Start point: Lyme Regis
Finish point: Poole Harbour
Total distance: 86 miles / 138 km
Map information: Explorer OL15
Time needed: 6 days
Districts covered: West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland, Purbeck
Linking trails and walks
South West Coast Path
The Dorset Coast Path forms part of the 630 mile South West Coast Path National Trail. Wherever you choose to visit along the Dorset coast, you can stroll along the frontier between land and sea courtesy of the Coast Path, where dramatic landscapes and seascapes are revealed with every twist and turn of the route. The coast path follows cliff top, lagoon, beach and urban environments.
There are some very steep ascents and descents in parts of Purbeck, Portland and West Dorset. Steps are installed on most of the steeper sections. The path is currently accessed through a mixture of self closing gates, kiss-gates and stiles.
The path provides access to all kinds of stories: an exceptional record of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of the Earth's history - the 'walk through time'; classic landforms straight out of geography text books - the Black Ven landslide complex, Chesil Beach, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove; stories of farming, both ancient and modern, of smuggling, quarrying, fishing and of war and fortification; and wildlife that is as rich, varied and specialised as anywhere in the country. The path links together coastal hamlets, villages and towns and simply gives people the opportunity to access all that is special about the Dorset coast.
The South West Coast Path is way marked by the acorn symbol - the symbol for National Trails.
Please note, the Lulworth Ranges (MoD) are only open during school holidays and at weekends.
Sections of the Dorset Coast Path are prone to periodic closure following landslips. For up to date information on closures visit www.southwestcoastpath.com
Coast Path closure between Burton Freshwater and Burton Hive
The Coast Path between Burton Freshwater and Burton Hive Beach has now been re-opened (April 2013) and includes a minor diversion (pdf, 1Mb) (opens in a new window) .
Coast Path closure West Weares, Portland
There are two Coast Path closures (January2013) between Blacknor and Priory Corner (pdf, 957kb) (opens in a new window) . The closure is needed because of cliff movement and the likelihood of danger to the public. This situation is being monitored but the path is likely to be closed for several months. Minor diversions are signed on the ground.
Path closure Castle Cove to Bincleaves, Weymouth
There is a path closure just west of Bincleaves open space (pdf, 768kb) (opens in a new window) (April 2013). The closure is needed because of a landslide and the likelihood of danger to the public. The Coast Path is unaffected.
Coast Path closure between Kimmeridge Bay and Houns-tout
There is a Coast Path closure between Kimmeridge Bay and Houns-tout (pdf, 1Mb) (opens in a new window) (April 2013). The closure is needed because of landslides and the likelihood of danger to the public. There is no viable diversion available.
For further information on these path closures please contact John Hayes.
Abbotsbury Swannery and Fleet lagoon
RSPB reserves at Radipole, Lodmoor and Arne
Geology / Geomorphology
Black Ven landslide complex
Old Harry Rocks and any cliff along the Dorset coast
The Cobb (Lyme Regis)
St. Catherine's Chapel (Abbotsbury)
Abbotsbury Abbey (ruins) and Tithe Barn
Portland Bill Lighthouse
Flower's Barrow Iron Age Hill Fort
St. Aldhelm's Head (chapel)
Tout Quarry Sculpture Park (Portland)
Buses: The X53 bus serves most of West Dorset and some of Purbeck. The X43 bus (24 July to 3 September 2011 only) will run between Swanage, Lulworth and Weymouth. There are also various bus services between Weymouth and Portland Bill. Visit Travel Dorset for more information.
Trains: Swanage Railway operates between Norden (near Corfe Castle and Swanage).
Dorset tide times
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