Many of our Dorset Cottages are right on the doorstep of this county’s beautiful coastline or countryside, or maybe even both if you’re lucky! As a hive for wildlife activity, flora and fauna bloom all year round in Dorset and there’s no better way to see it than on foot, with the wind and warmth hitting your face as you explore these serene, colourful surroundings. With the Jurassic Coast, South West Coastal Path and the majority of the region falling in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there’s plenty to explore in delightful Dorset.
Studland to Old Harry Rocks
Starting in Studland, there is a 4-mile circular walking route that takes you to the best view of Old Harry Rocks and other Jurassic Coast highlights, including the Pinnacle Stack. Old Harry rocks are chalk stacks that once connected Studland to the Isle of Wight and are supposedly named after infamous pirate Harry Layne. Start the walk by parking at South Beach car park, which is free to National Trust members, then walk towards the Bank Armes Pub where you will find some public toilets with a signpost outside marking the route towards Old Harry Rocks. There are signposts and waymarks on gates and signposts along the route, which should take you approximately 1-2 hours.
Durdle Door Walk
The walk between Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove has many variations, making it suitable for all visitors and goals. For a gentle route, the simple linear route between the two landmarks is a mile each way, across easy terrain and can be done at a slower pace. To extend your walk, start by parking in the Lulworth Cove car park and walking up the hill waymarked as the South West Coastal Path. Once you reach the top of the hill, you get a great elevated view of Man O’War beach, which is one of the best views in Dorset. You can even extend your walk ten miles onto Weymouth if you’re feeling brave!
Another option near Durdle Door is the short walk over the hill from Lulworth Cove to Stair Hole, an infant cove that shows what its more familiar neighbour might have looked like several hundred thousand years ago. The so-called ‘Lulworth Crumple’ of folded limestone strata can also be seen half a mile or so further along the coast just beyond Man O’ War Bay at Durdle Door.
Moving up to North Dorset now, Hambledon Hill is one of the county’s most exceptional countryside natural landmarks. As one of Europe’s oldest Iron Age hillforts, Hambledon Hill is a fascinating site which you can climb up to take in monumental views of the sweeping green hills of this part of the country. As a National Trust site, Hambledon Hill has plenty of signposts and is one-hundred percent safe to ramble across. The site is also an area of Special Scientific Interest and is home to a whole host of creatures great and small, including a vast variety of butterfly species, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a spot of wildlife watching.
Situated between Bridport and Charmouth, the Golden Cap is a sandstone hill that proudly holds the title of highest point on the south coast. At 191m tall, the Golden Cap boasts some fantastic panoramic views of Dorset, with some claiming to be able to see as far as Dartmoor from its summit. As a National Trust site, the car park at the base of the hill is free for members and there are toilets nearby. The site is also totally dog-friendly, so this is a great option for those travelling with energetic four-legged friends.