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The Best Walks In Dorset: A Complete Guide

Dorset is drop-dead gorgeous. In fact it has so many scenic highlights, it's hard to choose where to go – especially when you're here for a short stay. We’ve shared our top spots for the best walks in Dorset, whether you’re out and about with family, friends or your dog, or a combination of those, or going solo.

From the villlage of Wyke Regis at the edge of Weymouth, this legacy trail takes you 3.5km along a disused passenger railway line that’s been transformed into a magnificent wildlife corridor rich in birds, butterflies and other insects. En route you’ll see old station platforms and Sandsfoot Castle and take in wonderful views across Portland Harbour.

For those who like challenges, this fairly strenuous 11km walk rewards you for your efforts – including walking up several steep hills – with views of some of the most fascinating features of the UNESCO-listed Jurassic Coast. They include the iconic natural limestone arch of Durdle Door and the uniquely shaped Lulworth Cove with its heavenly white pebble beach. You’ll follow part of the South West Coast Path and come across several cafés and inns perfect for refuelling, including the waterfront Boat Shed Café.

This is the countryside that inspired Thomas Hardy’s semi-fictional Wessex, and a walk here brings you into contact with the ancient landscapes that inspired his novels of the Blackmore Vale. Choose from three routes, all short and relatively undemanding but all repaying you with stunning views and wildlife sightings, especially butterflies. The area also abounds in classic country pubs in which to take a breather. Hardy’s Cottage itself is on the very doorstep of Greenwood Grange.

This 7.5km walk is a fairly easy stroll from the hamlet of Pamphill on the National Trust’s Bankes Estate with its fine manor house, then along part of an important Roman military supply route. You’ll cross Dorset’s longest river, next to a Roman ford, before reaching Wimborne Minster and its famous Minster Church of St Cuthburga. On the way back to Pamphill, you’ll encounter ancient almshouses and picture-postcard thatched cottages. Pamphill Dairy has a farm shop and parlour café serving afternoon teas that are guaranteed to fill you back up

This easy 5km walk takes you on a voyage of discovery over a sand spit and fascinating heath that is the only spot in the British Isles where all six native species of reptile, including sand lizards, can be found, in addition to lots of insects and birdlife. As well as being the starting point for the South West Coastal Path, Studland offers up barbecue spots, fabulous beaches, views over to Sandbanks, Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight.

Find out more about our dog-friendly holiday cottages in Dorset.

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