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Guide to Dorset Pub Walks

Discover Dorset’s lovely countryside with this guide to some of the best walks in the county. There are 20 circular routes here varying in length from 2¾ to 6¼ miles. At the heart of each walk is a great local pub. Explore the county’s world-famous Jurassic coastline, including the chalk stack of Old Harry and the south coast’s highest point at Golden Cap. Wander through rolling downland scenery with flower-rich meadows, visiting Iron Age hillforts with commanding defensive positions that offer great views. Take a walk along the former Saxon defences at Wareham or meander alongside peaceful rivers, follow paths through a patchwork of hedge-lined fields accompanied by birdsong, or explore picture-postcard villages and enjoy the tranquillity of their historic churches.

Publisher: Countryside Books

ISBN: 9781846744136

Publication Date: June 2022

The book is available from local bookshops, direct from the publisher Countryside Books, or from online sellers, including
Dorset Pub Walks cover
Dorset offers a lovely mix of scenery including a rugged coastline overlooking the English Channel, the undulating contours of the flower-rich chalk downs and a patchwork of hedge-lined fields which, when combined with a network of paths, bridleways and quiet lanes make the county a joy to explore on foot.

Wandering through picture-postcard villages is like walking through the pages of a Thomas Hardy novel. Hardy, who was born at Higher Bockhampton in 1840 and later lived at Max Gate in Dorchester, based many of his novels on places and characters he knew within Dorset including Evershot, which was known as ‘Evershed’ in Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

The world-famous Jurassic coastline stretches along Dorset’s southern edge and includes the well-photographed chalk stack of Old Harry and the south coast’s highest point at Golden Cap with far reaching views to the east and west along the coastline. The Jurassic Coast, which also includes East Devon, was designated as England’s only natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001 due to its rocks, fossils and landforms. Over millennia coastal erosion has exposed an almost continuous sequence of rock formation spanning 185 million years.

Crowning some of Dorset’s hills are the remains of Iron Age hillforts. Constructed over 2000 years ago these defensive structures of concentric ditches and earth embankments offer great views from their commanding positions. The walks in this guide visit a number of hillforts including Eggardon Hill, Hambledon Hill and Maiden Castle; the latter is said to be one of the largest and most complex hillforts in Europe.

Take time to admire the tranquillity to be found in an ancient church, enjoy the atmosphere of a cosy village pub, some of which have been around for over 400 years, or just enjoy the abundance of wildlife to be found whilst walking in Dorset’s beautiful countryside.
Eggardon Hill (Walk 3)Evershot - Tess Cottage and St Osmond Church (Walk 4)Gerrards Hill looking towards Beaminster (Walk 2)Maiden's Castle (Walk 8)Old Harry Rocks at Studland (Walk 19)Brace of Pheasant at Plush (Walk 11)Swanage viewed from Ballard Point (Walk 19)Coastal view at Chapman's Pool (Walk 16 )Following the South West Coast Path towards Seatown (Walk 1)The Quay and Old Granary pub at Wareham (Walk 15)
1 Seatown & Golden Cap (4¾ miles)
2 Stoke Abbott (5 miles)
3 Askerswell (6¼ miles)
4 Evershot (4 miles)
5 Abbotsbury (5¼ miles)
6 Langton Herring (4½ miles)
7 Sandford Orcas (2¾ miles)
8 Martinstown (6 miles)
9 Cerne Abbas (2¾ miles)
10 Sutton Poyntz (4 miles)
11 Plush (4½ miles)
12 Sturminster Newton (5¼ miles)
13 Milton Abbas (4½ miles)
14 Child Okeford (4½ or 6 miles)
15 Wareham (4 miles)
16 Worth Matravers (5¼ miles)
17 Pamphill (3½ miles)
18 Gussage All Saints (5 miles)
19 Studland & Old Harry (5¾ miles)
20 Cranborne (4½ miles)