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South Dorset Ridgeway

Part of the South West Coast Path National Trail, the South Dorset Ridgeway passes through the ceremonial landscape of South Dorset.

You will be following in the footsteps of the people who lived here over 5,000 years ago. With the exception of one or two short sections the route affords superb coastal views virtually along its entirety.

There are steep climbs at either end of the route, which level out. The majority of the route is bridleway with some shorter sections of footpath.

Places of interest

The South Dorset Ridgeway was ritually and culturally important to the people of the Neolithic - Iron Age period. It is often referred to as a ceremonial landscape owing to rare Neolithic earthworks dating from about 3600BC and the large number of later Bronze Age burial mounds. It is considered to have an archaeological significance that is on a par with the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge and Avebury.

The route passes over or close to Abbotsbury, Maiden Castle and Chalbury Iron Age hill forts. It also passes Hardy's Monument, built in 1844 to commemorate Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy (flag captain of the Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar). It also goes above the Osmington White Horse which was constructed to commemorate the many visits to Weymouth by King George III.

Parking & transport links

X53 bus stops at Swyre (for West Bexington) and Osmington (for Osmington Mills). Pay and display car park at West Bexington. Some roadside parking at Osmington Mills and Hardy Monument.

Linking trails and walks

Accommodation providers

There are accommodation providers at either end of the South Dorset Ridgeway but nothing on route once you ascend onto the Ridgeway. Details of campsites, youth hostels, B&Bs and hotels can be found on:   Visit-Dorset.com (opens in a new window)

Start Point: West Bexington

Finish Point: Osmington Mills

Total Distance:  27 km / 17 miles

Map Information: OS Explorer Maps OL15

Time Needed: One full days brisk walk or two less strenuous days

Districts Covered: West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland

Trail Managed by: Dorset County Council (Area Greenspace Management - West)

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