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Abbotsbury Hills and Coast

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Abbotsbury Hills and Coast
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 28 Jun 2011 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Dorset,
Walk Type: Coastal
Abbotsbury Hills and Coast
Length: 8 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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An 8 mile circular walk from the picturesque Dorset village of Abbotsbury with its plentiful supply of stone thatched cottages. The walk climbs up to the South Dorset Ridgeway, which gives stunning views over a long stretch of coast, before heading down through the tiny village of West Bexington and back to Abbotsbury along the South West Coast Path alongside Chesil Beach.

The walk has a couple of fairly steep ascents/descents, a fairly exposed section along the top of the Ridgeway and a couple of stiles. Most of the paths are across fields which could be muddy after wet weather and the fields are also likely to contain grazing cows and/or sheep so take extra care if you have dogs with you.

Parking is available in the Abbotsbury village car park (pay on entry) which is on Rodden Row (B3157), directly opposite Rosemary Lane. Approximate post code DT3 4JL

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Walk Sections

Climb to the South Dorset Ridgeway
Climb to the South Dorset Ridgeway

Start point: 50.6651 lat, -2.5976 long
End point: 50.6745 lat, -2.6079 long

Leave the Abbotsbury village car park, cross the main road and walk up Rosemary Lane to the T-juntion at the end. Turn left down Back Street and after a short distance turn right up a small track with a footpath sign marking Blind Lane and the Hill Fort (1.75miles).

Follow this footpath as it climbs to the left and then right, and pass through a gate (keep dogs on a lead as sheep are likely to be grazing from this point). Take a moment to look back and enjoy the view of Chapel Hill – you will get to see the chapel up close later on in the walk. Continue up the hill and straight on through two more gates then follow the path forking slightly left signposted Hill Fort (1.25miles). As the path begins to level off you will see a large pond in the hollow to your left, surrounded by hides constructed of reeds.

Shortly after the pond the path will continue to bend to the left and you will come to another gate that marks the start of the South Dorset Ridgeway.

Along the Ridgeway to the Hill Fort
Along the Ridgeway to the Hill Fort

Start point: 50.6745 lat, -2.6079 long
End point: 50.6764 lat, -2.629 long

Pass through the gate to enter the Ridgeway footpath. Take care here as we came across a couple of herds of cows. (If you have a dog with you and need to avoid the cows it is possible to climb down the bracken covered bank to the right and then climb back up to join the Ridgeway – you’ll see our detour in the GPS trace!).

Continue along the Ridgeway, taking in the spectacular views of Abbotsbury and Chesil Beach. Pass through a gate to cross a small tarmac access road and then through the gate opposite to rejoin the Ridgeway with the Iron Age Hill Fort to your right. The Hill Fort (Abbotsbury Castle) was occupied by the Celtic Durotriges tribe and with its position overlooking the English Channel, was the front line of defence from invasion.

Hill Fort to West Bexington
Hill Fort to West Bexington

Start point: 50.6764 lat, -2.629 long
End point: 50.6795 lat, -2.6613 long

After another mile the Ridgeway begins to descend towards the road. Climb over the stile, cross the B3157 and pass through the gate directly opposite into Tulks Hill.

Continue to follow marker signs to West Bexington across the fields continuing straight past the stone wall to your left, passing through one gate and alongside hedgerows on your left.

The Ridgeway emerges from the fields over a stile ahead (with an adjacent dog gate) onto a small laybay of the B3157 and then continues on a stone track down to the left. As the track meets another stone track at a T-junction, turn left and follow the stone track down the long straight descent to West Bexington village.

West Bexington to St Catherine’s Chapel
West Bexington to St Catherine’s Chapel

Start point: 50.6795 lat, -2.6613 long
End point: 50.6611 lat, -2.6059 long

The track emerges onto a lane in West Bexington. Turn right and then immediately left to follow the lane past houses down to the coast. On arriving at the beach car park, turn left to join the SW Coast Path at the back of the beach.

Follow the Coast Path behind Chesil Beach, a welcome stretch of flat walking. Chesil Beach is an 18 mile shingle bank, one of the finest barrier beaches in the world.

Pass alongside another beach car park to your left (with a cafe and toilets) and about 500m after this, the Coast Path turns inland (left) back towards Abbotsbury.

As the path runs alongside fields to the right, look out for a stile on your right with a sign towards the Swannery. Cross this stile (which has a dog gate to the side) and follow the grass path uphill with the fence to your right. You will pass a small concrete pillbox on your right. Pass through a gate and then turn immediately left to climb more steeply up hill. Follow the grass path as it forks to the right winding up to the top of the hill where you will find St Catherine’s Chapel.

St Catherine’s Chapel and Abbotsbury Village
St Catherine’s Chapel and Abbotsbury Village

Start point: 50.6611 lat, -2.6059 long
End point: 50.6656 lat, -2.5977 long

Take a well deserved break as you admire St Catherine’s Chapel and the magnificent views down to the sea and to Abbotsbury village. Now managed by English Heritage, the Chapel is thought to have been built in the first half of the fifteenth century.

When you are ready to continue, walk on with the chapel on your left and follow the grass path as it heads down to the right towards the village. Continue with the stone wall on your left and pass through a metal kissing gate onto a bridleway.

Go straight on up the bridleway and you will come past the village stores to meet the main road. Turn right and follow the road as it bends first right and then left back to the car park (take care as the pavements are very narrow). Alternatively take some time to explore the village (including the 970-year old Swannery which was established by Benedictine Monks to produce food for their lavish banquets) or enjoy a cream tea in one of the village tea rooms.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2011 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 responses to "Abbotsbury Hills and Coast"

This is a great walk but look out for cows!

By Richard on 2013-02-06 20:18:50

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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