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Dorset Coastal Path



Start: Lyme Regis, Dorset

Finish: Sandbanks, Dorset

Length: 73 miles

The Dorset Coast Path is 73 miles long and is now included as part of the South West Coastal Path. It starts at Lyme Regis and ends at Sandbanks, which means it also incorporates part of the Jurrasic coastline and many other features.

So what flora and fauna are you likely to see along the route. Well the limestone cliffs of the Purbecks are home to Puffins and orchids especially at Townsend Quarry. On the shingle bank of Chesil Beach you can come across sea pea and sea kale, the sand dunes at Studland have their own particular set of plants and insects. The wetland sites at Little Sea on Studland heath and the Fleet have an abundance of birds. Offshore there is a marine reserve at Kimmeridge with marine life particularly noticeable at low tide.

For full details of the path see here.

If you don't feel energetic enough to do the whole route in one go, it can be taken in a number of sections such as:

Lyme Regis to West Bay (10 miles)

The Cobb, Breakwater at Lyme Regis

The Cobb at Lyme Regis   Tony Atkin

Location: Lyme Regis, Dorset

Grid Reference: SY338922 Ceremonial County: Dorset
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Google Aerial Photo 

Getting there: Off the A35 take the A3052.

Website: http://www.lymeregis.com/

Other useful websites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyme_Regis


Notes: Situated in Lyme Bay at the Dorset/Devon border. Famous for it's harbour "The Cobb" dating from around 1300.

Charmouth - see our featured guide on what you can find here by using this link Charmouth .

West Bay to Abbotsbury (9 miles)

Here you could stop off and see the Swans at Abbotsbury Swannery or the Sub Tropical Gardens.

Abbotsbury to Weymouth (14 miles), where on route you could take in the sites of:

Chesil Beach Shingle Ridge (aka Chesil Bank)

A well known 18 mile shingle beach stretching from Portland to West Bay. It is separated from the mainland by an area of salen water called Fleet Lagoon. There is also the Fleet Nature Reserve, and a visitor centre at the Southern End of Fleet Lagoon between Weymouth and Portland.

Location: Chesil Beach, Dorset

Grid Reference: SY644782 Ceremonial County: Dorset
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Google Aerial Map 

Getting there: From Weymouth follow the A354 to Portland, as you approach Portland the Chesil Beach visitor centre and car park are on your right.

Website: http://www.chesilbeach.org/

Other useful websites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesil_Bank


Notes: The seaward slope is closed every year from 1st April to 31st August to protect nesting birds.

Weymouth to Kimmeridge (19 miles) and stop off to take a look at:-

Durdle Door

Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch on the Jurrasic Coast near Lulworth, between Swanage and Weymouth. Probably the most photographed and painted landmark on the Dorset coast. A walk down to the beach is very steep, or walk around the contour of the hill towards Scratchy Bottom and view it from the high ridge.

 Gwyn Jones

Location: Durdle Door, Lulworth, Dorset

Grid Reference: SY812800 Ceremonial County: Dorset
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Google Aerial Map 

Getting there: from the A352 take the B3071 to Lulworth Cove at West Lulworth take the road to Daggers Gate follow the signs to the Car Park and then follow the footpath.


Other useful websites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durdle_Door 



Kimmeridge to Swanage (13 miles)


Location: Swanage, Dorset

Grid Reference: SZ034787 Ceremonial County: Dorset
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Google Aerial Photo

Getting there: From A35 just outside Poole take the A351 through Wareham and Corfe Castle until you reach the roads end at Swanage.

Website:  http://www.swanage.gov.uk/

Other useful websites:


Swanage to sandbanks (8 miles) taking a stop off at Studland to see Old Harry Rocks and take in Studland Bay.

Old Harry Rock stacks

Chalk stacks located east of Studland, below the cliffs at Ballard Down. The cliff is chalk with bands of flint and have been reduced over centuries by the sea. The downland habitat is home to a variety of chalk flora which is complimented by many species of butterfly including Chalkhill Blue and Adonis Blue.

John Tomlinson 

Location: Old Harry Stacks, nr Studland, Dorset

Grid Reference: SZ044821 Ceremonial County: Dorset
Map Link: Multimap  Aerial photo: Google Aerial Photo  

Getting there: Take the A351 to Swanage, at Corfe take the B3351 to Studland and follow the footpath out to Old Harry.

Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk/~imw/harry.htm

Other useful websites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Harry_Rocks      National Trust

Notes: There are a number of car parks within Studland and the Studland Bay area.


A small piece of land jutting out at the opening of Poole Harbour is the Sandbanks peninsula . Three miles from Poole town centre. Sandbanks beach is 5 kilometres of golden sand and a Blue Flag beach popular with swimmers and bathers during the summer months. Watersports and other activities also take place. It is connected to Studland via a chain ferry, the Sandbanks Ferry which takes both car and foot passengers across the mouth of Poole Harbour.

Location: Sandbanks, nr Poole, Dorset

Grid Reference: SZ036873 Ceremonial County: Dorset
Map Link: Multimap Aerial photo: Google Aerial Map

Getting there: From Poole take the A35 out towards Bournemouth, then take the B3369to Sandbanks or follow the sandcastles painted on the B3369 from the Civic Centre.

Website: http://www.pooleview.co.uk/beach/sandbanks.htm

Other useful websites: http://www.sandbanksferry.co.uk/   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandbanks

Notes: Parking near beach for 550 vehicles and some off road parking.

See Also:

South West Coastal Path

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid(s) or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.

By: Tracey Park Section: Walk Section Key:
Page Ref: dorset_cp Topic: Walks Last Updated: 04/2009


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