At just under 4.5km (2.75mls), this is a comparatively long walk by my standards, but one that more than repays the effort. Surprisingly rural given that it starts and ends in the city and goes through one of the major suburbs.
Then, to avoid having to walk along the busy Harnham Road, the route cuts through a housing estate and on to the Avon Valley long distance footpath as it makes its way along the bottom of Harnham Slope.
The path eventually emerges into Old Blandford Road, and our route follow what was once the main road into the city from Blandford and the south-west. This changed when Coombe Road was built; the first of many new roads that have left this route virtually traffic-free.
The final stretch takes us down through the incredibly pretty East Harnham, on through the unbelievably pretty Cathedral Close and back to our, not particularly pretty, starting point. Continued ...
Harnham Mill is an interesting building dating in part from the early thirteenth century, as a plaque that used to be on the wall explained:
This building dates back to 1135.
It was converted in 1550 to Wiltshire's first paper mill when the river was diverted to its present course under the building prior to 1550. It was used for ecclesiastical purposes, and it is believed that muniments from Sarum were stored here during the building of the new cathedral.
Harnham Mill is built from Chilmark stone, bridging the River Nadder by three branches (Mill Race - Eel Stage - Head Race Vent). A string of mounding runs across the front and around the end of the building's facade (above the windows and doorways). This is dated around 1200.
The quatrefoil windows in the end walls are circa 1250, with the upper storey brickwork dating from 1559.
It is now a pub/hotel, and very good it was too, the one time I went there.
St George's Church, West Harnham
Nearby is the little church of St George's, Harnham which, parts of which dates back to the Normans.
The chancel was lengthened in the 13th century, and the Trinity (or Lady) Chapel added in the 14th. The tower and the west wall were rebuilt in the 19th century.
It was under repair at the time of my visit, and was kept firmly locked when not in use.
All Saints, East Harnham
The VictorianAll Saints Church is built on the junction of the old Salisbury-Blandford turnpike (now called Old Blandford Road) and the, much older, Harnham Road.
Presumably, this reflects the increasing importance of East Harnham, which grew up around the Ayleswade Bridge, over West Harnham, the settlement around the Mill and St George's Church.