Explore the iconic scenery of the Dorset area, made famous by literary legend Thomas Hardy.
This is a walk through some of the most unspoilt countryside in England. Dorset is a ‘rural county by the sea’, the countryside of which is known all over the world as the backdrop to the literature of Thomas Hardy. It is also the scene for most of the classic thriller ‘Rogue Male’, a remarkable insight into Europe between the World Wars. And then there is the sea, featuring the ‘Jurassic Coast’. This is a walk that includes wonderful scenery, pretty villages filled with thatched cottages and, above all, the best of rural England.
Day 1: Arrive Cerne Abbas for overnight
Cerne Abbas (Hardy’s Abbot’s Cernel), a very pretty village snug in the Piddle Valley, is overlooked by the famous – or, for some, infamous – Cerne Abbas Giant. Overnight Cerne Abbas.
Day 2: Walk Cerne Abbas to Evershot
This is a wonderful walk, with marvellous panoramic views. It will take you through the countryside featured in ‘Rogue Male’ and you will finish at the village of Evershot, which Thomas Hardy, in Tess of the D’Urbervilles, called Evershead. Transfer back to Cerne Abbas for overnight.11 mi/17.5 kms
Day 3: Transfer to Evershot and walk to Beaminster
This takes you deep into farming countryside. Wonderful views again, a couple of pretty villages and hamlets, a charming little church and then a magnificent descent into Beaminster, called Emminster in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Overnight Beaminster.9 mi/14.4 kms
Day 4: Walk Beaminster to Bridport
This delightful walk will take you out via Mapperton, where you can visit the gardens of Mapperton House, voted the finest manor house in the country. Continue deep in glorious Dorset countryside to pass through the charming village of Powerstock and arrive at Bridport for overnight. Overnight Bridport.10.6 mi/17 kms
Day 5: Take public bus to Lyme Regis and return along the Jurassic Coast
Lyme Regis is a lively, interesting seasisde town, home to the late John Fowles and the setting for ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’. The return walk takes you over the Golden Cap, the highest point on the south England coast. Overnight Bridport.10.6 mi/17 kms
Day 6: Walk via West Bay along the coast to Abbotsbury
With views to Chesil Beach. Abbotsbury is a handsome village, with its internationally known swannery, and magnificent tithe barn, the largest in England. Overnight Abbotsbury.8 mi/13.5 kms
Day 7: Walk up to the ridge behind Abbotsbury
With wonderful views out to Chesil Beach and the sea. Pass the Hardy Monument (which commemorates Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Flag-Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar) and then to Maiden Castle, the largest Iron Age fort in Britain and which featured in ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’. Finally enter Dorchester via Poundbury. Overnight Dorchester.9.4 mi/15 kms
Day 8: Departure after breakfast.
N.B. Extra nights possible, as well as the walk from Dorchester to Cerne Abbas for those that wish.
Six nights accommodation with breakfast in good quality B & Bs, hotels, or inns with ensuite bathrooms; luggage transfer (or transfer to trailhead if staying in the same place for two nights); route notes and maps
Transportation to/from holiday. Lunches and dinners, drinks, entry fees, insurance, transfers not mentioned in the programme, anything not specifically mentioned in the programme.
Dorchester has two separate rail stations – Dorchester South is on the main line between Weymouth and London Waterloo. Dorchester West serves the west country. The two stations are about a 5 minute walk from each other and the town centre.
To plan your journey by train, click the following link: Train to Dorchester
To plan your journey by car, click the following link: Plan your Journey by Car