A brisk winters walk has a beauty and excitement all of its own, it creates a sense of wholeness that only these scenic routes can conjure up. Dorset is such a beautiful part of the country, surrounded by award winning beaches, a rugged coastline and picturesque countryside but sometimes it’s hard to fully appreciate this when the wind is howling and your fingers are colder than icicles and the prospect of stepping outside your cosy front door seems less than desirable. But, sometimes this is when our Dorset coast is at its best. With less tourists, unspoilt views and the rawness that comes from the coast in the winter. Here at WestBeach we count ourselves lucky everyday at how beautiful our surrounding areas are. So, we’ve put together our top coastal walks in Dorset to enjoy during the winter (or any time of the year really).
Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door
Start this walk at Lulworth Cove admiring the amazing view, an image that perfectly depicts the Jurassic coast. Formed by the sea eroding the clay and sand over hundreds of years and leaving a small, but perfectly formed cove. You will then begin the assent up the hill towards Durdle Door. Once you hit the summit of the hill take a moment to appreciate the Dorset Coast with its sprawling white cliffs, from here it’s not hard to see why the Jurassic Coast was named England’s first natural World Heritage Site. You will then begin your assent towards Durdle Door and are rewarded with the most incredible views of the arch.
Studland to Old Harry Rocks
Marking the most Easterly part of the Jurassic Coast the three rock formations stand tall in the sea, these were formerly joined as well by Old Harry's Wife, before erosion caused her to topple into the sea. Start this walk from the National Trust car park in Studland Village and follow the coastal path the whole way down, this path can become fairly narrow and steep but you are rewarded with spectacular views of Old Harry Rocks and beyond to Poole Harbour and the Isle of Weight, the perfect spot for a winters picnic.
Hengistbury Head sits on the prominent tip of Bournemouth to the South of Christchurch Harbour and offers beautifully dramatic coastline views as well as being an archaeological site and featuring outstanding wildlife. This is a much less strenuous walk and a variety of routes can be taken, we just recommend making your way up to Warren Hill where you’ll be met with spectacular views over Poole Bay and Christchurch.
Durlston Country Park to Dancing Ledge
A not so hidden, local gem. Dancing ledge is a flat area of rock at the base of a small cliff, it’s a more rugged view with no beach and very rocky surroundings, but still just as beautiful none the less. This walk takes you from Durlston country park, a 3.7 mile walk across the coastline, one of our tougher suggestions but definitely worth it. Once you reach Dancing ledge a bit of climbing is involved to make it down to the ledge, and we wouldn’t recommend doing this by yourself, but if you are able and the tide is right you’ll be rewarded with a natural swimming pool at the bottom cut out of the rock and filled with sea water. It’s a unique photo opportunity not to be missed.
We couldn’t put a list together without including our favourite walk right on our doorstep. Nothing beats the roaring waves, the desolate beaches and the cosy restaurants along Bournemouth seafront. You can start this walk in Sandbanks if you fancy a slightly longer walk (approx. 3.6 miles), admiring the plush houses and the ruggedness of the beach, passing through the Chines, or for a shorter walk start at any one of these. Despite its simplicity it is one of our favourites. Finish this walk at WestBeach, let us look after you as you slump into a chair and indulge in a winter warmer and watch the world go by, knowing that you’ve earned it.