Walk - Stones and Circles

7.0 miles (11.3 km)

The Kings Arms, Portesham DT3 4ET The Kings Arms, Portesham

Challenging - Some strenuous sections with uneven gound and stiles. Muddy in parts.

A strenuous walk, passing an abandoned quarry, stone circles and historic monuments, with some spectacular views of the coastline.

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.

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.

Peachs 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.

Moonfleet Manor Hotel - LFH

Handsome Georgian manor house magnificently situated over Chesil Beach & Fleet Lagoon.

Fossil&The Cross Cottage - Dream Cottages

2 bedroom cosy cottage just a short walk from bexington beach with garden, patio area and log burner. Perfect for couple or small family

You'll be spoilt for choice for where to eat and drink along the Path. With lots of local seasonal food on offer, fresh from the farm, field and waters. Try our local ales, ciders, wines and spirits, increasing in variety by the year, as you sit in a cosy pub, fine dining restaurant or chilled café on the beach. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

The Ilchester Arms

The Ilchester Arms is a family-run rustic pub & restaurant - our passion to provide fantastic food at an affordable price

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the King’s Arms walk up Front Street to junction with Winters Lane.

Turn right and continue uphill until you reach lane to Portesham Farm.

A village of local limestone cottages and a mediæval church, Portesham was originally granted as a manor by King Canute in 1024.

  1. Take this lane, cross cattle grid, walk steeply uphill to a disused Quarry and then pass farm buildings.
  2. Continue on track with dry stone wall on left.

Stay on path to ruins of Black Down Barn. Follow the path around to the left, below the  woodland and join the South Dorset Ridgeway National Trail.

  1. Follow the National Trail through  fields to the road.
  2. At the road cross over and walk towards fingerpost, turn right towards barns. Keep to the left of barns go through metal gate and along the track. Follow South Dorset Ridgeway National Trail until you reach Hampton Stone Circle on your left.

Continue to follow South Dorset Ridgeway National Trail to Bishops Road.

  1. At road turn right, walk uphill and turn left into a lane. Go on until you reach the sign for Gorwell Farm. Look for the bridleway which runs to the right of the hedge.
  2. Take this path for Kingston Russell Stone Circle.

You can take a detour to see the Grey Mare and her Colts Long Barrow. From the bridleway look for a small stile in hedge to your right.

Long Barrow - The Grey Mare and her Colts was built nearly six thousand years ago to bury an early resident of the Ridgeway area.

  1. The Barrow is ahead of you, there is a gateway on the right behind the barrow. Return to the route by stile 8.

Stay on bridleway for ¾ mile until you reach a gateway, go through and the Stone Circle is on right.

Dorset’s Stone Circles date from 3000 to 2000BC. it would seem that one of their roles was as a ritual and meeting place to mark important times in the agricultural year.

Kingston Russell is a flattened circle about 24m across. All 18 stones are lying down and it’s easy to miss in the summer. Hampton is a 6m oval. The original circle may have been demolished in the late 17th century. After an excavation in 1965 the circle was restored by putting the stones back into old sockets.

Go through gate on left hand side marked The Macmillan Way.

  1. Follow this path through two fields. When you reach a field behind some houses follow track to right and turn left in front of them to a lane.

Walk through Gorwell Farm and its wooded valley. After the woodland on right hand side you will see concrete track.

  1. Follow this uphill to gateway. Go through and walk on grassy track, pass through a small gate into an open field. Almost straight away go through a large gate on the left, and follow the field boundary to the right, walking towards the sea. At the end of the field you rejoin the South Dorset Ridgeway
  2. EITHER Leave the trail here to visit Abbotsbury. OR Turn left and follow until you reach Bishops Road (6).

Cross over to gateway and follow path back to stile.

  1. Take right hand path to Portesham. Walk along the top of the coombe, ignore stile on left. Continue until you reach a fingerpost, turn right into the coombe, walk down to the valley bottom and head for gate below you.
  2. Go through gate and follow the track alongside the wooded copse and withy beds.

Continue on path to gateway into field. Walk along right field edge, Portesham comes into view. Walk on a farm track and go through two gateways.

  1. Go up track on the other side and before field entrance turn right through small gate. Follow path behind houses. Stay on path until you reach garages and New Road. Turn right and follow the road downhill to the Manor House. Cross over and follow road to the right of the house to return to Kings Arms.

Portesham or Rocket Quarry opened from the 19th century until 1928. Limestone quarried here was used to build Hardy’s Monument in 1845. The farm track follows the line of an inclined tramway which ran from a siding of the Abbotsbury Railway. The quarry is a Regionally Important Geological Site.

Public transport

The village is well served by a bus (Number X53) from Weymouth and Abbotsbury throughout the day.

Information is available from Traveline Tel 0871 200 2233 www.travelinesw.com

Parking

Parking is severely limited in Portesham and walkers should consider using public transport.

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