Dorset Coast Path: Lyme Regis to Poole
Lyme Regis to Poole in 7 Days Walking Code: DO8
We offer 2 itineraries from Lyme Regis to Poole. Choose from 6 or 7 days walking, depending on how far you want to walk each day. Walking on the Jurassic coast, take a little time to reflect on 185 million years of history beneath your feet.
Due to a coastal landslip at Houns-tout Cliff between Kimmeridge and Worth Matravers our Dorset holidays will detour inland via Kingston for the time being.
This is the longer of our 2 itineraries from Lyme Regis to Poole. Walking the whole route over 7 walking days is a great way to explore the area in more detail.
Due to a coastal landslip at Houns-tout Cliff between Kimmeridge and Worth Matravers you will detour inland via Kingston. The stated 12 miles takes the diversion into account and details of the diversion will be included in your holiday pack.
When planning your holiday, it is worth noting that the path between Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge Bay is frequently closed due to live firing on the Lulworth Range. This is a lovely section of coastline and it is worth making every effort to plan your walk at a time when the path is likely to be open. However, as firing times are subject to last minute changes, there is no guarantee that the path will be open, no matter how carefully you have planned your holiday. You should be prepared for a diversion involving public transport if the range is closed to the public at the time of your walk. Please call us if you have any questions about this and for up to date information go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lulworth-firing-notice
|Travel to Lyme Regis for your first nights accommodation
|Lyme Regis to West Bay
|West Bay to Abbotsbury
|Abbotsbury to Weymouth
|Weymouth to Lulworth
|Lulworth to Kingston
|Kingston to Swanage
|Swanage to South Haven Point then ferry to Poole
|Depart from Poole after breakfast
Lyme Regis to West Bay: High cliffs and ancient settlements
The first day walking has some steep ascents and descents as you make your way along the coast to West Bay. There are a few diversions to take you around areas of landslip. The landslides often release fossils from the ground, leading to the Jurassic Coast being designated England’s first Natural World Heritage Site. After leaving Lyme Regis seafront you go uphill and there are great views of the Black Ven landslip. Passing over Fern Hill you then descend to Charmouth Beach, you can look out for fossils on the beach. The path now has more ups and downs before the steep climb to Golden Cap. Along the way you will pass close to the ruins of the 13th century St. Gabriel’s chapel. Golden Cap is the highest point on the South Coast of England (191m) and the views along the coast are stunning. From Golden Cap it is downhill to Seatown before climbing again to Doghouse Hill the site of Dorset’s oldest human settlement. The path continues along the cliffs to reach Thorncombe Beacon, one of a chain of beacons used to warn of the approaching Spanish Armada in 1588. From here there are a few more undulations before reaching West Bay.
West Bay to Abbotsbury: Long pebble beaches and summer wildflowers
There are a few short steep ups and downs at the start of this section followed by flatter walking by Cogden Beach and Chesil Beach. The path passes through West Bexington Nature Reserve, a stop off for migrating birds and home to many others. The long pebble bay of Chesil Beach was the site of many shipwrecks, particularly sailing ships, blown onto the beach by the prevailing wind. There is a climb to reach the charming village of Abbotsbury, opening up views along the beach and passing near to Abbotsbury Swannery. The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks in the 11th century and is now a sanctuary for a colony of Mute Swans.
Abbotsbury to Weymouth: Tidal lagoon wildlife havens and a ruined castle
Today the walking is easier. Leaving Abbotsbury you cross fields and low hills with open countryside views, before the path meets the Fleet Lagoon. Lying between Chesil Beach and the mainland coast of Dorset, The Fleet is tidal, creating an environment rich in wildlife both above and below the water. You walk by the Fleet to Ferrybridge where it links to Portland Harbour and the sea. The path from Portland Harbour follows a disused railway line for a short distance, passing the ruined remains of Sandsfoot Castle, one of Henry VIII’s coastal castles, before continuing into Weymouth.
Weymouth to Lulworth: Chalk cliffs and rock arches
You start today with a flat walk along Weymouth seafront and then begin to climb. Your walk takes you through fields along the cliff tops, with many shorter undulations, through a few coastal villages and pretty Ringstead Bay. From Ringstead there is a long climb, passing St. Catherine’s wooden chapel to Burning Cliff and White Nothe with fantastic views along the coast. The path now has many steep ups and downs as you walk along the clifftops to Lulworth. This is a very fine stretch of coastline, passing Durdle Door and St. Oswald’s Bay, be sure to take a look back along the cliffs at the route you have walked before descending to Lulworth.
Lulworth to Worth Matravers: Stunning Cove and Armaments or Woodland, Fields and Wildlife
There is a military firing range on almost the whole path between Lulworth and Kimmeridge. The range is most likely to be open at the weekend or on a public holiday. When the range is closed you will need to follow the inland alternative route. There is a diversion for cliff fall at the start of the path through the range -you can cross Lulworth Cove to re-join the path on the other side of the bay except at high tide when some road walking is required. The route is then along the cliff tops with steep climbs, rusting military machinery and Flowers Barrow, the site of both an iron-age hill fort and WWII gun emplacement. When the range is closed the alternative route passes through woodland and country estates. There is more wildlife around this path than along the coast, it is a scenic walk following a longer but less undulating route. From Kimmeridge Bay you pass Clavell Tower, a distinctive folly built in the 1830’s and moved back from the cliff edge when it was in danger of falling into the sea. Due to a coastal landslip at Houns-tout Cliff the trail detours inland via Kingston for the time being.
Worth Matravers to Poole: From Clifftops to Sandy Bays
From Worth Matravers your walk continues along Emmett’s Hill with a steep section both down and up to reach St. Aldhelm’s Head where there is a small 12th century stone chapel. The route continues more gently up and down through fields and an old quarry. As you near Swanage you will pass Anvil Point lighthouse and Durlston Nature Reserve. The seaside town of Swanage has a long sandy bay and Victorian pier. It is also home to the Wellington Clock Tower, one of several monuments, large and small, moved here from London by George Burt, a former Swanage resident who moved to London in the 19thcentury but retained his interest in his birthplace. After a flat amble along the seafront at Swanage the path climbs over Studland Hill, your final climb before descending to Old Harry Rocks, and down again to Studland Bay and South Haven sands. The walk over the sands to South Haven point is flat but quite hard going for around 2.5 miles. The statue marking the end of the South West Coast Path is shortly before the ferry landing at South Haven Point. From South Haven Point you will use the ferry and/or bus to travel to Poole.
Travel from South Haven to Poole
To reach your final destination of Poole, cross to Sandbanks using the regular ferry service from South Haven Point, this ferry runs 3 times an hour. You can then take the pleasant Brownsea Island ferry service from Sandbanks to Poole Harbour via Brownsea Island. The last ferry runs at 4.30pm. The Breezer 60 bus also runs from Sandbanks to Poole.
Grades - This is not a technically difficult walk and should be easy to tackle for most reasonably fit people.
Terrain - The paths are good, and there are no major route finding challenges.
What’s it like underfoot? Generally good paths and tracks, although a few sections can get muddy after heavy rain.
How much up & down? – More than you’d think! Although you never reach more than 400m above sea level (and most of the time not more than 200m) there are many short steep sections. Most days involve ascents of 200-400m metres, although no section is very steep for very long.
Signposting: Good – the path is well waymarked.
Navigation: Pretty straightforward – good signposting, and generally well defined tracks.
Weather: You may be lucky enough to encounter warm, dry weather over the whole route and enjoy dry paths and tremendous views, but you must be prepared because the weather can change quickly. Good clothing and waterproofs are essential, but don’t forget you sunhat, sunblock and shorts!
|Overnight Bed and Breakfast accommodation in selected hotels, farmhouses, village inns, guest houses and family B&Bs.Full English or Continental breakfast.
|A detailed guidebook with route information, maps, photos and background information.
|Information of Services Along the Route
|A comprehensive Service Info sheet, including services such as cash points, banks, post offices, village shops, inns, cafes and taxis.
|A waterproof 1:40000 map from Harvey Maps covering the whole route.
|A personal itinerary setting out each overnight stop, including large scale maps of each accommodation, to ensure you find it easily.
|Emergency Telephone Support
|If you get in to difficulties during your holiday, we are always available to help, even out of office hours.
|12.5% discount at Cotswold Outdoors
|We will issue you with a 12.5% Discount Card valid at all Cotswold Outdoor stores, and online, for the whole year on confirmation of your booking.
|We will transfer your luggage between each overnight stop – if you leave your luggage at the accommodation when you set off in the morning, it will be moved on to your next B&B. You only need to carry a small day sack with the clothes and provisions you require during the day’s walk.
| Packed Lunches
|Provided for each day’s walking and recommended on this holiday as there will not always be a handy shop or cafe on the route.
|Off Road Parking
|If you are travelling by car we can usually arrange off road parking for the duration of your trip. (There may be a small charge for this).
|Arrangement of return transport
|We can also arrange your transfer back to your car, (or advise you when public transport is a better option)!
What’s not Included
|Your evening meal isn’t included in the package, but we include full details and recommendations for each evening meal in your itinerary. You will normally be within walking distance of a pub and/or restaurant, or where there is good food available at the accommodation, we’ll book that for you. Allow about £20.00 per night.
|Transport to the Start & Away from the Finish
|Have a look at the “Travel Info” tab above for suggestions. If you’re still struggling, get in touch and we’ll help you sort it out.
|Even if you are based in the UK travel insurance is worth having.
Good accommodation and friendly hosts are an essential part of any holiday. We understand this and go out of our way to find the best. We put a great deal of effort into hand picking our accommodation and matching it to individual customer requirements. As well as visiting the accommodation ourselves, we ask all our customers to complete a short evaluation on each night’s accommodation, which then gives us an insight into the day-to-day operation and lets us spot any potential issues before they become a problem.
We use a variety of accommodation. Over the course of your trip you might stay in a village inn, a bed and breakfast in a converted barn, a Victorian guest house, or on a working farm. In selecting the accommodation we look for helpful, friendly hosts with good quality, characterful accommodation close to the trail. Occasionally we may use a chain hotel.
We always try to arrange en suite accommodation, i.e. rooms with their own bathrooms for each night of your stay. However, in some of the more remote locations accommodation is limited and occasionally we may have to book rooms with shared bathrooms for one or two nights of your holiday, (especially if the booking is made at short notice), but we will always let you know if this is likely to be the case.
We are happy to book single rooms on our holidays but cannot normally book more than two for any one group. Single room bookings include a supplement.
General Travel information for the South West Coastal Path will be in your holiday pack including train and bus timetables where available..
Detailed instructions on getting to your first night’s accommodation by car, or on foot from the nearest train or bus station, will also be included in the holiday pack on individual accommodation maps.
If you require secure car parking whilst walking this route, please contact us for information.
By Air: If travelling from overseas the main airport to fly to is London Heathrow. To travel from the airport to London Waterloo station takes around 1.25 hours. From London Waterloo train station you can travel by train to Axminster, it may be possible to travel from Heathrow airport to other stations on the Waterloo/Axminster line at Richmond or Feltham depending on the timing of your journey. Buses X51 and X53 travel between Axminster and Lyme Regis, there is also a taxi rank at Axminster station if preferred. The journey from London Waterloo Station to Lyme Regis takes approx. 3.5 hours. If you prefer to fly to Bristol Airport the journey to Lyme Regis takes approx. 3.5 hours using buses, or by bus and train.
By Public Transport: The nearest mainline railway station to Lyme Regis is at Axminster. Axminster railway station is located on the West of England Mainline. Buses X51 and X53 travel between Axminster and Lyme Regis, there is also a taxi rank at Axminster station if preferred. The journey from London Waterloo Station to Lyme Regis takes approx. 3.5 hours.
By Road: Lyme Regis is located just off the A35 between Honiton and Charmouth. Travelling from the East you would leave the M3 at Junction 8 then follow the A303, A358 and A35 before finishing your journey on the B3165 into Lyme Regis. If travelling from the North on the M5 you would leave the motorway at Junction 25 then follow the A358, and A35, finishing your journey on the B3165 into Lyme Regis.
Returning from Poole:
By Public Transport: There is a railway station at Poole with direct trains to London Waterloo. If travelling to Bristol airport you would take the train from Poole to Southampton Central and change for Bristol Temple Meads, then take the bus to the airport.
By Road: Leave Poole on the A350 towards Ringwood/Dorchester. If travelling East or North, after approx. 1 mile take the A349 which does have a few turns to look out for and then joins the A341. After approx. 4.5 miles take the A31 towards Ringwood, this will become the M27 which will take you to join the M3. If travelling West follow the A350 for a further 0.5 miles after leaving Poole, then take the A35 towards Dorchester. At Axminster follow the A358 to join the M5 at junction 25, Taunton.
A rest day in Lyme Regis is a must as the scenery is breath-taking in any weather. Its historic Cobb and harbour are iconic to the area. Lyme Regis is home to a number of historical landmarks and education attractions. If you have the time to add a rest day on your holiday Lyme Regis is a great spot to explore!
Weymouth is an ideal destination to visit on a rest day. It’s fine Georgian promenade is an inspiring setting to the long arc of fine, golden sands. A gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Jurassic Coast offers spectacular views, stretching across the horizon. If that’s not enough, it’s just a short distance to the Isle of Portland which offers a whole range of activities and attractions to people of all ages. Portland Castle offers a historic adventure as well as great views over the horizon. There are also some lovely nature reserves. Not only is it a beautiful spot to visit, Weymouth offers many outdoor activities, made possible by its setting.
Poole is an active tourist resort in the east of Dorset, known as Europe’s largest natural harbour. It has award winning blue flag beaches including the world-famous Sandbanks Beach, a lively quayside and a stunning historic old town. Poole’s waterfront is a paradise for sailors, wildlife and water sports. With Poole’s natural coastal setting you are sure to find plenty of superb beachside cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars making it a great place to relax.