The Dorset coastal path is always super-busy in the summer, but there’s nowhere more glorious on a sharp and sunny winter’s day.
Extra note this month – while walking the coastal path section in November, I foolishly didn’t stop moving as I checked the route on my phone. I immediately clattered into a very low and frankly insignificant bush, and a ridiculous amount of pain bloomed in my shin, despite there being no visible damage.
Three days later I was in A&E with a serious infection spreading up my leg thanks to a single deep puncture wound in my shin from that blackthorn bush.
Apparently it’s a common issue – so beware the blackthorn!
The routes we feature have always been created and walked recently by ourselves, so you know you can trust them – we aim for unpopulated routes with as little road and as many views as possible!
You can always see the route and follow it yourself via the free Outdoor Active app – see all our routes here. (you’ll need to create a free account to see them).
To follow this route using the Outdooractive App, please find the route here.
Starting from the small car park in Worth Matravers (honesty box) you walk past the smallest pub I know, the Square & Compass (which has been in the same family for 100 years), and then follow the path through a gorgeous gully straight down to the clifftop (the relatively steep downhill is mildly treacherous in wet).
In the central section, if you’ve never visited, it’s worth leaving the route to clamber down to Dancing Ledge for an explore.
The eagle-eyed, and those following the route on the app, will notice that we managewd to miss the path which leads away from the cliff edge to the one running parallel but slightly inland. We wound our way up to it following small paths presumably from countless others who did the same!
Wear good footwear in the winter – the coastal path is narrow and busy, and therefore gets incredibly muddy. Also do please keep dogs on leads, the cliff edge is suprisingly close in sections. The route back along the Priest’s Way runs parallel to the coastal path. It’s an ancient track taken by a local priest as he travelled back and forth between the churches at Swanage and Worth Matravers.
The first glimpse of the sea appears just a few minutes after leaving the car at Worth Matravers
Looking back across Dancing Ledge (seen in the foreground), from the half way breathing point of the toughest uphill section of the route – the views are all the reward you need to keep plodding upwards
On a sunny winter’s day, a hike on Dorset’s coastal path takes some beating.
The track inland from the coast to pick up The Priest’s Way doesn’t take much map reading to follow…
Even away from the breathtaking coastline the views are constant and beautiful.