Walk the spectacular Hell Lane Dorset | 9 miles inc. Dorset holloways


We plotted this route on the map for one reason – we wanted to finally walk Hell Lane Dorset through to the other end which is the same path but now called Shute’s Lane (between Symondsbury and North Chideock). And what an absolutely gorgeous cracker of a route it turned out to be! The route navigates mostly via ancient green lanes and spectacular holloways in Dorset. It’s got huge variety – some stunning views, ancient mysterious pathways, away from the busier Symondsbury it was entirely unpopulated, there were sneaky peeks at the sea – and we can now agree that the experience of walking through Hell Lane and Shute’s Lane is pretty special.

To follow this route using the Outdooractive App, please find the route here.

We elected to walk the route in a figure of eight, which allowed a grand finale walking up the spectacular Hell Lane Dorset and Shute’s Lane – your choice of course, it’s easy to switch, and you could take the ancient quarrying holloway as an easier downhill at the start.
Some of the green lanes are actual stream beds – do make sure you’re wearing good footwear if the weather has been wet. For us, though we were walking in glorious sunshine the previous week had been rainfilled. As a consequence there were some seriously splashy sections, and the bottom end of Hell Lane was actually a fast-flowing shallow stream.
Another couple of paths ran through the centre of hedgerows and have clearly been re-routed into the neighbouring field to prevent the need for upkeep – we battled through for a bit, occasionally on hands and knees, until we gave in and used the field!
None of the hills are too strenuous, and if you’re lucky with your weather like we were it’ll be a spectacular afternoon’s walk.

The middle section of the ancient holloway, where North Chideock’s Hell Lane Dorset morphs into Shute’s Lane at the Symondsbury end
Hell Lane Dorset - the atmospheric ancient Dorset holloway is a quarrying track between North Chideock and Symondsbury
Hell Lane Dorset walk

The first section of Hell Lane was a shallow stream which required sploshing through. Once you’re past that, there’s a steady incline up to Quarry Cross through the astonishing holloway
Dorset holloway walk - Shute's Lane into Hell Lane near Symondsbury
Hell Lane walk is walled with tree roots

The charms of the holloways never stop – this wall of twisted tree roots is amazing at the top of Hell Lane Dorset

Though the tracks are easy to follow, many are well-used and clearly winter streambeds, like this approach to Venn Farm. Boots definitely required!
Hell Lane walk moves into Shute's Lane near Symondsbury
As Hell Lane Dorset morphs into Shute’s Lane nears Symondsbury the walls get ever higher and more deeply carved
colmers Hill walk through dorset holloways

Colmers Hill is an ever-present unmistakeable landmark on this circular Dorset walk

All the Dorset Walks we feature have 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.


  1. Walked your route today, under leaden January skies, but as we came into the open fields about an hour in, the clouds cleared to let some rays through, glinting on the sea in the far distance. Didn’t meet anyone until the last section on Hell Lane and back into Symondsbury. Wonderful walk, not too wet underfoot which is a blessing at this time of year; Dorset was looking glorious in her winter garb – and we made it to the Symondsbury Kitchen in time for coffee and cake. Thank you for sharing this lovely walk.

    • So lovely to hear you enjoyed the walk – but we are clearly rookies, we missed out the coffee and cake part. We must try harder!

  2. Thanks for the great route. Walked the smaller loop today with three kids in tow. Challenging at times in the muddier parts but fantastic views and scenery.

    • You’re so welcome – brilliant to hear you got the kids out too, it’s a perfect walk for them as there’s so much to see. It’s tricky to find a non-muddy walk in a UK winter, though, sorry!

  3. Hello! This is such great info – we’re coming to Dorset next week and would love to just do a mini walk of the mysterious Hells Lane path with our 6 & 4 year old, but realistically they won’t walk much more than 2 miles. Would you know the best way to adapt your route for this / parking etc? Thanks so much!

    • If I were you Nikolas I’d start in the same place, and then just stay left on the route so you start with the part of the route we finished with.
      Then you can just do the Shutes Lane/Hell Lane part, and just go for as long as you feel like – all the way to the far end of Hell Lane is just under 1.5miles, so you might make it the whole way there and back again if you take your time!


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