Walk - South Dorset Ridgeway
17.1 miles (27.5 km)
South Dorset Ridgeway South Dorset Ridgeway
Easy - Moderate
The South Dorset Ridgeway is part of the South West Coast Path National Trail and was the original route to be designated (the route around Portland was only added in 2003). It runs from West Bexington to Osmington Mills, decreasing the total distance of the South West Coast Path by 25 miles (40 km). Although it is some distance from the sea, it is part of the National Trail as it offers stunning views of the Jurassic Coast.
The route also provides the opportunity to explore one of the UK’s most significant ancient ceremonial landscapes. The South Dorset Ridgeway has been important to local people for millennia as shown by the extraordinary number of lumps and bumps - or historic monuments - that can still be seen along the ridge. From long and bank barrows constructed around 6,000 years ago in the Neolithic period, stone circles and 4,000 year old Bronze Age round barrows, to Iron Age hillforts, the area rivals the more well known sites of Stonehenge and Avebury. The footpath passes close by to some of these monuments, particularly the round barrow groups at Bronkham Hill and Bincombe Down. Be careful not to trip over the stone circle at Hampton which also lies alongside the path You can find out more on the South Dorset Ridgeway website.
The Ridgeway not only offers fantastic views of the Jurassic Coast, but also of the inland scenery of river valleys, chalk downland, villages and farmland, and it provides access to some of Dorset’s famous landmarks, including The White Horse and Captain Hardy’s Monument. The South Dorset Ridgeway was well known to another famous Hardy - Thomas Hardy - who captures this enigmatic landscape in several of his stories. The Ridgeway continues to be of inspiration to writers and artists alike, and we are sure that you too will be inspired by the glorious landscape around you.