Dorset, a county famed for its stunning landscapes and rich history, is a dream destination for hikers.
Whether you’re packing your day pack for a leisurely stroll or gearing up for a more challenging trek, Dorset’s diverse walking trails offer something for everyone.
From the rugged Jurassic Coast to serene woodland paths, here are seven of the best walks in Dorset, each offering a unique glimpse into the natural beauty and heritage of this enchanting region.
1. Dorset Coast Path:
Stretching 86 miles as part of the South West Coast Path national trail, the Dorset Coast Path is a journey through some of England’s most breathtaking coastal scenery.
From the charming town of Lyme Regis to the bustling harbour of Poole, this trail offers a mix of terrains, from easy strolls to more demanding hikes.
Along the way, you’ll encounter the dramatic cliffs of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the history of our planet is etched into the rocks.
The path is perfect for bird watching, fossil hunting, and simply soaking in the panoramic sea views.
2. Old Harry Rocks Walk:
This 3.5-mile walk is a showcase of Dorset’s natural wonders.
Starting near the Bankes Arms pub, the trail leads you to the famous chalk formations of Old Harry and his wife.
As you walk along the cliff tops and chalk grasslands, you’re treated to stunning views across Poole Bay and the Isle of Wight.
The route, with its gentle ascents and well-trodden paths, is ideal for a family outing or a relaxed day hike, offering plenty of opportunities for memorable photographs.
3. Wareham Forest Way:
Connecting Wareham to Sturminster Marshall, this 13-mile trail is a delight for nature lovers.
The path meanders through diverse landscapes, from serene woodlands to open heathlands, home to an array of wildlife.
Along the way, several pubs offer the perfect spots for rest and refreshment, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy combining hiking with a taste of local hospitality.
The Wareham Forest Way can be tackled in shorter sections, making it suitable for all levels of hikers.
4. Corfe Common History Walk:
This short but sweet 1.5-mile walk is a blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue.
Taking only about half an hour to complete, the trail offers spectacular views of the iconic Corfe Castle.
As you wander through Corfe Common, the largest area of common land in Dorset, you’ll be walking through history, with the landscape shaped by centuries of human and natural activity.
This walk is perfect for those interested in a quick hike with a historical twist.
5. The Wessex Ridgeway Walk:
Starting in the quaint village of Ashmore, the highest in Dorset, and ending at the coastal town of Lyme Regis, the Wessex Ridgeway is a 62.5-mile journey through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the county.
The route, predominantly along ridge tops, offers hikers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Along the way, you’ll pass through charming villages like Cerne Abbas, ascend historic hillforts like Hambledon Hill, and be treated to magnificent vistas that stretch for miles.
6. Godlingston Heath Walk at Studland:
An easy 3-mile route, the Godlingston Heath Walk is a journey through the diverse landscapes of Studland.
The path takes you across rugged heathland, past the impressive 400-ton Agglestone, and around the Little Sea, an acidic freshwater lake.
The area is a haven for wildlife, including rare species like the Dartford warbler and the Sand lizard.
This walk is also a gateway to the South West Coast Path, making it an ideal starting or finishing point for those tackling the longer trail.
7. Amazing Animal Walks with UK Llamas and Stokewater Meadow Donkey Walking Days:
For a unique hiking experience, join UK Llamas or Stokewater Meadow for a walk accompanied by friendly animal companions.
Choose from a range of half-day and full-day llama walks or one-day and two-day donkey walks.
These guided hikes offer a delightful way to explore Dorset’s landscapes, with the added joy of walking alongside these charming animals.
It’s an experience that combines the love of hiking with animal interaction, perfect for families and animal enthusiasts.
Dorset’s walks are as varied as they are beautiful, offering something for every hiker.
Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll, a historical exploration, or a challenging trek, these seven walks in Dorset promise unforgettable experiences amidst some of the most stunning scenery in the UK.
So pack your day pack, lace up your boots, and set off to discover the wonders of Dorset on foot.