GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Dorchester Walks

7 miles (11.5 km)

The historic county town of Dorset has some fine river trails, expansive local woodlands and a noteworthy hill fort to explore.
This walk from the town takes you to some of the highlights of the area including the River Frome Watermeadows, Puddletown Forest, Thorncombe Woods and Hardy's Cottage.
The walk starts at Dorchester South train station and heads east through the town to the River Frome. Here you follow a footpath across the water meadows to the village of Stinsford. In the village there's Kingston Maurward house where there's lovely gardens and a lake with a statue of excalibur.
You head east past the lake towards Lower Bockhampton before turning north to the Stinsford Manor House and Higher Bockhampton. Here you can follow woodland trails around Thorncombe Wood and the adjacent Puddletown Forest. In this are you'll also find the National Trust Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre. The centre contains interesting displays about the life and works of author Thomas Hardy and his connection to the local landscape. You can then explore the cottage itself where Hardy was born in 1840. The delightfulcob and thatch cottage is where he wrote some of his classic novels including 'Under the Greenwood Tree' and 'Far from the Madding Crowd'. After exploring the the cottage and surrounding forest area the route returns to Dorchester on the same paths.

Dorchester OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Dorchester Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking

Walks near Dorchester

  • Thorncombe Woods - This walk visits Thorncombe Woods, Duddle Heath and Thomas Hardy's cottage, near Dorchester
  • Puddletown Forest - This large area of woodland near Dorchester has miles of footpaths and mountain bike trails
  • Hardy Monument - Enjoy wonderful views over the Dorset countryside from this historical viewpoint near Portesham and Abbotsbury
  • Maiden Castle Dorset - Climb to this Iron Agehill fort near Dorchester and enjoy wonderful views over the surrounding countryside
  • Dorchester - The historic county town of Dorset has some fine river trails, expansive local woodlands and a noteworthy hill fort to explore.
  • Weymouth Circular Walk - A circular walk around the seaside town of Weymouth, visiting the promenade, the ruins of Sandsfoot Castle and the pretty Radipole Lake Nature Reserve.
    The walk starts on the front, near to the train station
  • Athelhampton House - Explore the beautiful parkland and gardens surrounding the marvellous, 15th century Athelhampton House
  • Cerne Abbas Giant - This circular walk visits Giant Hill in Dorset where you will find the striking chalk hill figure of the Cerne Abbas Giant
  • Frome Valley Trail - This is a riverside walk along the River Frome from its source at Evershot to Dorchester
  • Evershot - This circular walk from the idyllicDorset village of Evershot visits the delightful Melbury Park.
  • Sydling St Nicholas - This pretty little village is located in a lovely rural location in thechalkhills of theDorset Downs


Back in the town the Blue Raddle is a good choice for some post walk refreshment. The friendly pub serves good quality food and has a fine selection of ales. You can find them at 9 Church St, DT1 1JN.

Dog Walking

The country trails and woodland at Puddletown and Thorncombe are ideal for dog walking. The Blue Raddle mentioned above is also dog friendly.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

To continue your walking around Dorchester climb to the Iron Age Hillfort at Maiden Castle for excellent views over the area.
This page is for the Dorset based Dorchester if you are looking for the Oxfordshire town please see the Dorchester on Thames Walks page.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Dorset Walks page.


River Frome at Dorchester - - 1870893

River Frome at Dorchester

Town Pump and the Corn Exchange - - 32709

Town Pump and the Corn Exchange

Bridge over the Mill Stream, Dorchester - - 809783

Bridge over the Mill Stream, Dorchester. This placid scene is only 300 metres from the centre of Dorchester.

Stinsford Meadows - - 1558734

Stinsford Meadows

Excalibur - - 480597

Excalibur. A sculpture in the lake of Kingston Maurward gardens

Gazebo overlooking lake - - 480600

Gazebo overlooking lake at Kingston Maurward

Thomas Hardy's Cottage - - 1059790

Thomas Hardy's Cottage

Puddletown Forest by Thomas Hardy's Cottage - geograph-3215290

Puddletown Forest by Thomas Hardy's Cottage


GPS Files

GPX File

Dorchester.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Download Linked File)

Memory Map Route

Dorchester.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Download Linked File)