logo Walking Britain

Dorset Walk
Abbotsbury Castle and Chesil Beach from Abbotsbury

County/Area - Dorset

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 6.0 miles / 9.8 km

Ascent - 950 feet / 288 metres

Time - 4 hours 0 minutes

Grade - easy/mod

Start - OS grid reference SY579851
Lat 50.66404 // Long -2.597031
Postcode DT3 4JL (approx. location only)
what3words start avoiding.vegetable.currently

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Abbotsbury Castle and Chesil Beach from Abbotsbury Photo from the walk - Abbotsbury Castle and Chesil Beach from Abbotsbury Photo from the walk - Abbotsbury Castle and Chesil Beach from Abbotsbury Photo from the walk - Abbotsbury Castle and Chesil Beach from Abbotsbury Photo from the walk - Abbotsbury Castle and Chesil Beach from Abbotsbury Photo from the walk - Abbotsbury Castle and Chesil Beach from Abbotsbury
Click thumbnails for larger images.

The village of Abbotsbury is a wonderful place to start with its many stone built thatched cottages in a spectacular location beneath the downs. Other points of interest include the remains of St Peter's Abbey, Chapel Hill, Abbotsbury Gardens and the Swannery so what starts as a half day walk soon becomes a full day visit to the village. Cafés, pubs and a few shops complete the amenities of what is a very good place to start a walk.

There is a car park (Grid ref SY579851) adjacent to the remains of the Abbey on B3157 at the eastern end of the village. Normally there is an attendant to collect the fee. Exit the car park and turn left into Rodden Row and walk towards the village centre. At the T-junction turn right into Market Street and then first right into Back Street. A short way along on your left is a signed footpath, take this walled lane and begin the steady climb onto the downs to the north of the village. Nearing the top you reach a junction of paths (Grid ref SY574860). Bear left here to complete the climb turning left when you reach the ridge path, which is part of the South West Coast Path (inland route).

Walking west along the ridge of the downs, you have a wide ranging view. Of particular interest is the panorama to the south where Chesil Beach dominates the scene. Continuing west the path crosses a lane (Grid ref. SY557863) to skirt the earthworks of Abbotsbury Castle, an iron age fort. A few minutes exploring this antiquity is a worthwhile exercise as the earthworks are surprisingly intact. The exploration complete, continue heading west to reach the B3157 (Grid ref. SY550865). Cross over and follow the path for 200 metres to the first junction.

Turn left here and follow the path downhill keeping the field boundary to your left for the first 500 metres. Here the path goes half left towards East Bexington Farm where clear way marks direct you around the farm and south to a track behind the shingle bank of Chesil Beach (Grid ref SY546854). The beach is certainly spectacular from a distance especially when you can see the lagoons trapped behind the beach. However close hand there was a feeling of anti-climax as you topped the shingle bank and looked along its length. The missing ingredient was some idea of scale as shingle stretched in both directions almost as far as you could see. Notwithstanding this point of view, the beach is still remarkable.

Walking the shingle is hard on your legs so return to the track and walk south-east passing the old coastguard cottages to the point where the track becomes a lane. Stay on this lane to reach the parking area with toilets. An information board gives some background to the beach and the habitats it creates and there is a boardwalk making access to the beach much easier. From here continue along behind the beach and follow clearly signed path as it veers away from the sea towards Abbotsbury. At grid ref SY568847 there is the option to turn right and walk across the southern flank of Chapel Hill but on this occasion I opted to stay on the track and bear left at the next junction to exit onto West Street. Turn right and walk the full length of the village bearing right into Market Street and then left into Rodden Row. The car park where you started is on your right.

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL15Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL15Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 194Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 194Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

GPS files - right click or option-click the button and choose "Save As..." to download this file.

Recommended Books & eBooks

South West Coast Path Map Booklet - Plymouth to Poole

South West Coast Path Map Booklet - Plymouth to PooleMap of part of the southern section of the 630 mile (1014km) South West Coast Path National Trail. Covers the trail from Plymouth to Poole along the coastline of Devon and Dorset. This convenient and compact booklet of Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps shows the route, providing all of the mapping you need to walk the trail in either direction.
More information

Walking the Jurassic Coast

Walking the Jurassic CoastThis guidebook includes 30 walks on the Jurassic Coast of Devon and Dorset. Covering the coast between Exmouth and Bournemouth, these delightful routes range from 3 to 16 miles (5 to 24km), exploring and explaining the spectacular geology of this World Heritage area with clear, easily understood descriptions, cross-sections and timelines.
More information

Outdoor Photography

Outdoor PhotographyThis practical handbook covers digital outdoor photography and the whole range of outdoor activities including walking, running, cycling, water sports (in and on the water), as participant or spectator. Covers basic concepts, equipment and processing and optimising your images back at base.
More information

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

CBD For Walking & Hiking

Discover the benefits of CBD for walkers and hikers. More info.

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.