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The King John Inn in Tollard Royal is set within the beautiful Cranborne Chase AONB on the borders of Dorset and Wiltshire.

It is a quintessential British Inn with an award-winning restaurant and eight stylish bedrooms.

We had a wonderful experience staying and dining at the King John when visiting Shaftesbury and exploring the natural beauty of Thomas Hardy’s Blackmore Vale.

For us it was an unforgettable experience, and we had the best twice baked cheese souffle ever!


It is always such treat to stay in this part of the Cranborne Chase AONB. There is so much to explore on foot!

From the King John Inn we enjoyed a 5-mile circular walk towards Win Green, the highest point in the Cranborne Chase.

Or you can venture southwest and explore Hambledon Hill and Hod Hill. The views from both Iron Hills are amazing.

Wessex Ridgeway

The King John Inn is on the path of the great Wessex Ridgeway which runs 138 miles from Marlborough in Wiltshire to Lyme Regis on the Dorset Coast AONB.

The walking route starts at Ashmore on the Dorset/Wiltshire border, whereas the cycling and riding section starts at Tollard Royal.

At this section of the trail, you can enjoy the chalk downs and rolling hills of the Cranborne Chase.

You can also join the Hardy Way, a 217-mile circular that leads through beautiful Dorset and Wiltshire countryside.

Cranborne Chase AONB

This nationally designated AONB covers 380 sq. miles of countryside overlapping the boundaries of Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire, and Somerset.

Ancient peoples first began to manage the land within the Cranborne Chase AONB 8,000 years ago and they settled and began farming during the Bronze and Iron ages.

The forests were royal hunting areas even before the Normans invaded in 1066.

Today, Cranborne Chase AONB’s Dorset segment still boasts more than 2,000 hectares of ancient woodland.

There are numerous walks you can choose if you want to explore this unique area of outstanding natural beauty.

We explored the Chalke Valley while staying at the King John Inn.

The Chalke Valley stretches from Salisbury in Wiltshire to the east across to Shaftesbury, Dorset in the west.

It is a beautiful and largely undiscovered area with over 20 picturesque villages along the Rivers Chalke and Ebble.

Cool Places to Explore: Hod Hill | Hambledon Hill | Shaftesbury | Old Wardour Castle | Win Green | Chalke Valley.