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Scenic Walking Routes: Discovering The Most Picturesque Hiking Trails In Dorset

Whether you’re looking to take in the stunning coastline or explore woodland trails, there is an abundance of delightful hiking trails in Dorset, England!

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most picturesque walking routes in the county, highlighting their unique features and giving tips on how to make the most out of your experience.

So grab your hiking boots and let’s hit the trail!

Durdle Door

Durdle Door (pictured below), a spectacular natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset, is one of Britain’s most remarkable sights.

It’s an unmissable attraction for anyone who visits this area and it’s no wonder why – as you stand atop the hill overlooking it, there’s a real sense of awe that takes hold.

The best way to appreciate its beauty is by walking along the trail between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.

The route follows a picturesque path with dramatic sea cliffs, lush green fields and rocky beaches alongside all sorts of wildlife including wildflowers in season.

This stretch of coastline forms part of the South West Coast Path, which makes it easy to explore at your own pace – whether you’re looking for a gentle stroll or something more strenuous.

All in all, it’s an unforgettable experience that will leave lasting memories!

photo of Durdle Door on the Jurassic Coast with some of the best hiking trails in Dorset

The Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is the perfect place to go for a scenic walk, offering spectacular views of stunning cliffs and beaches. What’s more, it’s full of surprises; not only can you find fossils from millions of years ago, but also historic ruins dating back centuries.

I was lucky enough to take such a journey on one remarkable day – just as I rounded a corner along the coast path, I spotted an old castle perched above the cliffs.

As I continued my walk, the scenery changed dramatically with each turn. From rolling hills covered in wildflowers to secluded coves hidden among boulders, there was so much to discover that no two steps were ever the same!

The sun shone brightly overhead while waves lapped against the shoreline below – it was like stepping into another world. By the time I reached my destination, I felt truly refreshed and energised by this beautiful landscape.

The South West Coast Path

Leaving the Jurassic Coast, we now turn our attention to one of Britain’s most famous walking routes — The South West Coast Path.

Starting in Minehead, Somerset and stretching 630 miles all the way around England’s south coast to Poole Harbour in Dorset, this epic trail takes you through some of the country’s most diverse landscapes – from coastal heathlands teeming with wildlife to rolling green hillsides, rugged cliffs and sandy coves.

Along its route, the path passes through several Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty such as Exmoor and Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck (don’t miss Old Harry Rocks, pictured below!)

There are also plenty of quaint seaside towns for a spot of lunch or simply just taking in beautiful views out over Lyme Bay.

As well as being rich in natural beauty, many sections have fascinating historical sites too, so there is always something new to explore!

photo of Old Harrys Rocks, Handfast Point, Isle of Purbeck, boasting some of the most scenic hiking trails in Dorset

The Purbeck Hills

The Purbeck Hills are a sight to behold like an ethereal dreamscape come alive. The rolling hills and lush green grasses glimmer in the sun, beckoning admirers from miles away.

Take your time exploring Corfe Castle‘s ancient ruins.

Breathe in the fresh country air at Swyre Head – the highest point of South Dorset’s ridgeback range.

Wander through Lulworth Cove’s gentle curves for stunning coastal views.

A journey into this natural wonderland will transport you back in time, with its captivating history and timeless beauty. The landscape offers a peaceful respite – a place to relax and unwind amidst nature’s finest offerings.

Each step brings new surprises, whether it be unexpected wildlife sightings or incredible vistas that take your breath away.

Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove is one of Dorset’s most iconic beauty spots and a popular destination for tourists visiting the county.

The picturesque coastal cove boasts dramatic limestone cliffs which are surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters, making it an ideal spot to take in some breathtaking views.

It’s easy to access via the South West Coast Path and can be enjoyed year-round with plenty of activities available both on and off the beach.

The local area also offers plenty to explore beyond Lulworth Cove, such as Stair Hole – an impressive natural archway cut into the cliff face – plus Tyneham, an atmospheric ‘ghost village’, where visitors can discover historical remains dating back to World War II.

If you’re looking to enjoy a little more adventure while taking in the stunning scenery, there are also several boat trips running from nearby Weymouth (pictured below) that will give you a unique perspective of this spectacular coastline.

All in all, Lulworth Cove gives walking enthusiasts ample opportunity to appreciate its many charms.

Photo of the waterfront at Weymouth in Dorset

The Hardy Monument

Following the breathtaking sight of Lulworth Cove, we now turn our attention to the Hardy Monument. A stone column situated on Black Down in Dorset, this monument is certainly a sight to behold.

It’s no wonder it has been described as ‘the gem at the heart of Dorset’s rural landscape’. To add to its charm, you can see for miles around – a view that will take your breath away!

As well as being awe-inspiring, the Hardy Monument also has a fascinating history behind it. Built between 1844 and 1851 by local architect John Hicks, it was erected in honour of Admiral Thomas Masterman Hardy – who famously served alongside Lord Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar.

This memorial truly stands out like a beacon against the backdrop of fields and coastal views – making it a must-see destination for anyone planning on enjoying the hiking trails in Dorset. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Safety Measures Should I Take When Walking In Dorset?

When walking in Dorset, it’s important to take certain safety precautions.

Make sure you wear the right clothing and footwear for the terrain – sturdy shoes with good grip are essential, as well as layers of warm clothes if it’s cold or wet outside.

It’s also a good idea to bring along a physical map, just in case you lose signal on your phone.

Let someone know where you’re going before setting off and check the weather forecast ahead of time as well.

Lastly, stay on public footpaths wherever possible so that you don’t disturb private land or wildlife habitats.

Are There Any Cafes Or Restaurants Along The Scenic Routes?

Yes, there are indeed cafes, pubs and restaurants along the hiking trails in Dorset.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional meal or a takeaway snack to enjoy during your walk, you’ll find plenty of options.

From charming country pubs serving up hearty meals to quaint tea rooms offering homemade cakes and scones, there are plenty of places where you can take a break from exploring Dorset’s most picturesque trails.

Are There Any Guided Walking Tours Available?

Fancy discovering the most picturesque hiking trails in Dorset?

Well, there are plenty of guided walking tours available to help you do just that!

With over 80% of tourists having rated them as ‘fantastic’, it’s hard not to be tempted by what these tours have to offer.

If you really want to spoil yourself, you could book an all-inclusive stay with English Cottage Vacation in a luxury 18th-century thatched cottage in the heart of the Dorset countryside.

Co-host and resident chef Laura cooks up delicious gourmet meals including indulgent picnic baskets for days out; while co-host and dedicated chauffeur/guide Nathan will deliver you in executive comfort to the best points to start your scenic walks, and collect you whenever you’re done.

Hiking Trails In Dorset: Final Word

Here’s an interesting statistic: Dorset is home to over 2,000 miles of footpaths and trails. That’s the equivalent of a journey across Europe!

Walking in the stunning landscapes of this enchanting county offers wonderful opportunities to enjoy breathtaking views and discover hidden gems.

With so much on offer, it’s no wonder that people come from far and wide to explore the stunning hiking trails in Dorset.

Whether you’re looking for picturesque walks with your pup or guided tours with knowledgeable experts, there are plenty of options available. Happy hiking!



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