Walk - Langton Herring Walk from Bagwell Farm

5.0 miles (8.0 km)

Bagwell Campsite DT3 4EA Bagwell Campsite

Moderate - The route passes through fields and woodland, and it can get very muddy after rain. There is a stretch of moderately steep descent, as well as some gentler downhill stretches and some gradual uphill walking.

A walk along the shores of the Fleet Lagoon, with its abundance of birds and rare plants, to the picturesque village of Langton Herring. Stroll between the thatched cottages and other unusual buildings here before returning through peaceful woodland, and why not pause for refreshments at the sixteenth century smugglers' inn?

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.

Moonfleet Manor Hotel - LFH

Handsome georgian manor house magnificently situated over Chesil Beach & Fleet Lagoon

Wheelwright's Cottage

Close to the Coast Path, thatched ground floor double room, en-suite shower, tea/coffee making facilities, TV, free Wi-Fi, off-street parking, full English breakfast.

Peach's B&B

Quaint B&B offers 1 double room, 1 single room both with ensuite shower. Approx 400 years old, this cottage has characterful bedrooms with comfortable beds and is a perfect stop for Coast Path walkers.

Number Five

18 Century pretty cottage in a quite location with 1 x double room. Evening meal with prior notice. Dogs welcome and open all year

Cowards Lake Farmhouse B&B

A 3 Star B&B with a Visit England breakfast Award at the west end of Abbotsbury with views of the sea and St Catherine's Chapel. One double and one twin room. Free wifi.

Maribels B&B

Maribel's provides homely accommodation, comfortable rooms and a relaxed atmosphere for an enjoyable stay. Special winter offers from £50.

Harbour Lights Guest House

Lovely house with views of Portland harbour/Chesil beach. Bus to Weymouth/Portland every 15 mins. 15 min walk to Brewers Quay, 3 mins Rodwell Trail. Parking on site

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the Bagwell campsite, carry on down the drive, heading away from the main road, and follow it to West Fleet Farm.
  2. At West Fleet, turn right and walk past the Bar in the Barn, turning right onto the footpath beyond it, and then left to cross the stile into the field beyond. Turn left again and walk around the left-hand boundary of the field, past the farm, and turn right with it around the far end of the field, to the stile in the wall ahead of you once you've turned the corner.
  3. On the far side of the stile turn left, and walk down the edge of this field to the Coast Path at the bottom.
  4. Go through the gap in the wall and turn right to walk along the wall to the corner, where four paths meet.
  5. Turn left, carrying on along the Coast Path, signed to Abbotsbury, and follow it around the Fleet Lagoon, until you come to the track heading uphill towards the coastguard cottages.

The Fleet Lagoon formed after rising sea levels from the end of the last ice age 20,000-14,000 years ago washed up sediments from the seabed into what is now the 18-mile shingle barrier of Chesil Beach. (The beach derives its name from the old English ceosel, meaning gravel or shingle). The shingle ridge was driven landwards during this process and Chesil Beach started forming about 7000 years ago, reaching completion some 2000 years later. At that stage it was predominantly sandy, with layers of shell and coarser materials being washed up on top; but as the rising sea levels reached the cliffs of East Devon, the subsequent erosion produced much bigger boulders, which were washed onto the barrier ridge by longshore drift.

It has been estimated that something like 60 million cubic metres of gravel accumulated in this way, and it has been suggested that the beach is still on the move, shifting around 15cm eastwards every year from the Portland end, and travelling northwards at a slower rate from Abbotsbury.

John Fowles (whose novel 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' was set in nearby Lyme Regis) wrote of Chesil Bank: 'It is above all an elemental place, made of sea, shingle and sky, its dominant sound always that of waves on moving stone: from the great surf and pounding “grounds of seas” of sou’westers, to the delicate laps and back-gurgling of the rare dead calm…. '

Although the shingle ridge divides the Fleet Lagoon from the sea, there is still a narrow channel between the two at Portland Harbour, and seawater percolates through the material of the ridge. Meanwhile, freshwater is washed into the lagoon from the hills and fields on the landward side, resulting in an enormous body of water whose temperature and salinity (saltiness) vary tremendously from place to place. This has given rise to a wide variety of seaweeds (over 150 different species), which in turn provides food and shelter for a large number of molluscs and fish, attracting the great flocks of seabirds to be seen around the lagoon throughout the year. There are large numbers of swans and geese, as well as ducks, herons, egrets and gulls, and many other wildfowl. Land species include pheasant, partridge and quail, and look out overhead for birds of prey like buzzard, kestrel and annual migrants like red kite, harrier and hobby.

  1. Turn right onto this track, and follow it up past the cottages, carrying on uphill beyond them until the hill flattens out and you come to a stile in the wall on your right.
  2. Crossing this stile, walk diagonally across the field to the gate by the houses. Going through the gate, turn right onto the track running beside the houses and follow this into the village of Langton Herring.
  3. Follow the road around to the left, past the red-brick church, to the bridleway on your right.

Take time to explore the village, which has a range of interesting architecture including a number of listed buildings, and maybe pause for refreshment at the Elm Tree Inn. The sixteenth-century inn's features include a resident ghost, the mast of a ship once used by a mob to hang a local miscreant fisherman, and smugglers' tunnels connecting it to the nearby church.

Turn right onto this bridleway and stay with it past the farm and between the barns beyond, to carry on along the track going straight ahead when another heads to the left.

  1. Stay with this track as it heads through the next field, curving around with it and heading into the woodland on your right when you reach the end.
  2. Carry on along the track as it drops downhill through the woods, and when you get to the T-junction at the end, turn left.
  3. The track turns to a path which winds through the trees, eventually fetching up just short of the main road.
  4. Instead of going out onto the road take the public bridleway to your right, continuing along the verge beyond to arrive back at the entrance to Bagwell Farm.

Public transport

The X53 bus runs regularly from Weymouth to Exmouth, stopping at the Victoria Inn, above the start of the walk. For details visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

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