National Trust Walks in Dorset
West Bexington nature’s harvest walk
Distance 2½ miles from Rudge Farm Cottages
Start West Bexington Beach car park
Following a short stretch of the Dorset South West Coast Path, this walk takes in the area around Chesil Beach, an 18-mile long “barrier beach” that shelters Weymouth from the erosion caused by the prevailing wind and waves. Fishermen are a common sight on the Dorset coastline. Further inland, the wide hedgerows offer excellent habitats for birds, and the nearby nature reserve offers further bird-spotting opportunities.
Lambert’s Castle hilltop views walk in Marshwood
Distance 12 miles from Rudge Farm Cottages
Start Lambert’s Castle car park
Dorset’s countryside is scattered with forts, castles, gun emplacements and other fortifications. There are several recognisable ancient monuments in the county, including the two Iron Age hill forts featured in this walk. Lambert’s Castle offers fine views of the surrounding area, with the coast visible on clear days. The medieval fishpond is also well worth a visit – it is now a wildlife habitat, with kingfishers known to visit on occasion.
Burton Bradstock walk
Distance 3 miles from Rudge Farm Cottages
Start Burton Bradstock car park
This short circular walk along golden Burton Cliff takes in some spectacular clifftop views of the Dorset coast. Hive beach below is part of the fascinating stony beach coastline around Lyme Bay. It was a key landing stage for smugglers, and folklore says that a local fisherman or smuggler could tell exactly where he was on the beach at night or in fog simply by looking at the size of the pebbles.
The regular rock falls often expose fascinating fossils; you can compare finds or simply enjoy the view with some fine fresh fish at the Hive Beach Café.
Langdon Hill Walk Golden Cap
Distance 10 miles from Rudge Farm Cottages
Start Langdon Hill car park
This leisurely walk takes in views towards Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast, which gets its name from minerals in the rock that glisten a rusty-gold when exposed in the sunlight.
This is another stretch of Dorset countryside full of history, from burial mounds to ancient landscape, while the woods fill with wild flowers in the summer months. Stonebarrow Hill, close by, is a great starting point for a network of footpaths, including the family-friendly interactive Smugglers’ Trail.