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West Dorset is a walker's paradise, with over 300 marked routes to choose from. Whether you favour glistening sea views and coastal scenery, or unspoilt outlooks across the county's beautiful countryside, all tastes are catered for. For a gentle stroll, why not discover one of the area's numerous pub walks, and take the opportunity to sample some delicious local produce.
Here in Dorset, we like to do things a little differently. Spice up your walk by taking a friendly llama or donkey along with you. Load up your animal with a picnic or art supplies and away you go! A memorable experience for all ages.
Here are a few West Dorset walks to whet your rambling appetite:
The Liberty Trail
The Liberty Trail follows the 28 mile historic route from Ham Hill, Somerset (one of the largest Iron Age hill forts in Europe) to the striking seaside town of Lyme Regis in Dorset. The trail recreates the journey of villagers from Somerset and Dorset who walked to Lyme Regis in 1685 to show their support for the Monmouth Rebellion. The walk encompasses many sites of cultural interest, from the ancient monastery at Forde Abbey to the Cobb at Lyme Regis; a harbour famous not only as a historical landmark, but also for its inclusion in literary works such as Jane Austen's 'Persuasion', and John Fowles' 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'.
The South West Coast Path
Stretching over 630 miles, this walk is not for the faint-hearted, although of course you could undertake just a small section of it if you wish. Beginning at Minehead in Somerset, the route takes you all the way to Poole Harbour in Dorset, via beautiful open countryside and coastline, much of it now designated as being of World Heritage status. Look out for some of the area's most impressive coastal landmarks along the way, including Golden Cap (the highest point along the South coast), and Chesil Beach (a unique 17 mile pebble barrier stretching from West Bay to Portland). Download the map.
Latest News! A Ramblers' poll has revealed that the Jurassic journey along the clifftops from Kimmeridge to Durdle Door has been voted the best walk in Britain! Experience the nation's favourite ramble yourself here.
The Macmillan Way
A route designed to raise funds for the Macmillan Cancer Relief Fund, the 290 mile Macmillan Way follows much of the old limestone belt from Boston in Lincolnshire, to the picturesque village of Abbotsbury in Dorset. Entering Dorset just above the historic town of Sherborne, the walk provides the ideal opportunity to admire all aspects of West Dorset's splendour, from stunning and unspoilt open countryside to fascinating towns and villages .
The Wessex Ridgeway
This walk begins in Marlborough in Wiltshire, and sets its course for the 136 mile trek southwards to the coastal town of Lyme Regis, Dorset. The route follows the path set by the Great Ridgeway, once an important trade link and ancient highway. En route you can discover some of Dorset's most impressive hill forts, including Pilsdon Pen, the highest hill in Dorset, and you can become acquainted with the Cerne Giant, a towering chalk figure engraved high on the hill over the pretty village of Cerne Abbas.
The Jubilee Trail
Starting at the ancient monastery of Forde Abbey, the walk winds it way through 90 miles of quiet villages and unspoilt rural landscapes to Bokerley Dyke, on the north-eastern border of the county. The trail offers extensive views of Dorset's beautiful countryside, and takes in some of the regions most charming parishes and picturesque churches. Download the map.
The Monarch's Way
The Monarch's Way follows the 615 mile route taken by Charles II as he fled for France after suffering defeat at the Battle Of Worcester in 1651. From Worcester, the trail heads for the South coast, connecting with West Dorset's Jurassic coastline at Charmouth, and then continuing west to Shoreham, where Charles II successfully managed to leave the country.
Guided Walks with an Expert
There are many opportunities to join guided walking tours in West Dorset. Tours are available on a wide variety of themes such as coast, countryside, history, towns, villages, wildlife and much more.
Contact the following organisations for more details, use our Search Activities box to the right to find walking opportunities in West Dorset, or view a full list of walking activities.
The Dorset Heritage Coast team organise walks throughout the year. Details are available from Tourist Information Centres.
Blue Badge Tourist Guides also offer guided tours on a whole host of subjects - Tel: 01305 871278/789994.
Wildlife Walks are available via the Wildlife Trust, National Trust and County Council Ranger service.
Exploring by train
Enjoy car-free days on the Heart of Wessex railway line which runs from Bristol to Weymouth stopping at many picturesque West Dorset villages as well as Dorchester, with self guided rambles from all stations.
Plan your visit to West Dorset using the 'Add to Itinerary' button.
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