Walking Guide

Walks in Dorset

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Experience the great outdoors with some fantastic walks in Dorset

What better way to explore your surroundings than on foot? Discover the best walking opportunities in Dorset with our useful walking guide. Find the most picturesque routes and enjoy the best of the scenery Dorset has to offer.

Dorset is home to England’s first natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, the renowned geological treasure known as the Jurassic Coast, as well as being the inspiration behind Thomas Hardy’s semi-fictionalised Wessex. There are plenty of walks in Dorset that take in the beauty of the county, as well as historical sites both inland and along the coast.

Explore the Vale of Marshwood, visiting Iron Age hill forts such as Lambert’s and Coney’s Castles, or take in part of the South West Coast Path at the historic resort of Lyme Regis. There are plenty of coastal walks to enjoy in Dorset, especially along the awe-inspiring Jurassic Coast.

If you are looking for a dog walk in Dorset, there are plenty of trails that are pleasurable for both owners and pets alike. Take a walk to the Southern end of Studland Bay to see the chalk formations, nicknamed Old Harry Rocks, with far-reaching views across the water to the Isle of Wight, or wander through the rolling hills of the Melbury Downs, the setting for Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles and other novels of the Blackmore Vale. There are many trails for all the family, including those with four legs.


Vale of Marshwood image by: Bob&Anne Powell

  • Golden Cap

    This natural World Heritage Site is a stunning flat hill top made up of orange sandstone, overlooking the iconic Jurassic Coast.

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  • Melbury Downs

    Melbury Downs was purchased in the memory of famous writer and poet Thomas Hardy, in order to protect the area in which he set his novels of the Blackmore Vale. There are a number of different trails that run through the beautiful landscape that suit all different levels of capabilities.

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  • Studland Bay to Old Harry Rocks

    This moderate 3.8-mile walk starts at the South Beach car park in Studland and traverses the impressive chalk cliffs to get a fantastic view of the Old Harry Rocks, marking the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast.

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  • Purbeck Ridgeway

    The Purbeck Ridgeway

    Starting at the ruins of Corfe Castle, this moderate 8.7-mile trail weaves through the spectacular Dorset countryside, reaching the coast at the chalk cliffs of Ballard Down, and then follows the coastal path to the town of Swanage.

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  • Vale of Marshwood

    There are a number of walking trails suitable for all abilities that pass through the scenic Vale of Marshwood. Make sure to take in the Iron Age hill forts of Lambert’s and Coney’s Castles; the majority of the pathways that pass these interesting archaeological sites are dog-friendly, so make sure to bring any four-legged friends.

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