An afternoon’s walk from Pilsdon Pen | 8.1 miles


A moderately energetic but incredibly peaceful circular West Dorset walk (as it’s West Dorset, you can obviously expect plenty of upping and downing!) through the undulating heart of the least populated part of the county. Starting with the car park at Pilsdon Pen, once you leave the NT hilltop you’ll be lucky to see another person on the whole route!

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

The route is well signed and easy to follow, switching as it does between some of the biggest long distance Dorset trails (the Jubilee Trail, the Monarch’s Way, the Liberty Trail and the Wessex Ridgeway). It’s a varied route, mostly across open farmland, but with some small patches of woodland and crossing lots of small streams (all easily bridged or passable, even in February) and there’s a permanent sense of peace and quiet.

Just a few notes:

  • There is a small free car park for Pilsdon Pen, allowing easy parking to start the route.
The view to Golden Cap and the sea from the base of Pilsdon Pen
  • We chose not to go over Pilsdon Pen, taking the less-walked route around the base. But if you’ve never been before, do go up and over for the wonderful views – if you come down the back end, there is a gate which allows you direct access to the field where you can pick up the route again.
There be unicorns here…
  • Behind Pilsdon Pen you come down to the wonderful Specket Cottage. The route crosses the lane, and there is a sign to suggest an alternatoive route to avoid the boggy ground. We risked it, and found the bog was entirely passable (hopping mound to mound) as it was only a 50′ stretch just below the road. However, if your footwear isn’t up to some bog water, or it’s been very wet, turn left along the lane (which is exceptionally quiet) and just pick up the route again at Cole’s Cross.
The boggy stretch below Specket Cottage
  • The final part of the route is a lo-o-ong uphill plod: the incline isn’t steep, but it does rather go on a bit, and if you’re out of practice like we were, it took a bit of puffing and a few rest breaks to make it all the way up!
The rewards on the long climb back up to the car

(If you enjoy this walk and are looking for other local Dorset walk suggestions, you can see all the published Dorset Walks by the BV magazine here)


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