£40K Dorset Legacy Trail project nears completion

New and engaging waymarks on the Dorset Coast that aim to encourage local people and visitors to
 explore the natural environment and improve access between Weymouth and Portland are nearing completion.

The Wild about Weymouth and Portland Legacy Trail allows visitors to walk across 20 million years of Jurassic time from Littlemoor to Portland Bill and is the flagship project of a series of investments supported by the South West Coast Path Team to provide more information about the heritage, wildlife and other points of interest close to the Coast Path.

Various partners have contributed to the Legacy Trail led by Dorset Wildlife Trust, including a £20,000 grant from the South West Coast Path team’s ‘Unlocking our Coastal Heritage Project’, funded by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). It also received match funding from the Big Lottery as part of Natural England’s Access to Nature scheme.

Lyn Cooch, from Dorset countryside, said:  “So far people have responded really well to the new waypoints, watching them evolve and enjoying the dry stone walling and locally carved pieces. Unique to each location but with a common theme, we hope they will encourage people to explore more discovering the area around each location or perhaps even walking the whole trail!”

In the past three years a total of 86 locations have now benefited from interpretation projects, completing the third of four key strands that make up the total £2.1m RDPE funded project, which aims to increase the economic value of the South West Coast Path by protecting and enhancing heritage features, improving the quality of the route and working with businesses to improve the facilities and information provided to visitors. 

This interpretation work has been completed with the support of businesses and partners at key gateway sites to the Coast Path, from campsites and coastguard lookout stations to nature reserves and car parks, including the YHA, which has ten key properties with map boards; and Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, which has 18 boards at mainline and branch line stations. The National Trust, which owns a third of the Coast Path, has also installed interpretation at many of its heritage sites where the RDPE grant has been used to conserve and enhance the natural and built environment.

Bella Crawford, from the South West Coast Path team, says: “It has been fantastic to see all the hard work of the past three years coming to fruition, including projects such the Weymouth and Portland Legacy Trail. The Unlocking the Coastal Heritage project has been all about giving locals and visitors a far greater understanding and enjoyment of the natural environment on or near the Coast Path for years to come.”

For more information about the Unlocking our Coastal Heritage project and the four strands that are designed to conserve, enhance and interpret the Coast Path, visit

Photo caption: walkers stop to admire the new viewing point at Church Ope Cove with Portland Stone ammonite depicting local wildlife worked into the ground

For more information about the Legacy Trail and sites along the way, the downloadable Go wild family activity booklet and details of circular walks, visit

Published on: Nov. 11, 2013