Walk 1331 - printer friendly version
Kimmeridge & Tyneham Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 6.8 miles / 11 km
Ascent - 1300 feet / 394 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SY918800
Lat 50.619648 + Long -2.1172721
Postcode BH20 5PH (approx. location only)
This varied walk combines dramatic seascapes with the interesting story of a deserted village. The route also passes one of Britain's few land based oil wells and includes a section of fine ridge walking. Sections of this walk cross the firing ranges and you are advised to take heed of all warnings in respect of path closures. In addition it is recommended you stay on marked paths and do not touch any suspicious objects that you might find.
The start is the small car park located in a quarry above the village of Kimmeridge (Grid ref. SY918800). After parking cross the road and go right for a short distance and take the signed footpath. This descends into the village of Kimmeridge passing the church on your right to reach a lane. Turn right along the lane and go through the gate. Go half left across the field passing a coppice on your right. Turn and go half left across the field to drop down to the small stream. Follow this through fields and over stiles to reach a road. Turn left along the road past some houses to turn right across a car park to reach the coastal path and the sea.
Turn right onto the South West Coast Path (although you might wish to make the short diversion left to visit the Clavel Tower). The Coast Path is followed for the next section of the walk passing the oil well with its "nodding donkey" before climbing onto Tyneham Cap. Throughout this section there are excellent views of Kimmeridge Bay and the Dorset coast westwards to Lulworth Cove.
Reaching the summit of Tyneham Cap you will probably need a rest and it does provide a wonderful vantage point although it can be windswept as evidenced from the shape of the small trees! Continue west towards Gad Cliff (approaching 500 feet high) before turning right on a clear path down to Tyneham Village.
During 1943 the Ministry of Defence requisitioned the village of Tyneham and the surrounding countryside as part of the efforts to train troops for the D-Day landings. What remains of the village has been preserved with the former church and school housing small exhibitions. There is also a pleasant picnic area with the whole village having a 1940's 'feel'.
After completing your exploration of Tyneham village retrace your steps up to Tyneham Cap. Instead on following the Coastal Path stay on the high ground and follow the clearly defined ridge east with excellent views across much of Purbeck. Reaching a path junction (Grid ref. SY 909 801) go half right and descend towards Kimmeridge village with its pleasant church (passed earlier), thatched cottages and a small cafe. To return to the start take the path to the east of the churchyard, which leads back to the quarry. Note - as an alternative you can continue on the ridge from SY909801 to reach the start thus omitting a visit to the Kimmeridge village.