ByTheWay Field SANG, was once a holding area for cattle on their way to Wimborne market. In around 2011 the site became protected and was designated as Dorset’s first ‘SANG’. Like all SANG’s it has been designed to offer a purpose-built outdoor recreation facility that is available in perpetuity. The SANG is managed by Dorset Council Countryside Team and has a dedicated page on the Dorset Council website. Some additional information about this site is also available on the Field in Trust charity website.
How to find ByTheWay Field SANG
From Wimborne, follow the B3073 (Leigh Road) out of Wimborne, heading east towards Canford Bottom. Turn left into the carpark just after Topps Day Nursery.
From Colehill, follow Wimborne Road towards the town centre, turn left onto Northleigh Lane, at the T-junction turn left onto Leigh Road (B3073) turn left into the carpark just after Topps Day Nursery.
What is it like?
The SANG has a circular gravelled pathway of just under a 1.5km in length around the 21 hectare field. The walk can be extended by going into the pretty little wooded nature reserve, complete with stream, or by heading up the hill and onto Leigh Common. To create a circular walk the route will take you a short distance along a quiet road.
Whilst the field can get very boggy, the path stays dry in all but the most extreme weather. There is also a small pond that is ideal for swimming (for your dog). I am hoping that the SANG will be connected to the Canford School SANG, next to the River Stour, in a more obvious way in the near future. The area is pretty rich in wildlife with several species of dragonfly frequenting the ditches and the pond.
The field is cut for hay in late summer which means the grass can grown to be very long before it is cut. There are also occasionally horses grazing in the field. I am pretty sure this is ‘unofficial’ but the horses are tethered and take no notice of anything. Leigh Common is frequently grazed by horses and occasionally cattle.
This SANG is a pretty good spot for training recall for the slightly more advanced dogs as it is fairly secure. However, first time recallers as it is essentially a large open field with limited options of smaller, tucked away spaces and so is less suitable. For reactive dogs it can work really well as most people (and their dogs) stick to the pathways meaning there is always space out the middle of the field.
Parking is free in the small car park which does fill up in the summer months. It is worth noting that the height restrictor on the car park is particularly low (1.95m). There is a large children play park which is separate and fenced off and a permanent self-led orienteering coursw ByTheWay Orienteering map and instructions.
The paths are level and well made. Between BytheWay and Leigh Common there is over 4km of all-weather surfaced paths which are suitable for mobility scooters, buggies and wheelchairs and form circular routes. There is also some interpretation signage, dog bins, benches and a couple of picnic tables.
In conclusion, ByTheWay SANG is a good dog walking spot that is accessible to all and is open whatever the weather. It has things for children to do and will suit most dogs. If you have a taller vehicle, the height restrictor will prevent you getting into the carpark, and there is a lack of alternatives. As a training venue it is best suited to dogs who already have the basics pinned.