Charmouth to Abbotsbury
A Taste of the Jurassic Coast
Distance: 16 miles over 2 days. Difficulty: Easy
This walk is a great introduction to the Jurassic Coast, England’s first UNESCO designated natural World Heritage Site, which covers 95 miles of truly stunning coastline from East Devon to Dorset, with rocks recording 185 million years of the Earth's history. Charmouth is one of the best places to find fossils, with some of the best ones people have found are on display in the Heritage Centre. At Abbotsbury there’s a Swannery and the Thatch, making this an ideal adventure to take your children along.
Charmouth Beach is one of the best places to look for fossils in the UK. Rapid erosion has resulted in thousands of Jurassic fossils being deposited on the beach, some of which are displayed at the Heritage Coast Centre, which is free to visitors.
From Charmouth you climb up Stonebarrow hill, through National Trust farmland and then up again to the summit of the spectacular Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast. From here, there are superb views in all directions, extending across Lyme Bay to Dartmoor and ahead to the Isle of Portland.
It continues onto Seatown, where you can cut short the first day’s walk, or carry on another three miles to immense sandstone cliffs of West Bay. Here you can see the start of Chesil Beach, an extraordinary natural ridge of pebbles that extends 17 miles to Portland.
The hundreds of mute swans of Abbotsbury Swannery make for a beautiful sight upon arriving at the end of this walk. There is plenty to see here, including the great Tithe barn and ruins of the Abbey.
- Day 1: Charmouth to West Bay (7.1 miles)
- Day 2: West Bay to Abbotsbury (9.3 miles)