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The beautiful countryside and coastal paths in Dorset are enough to inspire anyone to pack their running shoes, load up the car and head to a charming chocolate box village for an invigorating countryside retreat.

If you are a budding runner and are renting one of our wonderful self-catering cottages, why not plan your runs before you go so that you can really experience all the delightful terrains that Dorset has to offer.

We have put together some really lovely running routes which will take you through peaceful rural villages, across bracing cliff tops and along golden sandy beaches.

Even if you don’t follow a set route, simply pick up the South West Coastal Path which runs all across the coast and run for any distance you like. Begin at Weymouth and follow the Ironman route all along the seafront and The Esplanade, or head over to Portland along the Portland Beach Road, across Chesil Beach. Wherever you run you will find terrain as challenging, or as gentle as you fancy. Then head back to your delightful Dorset cottage and sit by the open fire with a cup of tea and a good book! Enjoy!


1. Osmington Coast and Countryside

Length: 7.21 miles

A really picturesque run which takes you through peaceful villages, along the coastal path and past the famous White Horse carved into the landscape.

This run begins and ends at Springhead PH. Begin by running south down Sutton Road, following the footpath (you’ll have to cross a busy road) until you reach the coast (about 1 mile) where you can pick up the South West Coastal Path and follow it along the coast, following signs to Osmington. Following signs to Osmington will bring you on to the Inland Coastal Path, where you will follow the acorn signs. You will end up along the ridge of Osmington Hills. Past The Osmington White Horse where you will end up forming a loop back to the Springhead PH.


2. The Golden Cap

Length: 4.88 miles

This run is tough but extremely rewarding when you reach the top of the cap and get to experience the most magnificent views. The route follows the South West Coastal Path up to the top of The Golden Cap which means that you have a punishing climb but then a nice gentle return along footpaths and quiet country lanes.

Begin the run at the Finger Post on the grass just behind the parking area, signed Golden Cap Coastal Path. Follow the path down the hill, bearing right at the first fork and continuing to the top of the Golden Cap. The path here passes extremely close to the cliff edge so do be careful here.

Run along the top of the Golden Cap until you reach the safety fence, then follow the path which bears left and down behind the hill. At the bottom of the steps follow the sign to St Gabriels. At the next stile turn left downhill through fields towards St Gabriels, through Filcombe Farm and follow the lane straight ahead. Then turn left onto Muddyford Lane and follow this all the way to Upcot Farm. At Upcot Farm, turn right up the track. At the 2nd gate after the farm, turn left on the bridleway and when you get to the top of the ridge turn left onto the lane which will take you right back to the car park.


3. The Portland Bill

Length: 5.5 miles

Running, pretty much around the edge of the Portland Bill, roughly following the South West Coastal Path will no doubt be one of the most stunning runs you will ever do. It’s tough because it is so hilly but the route will take you past the disused Portland Stone Quarry and Church Ope Cove and Views, finishing at the Portland Bill Lighthouse.

Begin the run on the South West Coastal Path next to the car park and generally follow the coastline ignoring any branches of the path that go inland. After around 1.7 miles, as you approach houses, turn right away from the coast and follow the footpath left and right. Keep following the footpath here until you get to a T junction where you will go left and cross over the road. Then head right down a small lane in front of the museum, turning right at viewpoint following steps down to the cove. Follow the path behind the beach huts following the twisty rock path, left along the road edge, then verge left and you are back on the South West Coastal Path which will take you right back to your car.