Walk - Lulworth Cove to Worth Matravers

14.2 miles (22.8 km)

Lulworth Cove Car Park - BH20 5RQ Worth Matravers (nr. Chapmans Pool)

Challenging - Severe to moderate.

This isolated stretch of the South West Coast Path offers some spectacular views, but be prepared for some difficult walking right from the beginning. The Path roller-coasters along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, rewarding walkers with staggering views of sweeping bays, folded cliffs and richly coloured limestone-loving wildflowers and butterflies.

The path across the Lulworth Ranges is one of the highlights of the Jurassic Coast, but can only be used when the range is not in use. To avoid missing out on this it is recommended you plan your walk to get here when the ranges are open – most weekends and holidays (see here for details). As live ammunition is used, you must not stray off the paths which are clearly marked by yellow posts, and do not pick up any metal objects lying on the ground.

If firing is taking place, red flags are flown and the gates are locked. The alternatives are either a 13 mile detour around the ranges (partly on roads) or a more attractive option is to catch a bus (see Traveline) from West Lulworth to Corfe Castle and then walk along the ridge (which has great views) to the road near Great Wood and then descend down to rejoin the Coast Path at Kimmeridge. Details of the Corfe Castle to Kimmeridge walk can be found here.

After resting and keeping a look out for fossils on the beach of Kimmeridge Bay, continue carefully along the Kimmeridge Ledges and prepare for more strenuous walking ahead. The Path continues its roller coaster journey and then climbs steeply to the top of Houns-tout Cliff, which stands at 490 feet (150 m) above sea level, before leading you out to St Aldhelm’s Head to enjoy the views, look for seabirds and the occasional dolphin, and breathe in the sea air. Finally, take the short walk inland to the pretty village of Worth Matravers, where you can find refreshments at the end of a long but exhilarating day.

Note the village of Worth Matravers is about ¾ mile inland of the Coast Path and you can either reach it by diverting off at Chapman's Pool (about 12½ miles in total), or continue past St Aldhelm's Head and head inland at Winspit (about 14½ miles in total).

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Alford House B&B

Very friendly B&B situated in a beautiful village. We can pick up/drop off to the path.

What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Footscape

Walking holidays & short breaks on the Jurassic Coast. Flexibility of choice: where, how far to walk, where to stay and precise, foolproof directions. We constantly update trails and provide interesting information, bringing the coast to life. Get in touch for a no committment quote

Interactive Elevation

Highlights

  • The beautiful horseshoe bay of Lulworth Cove. Just east of Lulworth is Stair Hole where the sea is washing away the limestone to form a cove in probably the exact same way as it did at Lulworth millions of years ago. From here you can also see the extraordinary folds of rock known as the Lulworth Crumple.
  • The Fossil Forest: designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the beach at the foot of Bindon Hill has the most complete fossil record of a Jurassic Forest in the world. Look out for the round, bulbous lumps of rock near the sea which are thought to be
    135 million years old.
  • Enjoying the spectacular view back over Lulworth Cove from Pepler’s Point.
  • Looking out to the sea birds around Mupe Rocks and the sweeping view round the bay to Wolbarrow Tout.
  • Flower’s Barrow: the visible remains of an Iron Age fort, which interestingly has never been excavated. The combination of the dramatic effects of coastal erosion, the geological folding and the remains of the Fort make this an extraordinarily breathtaking sight.
  • Looking down to the limestone beds around Pondfield Cove.
  • Searching for fossils and watching the marine life on Kimmeridge Beach. The layered cliffs here provide such a clear record of geological activity that geologists throughout the world use the term ‘Kimmeridgian’ as the term for rocks of this age.
  • Visiting the Fine Foundation Marine Wildlife Reserve: this is the longest established Voluntary Marine Nature Reserve in the UK. The centre is open daily from 10.00-17.00 until September. For further details see the Dorset Wildlife website.
  • The Clavell Tower: visible for miles, the tower was built in the early 1830s as a folly and observatory and has inspired a number of writers, including Thomas Hardy and P.D. James. The tower has recently undergone major restoration works, which included moving it 82ft inland.
  • The high outcrop of St Aldhelm’s Head, also known as St Alban’s Head. The Norman chapel of St Aldhelm is one of the oldest churches in England and was named after the Bishop of Sherbourne who died in 709AD. The chapel was built quite some way from Worth Matravers which suggests that it was also intended to serve as a marker for seafarers. Near here you will also see the contrasting structures of the National Coastguard lookout and a memorial to the radar research which took place on St Aldhelm’s Head during WWII.
  • Enjoying refreshments in Worth Matravers. This pretty, small village dates back to pre-Roman times. Limestone cottages are built around a central green and pond and the Norman Church of St Nicholas is one of the oldest in Dorset.

Shorter option

It is not easy to shorten this walk due to lack of accommodation. You could walk out a distance and then return to Lulworth Cove, or alternatively follow one of the circular routes.

Longer option

Continue to Swanage.

Public transport

There are limited bus services to and from Lulworth. There is a railway station at Wool, which is between Dorchester and Poole, and you will be able to catch a bus from here to Lulworth Cove.
During the summer there is a limited bus service from Worth Matravers to Swanage. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the train station and bus stop symbols, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

Parking

Lulworth Cove (BH20 5RQ), Tyneham, inland on Whiteway Hill, Kimmeridge Bay, inland in Kimmeridge, inland from Chapman’s Pool and Worth Matravers.

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