If you’re looking for a perfect cliff walk on the south coast of the UK, then you won’t go far wrong with the Jurassic coast.
As a 95 mile stretch of coastline running from East Devon to Dorset, The Jurassic coast is home to around 185 million years of history.
The Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the region’s extreme geographical importance. Layers of sedimentary rock run through the cliffs allow geologists to read the history of this coastline across the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Better still, the cliffs here are rich in fossils, from tiny ammonites to the ichthyosaur recently featured on the documentary David Attenborough and the Sea Dragon.
Whether you’re after history, stunning landscapes, or geographical wonders, the following cliff walks are the perfect way to explore this stretch of coastline. so below you’ll find some of the best cliff walks in Dorset. They’ve been ranked loosely according to difficulty, taking into account the length of the walk and the steepness of any climbs.
Old Harry Rocks
The bright white chalk stacks jutting from the sea at Handfast Point are just one example of the unique rock formations and amazing landscapes along the Dorset Jurassic Coast.
Starting at Studland Bay, the circular walk to Old Harry Rocks takes about an hour (there and back. It’s probably one of the easiest walking routes in Dorset, but it takes in one of the area’s biggest attractions.
My personal favourite Dorset cliff walk is another easy one – and it ends at one of my favourite local pubs! The route from Bowleaze Cove to Smuggler’s Inn at Osmington Mills follows a short section of the South West Coastal Path, and takes around an hour.
You’ll pass Redcliff Point on the way, an area that’s particularly rich in fossils. And you’ll finish at the historic Smuggler’s Inn, once the hangout of a notorious smuggler gang.
A circular walk from Lyme Regis to Charmouth along the beach, and back along the cliffs, is another of the Jurassic Coast’s classic walking routes. If you’re interested in fossils, this is the place to come! Charmouth is one of the best places to find fossils in Dorset, and the Heritage Coast Centre here displays some of the best finds.
Ringstead to Durdle Door
No list of what to see in Dorset is complete without mentioning Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch and a real Dorset icon. There are easier walking routes you can follow to it, but the walk from Ringstead to Durdle Door, while tough, is one of the most rewarding.
St Alban’s Head
Starting at Worth Martravers (the town with the most Dorset-sounding name in Dorset!), you can walk to the rocky headland of St Alban’s Head via Seacomb and Winspit. The quarry at Winspit was used as a set for several old Doctor Who episodes, and it’s a pretty interesting spot to explore.