There’s nothing better than a winter walk in Dorset to blow away the cobwebs after a few days of...
Dust off your walking boots, make a picnic and set off on an adventure along one of these Jurassic Coast walks. The stunning coastline is full of natural wonder and prehistoric rock formations, a perfect day out for the whole family.
The Jurassic Coast is one of the most picturesque coastal areas in the World. Dramatic jagged cliffs and a unique history draw in visitors from all over.
One of the best ways of exploring the South West Coast is to wrap up and explore one of the many Jurassic Coast Walks. Whether it’s Durdle Door or Abbotsbury Hill Fort, several walks are accessible for people of all abilities and ages.
Read on to see 4 of our favourite Jurassic Coast Walks…
When you visit the Jurassic Coast, Old Harry Rocks is a must-visit hotspot. The Old Harry Rocks are a formation of three stacks that protrude out into the ocean, a perfect photo opportunity.
There are many ways to explore the rocks, but one of the most popular is a stunning 3.9-mile hike. Put on your walking boots, grab your camera and set off on a journey along one of the best Jurassic Coast walks.
Take your time embracing the unique white chalk cliffs as you walk along the well-trodden path. Along the way, you can expect to see picture-perfect scenery, impressive animals (including the Peregrine Falcon) and a beautiful view over Swanage.
1 – Once you have parked up on the Manor Road car park, head back onto Manor Road and turn right. After a few hundred meters, you will see the public toilets on the left. Turn left at the toilets and begin your Jurassic coast walk.
2 – After a short walk through the trees, the path opens into a field with beautiful coastal views. Keep following the track to the Foreland lookout point. The lookout is a great middle point to sit down, grab a picnic and admire the Jurassic coast cliffs surrounding you.
3 – Once you have finished here, follow the South West Coast Path, with the Ballad Cliffs on your left. After about a mile, the path will split in two. Take the right track inland and keep following the Purbeck Way.
4 – Eventually, you will meet a crossroads where there is a wooden sign pointing the way. Turn right at the post, and you will come to a more defined road with houses on the left. Follow the road right, until you reach the Manor House Tea Room (why not take a break here and enjoy some fresh local coffee).
5 – Turn left onto School Lane and take the first right onto Church Road. Follow Church Road to the end and once you pass St Nicholas Church, turn right and follow the path straight back to the car park.
6 – The Jurassic Coast walk is relatively flat. It is an easy walk that most people can complete without trouble.
Distance: 3.9 miles
Parking: Manor Rd, Studland, Swanage, BH19 3AU
St Aldhelms Head walk is a slightly longer walk with a 220-meter ascent throughout. The walk starts from the quaint village of Worth Matravers and follows a circular route across the cliffs and through the surrounding hills.
There are many sights along the way, and St Aldhelms head is one of the best ways of seeing Dorset’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The area is a hotspot for birdwatchers and hikers. So keep your eyes peeled for many of the coastal birds in the area.
1 – Starting at Worth Matravers car park, head back onto the main road and turn right. Follow the road to Pikes Lane and turn left. Take the second left and continue walking to the end of the road. As you approach the end, the path continues to the left.
2 – Head through the field until you reach Winspit Road. Take a left and keep following Winspit Bottom until you arrive at the South West Coast Path.
*At this point, be careful not to go too far as Winspit Bottom heads down into the quarry, so you will need to retrace your steps.
3 – Once you reach the coast, take in the breathtaking sights and keep your eyes open for local wildlife. Follow the path around St Aldhelms Head. When you get to the Coastwatch Lookout Station, take the left track following the SW Coast Path. Keep an eye out for the picture-perfect cliff views that are available from Emmets Hill.
4 – Keep following the SW Coast Path inland and over West Hill until you reach the road. Turn left, and after about 100 meters, the path goes back off-road to the left. Take your first right and keep the woodland area on your right-hand side. Keep following the bushes until you reach Weston Road.
5 – Turn left and follow the road until you reach the car park. You may want to stop along the way at the Worth Matravers Tea & Supper Room or relax with a drink in The Square & Compass.
Distance: 5.2 miles
Parking: Worth Matravers Car Park, BH19 3LE
Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door is one of the most popular Jurassic Coast walks. You can expect several stunning views and picturesque landscapes. From fossils to a natural limestone arch, this Jurassic Coast walk is a must-stop destination.
There are several routes from Lulworth Cove to Durdle door. These walks range from short to long. It is up to you how far you want to go. Most of these walks follow the coast along the Jurassic cliffs between the two landmarks and then head inland.
The route here is an easy four-mile hike that explores the coastline and the surrounding area.
1 – Starting at the Lulworth Cove Car Park, head onto Main Road and turn right. Follow the road down to Lulworth Cove. You can take some time to take in the beautiful Jurassic cove and take some stunning pictures.
2 – Once you have taken in the Lulworth Cove, head past the Boatshed Cafe until you reach the SW Coast Path. Keep going straight, and you will approach Stair Hole Lookout. Turn right here and keep going to Britwell Drive. Follow Britwell Drive and take the woodland path just after Anchor House. You will pass the car park on your right and rejoin the SW Coast Path.
3 – Turn left and follow the Coast Path until you come to a T junction. Take a left turn and follow the well-marked path. Keep following the path until you reach one of the best beaches in Dorset, Man O’War Beach. Carry on following the track, and you will eventually come to the famous viewing point looking out over Durdle door. A perfect photo opportunity.
4 – If you keep following the path, you will come to a metal gate on your right. Go through the gate and follow the left path around the base of the hill (you can go over the top, but it will reduce the walking distance back to the car).
5 – The path will gently curve around to the right and is easy to follow. Follow it around until you reach a wooded area, and there is a path on your right, throughout the woodland. Keep following the grassy path with Durdle Door Holiday Park on your left.
6 – When you get to the car park road, turn left and then right at the entrance to the overflow car park. Keep following the footpath along, and you will eventually reach the SW Coast Path and car park.
Distance: 3.7 miles
Parking: West Lulworth, Wareham, BH20 5RS
With many coastal walks in Devon near Lulworth and St Aldhelms, Abbotsbury Hillfort can often be overlooked. However, you will not be disappointed by the jaw-dropping views over Chesil Beach and the West Dorset Heritage Coast.
The walk is longer than the previous three and traverses over several fields before reaching the Hilltop Fort. Due to the distance, we would recommend that the difficulty of this walk is intermediate/hard. But if you do decide to pursue this walk, you will be rewarded with impressive views and beautiful picnic spots.
1 – From the car park, head back to Rodden Row and turn left. Take the immediate right and head up Rosemary Lane. When you reach the end, turn left onto Back Street, and after about 100 meters, you will see a brown gravel path between a cottage and an old stone outhouse.
2 – Keep following the path for about 1 mile until you reach the South West Coast Path and turn left. You will eventually come to a gate and a road. Cross the road and carry on the SW Coast Path. You will come to Abbotsbury Castle, where you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the Jurassic Coast.
3 – Following the path, you will eventually come to the B3157, where you can carefully cross the road and carry on the SW Coast Path. The track follows the B3157 and then begins to curve left. Keep following the path until you reach West Bexington.
4 – Head down Beach Road with the sea in front of you. West Bexington is an ideal place to stop and enjoy a spot of lunch in The Club House. As you reach the car park, you can see the path on the left following Chesil Beach. Follow the beach until you reach another car park.
5 – Once you have passed the car park, rejoin the SW Coast Path. Follow the path as it begins to head inland. If you are feeling adventurous, take a look around the Himalayan Pavilion and Stavordale Wood on the left. Just after the Starvodale Wood turning, the SW Coast Path takes a sharp right. Follow the path until you come to a left turn towards Denzil’s Place Woodland.
6 – Passing St Catherine’s Chapel, you can cross the field following the path until you reach Chapel Lane. Follow this road to the end and turn right onto Market Street. Abbotsbury is a perfect place to re-energize after a long walk. Turn left on to Rodden Row and keep following the road until you reach the car park.
Distance: 7.9 miles
Difficulty: Intermediate / Hard
Parking: 3 Rodden Row, Abbotsbury, Weymouth, DT3 4JL
When enjoying one of these Jurassic Coast Walks, please be considerate of local wildlife and community. Farmers often allow passage through their fields but as a general rule, if you see a gate open, leave it open. If it is closed, close it behind you.
Do not leave any rubbish behind on these Jurassic Coast walks, and do not take anything away, such as rocks, shells or flowers. These are all things that allow the local flora and fauna to thrive on the Jurassic Coast.
Jurassic Coast walks are one of the best ways of exploring the Dorset Coast. Take your loved ones, explore the remains of prehistoric Britain and then relax in one of these Jurassic Coast cottages. The perfect staycation for the whole family.