South Dorset Ridgeway
Enjoy wonderful views of the Jurassic Coast on this walk along the South Dorset Ridgeway. The route runs along the South West Coast Path from West Bexington to Osmington Mills with some beautiful scenery to enjoy. The area is also historically significant with severaláBronze Age round barrows and Iron Age hill forts to look out for on the way. The immediate area contains about 500 archaeological monuments, nearly all of them several thousand years old. It's quite a challenging walk with several climbs, reaching a maximum height of nearly 800ft. From the elevated position of the path there are splendid coastal views to enjoy for most of the route.
The walk starts in the village of West Bexington on the Dorset coast near Chesil Beach. You then climb away from the coast to the Hardy Monument, passing Abbotsbury Castle Iron Age Hill Fort and the Hell Stone neolithic dolmen on Portesham Hill. The Hardy monument was built in 1844 in memory of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Flag Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. It sits on Black Down and commands fine views to the coast.
The path continues east, descending towards the village of Bincombe across Bincombe Down. Soon after you come to Chalbury Hill Fort and the Osmington White Horse. The distinctive figure is one of the highlights of the walk. It dates from the early 19th century and representsáKing George IIIáriding his horse.
From the white horse you descend to the village of Osmington. It's an interesting place with a church dating from the 12th century and dwellings dating back to the 16th century. The final section of the walk takes you from Osmington to the little hamlet of Osmington Mills on the coast. There's nice views of Osmington Bay as you finish your walk.
If you wanted to extend your walk you could continue east along the coast and visit the beautiful Ringstead Bay.
South Dorset Ridgeway Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
South Dorset Ridgeway Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
South Dorset Ridgeway OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
South Dorset Ridgeway Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
South Dorset Ridgeway Pubs/Cafes
In Osmington Mills you'll find the noteworthy Smuggler's Inn. Situated on the cliff tops of the South West Coast Path, just outside the village of Osmington, the Smugglers Inn is a traditional English pub with stunning views overlooking the Isle of Portland. The pub also has an interesting history having been the headquarters of the French smuggler Pierre Latour and one of the main landing places for smuggled goods in the 17th century. Notably the Inn was originally built in the 13th century, with its own brewery at the rear. There's a lovely large garden area which is perfect for relaxing in when the weather is fine. You can fine the pub right on the coast at a postcode of DT3 6HF for your sat navs.