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Best Walks in Dorset: 15 Beautiful Walks You Need to Go On [2021]

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Dorset is renowned for its stunning landscapes.

May that be the remote countryside, rural farmland or the rugged coastline.

Whatever kind of walk you desire, whatever kind of views you require, Dorset will deliver!

As a born and bred Dorset lass, I’ve rounded up the 15 best walks in Dorset that I go on time and time again and have yet to get bored of!

Ranging from short wanders to more intense rambles, you’ll always be rewarded with something pretty to look at at the end.

So without further ado, here are the 15 best walks in Dorset you need to go on!

This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Ella Clark.

1. Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door

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Address: Lulworth Cove, West Lulworth, Wareham BH20 5RQ

Of course, I’m going to kick off this list of the best walks in Dorset with two of the most iconic and famous landmarks in Dorset: Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you can see why this little stretch of coast is loved by tourists and locals alike!

Only a 30-40 minute walk between sites but with plenty of great views along the way, this walk can easily be a morning wander or a whole day adventure.

The walk is accessible to practically everyone.

However, there are one or two inclines along the way, one specifically being the walk up from Durdle Door.

There’s no way to avoid this climb, I’m afraid.

Just take your time and remember that some places of beauty take a little extra effort to get to but are 100% worth it!

I’ll let you into a little secret though: there’s another incline that’s a little gentler.

To get onto the gentler path, walk away from the car park and Lulworth Cove, back down the road towards the village.

While walking, look out for some wooden steps leading to a signpost over the road by the hedge.

Follow the signpost along the edge of farmer’s fields by the hedge to a gate on the opposite side of the field to a short incline of steps.

At the top of the steps, turn right and follow the curve of the hill around to the bottom of Durdle Door car park.

2. Tyneham Village to Mupe Bay and Lulworth Cove

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Address: Tyneham Village, Unnamed Rd Wareham, Wareham BH20 5DE

I’m not going to sugarcoat this one for you because this is a tough walk that takes some effort!

However, it’s more than worth it for the vast coastal views. 

I mean, you pass two of the best beaches in Dorset along your way so it’s a no-brainer really!

Start the walk slowly by having a wander around the abandoned village which is used today for army training.

This will gear up for the numerous impressive ascents and descents that you’ll face on this walk.

Then, it’s time to get going!

Take it slow and catch your breath at the top for five minutes while savouring the views.

However, if you want to cut out one major steep climb, park at Tyneham View Point instead of down by the village.

3. Corfe Castle Ridge Walk

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Address: NT Corfe Castle Car Park, East St, Corfe Castle, Wareham BH20 5DR

If you like walks with a view, then this is one of the best walks in Dorset for you!

Start from the base of the dramatic Corfe Castle, one of the best castles in Dorset, where you get a real sense of how imposing the castle would have been back in its heyday.

Then, travel up to the ridge (which is short, steep and sweet!) to appreciate the views the maidens and knights would have looked out upon all those years ago.

The lovely thing about this walk is that once you’re up there on the ridge, you’ve done all the uphill climbing required!

After taking in all the beauty of the Isle of Purbeck, the walk is a circular route that takes you across the Purbeck Hills, down to the very quaint East Creech village, and then through beautiful woodland at the bottom of the ridge back to the castle again.

People of all ages can enjoy this walk.

I’ve done it many times as a young child with my grandparents who still smash it to this day!

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4. Wareham Forest Sika Trail

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Address: Sika Trail Car Park, Wareham BH20 7PE

If you’re a fan of a walk in the woods, then Wareham Forest Sika Trail is one of the best walks in Dorset for you!

Immerse yourself amongst the sounds of the forest and birdsong, and stroll across heathland enjoying the colourful heather and sweet scent of gorse.

There are so many different paths to choose from going in all directions.

This means you can either follow a waymarked path or have fun making up your own route.

This is also the perfect place for kids!

Due to the forest being a plantation, the trees are planted in lines with gullies and mounds in between each row.

This makes it the best playground for a game of hide and seek.

There’s also plenty of sticks lying around which are the perfect materials for building those secret dens, teepees and hideouts.

5. Eye Bridge and Pamphill

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Address: Eye Bridge, 553 Cowgrove Rd, Wimborne BH21 4EL

I’m surprised my footprints aren’t permanently trodden into the ground on Pamphill because I walk here so often.

Pamphill Green is the perfect place to throw a ball around and have a family picnic.

Your afternoons here will be spent playing boules, rounders or French cricket!

However, if you want to stretch your legs and enjoy some of the picturesque Dorset countryside, there are many routes you can take that cross through the landscape.

In late spring, I recommend heading through Bluebell Woods.

If you time your visit right, the woodland floor will be alive with a mass of delicate purple flowers!

The pathways here have been fenced to stop people trampling over the colourful display.

But there’s still plenty of photo opportunities for those who like to get a little snap-happy.

However, if it’s not springtime, why not head down one of the many tree-lined pathways that lead to the winding, peaceful River Stour at Eye Bridge?

Eye Bridge is a very popular summer spot with families wanting to enjoy the cool waters for a wild river swim.

It’s also the ideal location to get out the paddleboards and kayaks as the river here is calm and gently flowing.

You’ll have to paddle upstream to start, however, as the photographic weir prevents you from following the river downstream.

Moreover, there’s also wonderful birdlife to be seen here!

Keep your eyes peeled as you meander along the riverbanks especially for the quick flash of turquoise from the kingfishers that have made this river their home.

You can do a mile stroll or a three-mile ramble, but whatever you decide there’s plenty of great views for you to enjoy!

6. Badbury Rings

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Address: Badbury Rings, Blandford Rd, Blandford Forum DT11 9JL

Badbury Rings was our go-to spot when we were younger.

One of Dorset’s finest Iron Age hillforts, Badbury Rings comprises three circular rings that show how civilisations lived many years ago.

They are also good fun to run around.

So if you have kids that you need tiring out, this is one of the best walks in Dorset for you!

There’s a nice circular walk here that I’ve followed many times that is a mere three miles in length.

But if you have kids in tow, expect your time to be doubled (and maybe even tripled!) as their imaginations will want to run wild.

And if they are anything like I was as a kid, they’ll need to discover every inch of the rings!

7. Kingston Lacy

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Address: Kingston Lacy Estate, Blandford Rd, Wimborne BH21 4EA

Kingston Lacy is a grand 8,500 acres of unspoilt countryside that’s just begging to be explored!

On-site you’ll find a cafe, a magnificent house steeped in history, many gardens to stroll through, and miles and miles of parkland and countryside to get your outdoor fix.

There are 12 way-marked walks on and around the estate for you to choose from.

This means you could come back here time and time again.

Thanks to its impressive gardens, this is a great place to visit all year round.

You’ll get to witness the change in seasons and catch all sorts of magical things happening.

In winter you can see a sweep of white snowdrops cover the garden and woodland floors.

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Later in spring, they transform to a mass of cheerful daffodils, and summer sees the flowers start to bloom and the gardens explode with a wonderful array of colours.

Finally, in autumn, the trees turn lovely shades of yellow and orange.

A must-see at this time of year is the Japanese Acers that turn a lovely deep shade of red.

Whatever the season, and however many times you visit, Kingston Lacy is home to some of the best walks in Dorset!

8. Wareham Forest Way

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Address: Howards Lane Car Park, Howard’s Ln, Wareham BH20 4NN

I’ve recently just completed this walk for the first time and it was 13 miles of interesting and varied landscape.

Starting in the historic market town of Wareham, you can enjoy the chatter of ducks by the Quay before heading past the old Wareham walls and the adorably named River Piddle.

Afterwards, you get onto the forest track where you’re treated to the sound of bird song and rustling leaves.

On the forest track, you’ll get to walk through some stunning forest and heathland habitats.

Crossing over the A35 (please be careful here!) you then start to walk into classic Dorset countryside and farmland.

In some areas, you’ll even get stunning panoramic views over Morden and Bloxworth.

This is one of the best walks in Dorset for those who want to enjoy some of the lesser-known landscapes of East Dorset and on occasions, have the whole walk to yourself!

9. Old Harry Rocks and Ballard Down

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Address: South Beach Car Park, Unnamed Road, Swanage BH19 3AU

One of the most famous and best walks in Dorset, Old Harry Rocks needs no introduction.

The slopes here are gentle so there’s no need to worry about breaking a sweat on steep inclines.

Running parallel to the sea cliffs, the path is easy to follow, with signposts along the way.

Once you arrive at the top of the ridge, take five minutes to stop and enjoy the amazing views!

To your left, you’ll have views looking out across Studland Bay towards the chain ferry and Sandbanks.

And to your right, you’ll be able to see the quintessentially British seaside town of Swanage snuggled in between the Purbeck Hills.

Once you’ve finished soaking up all the views, you can head back to the easy access car park.

The car park is located right next to a traditional pub which is only a few minutes away from the lovely Studland Bay.

This means that you have a few options if you wish to extend your walk.

10. Ringstead to Durdle Door

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Address: National Trust – Ringstead Bay, Ringstead, Weymouth, Dorchester DT2 8NQ

This is my all-time favourite stretch of the Dorset coast, so of course, this walk deserves its place on this list of the best walks in Dorset!

Start this walk in the top National Trust car park, before dropping down onto the SWCP towards Durdle Door.

Along the circular walk, you’ll pass White Nothe and Bat’s Head, before finishing back where you started.

Once back at your starting point, you can walk down to Ringstead Bay which is a lovely little cove and one of the quieter beaches along the Jurassic Coast.

Like with a few of the other coastal walks I’ve mentioned, this one has a fair few notoriously steep ascents and descents.

This means it may only be suitable for those who are keen hikers or who are feeling at the top of their game fitness-wise.

However, it’s absolutely worth it, especially for the beautiful views from the top of White Nothe.

From here, you can see all the way over to Weymouth and Portland Bill!

11. Bulbarrow Hill and Milton Abbas

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Address: Parking at Bulbarrow Hill Viewpoint, Blandford Forum

Bulbarrow Hill is the second-highest point in Dorset so you can imagine the views here are pretty immense.

On a clear day, you can enjoy fine views over the Blackmore Vale.

In fact, you can even see across to Somerset, Wiltshire and Devon!

Part of the Dorset 3 Peaks Challenge and the Wessex Ridgeway, this is a very popular walking route.

However, my favourite route is a circular one down to Milton Abbas and back.

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With its neat, mirrored row of charming cottages, Milton Abbas is a classic English village.

The walk also takes you onto the grounds of Milton Abbey which sits impressively in amongst the beautiful countryside.

The landscape is so varied and so classically Dorset – it’s a real treat!  

12. Cranborne Chase

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Address: Parking in Cranborne Garden Centre, Wimborne St BH21 5PP

Cranborne Chase is a beautiful area comprising rolling chalk grasslands, ancient woodlands and valleys.

It’s no wonder this place is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!

There are 380 square miles of stunning landscape to enjoy here, meaning there are plenty of walks to choose from.

There are two routes I’ve done here: one is a six-mile route and the other is a 12-mile route.

However, both take you through amazing countryside.

If you’re a sucker for a good view, there’s plenty of viewpoints in Cranborne Chase for you to enjoy.

I once came across a gently rolling field full of purple and white wildflowers that was ridiculously gorgeous.

And, of course, I had to kick myself that I didn’t have my camera on me that day!

So if you’re a keen photographer, make sure you’ve packed yours in your bag.

13. Hengistbury Head

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Address: Hengistbury Head Car Park, 200 Broadway, Southbourne, Bournemouth BH6 4EL

Hengistbury Head is a windy but beautiful spot where you can enjoy green space and nature not too far from a bustling town.

There’s a cafe and visitor centre where you can learn more about the nature, archaeology and geology of Hengistbury Head.

There are plenty of walks around here too.

But if you don’t fancy walking, there’s a land train you can take for a gentle ride along to Mudeford Spit.

However, if you do plan on walking, most of the paths are accessible to everyone and are nice and level.

And if you have the energy to spare, you can walk to the top of Warren Hill.

Here you can enjoy beautiful views over Christchurch and Southbourne.

Moreover, on clear days you may even be able to spot The Needles over on the Isle of Wight!

14. Studland Bay

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Address: National Trust – Knoll Beach Café, Knoll Beach Cafe Knoll Beach, Swanage BH19 3AX

Studland Bay offers some of the best walks in Dorset in winter if you fancy wrapping up warm and feeling the sea breeze on your cheeks.

However, it’s a popular spot all year round thanks to its extensive sandy beach and acres of undulating sand dunes to explore.

My favourite walk to do here is a circular route starting along the beach.

Walk along the beach before turning into the sand dunes to follow one of the many paths waymarked by the National Trust.

However, a quick word of warning: Studland Bay is probably the most famous official naturist beach in Britain.

In fact, you’ll find nearly 1km of beach where clothing is optional.

So if you don’t want your children seeing nudists, take a detour away from the beach.

Just onto a path in the dunes and divert back to the beach when the coast is clear!

15. Wareham Forest River

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Address: Howards Lane Car Park, Howard’s Ln, Wareham BH20 4NN

This walk starts by leading you through Wareham town and past the church that greets travellers as they drive into Wareham.

Then walk across the old Wareham town walls which were built in Saxon times to defend the town from Viking attacks.

Afterwards, you’ll drop down to beautiful marshland abundant with nature which eventually leads to the River Frome.

This is one of the best walks in Dorset if you’re a nature enthusiast as there are plenty of birds to spot here!

And if you’re lucky enough, you might even see water voles and otters that have made their home on this calm stretch of river.

Finally, the walk ends where it began.

If you fancy a coffee and something to nibble on, you’re spoilt for choice with the many pubs and cafes in Wareham.

 

So there you have it: the 15 best walks in Dorset for beautiful views!

It’s safe to say you’ve got an amazing selection of walks in Dorset to choose from.

But which are you going to go on first?

Please let me know in the comments below!

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