• The Dorset County Boundary Survey website

Shire Rack

Dorset/Wiltshire border

Field Visit by invitation only

Wednesday 14th October, subject to Coronavirus (COVID-19) meeting guidelines, revised 14 September 2020.

Please confirm you have a place with Katherine before attending.

Turn north off the A354 Blandford-Salisbury road at the roundabout with the B3081.  Drive down into Sixpenny Handley, turn first right on the edge of the village and then right again up into Garston Down and along to the (rather small) car park sited on the LH side of the road.

Garston Wood Car Park Approch
Garston Wood Car Park approach from the South and the boundary with Wiltshire crosses the road beyond.

Turning thoughts over the weekend to 7th October and to consider our postponed re-visit to the Shire Rack with the AONB and will walk from the Pribdean car park along the public footpath to Shermel Gate – little more than a mile to the west. Returning by public footpaths via New Town or Dean Lane

A follow up sit-down session will have to be considered on the day within the on-going guidelines. 

However, this promises to be a most interesting day sharing, shiring, our findings with people from both sides of the border; a shire ‘reach’ racu [out] to both Dorset and Wiltshire which has been in place for more than a thousand years.

The Shire Rack was the setting for one of our very first DCB field meetings – our ‘findings’ here to prompt the selection of this as one of the two lengths walked with Oliver Rackham in 2010.

Do contact us if you consider attending this field meeting.

Please note

The activities of our Research Group are organised informally, and you are required to comply with current COVID-19 regulations. By joining in any of our outdoor events you do so entirely at your own risk, and we accept no liability for those who participate. If you wish to join us you are reminded that you must rely on your own ability and experience to gauge the difficulty and severity of the activity and the route or terrain involved, and you will be responsible for your own safety at all times. Any decision to continue or discontinue any walk or activity at any point is entirely your own choice, and you are reminded that you should have appropriate clothing, rainwear and footwear, and carry sun protection, food and drink adequate for the weather and the duration of the walk or excursion.

Shire Rack along the Dorset/Wiltshire border
Dorset Boundaries
Shire Rack along the Dorset/Wiltshire border
Cranborne Chase Landscape Partnership

Potential here for involvement - for contributing – to the AONB HLF-funded Cranborne Chase Landscape Partnership which starts in 2019 and runs for five years.  And which is seeking ideas etc “from  representatives of organisations and individuals with Archaeological interests across the area,” not only  ‘dead’ archaeology but that presented to this day by our  veteran trees, those living, direct descendants of an earlier, lost world.   We cannot know (yet) what a Lidar survey of the Shire Rack – notably  Mistleberry Camp – might (or might not) present.    And suggest there is potential here for ‘way marking’  of what we are given to understand are the reference points along those two charter recitals  – which would be a first-time ever project.  And along a length of the county boundary which (happily) is followed today by an OS ‘Recreational Walk.’ 


Oxford University have published an Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland in a geospatial online document - https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/.

Including Mistleberry as http://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/records/EN3599.html.

Mistleberry, Word extraction of data

c 1886 mapping. Nominal 1:2,500, From 1885 Boundary Book
Page Description Dorset Parish Other Parish link KB size date

Pribdean Wood

Handley Bower Chalke, Wiltshire PDF
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373 1886
165 Mistleberry Camp Handley Bower Chalke, Wiltshire PDF
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267 1886
164 Shermel Gate Handley Ebbesborne Wake, Bower Chalke, Wiltshire PDF
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250 1886
1m Lidar Data. Nominal 1:5,000, A3
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- DTM, Environment Agency 1885 boundary - - PDF
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2906 2018