees on the summit to pick up a track through a gateway. Follow the track down the hill passing through 2 gated fields into a paddock.
7 Leave by the stile ahead, marked "permissive path". This slants left along the hillside, falling and rising to a gate by the farm. Go through but turn right to keep on your original line rather than staying on the permissive path. Keep on this line through 3 fields.
8 After leaving the third field, curve downhill to the left on a sandy track to Stoke Knapp farm. Go through the farmyard and across a road into a narrow lane. This narrows and curves right to become a path/stream bed climbing Lewesdon Hill. Carry on up the hill following this path just inside the tree line. The same track curving right and later slightly left takes you down to a road. Emerge carefully, turn left and cross when safe. Run along it to find the changeover in 100 yards.