15 Best Walks in Dorset (Hikes & Nice Walks)

15 Best Walks in Dorset (Hikes & Nice Walks)

By will

Dorset is a beautiful county in the south of England, and it’s home to some of the most stunning walks in the country.

From coastal trails to rolling hills and lush forests, Dorset has something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for an invigorating hike or a leisurely stroll, here are 15 of the best walks in Dorset that will take your breath away.

1. Corfe Castle To Ballard Down

Ballard Down, Purbeck Way
Photo by Mike Faherty

The Corfe Castle to Ballard Down walk is one of the best walks in Dorset.

It’s an eye-opening adventure, with stunning views of the coastline and rolling hills, as well as a glimpse into England’s historic past.

As you walk along this route, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

The expansive views of the chalk cliffs, heathland, and sea make for a truly unforgettable experience.

You’ll also get to see some incredible wildlife on your journey; from birds soaring overhead to rabbits hopping around in the fields below.

You may even spot some rare species like Dartford warblers or nightjars!

And don’t forget to take time out to explore Corfe Castle itself – it’s an impressive sight that still stands proud after centuries of history!

To end your journey in style, make sure to take a detour up Ballard Down where you can enjoy spectacular views over Swanage Bay and Bournemouth. A day spent walking here will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.

2. West Bay And Eype

West Cliff and Eype cliff slumps
Photo by John Stephen

Leaving Corfe Castle, you enter a landscape of rugged beauty.

You’ll find yourself walking past green hills and the clear waters of Poole Harbour.

Next up are West Bay and Eype, two stunning spots for a walk with plenty of breathtaking views.

West Bay is home to the iconic West Cliff, a dramatic stretch of coastline featuring towering limestone cliffs and golden sand beaches beneath.

The clifftop walk offers spectacular views across Lyme Bay to Portland Bill in Dorset and as far as Devon on a clear day.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wild ponies grazing on the heathland nearby or take a detour into nearby Burton Bradstock for lunch at one of the pubs overlooking the beach.

At Eype, you’ll find more stunning seaside scenery, with its rugged clifftops lined with colorful houses perched precariously upon them.

Take time to explore this area further, taking in all its natural beauty, before winding your way back up the hill towards Corfe Castle once again.

With so much to explore here in Dorset, there’s no better way to experience it than with an invigorating walk along some of its most picturesque stretches.

3. Lyme Regis Undercliff

Lyme Regis Undercliff
Photo by Tony Atkin

The Lyme Regis Undercliff is one of Dorset’s most stunning and unique walks.

This walk takes you along the beautiful Jurassic Coastline, with its iconic cliffs, caves, and rock pools.

You can explore a variety of habitats, from ancient woodland to meadows full of wildflowers.

The path winds its way through the Undercliff and provides glimpses of glorious views out over the sea.

As you make your way along this peaceful and picturesque route, you’ll be able to take in the fresh sea air and enjoy the sounds of nature.

You may spot some interesting wildlife – seabirds such as guillemots, kittiwakes, and razorbills; or even dolphins or porpoises if you are lucky!

There are also plenty of opportunities to stop for a picnic or a refreshing swim in one of the many coves along this stretch of coast.

This captivating walk is sure to provide you with hours of pleasure as you immerse yourself in nature while enjoying spectacular coastal views.

Taking this route will leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and inspired by the beauty around you – an experience that cannot be matched elsewhere!

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4. Rspb Arne, Dorset

Leaving the fascinating landscape of Lyme Regis Undercliff behind, there is no better place to explore than RSPB Arne.

Perfect for those seeking a nature-filled experience, this heathland reserve has over 900 acres of ancient woodland with a wide range of wildlife like Dartford Warblers, Nightjars, and Woodlarks.

With plenty of trails and paths, visitors can navigate their way along the picturesque coastline, as well as find their own spot to simply sit and relax in the tranquil environment.

Highlights include views over Poole Harbour, which can be seen from the observation tower.

Be sure to bring your binoculars too so you can take a closer look at the native birds that inhabit this special site.

Enjoying a walk here is an opportunity to reconnect with nature and appreciate its beauty.

It’s also an ideal chance to reset your mind after a busy week or soak up some vitamin D on a sunny day.

RSPB Arne is certainly an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling relaxed and inspired!

5. Abbotsbury, Dorset

The village of Abbotsbury, Dorset is a must-visit for anyone looking for an incredible walking experience.

This tranquil spot is set in the lush countryside of West Dorset and offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and coastline.

It’s also home to some of the best walks in the region, with plenty to explore along the way.

One of the most scenic routes starts from St Catherine’s Chapel and follows a path that skirts around Abbotsbury Castle before heading up to Stinehead Hill.

From here, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views over Chesil Beach and Lyme Bay.

The walk then continues eastwards across Abbotsbury Common, before looping back into the village.

Along the way, you’ll discover hidden gems like ancient monuments, wildflower meadows, and clusters of ruins that make for an unforgettable experience.

6. Durlston Head And Dancing Ledge, Dorset

Leaving Abbotsbury behind and heading south, you’ll find yourself in the stunning Jurassic Coastline of Dorset.

Here, you’ll be rewarded with a truly breathtaking view as you explore Durlston Head and Dancing Ledge.

The area is known for its dramatic coastline, offering fantastic views out to sea as well as inland across the rolling hills.

There are plenty of walking routes to choose from, so no matter what your level of fitness or experience is, there’s something for everyone.

As you walk along the cliffs, take a moment to admire the rich variety of wildlife that can be found here.

Keep an eye out for seals, porpoises, and dolphins that often swim around these waters!

Make sure to stop off at Dancing Ledge – a large flat rock on the shoreline – where you can take in the unique scenery while enjoying a picnic or just taking some time to relax.

This is one of those places where it’s hard not to feel completely connected with nature and free from the stresses of life back home.

It’s one of those moments that will stay with you forever.

7. Lulworth To Durdle Door

This special walk along the Jurassic Coast of Dorset offers some of the most stunning views in England.

The route starts at Lulworth Cove, a world-famous cove and beach that forms part of the beautiful Dorset and East Devon coastline, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From there, you’ll take a path up to the top of Bindon Hill for panoramic views over the coast.

Then continue south along the cliff path to Durdle Door, an iconic natural limestone arch that is one of Britain’s most photographed landmarks.

The whole walk takes about four hours and is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

It’s a great way to take in some fresh air and get away from it all – no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find plenty of wildlife along the way, from seabirds to seals.

And with its vast expanse of sea and sky, this stretch of coastline will leave you feeling inspired and energized long after your return home.

Why not bring a picnic lunch or stop for refreshments at one of the nearby pubs?

This walk is something special; something to savor for many years to come!

8. West Bay To Hive Beach

Beginning at the quaint fishing village of West Bay, you’ll be met with a stunning coastal view.

The journey is mostly flat and easy to navigate, making it perfect for all ages and abilities.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an enjoyable hike, this path has something for everyone.

You’ll pass by some of Dorset’s most iconic landmarks such as the limestone cliff face of East Cliff, known for its unique rock formations, and the famous Chesil Beach.

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As you wind your way along the cliffs, you can take in panoramic views of the Jurassic Coast stretching out into the horizon.

On clear days you may even catch sight of Portland Bill Lighthouse in the far distance.

Eventually, your journey will lead you to Hive Beach where you can rest your feet and enjoy a picnic lunch on the sand.

Or why not take a dip in the sea? Whatever your preference, West Bay to Hive Beach is sure to leave lasting memories of an unforgettable day out!

9. Old Harry Rocks

Old Harry Rocks is a stunning destination perfect for hikers and walkers alike.

This well-known natural feature is situated on the eastern tip of the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, England.

It’s said to be named after an infamous pirate, Harry Paye, who lived nearby in the 16th century.

The area offers incredible coastal views that will make your jaw drop.

From here you can see Old Harry’s Wife, The Needles, and Ballard Down – all forming part of the Jurassic Coastline.

For those up for a more challenging hike, there are plenty of beaches and rocky outcrops to explore along the way.

The route to Old Harry Rocks is easy to follow and the terrain is quite flat so it’s a great option for families or those looking for an enjoyable day out.

In addition to its breathtaking scenery, Old Harry Rocks is home to a variety of wildlife including seabirds such as razorbills and guillemots.

You may also spot seals bobbing in the sea!

With its rugged beauty and secluded paths, Old Harry Rocks offers visitors a chance to escape everyday life and reconnect with nature.

Whether you just want to take in the view or embark on an adventure, this beautiful spot is sure to provide a memorable experience.

10. Melbury Downs Circular

Next up on the list of wonderful walks in Dorset is the Melbury Downs Circular.

This walk takes you through an area known for its natural beauty, with wildflower meadows and ancient woodlands.

Starting at Melbury Abbas village, you will be taken through some of the most stunning countrysides that Dorset has to offer.

The walk is fairly easy to follow and can be completed in just under three hours.

It follows a circular route, taking in a variety of picturesque views along the way.

As you wander through the countryside, you’ll come across rolling hills and valleys, as well as spectacular views of Churchfield Farm and beyond.

You’ll also pass by a number of historical sites such as Iron Age hillforts and Bronze Age barrows.

The beauty of this walk lies in its combination of nature and history – it’s perfect for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.

So why not take a few hours out of your day and explore Dorset’s beautiful landscape?

Whether it’s for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike, you won’t regret giving Melbury Downs Circular a try!

11. Isle Of Portland Circular

The Isle of Portland Circular is a great way to explore this scenic part of the Dorset.

From the top of the huge limestone cliffs, you’ll be able to take in some spectacular views of Chesil Beach and the English Channel.

The walk itself is fairly easy, taking you along the coastline and through some lovely countryside.

You’ll pass by several interesting sites too, such as Portland Bill Lighthouse and the ruins of St Andrew’s Church.

It’s a great walk for all levels of fitness and experience, as it can be done in several stages if needed.

It’s also perfect for those who are looking for an escape from their everyday lives; you can take your time and enjoy a moment of peacefulness surrounded by nature.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or something more adventurous, this is definitely worth checking out!

12. Hengistbury Head

Leaving the Isle of Portland behind, we head to another popular destination in Dorset: Hengistbury Head.

This coastal headland is a nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), located between Bournemouth and Christchurch.

It’s a great spot for walkers, offering spectacular views across the English Channel and plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife.

The path to Hengistbury Head starts at nearby Mudeford Quay, where you can take a leisurely stroll through the sand dunes and grassland.

You’ll also find an array of wildflowers and plants, as well as birds including Oystercatchers, Lapwings, and Curlews.

On your way, you may even catch sight of some seals basking on the beach!

Once you reach the top of Hengistbury Head, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views out to sea – perfect for taking a few photos or simply enjoying the scenery.

This walk is ideal for those looking for something more challenging than a leisurely stroll around Portland – but not too strenuous that it takes away from the pleasure of soaking up Dorset’s natural beauty.

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Whether you have time for a short wander or opt for an entire day out exploring this intriguing area, there’s no doubt that Hengistbury Head will leave you feeling invigorated and refreshed!

13. Swanage Beach

Swanage Beach is one of the best places to go for a walk in Dorset.

This stunning stretch of golden sand offers breathtaking views and an escape from everyday life.

Located on the iconic Jurassic Coast, you can admire the dramatic cliffs that surround you as you take in the fresh sea air.

The beach is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a longer hike, depending on how far you want to go.

There are plenty of trails to explore, including coastal paths and woodland tracks.

You can even take a boat trip along the coast to enjoy the magnificent scenery from another perspective.

The picturesque harbor is also a great place to stop off and explore before heading back along the shoreline.

Whether you’re looking for some peace and quiet or an adventure, Swanage Beach has something for everyone!

14. Forde Abbey Walk

Continuing on from Swanage Beach, a nature-lovers paradise, why not take the tranquil Forde Abbey Walk?

This peaceful and picturesque route is located in Dorset, England, and offers a stunning view of the surrounding countryside.

The walk begins near the beautiful Forde Abbey and winds its way through green meadows, pastures, and woodland.

You will soon find yourself in a serene world of nature that will have you feeling at ease.

The air is filled with sweet scents of wildflowers that line the path along with chirping birds and other wildlife.

The walk itself takes about an hour to complete- perfect for those who are looking for a quick escape from reality!

Along your journey, take time to pause and reflect as you enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.

As you make your way back to civilization, feel energized by the calming atmosphere of this tranquil landscape.

Don’t forget to take lots of pictures- this is one experience you won’t want to forget!

15. Minterne Magna Loop

Embarking on the Minterne Magna Loop is an experience like no other.

Situated within the heart of Dorset, this charming 6.5-mile loop takes you through some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes, giving you a unique insight into rural England.

As you set off along the meandering paths, your gaze will be met with rolling hills and lush green fields stretching out before you.

You’ll pass ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows that provide a vivid reminder of how nature can thrive in this part of the world.

As you move through each stage of the loop, it’s hard not to feel awed by its beauty and tranquility.

You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife, ranging from butterflies flitting between wildflowers to deer grazing in nearby fields; an unexpected bonus!

Along the way, there are several opportunities to stop and enjoy a picnic or simply take in the views; guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed and replenished.

The route winds its way around ancient monuments such as Iron Age hillforts, offering a glimpse into Britain’s past while allowing you to appreciate its beauty too.

Whether it’s your first time exploring this part of Dorset or you’re looking for a new route to discover, this loop will certainly not disappoint.

Best Walks in Dorset – Final Thoughts

The walks in Dorset are some of the most breathtaking in all of England.

Whether you’re looking for a stroll along the beach, a hike through lush forests, or an exploration of ancient ruins, this county has it all.

From Corfe Castle to Ballard Down and from West Bay and Eype to Lyme Regis undercliff, there’s something for everyone.

And if you’re looking for someplace special, RSPB Arne and Abbotsbury offer unique sights and sounds that will stay with you forever.

Hengistbury Head is one of my favorite places in Dorset because of its spectacular views and birdwatching opportunities.

The Minterne Magna Loop offers stunning scenery as you pass through meadows full of wildflowers, while Swanage Beach is the perfect spot to kick back and relax.

Lastly, Forde Abbey Walk takes visitors through the estate’s majestic gardens and provides a lovely place to take a break from exploring Dorset’s many trails.

Whether you’re looking for an easy walk or a strenuous hike, these 15 best walks in Dorset have something for everyone.

So why not grab your walking boots and explore this beautiful corner of England?

I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!

FAQs

What are some easy walks in Dorset?

Some easy walks in Dorset are Lulworth to Durdle Door, West Bay to Hive Beach, and Golden Cap.

What are the best circular walks in Dorset?

Some of the best circular walks in Dorset are the Isle of Portland circular, Old Harry circular, and Jurrasic Coast Kimmeridge circular.

What are some good family walks in Dorset?

Some good family walks in Dorset are Durdle Door, Isle of Portland walk, and Durlston Country Park coastal walk.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.