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South West Coast Path

The Dorset Coast Path forms part of the 630 mile South West Coast Path National Trail. Dramatic landscapes and seascapes are revealed with every twist and turn along this coastal walk.

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.

Landscape / terrain

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.

Finding your way

The South West Coast Path is way marked by the acorn symbol - the symbol for National Trails .

Please note the Lulworth Ranges (Ministry of Defence) are only open during school holidays and at weekends.

Sections of the Dorset Coast Path are prone to periodic closures following landslips. For up to date information on closures visit the South West Coast Path website. (opens in a new window)

Coast Path closure between Burton Freshwater and Burton Hive

The Coast Path between Burton Freshwater and Burton Hive Beach has now been re-opened (September 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) (September 2013). The closure is needed because of a landslide and the likelihood of danger to the public. The Coast Path is unaffected.


Buses and Trains


The X51, X53 and X54 bus serves most of West Dorset and some of Purbeck. There are also various bus services between Weymouth and Portland Bill. Visit our bus pages for bus timetables, routes and bus stops.

Swanage Railway (opens in a new window) operates between Norden (near Corfe Castle) and Swanage. There are also train stations at Dorchester, Weymouth and Poole.

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Start point: Lyme Regis

Finish point: Poole Harbour

Total distance: 138 km / 86 miles

Map information: OS Explorer Map OL15

Time needed: 6 days

Districts covered: West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland and Purbeck

Trail Managed By: Dorset County Council

Dorset tide times

Linking trails and walks

Places of interest 

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